BHFCA April 5th Update

Spring has officially sprung in the Beach Haven area despite some lingering winter-like temperatures. The captains of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing have begun preparing for their spring and summer fishing adventures.

One welcome sign is the Association’s announcement that their much-acclaimed Junior Mates Program will be resuming this year after being suspended in 2020 due to the Corona Virus.

Association President Captain John Lewis announced all classes this year will be held outside at the Beach Haven Marlin and Tuna Club. Mask usage and physical distancing will be utilized to maximize safety standards. The first class will be held on Thursday, June 24, at 7pm.

The Junior Mates Program is designed to provide youngsters with a variety of expert teaching and hands-on experiences to educate them about fishing and provide them with the background necessary to become a mate on a fishing boat. Complete information on the Junior Mates and paperwork can be found on the BHCFA website at

Meanwhile, Captain Gary Dugan of the “Irish Jig” has splashed his boat and already brought some fish aboard in a shakedown cruise. Some short striped bass provided nice first of the year action for Captain Gary.

Captain Alex Majewski of “Lighthouse Sportfishing” kept occupied over the winter hitting small ponds in the Pine Barrens. He had productive days with catches of pickerel and largemouth bass. Perhaps getting ready for the new regulations on striped bass, he tried circle hooks with live minnows for pickerel with some “excellent” results. His boat, the “Debbie M” has been upgraded with a Rhodan trolling motor, allowing him to stay positioned over wrecks.

Captain Brett Taylor of Reel Reaction Sportfishing took time this winter for some long-awaited projects including a new house and a new garage. He did construct an electric hoist for his spare Minn-Kota trolling motors. He says he is now ready to start fishing.

Captain John Lewis of the “Insatiable” is now ready to resume making boat deliveries to mark time while he is not fishing. Captain John has been making deliveries for both dealers and private owners for many years and makes many yearly trips back and forth from New Jersey to Florida for boat owners.

Additional information on the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association can be found at

Beach Haven Charter Fishing Report 11/14/20

After days waiting for the start of the fall run of striped bass, the captains of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association are now reaping the harvest of their arrival. The bite began first north of Barnegat Inlet and has now reached the waters off Beach Haven.

Captain Gary Dugan had “Antman” out on the “Irish Jig,” and they managed a pair of pretty bass, both over 40-inches. Although both fish had to be released, the action brought big smiles all around.

Captain Ray Lopez had Joe Nodine and family from Forked River out for a full day charter on the “Miss Liane.” Within minutes of getting to the grounds they hooked up with a 46-inch bass which was quickly released after pictures were taken. After the big fish the group was almost constantly hooked up, at times with 2 or 3 fish at once. The action consisted of many keepers along with dozens of short fish.

Captain Dave Wittenborn had a group on the “Benita J” for some “lights out” fishing. His party of five had their limit of slot fish along with bonus fish for a total of 10 fish and were back at the dock and cleaned up by 11:30. With good reports of fish to the north of the area, Captain Dave predicts there should be a solid fishery for the next few weeks.

Captain Brett Taylor of “Reel Reaction Sportfishing” had the Arthur Diebel group on a 5-hour combination striper and tautog charter. After going 6 for 10 on stripers ranging from 26.5 to 33- inches, the spent the last hour catching their limit of blackfish.

Captain Carl Sheppard and mate Max Goldman have had several successful trips on the “Starfish.” One trip trolling for stripers produced a large 49-inch fish estimated to be over 50- pounds. After releasing that big fish, they picked up four more between 25-36 inches. Two more trips were ones targeting bottom fish on structure. One trip resulted in nearly 30 sea bass in
addition to countless spiny dogfish. Last Sunday Captain Carl had a local Boy Scout troop out for an action-packed day of bottom fishing. The crew caught nearly 150 fish including keeper sea bass and a 14-inch porgy.

Addition information on the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association and it captains can be found at

BHCFA Fishing Report 10/21/20

Right now, the fishing scene in southern Ocean County is caught between summer and fall fisheries. No matter how hard the captains of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association wish for the start of the striped bass migration from the north, the warm water temperatures are delaying their arrival.

Surface water temperatures remain in the low 60’s, a bit too warm for the stripers’ liking. There continues to be an excellent bite on bottom fish around inshore structure, however, to fill the fish boxes.

Captain Carl Sheppard of the “Star Fish” has had several groups out fishing recently taking advantage of the hot bottom fishing. One group with Captain Carl and mate Max Goldman fished several wrecks boating over 75 fish including black sea bass, bluefish, triggers, sea robins, and blowfish. Another trip with a family resulted in over 40 fish caught including sea bass up to 15-inches. A final day with two trips resulted in much the same type of action along with a feisty black-tip shark. The afternoon group had some 80 fish keeping 14 sea bass to 16-inches.

Captain Gary Dugan had two anglers out on the “Irish Jig”, and they experienced drop and reel fishing inshore reefs. They ended the day with a fish box packed with black sea bass, triggerfish, tautog, and some porgies. Captain Gary reports he is keeping a sharp eye out for the arrival of stripers from the north.

Captain Brett Taylor of Reel Reaction Sportfishing had a busy weekend with the Hank Wright group on a striped bass charter. Strong winds made a trip to the ocean a poor choice, so they landed a limit of tautog around the jetty rocks of Barnegat Inlet. They switched to stripers and landed 6, keeping two with bonus tags. Paul Kaufmann and Steve Sharf fished Sunday with their sons on a bottom fish charter. They worked hard and managed to box a limit of sea bass, 4 triggerfish, and one porgy. They ended the day boxing a quick limit of tautog.

Additional information on the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association can be found at

Beach Haven Fishing Report 10/5/20

Fall is now in full swing in Beach Haven, New Jersey, and the captains of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association are raring to go for some action-packed fall fishing.

Thursday, October 8, marks the return of open fishing for black sea bass in the state with a daily limit of 10 fish per angler. Captain Gary Dugan of the “Irish Jig” reports he has been fishing inshore structure the past couple of weeks and has been catching quite a few big sea bass while seeking other species. He has been practicing “catch and release” on the fish, but he is looking forward to putting some nice fish in the box when the season opens.

The tautog daily limit is only one fish until November 15, but these fish are currently plentiful, and very often that one keeper fish has been a beauty.

As the water continues to cool, the area striped bass population has been increasing. There are numerous catches of “schoolie” sized bass in the bay waters with occasional keepers of fish 28-inches and larger to be found.

Captain Brett Taylor of “Reel Reaction Charters” just had a busy weekend with a pair of productive trips. On Saturday he had Max Cavallaro and his 3 buddies on a 4-hour multi-species charter. After working to catch their limit of blackfish, they hit the snapper blues. They worked some feeding birds to box close to 20 along with a few released weakfish. On Sunday he had Robert Kuhn and family out. They hit the inlet area for a quick limit of tog and then played with bluefish to 15 inches for the rest of the trip. Captain Brett’s son Luke worked his first trip as a mate in training for his dad.

There is still good offshore tuna fishing as evidenced by a trip for Captain Dave Wittenborn on the “Benita J.” Captain Dave took his son Luke out on a father and son express trip to the tuna grounds. The lines went in at 6:30AM and were pulled for the day at 9:30. Luke reeled in all three of the fish, and the pair headed in with a great catch of fish on an early day.

Additional information on the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association can be found at

BHCFA Fishing Report 9/27/20

Although cooler temperatures have reduced water temperatures, there are still a goodly number of “summer” fish in the waters around Beach Haven for the captains of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association. The summer flounder season has closed for the current year and the black sea bass fishery does not open again until October 8.

Despite the closures, there are still several hot fishing options to keep anglers happy. The offshore tuna bite is going great guns when ocean conditions allow boats to get out. The inshore wrecks and reefs hold a variety of porgies and blackfish while schools of bluefish of varying sizes are ever present. In the bay waters the panfish bite is strong for fun action on light tackle and delicious fish dinners. Schoolie bass are roaming the bay waters especially around the sodbanks during times of dim light. There are occasional keeper fish mixed in with the small bass.

Captain Brett Taylor of Reel Reaction Sportfishing hit a milestone this week guiding trip number 100 of the year. Although the number is a bit off last year’s pace thanks to COVID, he is pleased with the number of anglers and the results. He had clients Alex Gal and wife Sandra on a 4-hour multi-species charter. They started with blackfish in the inlet area and switched to the backwaters. The husband and wife team caught their limit of blackfish, striped bass, bluefish, and a released 20-inch fluke. The out of season fluke was caught on a 4-inch swim shad meant for a bass. On Saturday he had Michael Trojak and son Brandon on a multi-species charter, but with windy conditions opted to stay on blackfish. The crew released a bunch of keepers, keeping their limit to 20-inches. Both trips featured ex-military and current law enforcement individuals, and Captain Brett expressed his admiration to them for their service.

Additional information on the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association can be found at

Beach Haven Charter Fishing Report 9/18/20

The New Jersey summer flounder (fluke) season ends tomorrow, September 19, and with northeast winds gusting to 30-knots and seas predicted at 5-6-feet, there will be few boats fishing on the final day. The captains of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association ended up the 2020 season on high notes and are looking forward to the fall season.

Captain John Lewis of the “Insatiable” made what he termed a “fun trip” with Steve Palmer and Nick Perello, another BHCFA captain. The group fished inshore structure and hit the fluke well topped by a fat 6.1-pound fluke.

Captain Brett Taylor of Reel Reaction Sportfishing ended the fluke season on a successful note. His group of Bob Reim, Bill Knapp, Mark Roth, and Larry Maynak experienced a “superb bite” on a 5-hour ocean trip.  Working a few small rubble pieces, the guys jigged up their daily limit of fluke with the biggest at 23-inches inches. Later in the week Captain Brett had Bruce Connor on an afternoon bay/inlet trip. First, they hit the blowfish grounds to box 40 nice puffers. They then hit the inlet area staying on one spot with the MinnKota trolling motor to catch and release close to 20 bluefish in the 20-inch range. The last hour of the trip they worked a small ledge to produce a 5 and 6-pound fluke.

Captain Gary Dugan of the “Irish Jig” ended the season taking his wife Tracy out for a successful fluke trip when they managed to catch a few fish dinners. Captain Gary says he is taking advantage of the upcoming rough seas to gear up for the upcoming wreck and striper fishing action.

Additional information on the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association can be found at