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!
Now that Nor’Ian is gone, we are left with a beautiful weekend on Long Beach Island and two great events. Get out and enjoy but be prepared for a chill in the early mornings and evening as a cold front is coming through and giving us the coldest temperatures in a long while. Kite Fest and the LBI Surf Fishing Classic. This year’s 68th Annual tournament kicks off with the opening day (Saturday 8th) seminar at 9am (Ship Bottom Fire House). Stop at the shop to sign up and then attend the event. I’ll be there giving a seminar and will be available for your questions. Kite Fest will have the beaches of Ship Bottom LBI packed with people. It is suggested that anglers steer clear of this area for easier parking, access and space.
Due to the blow (Nor’Ian) reports have been few and far between. For the most part yesterday was the first day anglers could get out. Here’s what I can share. Striped bass, bluefish, blackfish, blowfish, weakfish are all here among other species. The resident striped bass are only getting more aggressive and soon more will show with a mix of a larger class too. The tog fishing is good and will be good throughout the fall season. Fish live green crabs and mole crabs (sand fleas) for the best action. There’s still some blowfish but they are on their way out. Also there’s some weakfish and kingfish in the bay and on the surf.
Current NJ Blackfish Regulations 1 fish at 15″ minimum size until November 15th. On November 16th it opens up to a five fish bag till the end of the year.
Today October 7th is opening day for NJ Black Sea Bass Is Open! 10/7 to 10/26 it’s 10 fish at 13″ minimum size. For more information on how the regulations came about check out the blog post that was put up at the time of the decision… 2022 Black Sea Bass Recreational Fishing Regulations Explained.
Today is the last day of the 2022 NJ Summer Flounder Fishing Season but there’s a lot of great fishing going down. Here’s the fishing report update for the Long Beach Island area on Tuesday September 27, 2022.
First Day of Fall Is Here! Personally my favorite time of year. With great weather, warm water, less crowded beaches and waterways topped off with great fishing opportunities (great surfing too) how can you not love early Fall? At the time of this post we have incoming long period swell from Hurricane Fiona which will be very powerful. It looks to peak Friday afternoon in the 6-10′ range. There will be windy NNW wind. This combo will make surf fishing difficult on Friday. The eastern section of Barnegat Inlet’s jetty could be treacherous! It should settle down significantly Saturday leaving as a beautiful yet chilly start to the day, low of 49º to start off the morning.
The bait really starts moving (mullet, peanut bunker, bay anchovies, sand eels, etc) and in the past week that has been very apparent. We’ve received some great videos and photos from customer capturing the bait and feeding frenzies. For some great photos check out our recent post on Instagram sharing Stay Above The Weather’s photographs of bait and active albies. In my most recent video report update (link below) I shared video from Neill McKenna. This past week we have received a couple deliveries of fresh surf caught mullet so the mullet run is progressing. We also got a report today from Bobby Capri, “There’s thousands of mullet but I did’t bring my cast net.” He did however get into great bass fishing plugging!
Fluke, small blues and a couple bass are in the surf. Remember NJ Fluke Fishing Season ends on 27th. Kingfish are on the suds too. Anglers at times also have a shot at albies.
Barnegat Inlet Jetty offers great fishing at this stage in the year. Tog, triggers and sheepshead as well as fluke, blues, striped bass. Yup a couple; drum too. In the bay there’s blowfish, weakfish, striped bass blues.
Jason Houck shared, “Thanks for the awesome reports. Stocked up this weekend and got in on some good fluke fishing off the beach on the north end and that epic bluefish blitz. That lasted a solid 2 hours on the north end and you could catch them at will for almost 4 hours.” Another report came in from XYZ.
Here’s my most recent video report…
Last weekend (9/18) was the America Anglers LBI Fishing Tournament. Here’s the abbreviated results… 36 teams and 20 individual anglers, 248 total anglers. Only 31 fish caught, the majority were bluefish with some kingfish and fluke peppered in.
The weekend’s tropical groundswell for the most past has faded down to a 1-3′ wave lingering on the beaches. The ocean energy will be down for the next few days, but it is topical swell season so keep an eye on things.
In recent days anglers have taken advantage of the variety on tap. There’s opportunities for just about everyone from surf and jetty to inshore and offshore fishing.
On the surf anglers are catching fluke, kingfish and blues. I saw a few peanut bunker and mullet in the surf on the south end on Saturday and Monday. There were also turns present and a couple had small bait in their beaks. This had to have been spearing or sand eels. As per Sept 1 report there are sand eels around. The mullet are moving and now coming down off the full moon (Saturday) I expect the mullet to pick up strong and hopefully run into October.
On the jetty anglers are catching tog, fluke, blues and striped bass. Trigger and sheepshead are also present at times. Fishing crabs (greens, mole) is best for tog, triggers and sheeps. Casting lures (poppers, swimmers, jigs) you’ll get into bass and blues at the right times. Jig and teaser tipped with Gulp is the receipt for fluke.
In the bay blowfish, fluke and weakfish are best targets. Blues and bass are also options, both of which should offer progressively more action in the coming weeks.
Inshore fluke fishing will be strong throughout the rest of the season (Sept 27th). Albies, bonito and Spanish mackerel are in the nearshore waters. Mahi are also surprisingly close in. Cobia is another species here too.
Offshore yellowfin, bluefin tuna fishing is very good at times. Deep dropping for sword and tilefish is also a solid option.
Time flies when you are having fun! So far this summer has been a great one. We had some good weather and good fishing. Hopefully everyone enjoys this Labor Day Weekend and the late summer fishing. We have a nice weekend ahead with conditions looking prime. Let’s go fishing! Here’s the Fishing Report Update for the Long Beach Island Area on Labor Day Weekend.
Before diving into the fishing report I must first share a couple fishing events…
Save The Dates!
This Saturday Sept 4th is the 2nd Annual “Rock The Dock” Fluke Tournament – Registration is live now online at www.njfishingclub.com/rockthedock. For the full rules and details, click here. Last year’s inaugural event was a success and it was built upon and made even better this year having a dual gun shot start (conveniently having one on the north end and one on the south end) and weigh ins via water or land at The Boatyard right on the LBI Causeway. This tournament is open to boat anglers, kayak anglers, surf/land based AND there’s spots open with Captain Sammy on the Mary M charter boat out of Barnegat Light. Sammy is always on the fish and last year Jake Bayak got the second place overall heaviest fluke as well as the Mary M Calcutta. For 2021 results… www.njfishingclub.com/rock-the-dock-results.
Warm water and great weather coupled with a large variety of target species from both the beach or boat makes late summer one of the best times to fish the waters of LBI. Here’s what’s happening on and around Long Beach Island.
LBI Surf Fishing Report
To kick off the month of September, the LBI Surf Temp is 73º as per the Harvey Cedars Beach Patrol.
In recent days on the surf fluke, kingfish and spot as well as at times blues offered fun fishing for surf anglers. With the warm clean water surf anglers could see a couple croakers, puppy drum and possibly a pompano. A variety is available to catch fishing a small hooked hi/lo rig baited with live bloodworms, live sand fleas, Fish Bites or DynaBait.
Steve George shared that he had some sand eels on the beach when fluke fishing Monday. It’s not a bad idea to start fishing “fall style” teasers to match the slender baits!
With the warm surf temps there’s also rays and sharks. All summer long they are cruising the Jersey Shore but right now could be the peak. There’s black tips, spinners, sandbars, sand tigers and yesterday we heard of a tiger shark (NOT sand tiger) which caught and released off the Sea Isla beach.
Barnegat Bay Fishing Report
The local waters have an abundance of bait and the Mullet Run is right around the corner!
Back bay anglers are still catching good numbers of fluke drifting the main channels working out towards the Inlet. Blowfishing is and has been great. Blow toads offer great light tackle fun on the water and they are good eats too. Anchor up in the open Barnegat Bay and put down a clam chum log. Fish a simple small hook rig, baited with clam, squid or our favorite because it stays on the hook great… Fish Bites! Don’t hesitate to thread on a piece of Fish Bites and then top off with a piece of clam, squid or a morsel of Gulp. Gotta save those short bit off baits for this purpose.
Weakfish are here in good numbers and if you know when and where to look they have been for most of the summer. This is the time when shrimping weakies is a ton of fun! Land based anglers are catching under the lights at night.
This time of year offers some of the best crabbing and it is also a great time to go clamming!
Barnegat Inlet Jetty Fishing Report
All summer the Jetty offers great fishing opportunities! Casting small plugs and jigs you’ll find cocktail (1-3# class) bluefish and possibly some hardtail species like Spanish mackerel, bonita and albies. Fishing baited rigs you’ll catch tog and the occasional triggerfish and sheepshead. There’s always resident striped bass roaming too. There’s a lot of bait in and around the inlet almost daily. As the days get shorter and the water cools expect to see even more exiting the bay. Then we should see more activity with striped bass and sometimes a couple larger blues. Later in September and October offer great fun fishing for these two species as well as TOG!
Central NJ Ocean Fishing Report
Inshore / Near Shore Fishing: Ocean fluke fishing has been good and it should remain good right to the end of the season, Sept 27th. Reports from the reef sites as well as wrecks and open bottom have been good. Action has been productive on the open bottom off of Island Beach State Park and LBI, 30-50′ (some are catching drifting in closer to the beach too) fishing the lumps and old clam beds that striped bass anglers fish all fall. The local party boat, Miss Barnegat Light has had happy customers on recent trips with good catches of fluke and some days mackerel in the mix. The past two days they reported, “Really good day of fluking. Everyone went home with dinner.” And. “Great day fluking. Quit wishin’ and go fishin’!” They are sailing right now but after Labor Day Weekend they will be shifting gears to tuna canyon trips so be sure to call the boat to confirm their schedule.
Remember NJ Black Sea Bass Fishing is closed as of Sept 1.
Today we got a delivery of fresh bunker and our local boat shared he saw some foamers on the way in. That’s right… hardtails hammering bait pods. He said were albies and bonita. Both species have been around these parts as well as Spanish mackerel. There’s a surprisingly strong showing of dorado (mahi mahi) around the inshore waters. We got some mahi reports from from fluke anglers fishing the reefs.
Midshore / Offshore Fishing: Now’s a great time to be offshore. With the summer waning down there’s less boats now than during the heat of July and August. And fishing at times has been really good. We’ve heard some good catch reports of yellowfin, bluefin, swordfish and tilefish. Reports of both day troll and night chunk as well as deep drop action both day and night. Harry on the Parrot Dice reported on his last trip he chunked up some yellowfin and also caught a small but legal (keeper size) sword. Today we got a report from Capt Mark on the Bluerunner, “Found some yellowfin on the troll, chunk and jig. Then added a 75″ bigeye to finish off the trip. Also had some mahi.” Word is the Magictail 3oz HooMagic Heads did the pretty work and then the crew down down and down the dirty work.
Mahi seem to be everywhere and some big ones too! A nice one was weighed in by Austin Pounds on Monday. There’s a good showing of wahoo. Most are catching them by accident but there are some high speed trollers focusing on them.
Notice To Mariners – The Barnegat Light Channel has officially changed!
United State Coast Guards Aid To Navigation (ATON) moved a number of buoys this week. The “old” channel running from the “B” Buoy in front of the USCG Station west towards the High Bar Harbor Dyke and then turning north along the Dyke and towards Oyster Creek Channel is no longer marked. The Barnegat Light Cut is now the main federally marked channel when transiting from Inlet/Lighthouse to the bifurcation into Double Creek and Oyster Creek Channels.
Scout it out and get familiar with the change. A LOT of boaters got hung up, high and dry the past couple of days. There should be a danger buoy should be placed to the south of Buoy 19’s current location at about 39º 45.977’N 74º 6.992’W.
Some boaters are coming south along and out of Oyster Creek Channel get confused after passing Buoy 22. Then they see Buoy 19 dead ahead, due south at a new location. Those that have run “The Cut” all along are fine because they are already making the eastward heading towards Condos and then Lighthouse. But those who aren’t familiar with running “The Cut” can hesitate when they encounter the new location of 19. Some mistakenly look at their GPS and think, “I’m too far east.” Then turning back towards the west in hopes of getting back on course of the old buoy locations as displayed on their screen and… BANG! Hard aground.
I saw this happen numerous times on Thursday 8/25. I reached out to Coast Guard Barnegat Light to see if they could share some information. They stated that ATON (federal) moved the buoys because they have been requested to do so for many years. And now the next step (dire need) is waiting for the state to do their part, placing a couple danger buoys to prevent the issue. I thought it was a bad answer since the federal vessel was in the area working and it would have been simple for them to place one danger buoy identifying the shoal at the fork in the road between the new and old channel.
Fishing and boating is fun, but it can be challenging and expensive. Especially when there’s shoaling in the middle of marked channels and changing channels markers (ATON). Things are always changing. Be safe!
I’ve been to far too many pro wind propaganda meetings put on by the developers and feds. I’ve asked lots of great questions based around the risks to the ocean and fisheries, but most are ignored or deflected with a green washed smile. For this reason and this reason only I became more involved and do my best to share.I’m not asking anyone to be in favor or against these wind projects. I just want everyone to know what’s happening and the speed at which it’s happening. Hopefully after reading, you too will be concerned and yearning for deeper information on the threats offshore wind blows in.
First and foremast I do not deny; climate change, shifting ocean currents, ocean acidification, warming sea surface temps and the northern shift in fish patterns. All of these issues are critical and contributing to major challenges and even crisis in fisheries. But!
Hundreds (possibly thousands) of offshore wind turbines do not solve the problem. In fact industrializing one million acres of the ocean adds a whole new unknown invasive dimension. Scientists are working on many of the hot topics listed below. Their work must be completed and explicitly considered; however the offshore wind developments are outpacing the speed of science and the needs of the sea.
Yes 1 million acres of ocean is slated to be exploited by wind developers. What is massively overlooked and absent is the comprehensive assessment of the CUMULATIVE EFFECTS! The industrialization of the ocean could lead to the destruction of the ocean radically faster than what the plan is set forth to solve, Climate Change.
Surveying – Right now (and in the past year) surveying activity has had detrimental effects on fish aggregations in the areas where seismic blasting is taking place. Cone Penetration Testing (CPT) is taking place to test the sea floor and 100’s of feet through the sea floor.
Construction – Harmful sound and turbidity during the turbine base installation will be two major problems. Will it be localized to the areas of activity? There’s documentation (Appendix R & Cowrie Noise 03-2003) showing noise even with mitigation (bubble curtains) still travels many miles. How long will it go on for? How large and wide spread will the sediment plumes be and what effect will they have on fishing. Usually dirty turbid water is bad for fishing.
Operation – By extracting energy and leaving a wake downwind, reduced windspeed, air turbulence and changes in pressure. Wind farms very well may disturb the natural stratification of ocean waters. This mixing can affect what is known as the Cold Pool, plankton and the food web. This disturbance will also effect larval transport which is dependent on the winds and currents to move and distribute naturally. This is a vital part of the fisheries and can’t be a testing ground to experiment!
Decommissioning – Once things finally settle in to the radical change, after 20-30 years it is the new normal. But at that time the useful life has been reached and as per the Ocean Wind 1’s COP 6.3 Decommissioning Plan “At the end of the operational lifetime of the Project, it is anticipated that all structures above the seabed level or aboveground will be completely removed. The decommissioning sequence will generally be the reverse of the construction sequence.” Basically everything is ripped out.What effects will this new radical change in habitat have?
Most pro-wind boast of the benefits turbine structures could create. But, Wind turbines and their low lying scour protection is not a net benefit to the ecosystem. The reef effect from offshore wind turbines is a potential detrimental risk not advantage. Here is why.
First and foremost NJ has a shallow, soft sand/mud/clay bottom. Drawling conclusions from Block Island’s Wind Farm and comparing to NJ is apples and oranges. Block Island has deep water and rocky hard bottom. Not all species benefit from the addition of hard substrate in an area where little hard substrate occurs naturally. Also the five turbine bases (jacketed lattice style) there are also a different style structure compared to the monopiles proposed here. A cave like structure (wrecks) or poles close to one another, think bridge or dock can offer refuge. A steel monopile does nothing more than break the current and foul. This will attract but debatable if it only attracts existing fish to this new area or if this new area produces new fish adding to the biomass.
Permanent changes to benthic habitat will occur with the installation of wind turbine generators.
Developments will also alter the food web and the benthic ecosystem. The of attraction vs production arrises. Essentially turbine bases are fish attracting device that will aggregate and ecologically trap fish in a suboptimal habitat. *This will assist anglers in possibly over fishing which could actually lead to hurting fish stocks.
Another concern is the support of colonization of non-indigenous species and at times invasive species to these new area.
The altering of migratory patterns is another huge risk!
When gamefish take an offshore migration or congregate in an offshore wind development due to the reef effect how will the recreational fishing economy be compensated for the loss of opportunity? Not all anglers have the ability to fish 5-15-30 miles offshore. More over federally protected species like striped bass could be (and more than likely will be) pulled out of state waters due to the reef effect in essence reducing recreational access to the resource. We’ve yet to hear from state and federal agencies on this topic.
Sand Eels aka Sand Lance
Turbine and inter array cabling poses huge risk to these very import forage.
The critically important sand lance are forage fish in the NW Atlantic that were grossly overlooked in Orsted’s COP Appendix P. There are 45 species of fish both coastal and pelagic, 16 sea birds and 9 marine mammals that depend on sand lance making the species a quintessential link in the food web. Table 4.9 of the NJ Offshore Wind Energy: Feasibility Study (pg77) the American Sand Lance is one of the only species not to have their spawning location mentioned? Seems odd! Their role and strong association with sandy sediment must be explicitly considered.
Sand lance are a very important forage fish, the back bone of the ecosystem with everything from cod, tuna, whales and bird feeding on them. If sand lance decline there will be a ripple effect to all of the higher trophic animals. These little eel like fish have a huge impact!
Cold Pool Disruption
The Mid-Atlantic Bight (MAB) is home to the world’s widest ocean water temperature swings with the winter’s cold in the low 30’s and the summer’s highs at times reaching 80ºF. The waters begin to stratify in the spring as the sea surface temperature warms and this special cold dense blanket of water settles in on the bottom over the summer. This phenomenon is called the MAB Cold Pool supports the area’s diverse and vibrant fisheries. It also acts as a natural defense when hurricanes move into the area.
In the summer NJ anglers can head offshore and at one location catch mahi (warm water fish) near floating debris and then drop a bait to the bottom and catch a ling or cod (cold water fish). Did you ever experience ice cold ocean temps after a hard south blow? This is the cold pool upwelling.
The Cold Pool is seasonal and naturally breaks down in the late fall when winds and storm activity increases. Could the addition of 100-1000’s of fixed turbine bases act like a whisk and disturb/mix the waters? Prevent the cold pool from seasonally forming? It’s possible. The cumulative affect of wind turbines in the MAB have never been studied to fully understand the lasting impact on the area and everyone that depends on its natural resources. Further research is required and currently underway by a team at Rutgers however the offshore wind development deadlines are not set up to responsibly wait for the scientific findings.
Electro Magnetic Field (EMF) & Sea Life
There are serious concerns with regards to cabling. More specifically I have a huge problem believing there will be little impact from ripping a jet plow through the heart of Barnegat Bay. This area is not only a nursery (EFH – essential fish habitat) for many species, it’s also home to endangered SAV (submerge aquatic vegetation) such as eel grass and widgeon grass among others. A high voltage export cabling will be in very shallow water (less than 15′) and the EMF (electromagnetic field) very much CAN have effects based on URI’s Dr. King’s papers. More studies need to be done on the effects on the crustaceans of Barnegat Bay (blue claws, horseshoe crabs, calico crabs, mantis shrimp, grass shrimp and others) as well as the fin fish, sharks and rays.
Sharks & Offshore Wind Turbines
Sharks are very important and there are critically endangered shark species (brown, dusky, sand tiger, thresher, mako and white) which call the wind lease areas home. Appendix P Table 3 lists these species which will not only be affected during construction but also during operation since sharks are known to be sensitive to EMF. Altering their patterns raises huge concerns. Sharks are slow to reproduce. Some sharks born today will not be sexually mature until the decommission (which is very much vague and left open ended) of these projects in 20 years.
Flounder & Offshore Wind Turbines
Orsted’s Ocean Wind Construction & Operations Plan V3 Appendix P 18.104.22.168 Lists Winter & Summer Flounder as economically important flatfish and it happens to be species that need A LOT OF HELP! Yet developments put them at risk. The project area contains designated EFH for flounder egg, larval, juvenile and adult life stage. Appendix E Photo 7 the survey documents a juvenile summer flounder clearly showing the site is a nursery.
Surf Clam & Offshore Wind Turbines
Relatively little is known about surf clams which have 500 year lifespans. Yet 100-1000’s of turbines are slated to be slammed in their sandy home. Let’s slow down and learn about what calls these waters home before destroying it! Fortunately Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind funded a $500,000 study with Rutgers University to study NJ’s surf clam industry and the potential impacts of wind farms on the shellfish.
Environmentally Sensitive Areas
The 2010 at 3rd NJ Renewable Task Force Meeting Dr. Buchanan (NJDEP) presents “NJ’s Area Of Interest – Wind Power On The OCS” and delineates areas off the coast of NJ for possible development to meet the state’s goals of 1,100MW of offshore wind. Ecologically sensitive areas as well as areas of potential conflict were shown in addition to several avoidance zones. Now NJ’s mandates (Murphy’s numerous Executive Orders) tripled at 3,500MW by 2030 and 7,500MW by 2035 and what do you know… The lease sites now cover much of these sensitive areas.
Shoals and ridges function as feeding grounds and nurseries for various pelagic and bottom dwelling species as well as serve as fishing hot spots for recreational and commercial fisherman, birds sea turtle and marine mammals.
Hazardous Chemicals Don’t Belong In The Ocean
1 gallon of oil containment 100 million gallons of sea water
As per the Ocean Wind COP & Atlantic Shore Cop one turbine will have 1000’s of gallons of hazardous chemical and wind turbines are well documented leaking around the world. Oil Pollution Act of 1990 established that those responsible are responsible for the cleanup and restoration. So is this another risk that gets tossed into the taxpayers and ratepayer wallet?
Once the hazardous section is review the green hue of offshore wind projects begins to burn.
Some might think that the ocean is an open vast area with nothing but water. However there’s vessels of all sizes everywhere all going in every which direction. It’s not an organized highway. AIS transceivers must be federally required on each and every turbine and substation. In foul weather and times of limited visibility avoiding turbine structures, other vessels making course changes as mariners attempt to zig zag through the sites will be challenging. Add to the hellacious problems, turbine blades interfere with radar and display clutter/interference. For this reason I feel that every ocean going vessel must have AIS systems onboard to both send and receive data. It is the only way for safe navigation through these massive wind farm areas.
Wind turbine generators have significant electromagnetic reflectivity, and therefore can interfere with radar systems operating nearby. The rotating blades can also create reflections in Doppler radar systems. In particular, these forms of interference could obfuscate smaller vessels and stationary objects such as buoys on radar, complicating navigation decisions and increasing the risk of collision with larger vessels. Maritime search and rescue teams also rely on radar to find smaller boats.
To help ensure safe navigation, there must be a couple 5NM Transit Lanes properly laid out for both commercial and recreational traffic. There must be no less than 1NM Turbine Spacing to allow safe navigation within the ocean wind farm. The array layout must be done logically and in collaboration and correlation with neighboring wind development areas so there is consistency. As of August ’22 it sounds like the USCS asked for 1.5NM but 1NM, possibly 0.8NM was settled on and NO transit lanes!
Acoustics are very important in the marine environment. Fish detect sounds with their very sensitive inner ear bones (otoliths) and some detect sound pressures in organs. Most fish use sounds for communication, navigation, spawning and to detect prey and predators. Noises can physically injure fish and also spook which reduces schooling altering behavior.
Construction & Operation Noise & Vibration
Noise both during construction and long term operation is a major risk to sea life that must be taken into account. Pile driving hammer 164′ into the seabed and seafloor disturbance during construction will last many years. It’s documented that noise from pile driving can cause major injuries to fish. Then during the planned 20-30 year (they will be happy if they get 10-15 years) operational lifespan low frequency sounds will be detrimental; whales, fish and forage (squid).
CPT Surveying Activities
CPT (Cone Penetration Testing) is used for survey purposes to analyze the ocean floor. It’s unknown to me how this activity relates (or not) to seismic blasting. I would really like to know because I believe it isn’t good. Case and point.
Marine seismic surveys emit high intensity, low frequency sound waves from airgun arryas downward into the water column. Thede waves penetrate the seafloo to provide imagery of underlying geology. This noise is very bad for marine mammals and fish.
Mid May to Mid June 2021 I had phenomenal black sea bass fishing east of Barnegat Light. On June 18th the Commander showed up and then the next four days June 19th to June 22 (last day of the season) offered very poor fishing? It was like a flipped the switch and the area was void of life.
I knew something was up but I didn’t really come to the conclusion until I saw my friend Jimmy Hahn’s (from Ocean City, MD) post on Facebook just a few das ago. He’s has a similar story from just last week and another from 2018.
He shared on December 12, 2021, “The north end of a 75 pot (welk traps) string near Indian River Inlet was void of life. This area is where Orsted was surveying for the last three month. But the south end where no surveying took place has life. This is what’s happening to our fishing grounds. The bottom is dead!” Jimmy has a similar event documented on his page from Dec 31, 2018 too. It sure doesn’t seem like a coincidence!
I hope this sparked your interest in the topic of offshore wind. Please do your own research and learn more about these rapidly developing issues. Thank you for reading. Please share!
Part 3 will posted soon (hopefully) and will touch on topics that should concern everyone; energy policy, economics and feasibility.
Who I am?
I am not an expert; however I am very informed recreational fisheries stakeholder. I’ve done extensive research over the years reading many peer reviewed journal on the many facets of offshore wind. I’ve attended as many (state/local/federal) meetings as possible. I’ve read many (if not all) of the Construction and Operations Proposals as well as the Notice Of Intent from developers. I also recently completed the Rutgers Cooperative Extension “IFISSH” Introductory Fisheries Science For Stakeholders Certificate Course, a 10 week program on the trending hot topics in fisheries, oceanography, climate and offshore wind. Since no one else is sharing the many concerning topic about offshore wind… I’ve done my best.
As a recreational fisheries stake holder, I have a myriad of concerns. You can hear all of my public comments, concerns and red flags at the numerous BOEM federal meetings. Here’s some good topics to consider.
What an exceptionally nice day today… dry air and a much cooler than usually mid-August day. Just a flawless Saturday here on Long Beach Island.
The dreaded upwelling event has eased over the past few days due to a distinct change in weather pattern. It’s a welcomed change from the dog days of summer, Bermuda High, humid, hot and ripping south winds. But as always weather changes. This will break down as high pressure weakens, moves off and a coastal low brews up in the Carolinas and slides up.
Here’s the Long Beach Island Fishing Report for Saturday August 13, 2022.
LBI Summertime Fishing Overview By Near Shore Species
The waters are at their season high in August and the variety of species are also at their peak. Whether beach or boat, right now there is a plethora of species to catch. It’s the best time to catch a Barnegat Bay Grand Slam (fluke, striped bass, bluefish, weakfish) as well as an Inshore/Mid Shore Bottom fishing Grand Slam (Fluke, Tautog, Black Sea Bass, Cod/Ling).
Summer flounder (fluke) fishing the waters of LBI in August is great, arguably one of the best times. All summer long there’s a huge biomass of fluke staged up and feeding in the bay. The bay is still loaded with fluke but now’s when they start moving out (mid-August moon was Thursday’s Full Moon) and activity in the ocean’s wrecks, reefs and open bottom heat up. The surf which is good all summer for fluke can really shine at this stage of the game. Don’t overlook the inlets as everything funnel through! This time of the season anglers don’t need to get fancy. Use all of the same tricks that have caught fluke all summer. Light line jigging with Gulp is the most basic approach and one of the most deadly! Use 5-6″ baits fished on as of a light as possible to effectively feel and tap bottom. A few baits that I add to spice up my arsenal this time of year… live peanut bunker, live snappers, whole squid and mackerel strips.
Kingfish (northern Kingfish) love the clean surf waters on Long Beach Island and south Jersey. They usually show up when the surf temps get into the low to mid 60’s in June. It’s common to see the first good wave right after the larger class of striped bass leave in the spring. Then they hang around all summer long. It’s common to see the kingfish disappear right when the classy bass show back up (usually the same time as the horn-dog aka spiny dogfish invasion) in mid October. Fishing for kingfish is a lot of fun, it’s easy and they are good to eat (just like whiting, in the same family as are croakers and drum). These critters absolutely love live bloodworms (also great Fish Bite Bag O’Worms & Dyna Bait Freeze Dried Bloodworms) as well a sand fleas. Small pieces of clam, squid or shrimp will work too. The most common and effective rig is a hi/lo rig with pill floats and a 2-4 oz sinker (depending on conditions). Remember that kings tend to be in schools so it’s common for anglers to catch more than one. If nothing is happening after 10-15 minutes move around. It’s worth a shot to walk the beach and try to find where they are holding. Don’t dedicate your whole trip to one spot if not catching.
Striped Bass fishing is really good for this part of the year. There are always a body of resident fish that hang around and are a ton of fun. This summer seems much better! It could be the one positive from the numerous upwelling events in late July and early August. Bass love lures! You can’t beat a bucktail, an SP minnow or a Smack-It Popper, especially when blues are also in the area. All three of these will catch striped bass day in and day out and hold up to abuse from bluefish. I love soft plastics but the toothy ones will do a number on them too quick. Looking out September is a great month for schoolie striped bass as they get active chasing the exiting summertime baits (spearing, peanut bunker, mullet). Usually around mid October the run/migration shows, is here all of November and usually into December. We commonly see two to three waves so there are ups and downs during the run. Bigger but fewer at the beginning and more but smaller size at the end. I’m going out on a limb, picking the best week of the fall for both quality and quantity will be… October 30 to November 5. Maybe I’m a week early?
Bluefish are around in the bay, inlet and surf chasing small baits. Mostly they are chasing spearing but also peanut bunker. Throw slender metal to match the hatch! Deadly Dick Metals, Hogy Epoxy Jigs, Kastmaster, Krocodiles. Soon mullet will be the bait of choice on the surf, buy never too soon. Remember there is no minimum size however there is a 3 Fish Bag Limit. Yes snappers are bluefish. There is a special 5 Fish bag limit when on charter (for hire) vessels.
Blowfish were somewhat few and far between in the earl and mid part of summer, but they really came on strong the past week or so. Reports from all around the Island’s bayside waters have has a strong uptick. Anchor up, chum and send down small baited hooks with clam or squid. This is also a great time to use those Gulp slugs if you save them when fluke bite the tails off.
Tog fishing at the Barnegat Inlet jetty is offering up a lot of fun and it will continue to do so right through the fall season. The Tautog season opened August 1 at 15″ with a one fish bag limit. It will remain until November 15th when it opens up to 5 per person. If you have never tog fished before this is a great and very easy fishery to try out. First make sure you have protective footwear for safe jetty walking – Korkers!
Other structure loving species on tap right now… Triggerfish and sheepshead hang around structure all summer. From the bridges, docks and bulkheads to the sod banks, jetties and inlet, just about any type of structure can and will hold these two crustacean loving species. Fishing for these is a lot like tog fishing but they are usually not inside the structure like tog. They are usually hanging around or on top of and much more active at the slower staged of the tide.
Black Sea Bass are on the inshore reefs and wrecks all summer. This year the NJ state fishing regulations give angler a two fish bag all of July and all of August at a 13″ minimum size. This offers fluke anglers fishing the snags to bring home a nice sea biscuit or two. If looking to target Sea Bass first you have to find an area holding them and identify their presence on a sonar. They usually look like a Christmas tree when present in good numbers. Then drop a slender jig like the classic AVA Diamond Jig or my favorite the Hogy Sand Eel Jig. Another way is to bait up hi/lo rigs (1/0-3/0 hooks) with clam.
Weakfish were somewhat gone for a number of year; however they are resurged. Last year there was a great showing in the late summer. So far things look good this year too. Weakfish are a great species to catch at night in the lights at the many street lit bulkheads and docks. Their presence is usually give away by their surface feeding smacks when slurping shrimp, crabs and any type of baitfish. Also flashes in the light lines mean they are active. The classic pink softbait must not be forgotten. Bubblegum – Pink Shine is their favorite in either a fork tail, straight taper or a curly tail grub. Fish it on a small lead head 1/4-3/4oz. A small Storm Shad Is also another great lure. As always with weakies, the lighter the better. Light tackle is the only way! Weakfish also can’t resist small bucktail jigs and flies (Pink and White Clousers, Shrimp, Crab Patterns). If you are fishing in a boat and have access to get live grass shrimp, there’s no better way to seal the deal than live chumming and casting the fly rod! (or fishing small hooks baited with live shrimp) There is no closed season for weakfish but there is a 1 fish Bag Limit per angler and a 13″ minimum size regulation. Do your part in ensuring this fisheries rebounds to it’s prior greatness and practice catch and release!
A few summertime species that must not be forgotten… A few Spanish Mackerel are around and were caught recently. They are usually hanging around with the blues chasing bait. Catch them on small lures matching bait. Also anglers troll small metals or spoons in clean warm waters outside of the inlet or in close proximity. Doing this same sort of this will also turn up other hardtails like Bonita and Albies which should show very soon.
There’s lots of bunker pods and stretched out along LBI right now. There’s also a lot of predators on them from whales and porpoise to Cobia…
Sharks & Rays – With the warm surf tempers rays and sharks are also cruising the suds. If looking to chunk and get tight with a substantial pull this would be for you, HOWEVER! Know the laws and know the species. Don’t be that guy who illegally lands and photographs prohibited species! You will ruine it for everyone. Both sandbar sharks and sand tiger sharks are both federally protected species. They can not be removed from the water. There are black tip and spinner sharks present right now as well as cow nose rays among others (bluntnose, roughtail, butterfly) that anglers can catch and release.
After a string of upwelling events this summer, some that could rank towards the top of historic records, everyone from anglers to surfers and bathers are asking, “Why’s the surf so cold?”
Growing up on LBI, I’ve experienced our changing waters both fishing and surfing since a young age. Then in Oceanography Classes at Stockton College I learned more about our unique Cold Pool and the intricacies of our coastal dynamics. I’ve talked about it numerous times on my fishing report videos but never laid out a full blog post to comprehensively share information on the topic of upwelling on Long Beach Island. Here it goes!
Photo: Casting Lure and Thermometer, Steve George, Night Strikes Guide Service
The Cold Pool
What is the source of the cold water?
The waters of the New York – New Jersey Bight (Cape May, NJ to Montauk, NY) are unique. It is arctic in the winter with water temps in the 30’s and it is tropical in the summer with water at times reaching the 80’s. These are some of the largest ranging ocean temperatures in the world.
The waters change over the season…
WINTER: During the coldest months of the calendar (December–March) the water is well-mixed.
SPRING: April and May are the spring transitional months when the days get longer and the weather patterns calm. During this time the ocean’s surface temperature warms and stratification occurs creating a two layer summer ocean.
SUMMER: All summer, June/July/August/September the surface layer remains warm, but the bottom layer remains cold. This cold bottom water is known as The Bight’s Cold Pool.
This cold dense blanket is a vital part of our ecosystem supporting the diverse fisheries. Anglers can catch warm water species (mahi, marlin, wahoo, cobia, tuna, etc.) on the surface or upper water column and at that same exact location bottom fishing for cold water species (flounder, ling, cod, black sea bass, etc.)
FALL: The fall transitional months (October and November) the days get shorter, the surface cools and more frequent storms mix the ocean. The stratification breaks down.
Looking at the graphic, the seasonality of ocean temperatures, take note of the stratification in June – August! It’s the time with the most radical temperature range and that is when the upwelling events pack the biggest cold punch!
Upwelling Events As A Result Of Ekman Transport
Let’s dive into the work of Vagn Ekman, a Swedish oceanographer who in the early 1900’s observed icebergs did not drift in the same direction as the wind. Through his study of fluid dynamics and commitment to physics he published his theory, The Ekman Spiral, which detailed the Coriolis Effect [due to planetary rotation objects in motion in the Northern hemisphere deflect clockwise, opposite in the southern hemisphere] in the ocean.
Part of his theory, Ekman Transport details the wind’s influence on driving and dragging surface waters at 90º from the direction of the wind due to the Coriolis force.Water displaced is replenished. Diverging waters due to Ekman transport create a void which in turn acts like a suction, upwelling deep sea water. In the exact opposite way downwelling occurs. Both of which have significant impacts on the world’s oceans.
Depending on the wind’s direction, duration, speed and area, these downwelling or upwelling events can range from none existent or minor to major.
Late July’s & Early August Upwelling Events – The Cold Water Event Recipe
Storm fronts and coastal storms largely drive the Mid-Atlantic weather. However in the summer it’s common for those patterns to break down and the “Bermuda High” takes over. Long Beach Island then gets its daily southerly sea breezes that at times can be very strong. These winds cause the surface waters to be pushed offshore making cold bottom waters upwell.
Due to persistent and prolonged southerly – southwesterly winds from high pressure in control of the Western Atlantic (around about Bermuda) and a lingering inland trough, a round of significant upwelling events took place in mid to late July 2022.
The lack of frontal system activity held the pattern and upwelling continued. There were numerous upwelling events one after another with a climactic ending, a much stronger event late in the month. The ice cold waters bounced back but it didn’t last long. Another upwelling event took place August 7-10th which is shown in the chart below. Temperatures were recorded by local anglers even colder, mid to low 50’s.
Central NJ Water Data
More local monitoring and a better buoy network would be nice but we must be happy and utilize what we have.
Barnegat Light USGS Station 01409125 – This tide and temperature station is uniquely located at Barnegat Inlet where it records the Barnegat Bay waters on the outgoing – ebb tide and ocean waters on the incoming – flood tide.
*Note the recorded data at this gauge/site can be influenced especially during low tide, it’s common to see LBI surf temperatures 2-4 degrees colder then recorded here. It is a great resource so long as you read it properly! The warmest (highest high) was at the end of the ebb current, August 9th at 3:37PM and the coldest (lowest low) was at the end of the flood current, August 9th at 9:49PM. The dropping lower lows from 8/6-8/10 is the upwelling event in the ocean taking place and progressing.
NOAA Waverider Buoy 44091 – The 44091 buoy is 15nm offshore of Barnegat Light, so it does not record the nearshore coastal upwelling data. It does however give a great read into the ocean surface temperatures. These waters will get pushed in with north and north east winds creating a downwelling event.
Atlantic City Steel Pier’s Station 8534720 – The Atlantic City Steel Pier data is what’s most commonly shows on the news. It’s an accurate surf temperature for general purposed. However, it’s not always a great read for the LBI surf. AC has a much more southerly facing beach and also Absecon Inlet. A persistent south wind can pile up the Absecon Bay’s outgoing waters against the beaches in close proximity and therefore read slightly warmer.
Better Your Catching When Summertime Fishing
Anglers who know about the upwelling phenomenon and the reasons why it occurs better understand the local area’s dynamics. Furthermore anglers who are mindful of and use water temperature to their advantage more effectively plan, alter and abort fishing trips.
Upwelling events are common for Long Beach Island. We all love that they offer a break from the hot and humid mainland. The surf and the sea breeze is the lure of the shore! Make the most of it and enjoy fishing!