Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association Weekly Report Update October 5, 2017
by Jim Hutchinson Sr.
Beautiful fall weather has finally arrived for the captains of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association. As they look forward to the arrival of schools of striped bass from the north and the re-opening of the black sea bass season on October 22, there are several current options available for fishing excitement.
Although the summer flounder season is done for the year and black sea bass are out of season until October 22, there are still targets for inshore structure fishing. There have been some schools of weakfish traveling along the coast. Most are on the small side, but there are keepers mixed in. There are good numbers of bluefish in the ocean and inlets. These fish range from snapper size on up to some pods of fish over 10-pounds. On the reefs, there are tautog, triggerfish, and porgies on the bite.
Recent strong winds have made trips offshore a bit risky, but now that the winds have finally settled back to normal, there are tuna, mahi, and sharks in the offshore canyons. In addition, boats making trips midway to the canyons have been finding bonito, false albacore, and bluefish.
The striper migration is still to the north of the Jersey coast, but there are bass active in the bay waters. Anglers tossing plugs, especially around the sod banks have been finding hungry bass. In addition, there is a decent night time bite around the LBI Causeway and various docks, especially those with lighting. These are mostly throwbacks, but some keepers have been caught on occasion.
As the fall winds on, there are quite a few striped bass tournaments coming up for anglers fishing from boats. In recent years, those fishing the ocean have been making a good showing. Some of the captains of the BHCFA make themselves available for charters for anglers wanting to make a good showing in these tournaments.
The 63rd Annual Long Beach Island Surf Fishing Classic begins this Saturday. The nine week surf fishing tournament is set and ready for a great fall fishing season. This year more than even offers surfcasters the opportunity to compete and win thousands of dollars in prizes.
Enjoy Opening Day Morning on the beach then make sure to stop by the Ship Bottom Firehall for the Kick Off Seminar at 10 am.
For more information check out the tournament website at www.LBIFT.com
Week 1 Special Prizes
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 7TH – $100.00 GIFT CERTIFICATE TO FISHERMAN HEADQUARTERS FOR HEAVIEST BASS
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 8TH – $500.00 CASH AWARD FOR THE LARGEST STRIPED BASS & $100.00 GIFT CERTIFICATE TO FISHERMAN HEADQUARTERS FOR HEAVIEST BASS
MONDAY, OCTOBER 9TH – FARIAS SURF & SPORT TIKI TOSS GAME & A FARIAS HAT RANDOM DRAW FROM ALL REGISTERED JUVENILE ANGLERS
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 10TH – $25.00 GIFT CERTIFICATE TO WOODY’S FOR BIGGEST BLUEFISH WEIGHED IN TODAY
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 11TH – GOODY BAG DONATED BY EP SALES FOR LARGEST FISH ENTERED BY A SENIOR ANGLER TODAY
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 12TH – $ 250.00 CASH AWARD FOR LARGEST STRIPED BASS IN HONOR OF ROBERT “ JINGLES “O’BRIEN FROM JINGLES B & T
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 13TH – FARIAS SURF & SHOP 2X LONG SLEEVE SHIRT & FARIAS HAT TO THE FIRST FISH WEIGHED IN TODAY
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 14TH – SUB Z 48 QT COOLER FILLED WITH GOODIES FROM NJ POOLS & SPAS OF LONG BEACH ISLAND RETAILED AT MORE THEN $300.00 FOR THE LARGEST STRIPED BASS & $100.00 GIFT CERTIFICATE TO FISHERMAN HEADQUARTERS FOR HEAVIEST BASS
Who else loves this time of year? Awesome weather… 4×4 beach cruising… BLINKING Traffic Lights!!! It’s so nice to travel up and down the Island in a reasonable time frame with no congestion.
Now on to fishing… It sounds like a broken record, but it’s worth stating… The tog fishing at the Barnegat Inlet State Park continues. Load up with live crabs and get in the game! The white chins are snapping.
On the bait front, the area has lots in a panicky state of mind. Piles of peanut bunker are staged up and mullet has made moves the past few days. Smaller white baits (spearing and bay anchovies) are also in the local waters. Yesterday (and Monday) the false albacore jumped on them.
Dave from “Dave’s Out Fishing” sent in a photo (see our Instagram feed on the rightside bar of this page) and a report from yesterday. He said, “False albacore were blitzing for hours. It was an awesome afternoon day.” Another report came in yesterday from our bunker man… “The albies were off of mid-island about 3 miles out. As the day went on, they moved in and were about a half mile off the beach at sunset.” Now’s the time for surfcaster’s to try their luck at these speedsters.
Dante from MagicTail Bucktails and Magic Man Guide Service posted a photo of a nice weakfish on a dock at night. His caption, “Lots of nice weakfish around! It’s great to see them coming back in good numbers. Captain Alex of Lighthouse Sportfishing is into the weakfish too. He stopped in the shop today with a solid report. He’s catching them land based on the night shift using softbaits.
A customer by the name of Mark stopped in today for some clams and chum. He reported catching a couple dozen blowfish as well as a trigger fish on his last trip out. Mark mentioned he is fishing the bay on the south end of the island and added, “small resident bass are exploding on poppers!” Anglers fishing mid-island and also up on the north end are getting into the fun too.
One local angler purchasing some plugs said, “There’s plenty of healthy fish around. Most are small but I got one in the upper 30″ range.”
REMINDER: The LBI Surf Fishing Classic kicks off this Saturday October 7th. Sign up and don’t miss out on the annual opening day surf fishing seminar. The free event is Saturday morning at 10am. Location: Ship Bottom Fire Hall.
What’s being talked about in the surfing circle as “The September To Remember” will go down in fishing log books as a month full of hindrances… swell on top of swell. Fortunately for anglers, September’s chain smoking tropic systems have extinguished.
Some local boats headed offshore on Friday night to take a look at the edge and discover what the beautiful temperature break is holding. The weather window turned out to shut down much sooner than forecasts called. Some boats got into tuna at the Hudson and the Lindenkohl chunking and trolling. Reports from boats fishing the same areas also were dismal. Here’s a photo from Dan D. who ran into some crazy weather. They put some fishing time in but called it off early due to weather.
Tog fishing at the Barnegat Inlet Jetty continues to offer really fun fishing. Shop regular Armondo has been in on the action. He reports, “There’s lots of fish but most are shorts. We are having a blast catching and releasing.” All repeat customers getting live green crabs say they are catching. Some are picking sea bass, triggerfish and sheepshead too. When asked about keepers tog… “few and far between.” One angler today said, “Zero for 80, but heading back to try some more.”
Public Service Announcement: Be sure to properly measure your fish! If lucky enough to get a nice fish, lay it out and make sure it makes and exceeds the 15″ mark. The “L-Style” measuring board is a must have. If using a tape, it is very important to get a straight line measurement with the mouth closed. Fish and Game Officers were checking this weekend and warnings were issued. Sounds like some are keeping undersized fish and some over their bag limit. When fishing keep an eye out and if you witness a violation, report it to NJ’s Operation Game Thief (24/7) 1-855-OGT-TIPS. It’s confidential.
One angler in the shop said he measured one tog at 15.25″ and put it in the pale. Turns out he got checked and the officer measured it to be just a hair short. The angler used a tape and the officer (as always) used a L-Style board. He could have been fined, but was given a warning. Lesson learned.
Fishing The Backwaters Of LBI
Weakfish continue to offer action in the bay. Anglers targeting the tiderunners are having trouble with bluefish. Anglers are catching using live peanut bunker as well as softbaits like the classic Fin-s and Storm Shads. Anglers on the bay have reported a strong showing of resident bass schooled up on the flats and sod banks. With the abundance of bait in the back these linesiders are eating good! Word is Storm Chug Bug Poppers and Stillwater Smack-In Jr Poppers are top producing lures.
Surf Fishing On LBI
Finally true to season… cool, crisp fall like weather. This beautifully dry, no/low humidity air breaths surf fishing weather. The surf fishing has been on the slow side with little reports due to the large swells. Those looking to enjoy a day on the beach fishing should look to target small to medium sized blues and the occasional kingfish. Fish mullet, cut bunker or if looking for the latter live bloodworms, DyanBait freeze dried bloodworms or FishBites.
Here’s some information from last weekend’s 71st Annual World Series of Surf Fishing Tournament. These details help other surf anglers gauge what’s cruising the local sandbars. 43 teams fishing as well as 16 individual anglers catching a total of 99 total fish. 53 bluefish, 25 kingfish, 21 fish which fell into the other category.
1st Place Team – Merchantville Fishing Club “A” (80.25 Points)
1st Place Team – New Jersey Beach Buggy Association (80.25 Points)
3rd Place Team – South Jersey Surfcasters (73.50 Points)
Largest Fish Male – Kevin Eichman (19.50” Bluefish)
Largest Fish Male – Dave S (19.50” Bluefish)
Most Fish Male – Mike Vishoric Sr (37.0 Points)
Largest Fish Female on a Team – Rita Bennett (16.50 Point)
Most Fish Female on a Team – Pat Searby (28.25 Point)
Largest Fish Youth – Ryan O’Connell (16” Bluefish)
Most Points Youth – Ryan O’Connell (32 Points)
Long Beach Island Fishing Tournament
The LBI Surf Fishing Classic kicks off next Saturday October 7th. Sign up now while the free hat supplies last. The annual opening day surf fishing seminar is Saturday morning at 10am. Location: Ship Bottom Fire Hall.
News On Barnegat Bay Dredge Project
It’s been a long time coming… Finally pipe is staged and work is in motion. Here’s some information we got from the state’s press release…
Barnegat Bay Inlet area dredging begins in October. The work is part of an $8.7 million dollar project to dredge State channels in Forked River and Barnegat Bay. This portion of the project will include the following channels: Double Creek Mainland, Double Creek Inlet, High Bar Harbor and Barnegat Light Stake. Double Creek Inlet Channel has been closed, and commercial, sailboat and general recreational traffic had been severely limited in some locations since Superstorm Sandy. This project will ensure renewed safe navigation, and maintain these Barnegat Bay Channels in a state of good repair.
Channel use may be limited where the dredge is in operation and where the pipeline is carrying dredged material to its placement locations. Channel closures are not expected, although this is subject to change.
Mariners should be advised that State Aids to Navigation (ATON) will be removed as necessary for the duration of the project. Updates to the Local Notice to Mariners should be expected as the project progresses.
The public is advised to be aware of and stay alert to the pipeline, buoys, dredge and other equipment during this time. NJDOT asks that no one approach the pipeline, dredge or any related project equipment under any circumstances, whether or not active dredging operations are observed.
Pipelines can often be difficult to see on the water, and boaters should proceed through dredging maintenance and construction zones with the utmost caution. No wake speed should be observed in active work zones throughout the project duration.
Here’s some additional info from Kimberly at the Barnegat Light Taxpaters’ Association…
Due to environmental restrictions, (to safeguard young flounder and submerged aquatic vegetation) work was set for after summer. Dredging is going to take place from October through December
The four channels to be dredged are: Double Creek Mainland Channel starting at East Bay Avenue, Barnegat; Double Creek Inlet; High Bar Harbor Channel; and Barnegat Light Stake Channel, located off the municipal boat ramp in Barnegat Light.
Interesting week of light tackle fishing with the back bay still producing weak ranging in sizes well above the minimum of 13″ with most of the fish continuing to be around 15-18″. Snapper blues, fluke and seabass are also present and cooperative while employing grass shrimp for both chum and bait.
The Fall’s first Barnegat Bay Grand Slam was scored on the Reel Fantasea by Tony Stanzino catching and scoring weakfish, fluke, bluefish and a striper all on Friday’s 4 hour afternoon outing!
False albacore , Spanish Mackerel and …… [?] have also taken up residence adding for some exciting visual sight casting while employing light spinning tackle! These fish are lightening fast and scream line faster than any fish around the inshore waters! These keen eyed speedsters are challenging and at times frustrating as a combination of presentation , lure selection and retrieve are needed for success.
I have Friday morning and afternoon available for either private or open boat for Friday October 6th.
Looks like a break in the weather and sea condition is forecasted for this Monday, Oct. 2. We are planning an Open Boat trip to Barnegat Ridge for bonita and albacore. Trolling and bait fishing with the light rods. We will also be prepared to cast any surface albies on our way out and back. Depending on sea condition and our success we could also mix in some bay fishing for weakfish. 7AM to 2PM. A full day to allow us some time to hunt them and then catch them. The boat is also available to charter this day and then you could dictate the hours and agenda. Some folks prefer the bay,and that’s fine with me. $175 person if we run the seven hour Open Boat trip. Four people max. All fish are shared.
Also mixed bag bay fishing this Wed, Thurs, and Fri afternoons, Oct 4, 5, and 6. Depart at 11AM and return at 4PM. $150 person.
Hurricanes Jose and Maria have spared the Beach Haven area with any type of direct hit. However, some stiff winds and very high seas from those storms have put the damper on any type of consistent fishing action for the boats of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association.
Despite the closure of summer flounder and black sea bass seasons, the artificial reefs and other inshore structure have produced some strong fishing when the boats have been able to get out. There are good numbers of blackfish (tautog), porgies, triggerfish, and small bluefish there to supply some good fish dinners.
Captain Carl Sheppard managed to slip in an excellent day of fishing offshore with a bachelor party hosted by Joe Gratten of Fairless Hills, Pa. Captain Carl spent a full day trolling down the 20-Fathon line off Beach Haven where he managed to find a good number of mahi-mahi, little
tunny, and bonito to liven up the party atmosphere. Not only did the celebrating anglers have a great time, they returned to the dock with an abundant supply of fish fillets.
A prediction of an approaching cold front has the captains starting to think about the arrival of striped bass. A goodly number of bass, mostly shorts, have been caught in the local bay waters by anglers plugging the sodbanks. With the abundance of bait around, bass action may be opening up very soon.