A Long Beach Island native with life long experience fishing and navigating the local waters, Greg is a distinguished Master Captain (the highest qualified operator license), holding a US Coast Guard Masters 50T Near Coastal License with Towing Endorsement. Raised in and now managing his family's bait and tackle business, Fishermans Headquarters (Since 1962, The Saltwater Fishing Bait & Tackle Experts) Greg is daily immersed in fishing. He is the Chief Contributor of FishingLBI.com (Long Beach Island's best fishing report blog) as well as the Admin for the shop's social media pages (on Instagram and Facebook). Be sure to follow!
The powerful ground swell from Teddy has faded out and only small residual line linger on. It looks like we return to a more tranquil weather pattern. Here’s what’s up on the Long Beach Island Fishing Front on Wednesday Sept 23, 2020.
It’s only getting more fishy from here!
The recent cold nights and shortening days (less hours of sunlight) have the local water temperatures cooling a few degrees from the summertime warmth. Right now our best “feel” is the LBI surf temperature is 66-ish degrees. Give or take a degree or two. There’s much colder water in the bay already. For more specific details see the chart at the end of this blog post below.
Today (Wednesday 9/23/20) while walking up on the beach a father and his two sons passed by hiking their fishing gear off the beach. I couldn’t help make small talk as I always do. They reported three cocktail blues on frozen mullet. There’s kingfish and out of season fluke on the beaches too.
On the bayside blowfish, weakfish, snapper and striped bass. Harry Chambi reported, “Awesome morning fishing on Tuesday. We caught 54 blowfish in a couple hours.”
Another solid report from the bay came from Gio DeMarco and his wife Malian. They shared, “Regardless of the 15-20 mph winds blowing my wife and I went out on the bay and hit the sod banks. We found fish going six for six in just an hour. Resident schoolie striped bass (up to 23″) were loving our top water poppers. They are here and have been chewing all summer. Can’t wait for the big bass to shop up!”
Seems like they are getting a little more active with the cooler temps!
Up at the Barnegat Light State Park’s Inlet Jetty tog, triggers and sheepshead are being caught. Store staffer Frezza caught this triggerfish on Monday along with 5 tog, one keeper size.
Here’s a couple recent video reports from the past couple of days…
This wind machine was on full force this weekend. It has been cranking out of the north north/east for days now. Most are using the time to knock out the to-do list with the house, boat and tackle. These have built up over the summer. But there are some anglers getting out and making the most of the sunny weather.
Solid swell from Teddy was on the beaches Sunday and will continue. The new week starts off with 6-8′ swell and pumps through Tuesday. Then gradually eases on Wednesday.
If it’s blowing Team Fish Heads is going! Store staffer Grey and Dan fished and caught today. They started off on the bayside looking for bass chasing bait but only found cocktail blues and one healthy (out of season) fluke. They switched gears and tried to take advantage of the good bass fishing conditions at the Inlet Jetty today but from what Grey said, “only tog are chewing.”
The cool fall like temperatures has the surf heating up. The wind was blowing this weekend but that didn’t stop James Kain from Moorestown. He caught this 30” striped bass off the mid Island surf on Saturday (9/19) afternoon. He reported, “What made this fish special was I caught it on a custom rod that was given to me 36 years ago as gift on our 1st wedding anniversary. We celebrated our 36 year anniversary this weekend. My wife Cathy was also fishing with me at the time.”
Karl Chen tried to fish the south end surf on Saturday morning. He put out 8oz and bait but couldn’t hold with the swell, wind and current. He reported, “I went to the bayside and caught a 20″ fluke.”
It’s not over yet! Fluke season ends the 19th and the weather recently hasn’t been the best. BUT! That isn’t stopping anglers from getting out and finding fish. Case and point…
Striped bass are here and the reports contiuies to paint a postive picture for the transition into The Run. “Thank you Fish Heads for the live eels tonight. I caught this one at high tide.” Robert Simkins sent us a thank you message with a report, “I caught my first striper this season at Barnegat Inlet fishing slack high tide. It taped out at 32 inches.”
“Don’t let the wind keep you from going out. Just get out there!” Anthony Ziegler shared, “The last two days were non stop fish, both bass and blues. Even had them on the fly.”
Tyler Carlson caught this triggerfish yesterday (Tuesday) fishing the Barnegat Inlet Jetty. He stopped by the shop to gear up and hit up the rocks. He caught it on green crab. Another triggerfish was reported in by Julian H.
Store staffer Grey is back in school but finding time to fish whenever possible. He shares that he’s finding good fishing… The tog fishing at the Barnegat Light Jetty is stupid good. You have to work for the keepers but there are a lot of fish chewing. There’s some sheepshead and triggers too as well as blues (mostly smaller) chasing bait. At the right times I’m catching striped bass on plugs. It has been surprisingly consistent for this time of the year.
In the bay the blowfishing is still very good with numerous reports the past 48 hours all themed around good puffer action in Barnegat Bay.
Offshore tuna bite is still going strong. Some big boats got out and got on the yellowfin tuna. Reports were due to seas there were only a few boats in the secret spot and the fish were feeding on the chunk and jig. The past couple of days we sold alot of bait flats and jigs; Chatter Streaker Jigs & Nomad Streaker Jigs. Hope to hear more reports from boats fishing Thursday.
The first week of “after summer” and Long Beach Island is significantly less dense and slower. But the annual Tumbleweed Tuesday drop off is noticeably not as pronounced as other years. So here we are… 5 days left of fluke season, 8 days left of summer.
Here’s the Long Beach Island Fishing Report Update for Monday September 14, 2020.
We have a week full of waves and with the tropics active, there’s no end in sight. Right now there’s five active storms (Sally, Paulette, Rene, Teddy, TD21). Putting lots of motion in the ocean. The beaches of LBI had 3-5′ ground swell from Paulette with a north/northwest wind for most of the day. The conditions were clean with little to no weed or debris, just a good amount of sediment from the churning surf. Tomorrow (Tuesday) the winds swing back north east and fade later in the day. Then more north east winds in the forecast for the weekend. Things will be getting fishy in the Inlet and surf.
As far as recent surf fishing reports go we have a few…. Kevin Laverty caught more than a handful of kingfish off the surf. Kevin Benedict also got one kingfish too.
Oh ya… there was a redfish caught off the LBI surf in the dark!
Frequently Asked Question As Of Late – “I don’t have the heavy tackle to fish the surf in the strong ocean swell and wind. What should I target and where can I go fish?”
First and foremost crabbing and clamming in Barnegat Bay are great ways to enjoy time on the water. The delicious harvest is a major perk too! As far as fishing goes, there’s opportunities in the bay and Inlet. Get in on fluke while it’s still open, the 2020 Summer Flounder Fishing Season Ends Sept 19th. Weakfish are here in great numbers and offer fun light tackle fishing. The blowfish and snapper blues are still here. Land based tog fishing is promising. As far as locations… the Island’s bayside docks and bulkheads are fishy all spring/summer/fall. Check out the Ship Bottom Bayfront Park, all four of the Causeway Bridges and last but not least the Barnegat Inlet.
Variety Here Now
Late summer is one of the best times of year to fish Long Beach Island especially if looking for a variety. The usual residents are here like striped bass, bluefish, fluke, weakfish, blowfish, kingfish, perch, tog and sea bass. The structure loving warm water gamefish; triggerfish, sheepshead. The inshore pelagic like spanish mackerel, false albacore, bonita as well as the warm water inshore “exotics” mahi, almaco jacks, banded rudder fish among others like the redfish mentioned previously.
Bait Is Here
Lots of bait is show in the coves, marinas, docks, lights and bulkheads. In some areas they are moving. Spearing, peanut bunker and mullet are the three primary. Some mullet were already moving along Long Beach Island’s north end and south end inlets.We got our season’s first delivery of fresh mullet in a few days ago and expect to get fresh baits more consistently as the mullet run is just getting underway.
Fish Head Ambassador Swagmattic was out last night creeping while most were sleeping. “Now’s a good time to go catching. It’s especially a great time to catch Jersey Grand Slams.” He reported, “I went out and tried my luck. Ended up running into Sloane. We caught a bass, a few fluke and a few weakfish. Just missing the bluefish which should of been the easy one. The fluke were a surprise. They were very active, hammering the jig. Most were good health size. Sloan got one that was a keeper. The fishing activity lasted all of the outgoing tide and right into slack. Once the tide turned it was off like a light switch.”
There’s a good showing of striped bass in the back waters. Sunday evening John Bell reported, “The back bay stripers are putting on a top water show! I caught a dozen this evening fishing poppers on the sod banks.”
Barnegat Inlet has lots of fishing opportunities in September. Reports from anglers fishing the rocks are mostly positive. Tog fishing most are small but there’s keepers roaming the caves. Bring extra crabs because there’s lots of small sea bass. Fluke, blues and bass all call the Barnegat Inlet home in September.
Before the ocean got swelly, the tuna bite was silly good. A whole lotta boat with bent rods for days. When will the small boats be back on the mid-shore grounds again? Keep your fingers crossed. The weather looks poop and as time goes on the days get shorter and the weather windows get tighter.
The fishing continues to be strong in the Beach Haven area for the captains of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association even though the current weekend appears to be a washout thanks to some large ocean waves. This is the last week for fluke in New Jersey, but there appears to be a good selection of other fish to keep the rods bent and the fish-box full.
Captain Alex Majewski of Lighthouse Sportfishing reports fluking remains strong with best catches inside around high tide and in the ocean when the conditions are more favorable for ocean fluking. He sees 1-4 pound blues cruising the inlet and jetty haunts. Schoolie bass are still making a showing with the low light conditions more favorable. He has found enough weakfish to target them. He recommends anchoring up in the bay with chum and bending the rods with species like blowfish, smooth dogfish, baby sea bass, kingfish, snappers, and more.
Last week the “Starfish” with Captain Carl, First Mate Max and Second Mate Marlyn fished with a group of 10 from Bergen County. There were over 110 fish caught, including many keeper sized black sea bass that were released. The group managed three keeper fluke to 22-inches.
Captain Brett Taylor of Reel Reaction Sportfishing had Sean Griffin, his daughter Brooke, and sister Trish on a 4-hour bay charter. Due to a rough ocean, the crew opted for the bay. They started with good tide conditions and the anglers boxed 3 keepers to 5 pounds. Later in the day Captain Brett had his wife Jennifer, and son Luke out for a quick 2-hour trip. Highlight of the trip was Luke landing a dinner-plate triggerfish to take the family pool.
Captain Gary Dugan of the “Irish Jig” took his beautiful wife out fishing on Labor Day and the pair limited out on 6 nice fluke. On another trip Captain Gary had a good trip with a party catching several nice fluke up to 25-inches.
Captain Dave Wittenborn made a trip to the Triple Wrecks on the “Benita J” during the beautiful Labor Day weekend. Blue sky and light winds made for a very enjoyable fishing day. Captain Dave reported he fish gods blessed them with 5 yellowfin in the 50-60-pound class. They had Will, a junior angler, reel in his first yellowfin.
Additional information on the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association can be found at www.BHCFA.net
Here’s the Labor Day Weekend Fishing Report Update for the Long Beach Island New Jersey Area, Monday September 7, 2020.
This holiday weekend had beautiful weather wise and outstanding fishing. Here at Fishermans Headquarters the shop has been jamming. Lots of anglers got out and enjoyed their weekend catching fish from the beach and boat.
LBI Surf & Jetty Fishing Report
Kingfish, fluke and small blues were the mainstay on the beaches of LBI this weekend. This trio has been the primary target species for sometime and we expect it to continue for a few more weeks as we transition out of summer.
Just a reminder the NJ Summer Flounder Season Ends September 19th. Every year the flounder fishing is good on the beach right to the close.
Paul Vancelette caught a 14.5″ kingfish off the LBI surf.
LBI Beach Access Info
As of Tuesday September 8, 2020
From now until September 30th, the Ship Bottom Beach Patrol will guard 7th, 15th and 20th streets. This opens up a lot of “new” mid day fishing territory to anglers.
As of Sept 1st, Holgate Beach Buggy Access Is Open. (Permit Required)
Barnegat Inlet Jetty Report
The Barnegat Lighthouse jetty has been on fire for blackfish with many anglers are catching. Most have reported keeper size blackfish on green crabs. Besides blackfish there are still fluke, triggerfish, sheepshead and bluefish on offer at the Barnegat Inlet rocks.
Barnegat Bay Fishing Report
Here’s a report that Ryan Warford shared… “Fished LBI this weekend. Got down Saturday night and stopped at Fish Heads as soon as I got on the Island to find out was was biting and where they were biting. We got intel, bait and tackle. Fished Barnegat Bay Sunday and caught a ton of blowfish and had to weed through the smaller ones for the eaters. Also caught fluke, snapper blues, kingfish, weakfish and some jacks. It was a tight lines the whole day!”
Offshore Tuna Fishing Report
Yellowfin, Wahoo, Big Eye & Tiles!
The yellowfin bite outside the The Triples is still going strong. The boat traffic is horrendous but the fishing keeps kicking.
Positive feedback from customer who are chunking and jigging. Some are gettin them up top on poppers while others are fishing away from the fleet and trolling up an occasional fish. Those anglers chunking and jigging are doing best numbers wise. Those doing it right are getting fish and keeping them in the slicks. The water is clean and day time chunking means anglers must be concerned about their presentations. Fish are leader shy and they want baits free falling naturally. Scale down with a a lighter tackle approach to get the bites. 30-40# fluorocarbon is suggested. Fish tackle and drag accordingly.
Guys jigging are doing damage with pencil style jigs like the Streakers from Chatter and Nomad. Both of these are great jigs from yellowfin and bluefin tuna when they are feeding on small baits.
Mahi fishing has started to pick up on the one the offshore and inshore pots.
Some decent fishing in the Hudson with some boats putting big eyes on the deck.
WAHOO! Team Fish Heads Captain Nick DeGennaro caught two great wahoo high speed trolling this weekend. The big one was 70# and the “small one” was 50#. We also heard about a number of other classy wahoo caught in Jersey waters. While out hunting tuna it’s a great idea to do some high speed scouting. We have some gear for those interested in looking for ’em.
Today was a good one weather wise. Here’s a quick look at the mid Island beach late morning. You’ll see a small mid-long period swell in the 2-3′ range from Tropical Storm Omar. It’s clean with a light north west breeze.
Hope you got outdoors and enjoyed. If not this weekend is shaping up to be nice. Get out and fish!
Fishing The LBI Surf
On the beaches of LBI anglers are catching fluke, kingfish, bluefish and some other summertime critters (sharks and rays).
The past couple of days Steve George from Night Strikes Surfcasting Guide has got fluke working the suds.
Kingfish are also being caught by anglers fishing bait and weight. Here’s a popular kingfish rig and a very convenient bait if live bloodworms is not your thing… Dynabait Freeze Dried Bloodworms. The kingfish action is not as hot as it was a few weeks ago but they are around. The kings should stick around for at least a few more weeks.
The Jetty Jockeys were in the shop today and shared it was a “righteous morning on the surf! We caught a massive butterfly ray. It took a bunker chunk.”
Fishing The North End’s Jetty
Right now tog, triggerfish and sheepshead are present as well as fluke, bluefish and striped bass.
Fishing The LBI Bay
The fishing musician Rick from Ship Bottom has been fishing and catching on the bayside. He shared the good word, “I’m nailing them on the bayside. A 1/2oz jig head with a 5″ fork tail softbait. Two days in a row with a number of weakfish. The biggest so far was 25″. There is a ton of bait around so they are eating good.”
Lotta snapper blues as well as a few blowfish reported from anglers fishing bayside street end and docks.
Both spearing and peanut bunker are around. Soon the mullet will start moving.
Big Game Fishing
Both yellowfin and bluefin continue. Yellowfin are still stacked up about 70 off and the big bluefin tuna have not moved from the area, in close off of Monmouth County.
Earlier in the week Paul D’Aloia was out with friends. He reported the sea was ugly but yellowfin tuna fishing was good. They got ’em about 70 miles off. More recently (today) Brian Wynn and friends were out aboard the Jersey Nuts. Brian reported, “My first tuna fishing experience was awesome. We caught a bunch of yellowfin and had a great day.”
Newsworthy NJ Catches
Here’s a couple remarkable catches…
A big Cobia caught by Johnny Kostick fishing the waters off Monmouth County!
A Jersey barracuda caught by Kevin Griffin.
Team Fish Head News
Store staffer Gray just returned back from a trip to Bermuda. He said it was an awesome time full of great fishing for a variety of species. “I really wanted to get a bonefish and I caught one. We literally filled the boat one day offshore bluewater fishing. The captain made us keep everything since they sell it at the dock. I was a meat mongers for a day.”
Just A Heads Up
The Holgate Section of the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge is open. The gates opened on schedule, Sept 1st.
The NJ Black Sea Bass Fishing Season is closed. It ended on August 31. The Sea Bass Season will reopen from October 8 to October 31 with a 10 fish bag (minimum size 12.5″).
Here on the final days of August it’s safe to say it was a great month of fishing on Long Beach Island. From a consistent fluke bite in the bay, inlet and surf to good sea bass fishing inshore and off the charts yellowfin and bluefin tuna fishing mid-shore. A quick look back and one must be thankful for good fishing inshore, offshore and from shore. What a great month of summer fishing we had!
Here’s the fishing report update for the Long Beach Island area on Sunday, August 30, 2020.
Fishing Barnegat Bay
From drifting for fluke in the main thoroughfares to anchoring up at a hole and catching a smorgasbord, the bay has a good spread with a variety of fun.
On Friday I had a great morning trip on the bay fly fishing with Danny Vilardi aboard Fish Head Charters. He started with the long rod and didn’t put it down all day. He caught his first weakfish, fluke and jack (Almaco) all on his own DYI clouser minnow. All together we had a dozen weakfish, all were nice healthy ones except two spike. Two fluke ate the fly but both were just short. We also has too many small bluefish to mention.
Stew Hitchner was on the bay this weekend with the family today. They caught a pile of blowfish.
Reports from the Ship Bottom bayside tell of blowfish, kingfish, snappers and spot as well as crabs at the Ship Bottom docks. It seems the past week or two the snappers really made a strong showing. They are a ton of fun for the kids!
Just A Reminder: NJ Bluefish Regulations – All Private Anglers 3 fish, For Hire 5 fish (if on a charter or head boat). Yes this includes snapper blues!
Fishing The LBI Surf
The surf has was churred up from the weekend’s stormy weather. The pass remnants of Laura were wet and windy. Things settled down Sunday and it was a beautiful day on the beach. As the short video report shows it was a great beach day. No great reports but a couple reports none the less… kingfish and fluke in the surf. We recommend fishing live bloods for the best results right now. When the bite is on, artificials work great BUT when it’s a slow pick live bait always outproduced!
Fishing Barnegat Inlet
The Barnegat Inlet has a variety of species to target; fluke, resident striped bass at low light hours, small bluefish, tog, triggerfish and sheepshead.
Ocean Fluke Fishing
Late August and September is prime time fluke fishing in the ocean. The popular reef sites as well as the wrecks and open bottom areas turn out. Gear up and get on the grounds to enjoy one of the best parts of the season NOW!
Today a good report came in from Dale Hawk who fished the Barnegat Light reef (about three miles outside of BI). “Another awesome day. Pink Shine and Nuclear Chicken were catching best. The drift sock came in clutch because without it the drift would have been too fast.
There is just one more week left before Labor Day and the fishing action for the captains of the Beach Haven Charter fishing Association continues to be hot and heavy. As is typical with late summer action, a wider variety of fish are showing up.
According to mate Max Goldman, the last week on the boat “Starfish” with Captains Carl Sheppard and Vic Bertotti “has been extremely action packed.” Many times, the boat is booked for two trips a day with catches of 70-90 fish a trip not uncommon. Making up the bulk of the catch have been black sea bass, fluke, weakfish, and the ever-present sea robins. One interesting trip caught a goodly amount of kingfish and weakfish which was a bit of a surprise to all.
On one trip Captain Carl had a group out who caught over 40 fish including sea bass, robins, blowfish, and a triggerfish. The sea bass ran up to 18-inches. Another trip produced all of the above plus some bluefish and a blacktip shark.
Captain Gary Dugan has been making regular trips on the “Irish Jig” fishing inshore reefs and structure. He reports he is averaging 4-5 keepers on each trip.
Captain Brett Taylor of Real Reaction Sportfishing reports that before the remnants of Laura came up, he had Joe Tocyloski, his son Steve, and friends Scott Boyer and Eric Boyer on a 5-hour ocean trip. They worked a bunch of different spots, but the fish were very tough on the bite. Despite that they eked out 4 keepers to 7-pounds as Eric landed a solid 27-inch fluke on a bucktail.
Additional information on the Beach Haven Charter fishing Association can be found at www.bhcfa.net
Here in the third week of August, a lot of awesome summertime fishing is going down right now. From light tackle inshore fishing to big game offshore fishing, now is a great time to get out and catch fish on the waters of Long Beach Island!
The past few days fair weather perfectly suitable for fishing allowed anglers to get out and enjoy the outdoors. The next few days look great with good winds and near Lake Atlantic conditions. BUT… Come early to mid next week expect an uptick in south east swell from Tropical Storm Laura. Nothing crazy at this time, but 2-3′ swell which with some wind on it will limit the possibilities of most small boat anglers.
Here’s the Long Beach Island Fishing Report Update For Friday August 21, 2020.
Fishing LBI’s Bay & Back Waters
Summer on Barnegat Bay is a special time where a plethora of species take up reside. By far summer flounder take the spot light but there’s A LOT more opportunities on the bay from crabbing and clamming to all sorts of fishing. Fluke, weakfish, blowfish and kingfish are plentiful.
It seems the fluke are making their move out of the bay. Some big doormats have been caught the past few days. Common theme amongst the catches; slower moving tide, larger bait, close proximity to the inlet.
Recent report from shop regular Jay Simmons spoke of kingfish. While Jay was in loading up on live bloodworms, he shared. “I caught four on the beach and then went to the bayside. I was surprised to find more and better size ones bayside.”
Swagmattic was out today (Friday) with his friend Chris and his cousin Adam aboard the Lazy Daze. They started off fluke fishing in the morning one of the local reefs and caught a few keepers. The pre fishing session for Saturday’s tournament didn’t yield anything special. Swag said, “The wind picked up early so we shifted gears and moved inshore to look at some near shore structure. We caught blackfish and triggerfish.
Store Staffer Jared fishing today’s Fluke Tournament hosted by the South Jersey Saltwater Anglers in collaboration with Fish Heads. He was aboard the Just N’ Tyme with Capt Justin Swanson. The crew took the cheese with a solid cooler full of big fluke! A 5.86 was the smallest of their four fish bag! Their biggest was a 8.96, followed by two 7 pound fish.
Justin reported, “Have had the tuna bug so I haven’t fluke fished much. Today was just one of those days where everything went right for me and the team. So proud of how hard we all fished! My brother who hasn’t fished much at all in the last couple of years came through HUGE for us with a 8.9 pounder to take the Big Fish Calcutta.”
Swagmattic fished with Captain Tony on the Flounder Wet Spot and scored Second Place with their largest being 7.5-lb. Congrats to all of the anglers who who fished. Thanks for participating. Keep an eye out for the next one in mid-August 2021.
Fish Head Charters
I had a great week of morning dawn patrol trips this week. Monday awesome surf on the south end. Tuesday bluefish, fluke and blowfish. Wednesday Matt P. put a nice 24.5″ fluke on the deck. Thursday Tony caught some blues and weakfish on the fly rod. Friday Joey Utchig and family shrimped up a slam (weakfish, bluefish, fluke).
The mid-shore yellowfin mayhem continues cranking! Just about everyone agrees… It has been exceptionally good. It has been awesome… some of the best we’ve had in many years with regards to consistency, abundance, size/quality. The past two days seem to been the best of it. Anglers catching trolling, jigging, popping, and chunking. Recently the chunk bite has really turned on. Nomad Streaker Jigs are lighting it up. Also Tsunami Surface Blaster Poppers are producing top water strikes.
While most of the action is happening 50-70 mile out, some tuna are being found more closer to port… Tony Kratowicz post on Facebook some great local fishing news after his last trip… “Solo, anchored, chummed, 8 miles off IBSP, 80′ of water. Using a 1/2oz diamond jig, 15# fluoro… catching mackerel for bait… a freight train grabs the jig! About an hour light and I sunk the gaff in on a fat 41” bluefin tuna.
Big congrats to the team aboard the MJ’s! Over the years they have got the job done on tournament days. This year was no different. They took 1st and 2nd place heaviest tuna in the 2020 Mid Atlantic 500.