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NJ Saltwater Baitfish

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Bunker Bunker typically start showing in NJ around mid to April and arrive en masse in May. Peanut bunker leave the bay in the fall and can lead to a bait fish bonanza along the NJ beaches. April - June, September - November
Herring Herring are a cold water fish and as such are not as important on the NJ bait scene as some as the others. Still Striped Bass LOVE Herring. November - February
Mullet Look for the Mullet to leave the bay mid-September. Typically, any Mullet run is before the Peanut Bunker leave the bay. September - October
Rainfish Rainfish or Bay Anchovies on first inspection closely resemble spearing. September - October
Sandeel Sandeels are like the candy of the Sea. When they are around it seems to light something in the local Gamefish's DNA because they tend to gorge themselves on these. Read more on how to take advantage. May - June, October - November
Spearing Spearing are the most prevalent fish in New Jersey's bay and estuarine system. Very similar in appearance to rainfish. It has a much smaller mouth than rainfish. April - November

  It seems that NJ porgy fishing is on fire.  More than one captain has written about stellar fishing.  No reason to expect that to change any time soon, so go get um.   Got to keep an eye on the remanants of Irma as they may affect the area the end of this week.  Other then that weather wise seems to be agreeable jumping on your favorite boat and filling a bucket or two of some hard heads.  

  Second on this week's lineup are bluefish, who have made a hot and heavy (and early) arrival for fall.   For pure sport, fall blues are adrenlin pumping badasses.  Not the finest table fare, to be sure, but pound for pound these guys are tackle wrecking monsters.  It remains to be seen if the sudden influx of blues is already setting up for a big fall run but it would certainly be welcome if a great bluefish run helped offset some angler misery for a miserable fluke year.

If you are on your own boat, look for bird play early for what can be some easy scores.  As boat traffic increases and the sun rises bird play usually reduces to jigging on marks or trolling to find action. If all else fails, small blues can be had too (very tight to the beach).

Bontio remains an option for your quarry.  Personally, I have had some awesome days catching bonito in mid-September.   Ava 27's with a thin and long squid strip tails can be magic.  Of cousre, trolling is a popular method for private boaters and squid spoons (Clark spoons) trolled behind birds works well.  If you score with bonito, you should bleed them immediately and let them bleed out then ice them quickly.  Bontio are delicious but you really want to be meticulous in their care for the greatest experience.

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