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!
It’s officially summer and the fishing here on Long Beach Island is good. Daily anglers are catching fluke and blues. This action is taking place on the surf, in the bay and the inlet. Talk at the shop today was some good action the past couple of days in the bay and also the ocean fluke bite is beginning to materialize. There’s still a surprisingly good showing of striped bass and the weakfish are around too!
Today (Thursday) store staffer Jared got a nice weakfish off the jetty. Checking back on the recent reports we have shared a number of other weakfish catches. Triggerfish are around and we expect them to become more abundance in the coming weeks. Let’s go fishing!!!
Sorry for the late post. I forgot to hit the publish button.
Here in mid June, we are waning off of June full moon (better known as the Strawberry moon but) called the “Hot Moon” by some native American tribes because of the beginning of the hot summer heat. The official start to the summer season kicks off June 21st, but we are already seeing the transition here in the waters of Long Beach Island. With the summer heat comes warming water temperatures and the summertime fisheries on Long Beach Island. Here’s the LBI Fishing Report Update for June 17, 2022.
Recent strong showing of bluefish ranging from 2-10# in the bay, inlet and surf. Weakfish show promise of potentially another good year. Last year was my best weakfishing in a decade. Striped bass are still here but the great spring run has faded out on the surf with the majority of sizable ones moving on with their migration. Fluke fishing is prime time! Fluke fishing in the bay, inlet and surf has been good. At times weedy conditions can be challenging. Sharks and rays are showing up and will become more abundance of the next few weeks. Expect kingfish (surf) and blowfish (bay) reports to pop back up too.
Friday we have a lingering 2-3′ easterly swell with southwesterlies swinging more westerly as the day progresses. Breezy northwesterlies will be in store for the weekend. Be prepared with The Best Bug Spray – Captain Ron’s. The winds are up for a few days but generally speaking this is the time of year where the weather systems break down and Lake Atlantic conditions prevail. Fingers are crossed for some board duration fair weather to allow everyone to get offshore and into the summertime tuna fishing.
The crew at fish heads has been fishing hard and having a hella good time catching. Store staffer Tyler got into the tiderunners this week. He caught four fishing the Jetty using Gulp 5″ Pink Shine Grubs. Store staffer Frezza reports good fishing the past couple of weeks in the channels and shallow water areas in his neck of the woods (Tuckerton). Store staffer Jack got into some good fishing with bucktails, both striped bass and fluke! Store staffer Jared has been catching the fluke good too. Below is a recent limit catch of his from the Barnegat Inet Jetty.
Strong fluke reports from boat and land based anglers. One report came in from Mike Hovan who shared, “Fluke action was great. Got two keepers at 18.25″ and 17.75 and also caught six or seven straight at one point using Gulp 4″ swimming mullet baits. Bite was best the first hour after high tide. The water was warm and crystal clear. I saw two triggerfish cruising the lip and a cow nose ray so we are quickly entering into the summer fishery.”
This is outline in which I used to prepare and present a short seminar of the LBI surf with the American Anglers Fishing Club in Saturday April 30, 2022. Hopefully you attended because the attendee questions were really good and the topics discussed got deep fast.
Do you have a problem finding fish on a regular basis? Would you like to better find fish? I promise after our this short talk we will cover some important topics that will help you better understand a proper approach to fishing the surf.
When thinking about fishing always be prepared. The wise man once said, “Fish are caught the day before.” Sharpies gear up and prepare ahead of time so they are on point to maximize their time fishing effectively.
Deciding where to go can be the most challenging and debatable the most important part. It’s a fact… the best anglers can’t catch a fish that isn’t present. For this reason it’s important that we fish where we think fish will be. So we must think about and consider what fish prefer.
This is mainly based with a thinking around striped bass but many of the ideas can be used for other species too. Essentially fish have to swim to eat and eat to swim so they can follow preferred water temperature on their migration, eat, digest, grow, swim against tide/current. Fish can’t swim without energy and can’t get energy without feeding.
Daily Factors To Consider
Environmental factors that are part of the equation
Water movements: TIDE vs Current, longshore drift (sweep, water moving parallel to the beach)
Sunlight & Time of Day – dark, golden hours am/pm, high noon
Season & Historic Trends – Month, Lunar Cycle, Moon Phase
Reading The Beach
When reading the beach, the beach profile is the first things you should consider.
From the dunes look east (at the water). How does the water look? Can you identify anything? What does the beach at the water’s edge look like?
Look north and south (up or down the beach). Can you identify points and coves, high and low areas?
Can you see the shallow waters of the sandbars where the waves are breaking? Can you see the deeper, darker colored waters? Watch the water’s movements and look for the surge in and out. Find the rips and tailing currents. You want to fish these seams. The cuts, the troughs and the bowl like holes. Fish use these features as an avenue to cruise the surf, moving in and out and to hunt.
For more on reading the beach go to 07:00 minute mark of the video.
Structure is very important to fish and anglers! Pay attention to both hard structure and soft structure.
Soft Structure: sand bars, cuts, sloughs, slender vs wide, inside/outer bar, long shore sections. These features were just detailed briefly in the text above and in more detail in the video. They are very important especially here on the LBI surf.
Remember soft structure moves as the beaches change! Storm erosion events can alter in a short term way. Also littoral drift, longshore sediment transport, is a phenomenon that surf anglers need to keep track of. Here on LBI we are a unique area, one of NJ’s nodal zone is approximately Barnegat Light to Brant Beach area. LBI face slightly south and gets a lot of south winds and south swells but the historic pattern is sand moves north to south against the wind and swell. There were extensive oceanographic studies you can look up for more details on this; BUMPUS, 1965 and then HALSEY, 1968). Extreme shoaling in Beach Haven Inlet is a great current event example of the Island’s sand moving south. Also look at the chewed out areas on the down current side of jetties or other hard structure on LBI.
Hard Structure: jetty or groin, rock pile, an outflow pipe, pier, bulkhead, dock, etc. These features are permanent and both refuge and have fouling.
Where are the sections of the water and where are the ins and outs? Anglers must fish the water that is available to them.
Scouting For Potential – Spots & Life
Scouting “pre-fishing” is just as important as actually fishing. This research and planning can be done with your boots in the sand or via 4×4 and a good portion can also be done from the comforts of your home. It’s also helpful to network with friends and/or a club. Letting others do the dirty work will help you save time which is valuable because no you can dedicate more time to fishing.
But nothing is better than your own reconnaissance. Those who fish a lot can cover more ground and see more things, all the while staying up to date and in the loop with the evolving situations and more over adapting their strategies on the fly along the way.
What bait is present? Are bunker, mullet running? Do you see mole crabs or calico crabs shells in the high tide line?
What birds are present? small birds (turns, gulls), large birds (gannets, pelicans)
What fish are present?
Where are the gill netters or the rec. fleet targeting and catching?
Now that we have reviewed and discussed these topics, we haven’t talked about or touched upon what baits, rigs, lures to think about using. That is a whole ‘nother can of worms. No pun intended.
I am Capt. Greg Cudnik from Fishermans Headquarters. I invite you to stop by and come shop with us.
I’m happy to have shared with you. Hopefully this was valuable and helps you catch more fish. I tried to sparked your interest in a variety of topics and maybe you have some questions? If so stop in the shop and let’s talk fishing.
Things have been strong in the LBI fishing arena with a variety of species for both beach and boat anglers. The past week there was an influx of bluefish which made for drag pulling excitement. Also some of the spring’s largest striped bass were caught and released (due to the new regulations). Anglers fishing bunker on the surf have caught striped bass and bluefish among incidentals; dogfish, skates, brown sharks. Anglers fishing clam on the surf have caught striped bass and some size-able black drum. Sea bass fishing at the mid-shore and offshore wreck sites has been productive. Fluke fishing has been good but not great for most. We are hoping that improved this month. Offshore fishing is firing up with reports of yellowfin, bluefin, big eye, tilefish among others starting.
Long Beach Island Surf Fishing Report
Recent Weigh In – Glenn Curtis caught a 17.86# 37-7/8″ striped bass off the LBI surf. He was fishing bunker and clam on the north end surf. His catch came on bunker fished short, close to the beach.
Another great report came in from Jim Crane who caught a brown shark, two blues, a big black drum and a big striped bass. Lots of other striped bass and bluefish were reported the past few days.
Upcoming Fluke Fishing Tournaments
The 26th Anniversary JCAA Fluke Tournament is this Saturday, June 11th. Join in because there’s a lot to win!!!… $50,000, A Boat/Motor/Trailer, Thousands is Region & Door Prizes! Enter the doormat fluke category for $25 and if you catch the largest fluke over 12 lbs. you will win $50,000. There is also a $1200 cash prize for the largest fluke caught in each of our 7 regions. The cash prizes are guaranteed regardless of the number of entrants. There are 1st to 7th prizes for each region so just about everyone may win a prize. The awards ceremony will be at Resorts Casino in AC with registration beginning at around 5 PM on 6/17/22. For complete details go to www.jcaa.org
Fluke-A-Mania – Saturday June 24, 2022
The 7th Annual Fluke-A-Mania Fluke Fishing Tournament hosted by the Beach Haven Marline & Tuna club is quickly approaching. Register now or at the Captain’s Meeting on Friday, June 24 from 5PM – 9PM. For more info… www.flukeamania.com/
The new month of June is here and with it we have a great variety of fishing opportinutes here on Long Beach Island and the surrounding waters. Both beach and boat anglers are catching. In recent days we’ve had good fishing for striped bass, blues, fluke, weakfish, kingfish and black drum, among others (sheepshead, blowfish, sea bass).
As per my last report video I hinted at the great opportunity for a shot at quality fish around the new moon (5/29-5/30), with a new wave of fish and possibly the spring’s biggest striped bass. Well, for the most part played out. More blues showed and some weakfish too. A few black drum catches popped up. And some big striped bass were caught.
There was a minor upwelling event that took place from Monday night’s hard south blow but fishing has continued right through it. If anything it was a great reprieve from the heat wave. Due to this event there are large water temperature swings at the Inlet and waters in close proximity. I had waters as cold as 51 degrees on the flood tide Tuesday and as warm as 75 degrees on the flats during outgoing tide. The south wind also ripped up the snot which was growing from spring’s fertilizer run off and now it’s a hindrance at many areas on the ebb tide. Knowing of this swing should help all better prepare for a trip.
Off The Surf – LBI Surf Fishing Report
The striped bass fishing has been steady, not epic, along the beaches of LBI. This spring has been one of the better runs and it keeps on giving. Clam has been the best bait for most of the spring. Finally some bunker pods are beginning to come together. Expect a couple more weeks of surf side stripers and then they will really thin down in abundance. The bluefish made a good showing the past few days with anglers catching some good size ones off the surf. As these surf temps creep into summer more kingfish will arrive and hold in the Island’s beach structure, toughs and holes. Fluke fishing off the LBI surf is decent at the prime structures. Both kingfish and fluke will offer good fishing all summer long.
Barnegat Inlet Fishing Report
The “big three” are all being caught regularly at the Inlet rocks; striped bass, bluefish and fluke. Now’s a great time to take a shot at not only a slam but a Barnaget Bay Grand Slam. Yes there’s weakfish being caught. Randy Edwards caught a nice one on a Kettle Creek Paddle Tail. Also reported from the area sheepshead and black drum.
In The Bay – LBI’s Bayside Fishing Report
What started out as a phenomenal first couple weeks has become more challenging; warmer temperatures, grasses conditions, lots more boat pressure and boat traffic. But anglers are working and putting together some good catches. One epic catch was reported in from Gina Brenner. She caught a 12# fluke fishing the bay with live bait.
I’ve been all around the bay and have caught fish at just about everywhere I fished however finding quality fish was a different story. One day I had five keepers and one short in a two hour session. But the next day eight shorts and one keeper. I can’t seem to find any sort of consistent theme but I’m hunting and working through the paces. Mid June is when I switch over to focus primarily on fluke. Yes I sacrifice some of the best early season fluke fishing but that’s when I’m 100% focused on striped bass.
The weather hasn’t great but the fishing has been fire! Right now there is a great variety of species in the waters surrounding Long Beach Island. Let’s get out and go fishing!
Striped bass – Bluefish – Fluke – Black Drum – Kingfish – Weakfish – Blowfish – Sea Bass – Cod – Sheepshead and I’m sure others that are missing from the list.
The big (most popular) three striped bass, fluke and bluefish are on the LBI surf, Barnegat Inlet and Barnegat Bay, Manahawkin Bay and Great Bay.
LBI Surf Fishing Report
Now is the time to fish the Long Beach Island surf! Approaching the late May new moon on Monday (5/30) we are in the prime part of the spring run. This is your shot at a quality striped bass on the surf.
Today Chris Masino was in the shop getting some essentials before hitting the beach for an evening plugging session. He sent a message in at about 9pm, “Thanks for the AVA Jigs tonight! I got a good one on the eight footer, 41 inches.” Chris also shared that an angler fishing close by also caught a nice striped bass.
Striped Bass & Bluefish On The LBI Surf
Craig Perucki reported, “While soaking clam looking for bass I decided to cast a white Daiwa SP Minnow lure with a teaser. After a few casts I hook up! Nice hit but not a big fish. Then as I was reeling in…. BANG! Another hit. I finally reeled it into the beach and it was a bass on the SP and a bluefish on the teaser.” Photo below under “Bluefish Report” section.
Dallas Tharp caught this striped bass off the Ship Bottom surf Wednesday.
Black Drum & Kingfish On The LBI Surf
Michael Lewis caught and released a 34″ drum off the LBI surf’s south end on salted clam. Black drum have been around for a number of weeks. They are a couple drum catch reports from the surf but many more from the bay.
Yup! There’s kingfish on the surf. Theo Door posted this photo of his son with a pair of kingfish he caught off of the LBI surf on Fish Bites.
There’s bluefish on the LBI surf, inlet and bays. While it isn’t epic fishing there are good flurries of action at the right places and time. Store staffers Tyler and Paul have got into some fun fishing this past week. A number of other reports have come in from happy customers. Hunter Bunnell posted a photo on Wednesday evening of his mom with a nice Barnegat Inlet bluefish.
With a wild week of windy weather the fishing reports aren’t flowing like they were. But things are starting to settle down and we have high hopes that mid-May will rock like it always does each year. Let’s go fishing!
Like it or not, state and federal circle hook gear restrictions will eventually become law with more species. It’s time to learn about circle hooks and perfect your technique fishing with them. While this is mainly focused around circle hooks and striped bass fishing, a lot of the ideas can be used for others.
Because circle hooks require a different approach, a lot of anglers need time to get comfortable. But like anything else, practice and learning from others is the best way to fast track your way to success. This article is for anglers who have never fished a circle hook before. And hopefully it also helps anglers who have some circle hook fishing experience too. Let’s start with the basics and go from there.
What Is A Circle Hook?
A circle hook is a style of fishing hook which is very round with a hook point perpendicular to the hook shank. An inline hook is not offset, meaning the hook’s point, barb and shank are all on the same plane.
How to confirm if a circle hook is inline? Lay the hook on the edge of flat table. An inline hook will lay flat. An offset hook will show its offset bent hook point and not lay flat. Offsetting a circle hook (bending the point to one side of the shank) reduces the conservation benefit of circle hooks.
The benefit of inline circle hooks is they set/catch fish in the jaw and radically reduce deep/gut hooking events. From a conservation perspective inline circle hooks reduce injury to fish and cause far less catch and release mortality.
Choosing The Right Circle Hook
Circle hooks are effective and dependable. But like all hooks, the anglers must choose the right one for the job. Unfortunately the fishing industry lacks a hook sizing standard so it can be confusing to compare hooks. This is especially challenging when looking at different manufacturers’ offerings. It’s always best to have the hooks in hand.
Fishing Hook Terminology & Characteristics:
The various styles of fishing hooks have distinct features which set them apart. Both a hooks profile/shape and the gauge/thickness wire stock used is very important. A hook can be broken down to these parts; eye/ring, shank, bend, gap/gape, throat/bite, point/spear and barb.
Circle Hook Size & Gap
When choosing a circle hook be mindful of the bait being used. Due to the relationship of a circle hook’s shank and hook point, the size and its gap must be considered. Always match the hook to the bait. A hook that is too large or too small is no good. Never ever choke the hook’s gap. Blocking the gap prevents the circle hook’s working ability. Both the hook size and hook’s wire gauge are very important.
Circle Hook Gauge Choice
Generally speaking nothing more than a light to medium wire hook is needed for targeting striped bass. A lighter wire hook is used for the easiest hook sets. But lighter wire means lighter line, lighter drag, lighter tackle approach. Using a big reel and a broom stick rod is not the recipe for success when fishing circle hooks. Thicker gauge hooks means more strength but these hooks do not set and penetrate past the barb as easily as medium or light wire hooks. For this reason it’s best to leave thick gauge circle hooks for big game fishing with heavy tackle for sharks, tuna and marlin fishing. Even in some of these cases a medium wire hooks will work better.
The Best Circle Hooks For Striped Bass
All of the top hooks brands make quality circle hooks options. Each one has slightly different variations in design, features and price points. The following are great options for striped bass fishing with bait.
Gamakatsu 2214 Octopus Inline Circle Hook
This mid-wire octopus inline circle hook is forged for strength. The bent is some what flat allowing for a little more are for a chunk bait to sit. It’s turned up eye is great for snelling and offers the best presentation. This is one of the best hooks for chunking and live bait fishing for striped bass!Gamakatsu Octopus Inline Circle Hooks
Owner 5179 Octopus Inline Circle Hook
This mid-wire hook has a straight eye, round octopus like bend and a large gap. It’s a great hook for both striped bass, redfish and billfish. There is also the 5114T which features Owner’s elongated “Mutu” style shape. It’s said that this elongated more oval like than circle helps increase the jaw hook ratio and has more strength once the hook is seated. Owner Octopus Inline Circle Hooks & Owner Mutu Inline Circle Hooks
Mustad 39951NP Med/Hvy Inline Circle Hook
The Mustad 39951NP is a medium/heavy wire hook (shown in the photo below) that is good for anglers looking to chunk bunker or any extra large baits with heavy tackle. For bunker chunking use the 9/0 or 10/0 size. Mustad also have some other great inline hook options. The Mustad 39928 is an Ultra Point mid-wire forged in-line circle hook has an octopus style shape which features a very round profile and a turned up eye. The Mustad 39944 is also a great hook which has a better price point, slightly shorter shank length, straight eye and is not forged.
BKK Inline Circle Hook
The BKK Hybrid Heavy Inline Circle Hooks feature a medium gauge wire inline circle hook that has a turned back eye, great for snelling. The hook shape has a very round curve, similar to the Owner 5179. BUT the BKK Hybrid Heavy Circle has a shorter shank and also taller rise from bend to barb giving the hook more throat. This offers two key advantages. One, more throat allows the hook’s bend to better accept bait without choking the gap. Two, once a fish is tight and hooked up it is much harder for fish to shake off these hooks, delivering a great hook-to-landed ration. BKK also has a proprietary “Super Slide” finish and coating that enhances hook penetration performance.
Eagle Claw L2196PG Baitholder In-line Circle Hook
This is the Baitholder In-Line Circle Hook that is perfect for fishing clams and worms. The barbs are on the shank so it is very important that the angler does not bait up and choke the gap. Do not use this hook with large chunk baits! The L2004 is a very popular hook for the billfish and guys. It too is good for striped bass in the 6/0 – 10/0 sizes.
Also check out the VMC 7385LKCB. It’s a new idea, sort of specialty hook with a “B-Lok” (bait lock) stopper. The stopper, keeps the bait properly in place at the bottom of the hook bend and prevents the bait from creeping up the hook shank. This ensures the bait doesn’t choke the hook gap. In essence reduced the chances of missing a fish due to the impeding the hook up.
It was a great weekend here on LBI, fishing out the month of April and kicking off the new month of May with phenomenal weather and really good fishing. Here’s the Long Beach Island fishing report for May 2, 2022.
Anglers in recent days have caught striped bass as well as a few black drum and bluefish. We also heard of a couple fluke, which as of today May 2 is open season here in NJ. Let’s Go Fishing!!!
Bluefish At LBI
Bluefish are slowly showing up. A few reports from the LBI surf and the bay. David Gerard reported catching a 14″ in his lagoon on Friday afternoon, “At sunset they were jumping like crazy. But I cooled off.” His catch was on a SP Minnow lure.
Fluke – It’s that time again!!! Fluke season is open and anglers are finding fish. On Saturday Steve George from Night Strikes Guide Service posted a photo after a guide and shared, “What a beautiful day on the Island. I got out with Ryan and Andrew and we caught a 20″ fluke.” The day before Steve reported, “They are here!” And had a photo of a small bluefish he caught off the surf. He also caught some herring and small bass.
Striped Bass Fishing On LBI
Striped Bass activity on the surf and in the bay is and has been great. Here’s some recent catch photos that were sent in.