Open Season from May 25th to Sept 22, 2018: 18″ Minimum Size with a 3 fish bag limit. Special Exceptions: Delaware Bay (and Tributaries) 3 fish at 17″, Island Beach State Park 2 fish at 16″.
Black Sea Bass
May 15th to June 22nd: 10 fish at 12.5”
July 1st to August 31st: 2 fish at 12.5”
October 8th to October 31st: 10 fish at 12.5”
November 1st to December 31st: 15 fish at 13”
“At the New Jersey Marine Fisheries Council meeting on April 5th, the (recreational) 2018 NJ Fluke Fishing Regulations as well as Black Sea Bass were set. However, problems might exist with the sea bass regulations as states to our north have filed an appeal with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. They threaten to go out of compliance. The process is pretty complicated but they are going after a portion of New Jersey’s quota. Depending on the outcome of the appeal our sea bass regulations may change. [Update: They did not change!] I will keep you posted as things develop further.” ~ Paul Haertel, Jersey Coast Anglers Association
A top priority for the JCAA was to close the gap between the fluke season close and the open of sea bass. This period of time (September) is a great time to enjoy fishing in the state of New Jersey. But government regulations in years past left inshore anglers with weeks of little to nothing. The 2017 NJ Fluke Season closed on September 5th and cut most all of the prime time inshore reef fishing. The early September close also kept surf anglers from working the suds. September is always a great month full of opportunities for fluke fishing and fortunately in 2018 NJ saltwater anglers will be able to enjoy.
Stepping back and taking a look, it’s great to see the same size and bag as last year. While three fish at 18″ isn’t a perfect world, it is a regulation that most can live with. What’s important to everyone is the additional days. The majority are very happy except some from the southern portion of the state who expressed disappointment. South Jersey fluke anglers really want an earlier start and you can’t blame them! The early season offers great backwaters fishing and anglers want to get in on the action.
Long Beach Island is unique and sort of caught in a pickle. Being centrally located we call ourselves South Jersey but technically we are South Central Jersey. LBI shares features of both its North Jersey and South Jersey coast neighbors yet still holds unique prowess. With both vast backwaters, two inlets, great surf fishing beaches and a strong network of inshore reefs, LBI’s surrounding waters offer some of New Jersey’s best fluke fishing early, mid and late season. The area is well known year in and year out for trophy doormats.
We are looking forward to the 2018 Fluke Fishing Season and hope you are too. Now’s the time to prep. The last couple of years bucktailing for fluke has exploded. For many many years sharpies were dialed in and out catching the fleets. However, in recent years more anglers learned and adapted the tap dancing technique. I would be willing to guess three quarters or more of fluke anglers bucktail.
Those looking to learn about bucktailing fluke (very different from targeting striped bass on bucktail lures) should stop by the shop and ask a Fish Head team member. We are here to help and share information.
The past few years our best selling (and out producing the imitators / competition) bucktail was the Spro Prime Bucktail Jig that we stock in a great assortment of fishy colors and in more sizes than possibly any tackle retailer in the country. We have Spro Bucktials from as large as 8oz for anglers working deep water or those fishing rough or heavy drift conditions to as light as Spro’s Baby and Mini Bucktail which go as light as 1/8 and 1/16oz. These little bucktail jigs have accounted for many double digit fish when rigged as a teaser.
For all of those DIY rig tyers, we have a large selection top quality hooks from Gamakatsu, Owner and Mustad as well as all of the hard to find components that are sure to set your rigs off from the rest.
August starts off with a bang! Good weather conditions have allowed anglers to get out and fish the waters of Long Beach Island. Positive reports are flowing from inshore, offshore and from shore anglers. Here is the update on the August fishing LBI has to offer.
LBI Fluke Fishing Report:
If looking for large fluke, this is the month! In late summer fluke stack up in the Inlets, beach fronts and near shore structures. Bottom fishing the open bottom sandy areas as well as the local reefs and wrecks are producing. Quality fishing right now from the Barnegat Inlet, the local reef sites and the waters from the Bather’s Beach to the Pier.
Captain Alex aboard Lighthouse Sportfishing put his client Michael Petruzziello on this 30” 10 pound 2 ounce doormat. It went for a live snappers in the Inlet. Captain Alex reported, “This is the second true doormat I have put clients on in the last three years. The last fish was a monster weighing in at 11.5 pounds which fell for a live peanut bunker.” Large fluke want big live baits!!!”
Here’s an update from two of Long Beach Island’s local party boats fishing out of Barnegat Light. After reading the recent update from both boats we all will agree now is the time to get out and go fluke fishing.
Here’s the Miss Barnegat Light’s fishing report from Captain Lou… “After the weekend’s northeast blow, the fluke fishing aboard the Miss Barnegat Light rebounded quickly. Even on Sunday, while the ocean was still settling, we had a fair amount of keepers. The last couple of days we have had great action. Some anglers are limiting. There’s a good mix of keepers to throwbacks. Seems like things are progressing nicely as we enter August. The squid and spearing combos as well as bucktails with Gulp of various colors have done the trick. So far this week, the pool winners are ranging 3 to 6 pounds.
The Carolyn Ann III reports, “The bite is on! The fishing is and has been good on recent trips. Some beautiful fish and limits to be had. Get out now while the catching is good!” Here’s a photo of a recent angler on the CA3 with two nice fish!
Zach Michot reported a solid day fishing with Capt Paul Haertel and Bill Browne, “Good day on the fluke grounds. The Magictail bucktail jigs with Gulp was the bomb! We finished the day with our three man limit of fluke and sea bass. Released a handful of keepers to catch another day! Adrift Sportfishing reported an epic trip, “Seven fluke over six pounds largest was 8.8 pounds!”
The land based duo of David and Alex Ho are dialed in and on the fluke. As reported on the July 30th report, amongst other keepers David got a 28” 9.24 pounder and Alex a 23.25” 5.2 pounder. These are some serious fluke for land based anglers and a great feat for landing on the rocks. Congrats gentlemen!
Fish Finder Frank Foley stopped in recently and shared a report, “We enjoyed the day on the water fishing. The bluefish were snapping in the Inlet. Full on feasting on mini snappers. They were crushing poppers on top. It was crazy watching the voracious cannibals. In the area we did good with tog and fluke too.”
Speaking of bluefish… Grey Colston just got this gator bluefish off the surf! Good size blues are still cruising both the surf as well as the Inlet. Fluke and kingfish are also in the suds. This morning Rob Vallone tried for kingfish but got run over by snappers.
As per our last report resident striped bass are around. The small linesiders are hanging around the lagoons and bayside docks chasing bait. It’s plentiful with both peanut bunker, spearing, mullet and mini snapper blues. Anglers are having fun at night fishing small lures Try a small lead head rigged with a grub or split tail plastic. ¼ oz bucktails and 3” swim shads are also great choices.
LBI Shark Fishing Report:
The local warm summer waters are full of sharks! They are literally everywhere from the inshore waters and surf zone as well as the bay. We suggest not swimming in murky water especially if you have an open wound. It’s said that swimming with jewelry isn’t the best idea either.
While these brown sharks (sand bar shark), sand tigers and black tips are plentiful they are not out hunting humans. They’re just cruising and enjoying the waters of LBI like everyone else. If interested in catch and release fishing the largest game possible from shore or near shore this is the ultimate fun!
Monday night I had father and son team from Montreal out for a bay sharking trip. The session was slow due to wind against tide. We unfortunately missed two bites but adjusted and worked through the difficult conditions. We finally got a bite that took the hook and it put up a nice fight. The 14 year old Canadian enjoyed his time battling the bruiser like a champion right to the end with a successful release.
Tuesday night’s bay shark fishing trip was different. The conditions were prime and it panned out to be a flawless summer night! Not only did we get a number of bites (released four nice size toothy ones)… we caught our largest brown shark to date. We met Momma Bear the bay monster! She put up an epic fight. The trip will go down as one of our best.
Anyone looking to get out and go shark fishing should go asap! Stop in the shop and we can assist gearing up. You can hit the beach or boat and soak some baits! If looking to get in on a Four Hour Night Bay Shark Fishing Charter with Fish Head Guide Service reach out now by calling or texting Captain Greg at 609-713-9299
Midshore & Offshore Fishing:
The relatively calm ocean waters has anglers heading off and most return with meat. Bluewater fishing is solid with a variety of opportunities. Most reports are from anglers pulling fish on the troll however good action has come on the chunk and jig/pop. We heard some boats were heading to the Hudson to fish a promising stretch of water along the west wall. South of there fish were caught at the Toms. The Chicken Canyon and the waters further off around the Baccardi produced. Further south lots of boats are fishing Lemkes and the Cole. We heard one day was smoking hot then the next day was slow.
Store staffer Dan was out on Tuesday and beat on the fish. Dan said the jig bite turned on and some boats were into them casting on top. He shared his story about fighting a good size yellowfin but breaking it off near the boat after an hour battle.
Earlier this week, Tom Bernat and Gil Dilts fished with Captain John Rimmer aboard the Old Grandad. The crew boated two yellowfin and a 50 pound wahoo on the troll fishing the mid-shore on the 30 fathom line.
The crew aboard the Canyon Runner hit the dock yesterday with a solid catch of yellowfin. Captain Phil and Kevin reported, “The fish are all up on top in multiple schools with some yellowbirds up to 70 pounds. Both the chunk and troll are producing.”
Captain Mark from Bluerunner Sportfishing & Waterproof reports, “Fishing is great! We loaded the boat with yellowfin, Bluefin, mahi, tiles and mako. Solid fishing shaping up for late summer and fall.
– Fishing LBI Tournament News –
The JCAA Fluke Tournament is this weekend! August 5th, 2017, the Jersey Coast Anglers Association will hold its 23rd Annual Fluke Tournament.
The Forked River Tuna Club Presents their 60th Annual Fluke Tournament on August 12 to 19th Check out their website for more details.
The LBI Surf Fishing Classic is right around the corner! This year’s event is now 9 weeks running October 7th to December 10th. The one extra week was added and the format was modified slightly to offer larger cash prizes. There’s other great new things offering an awesome value… tournament collectable hat and shirt to early sign ups (first 300 before October 7th). For more details go to LBIFT.com where tournament news will be added. Prizes and special tournament days are still not finalized. Once done the info will be posted.