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Weekly Update (May 21, 2017)

 

Well, Fluke season is now upon us (almost).   Thursday's the day and everyone is amped to get started.  Of course, as fate would have it, looks to be a wet one as steady rain is forecast.   Let's just hope we don't get too much rain so it mucks up the bay waters.  

Early indications are the Fluke are in in the usual early season haunts but early by-catch is not hot and heavy by any means.

 As for catching these early season Fluke take these 2 pieces of advice to the filet table.  

Outgoing tide is key.  The warming waters from the ebb are often like flipping a light switch.  Get set up from the very last of the flood through the first couple ours of ebb and you have your best shot at some Fluke.    

The second piece of advice is to keep baits and jigs small.  Shad darts are deadly on early season Fluke.  Remember, the water is still cool and the Fluke can be lethargic early.  Put a small Spro Bucktail on your bottom hook and a shad dart on top tipped with some Gulp and you are good to go.

Stripering is feast or famine.  Sharpies are getting them but not everyone is.  The fun thing about this time of year is that you can get into some real cows.  Something tells me this week is going to be good.  Bait (bunker) are schooled up so things are going to break open.  Last week's column touched on the same but if you want Bass you really need to be getting up early.  The combination of sun angle and boat traffic makes bassing tougher as we get closer to summer.  Get up early and find your own Bunker school and you can get a personal best.

 

 

Bluefish continue to be the most plentiful of your opportunities.  Expect those bay bound Bluefish to be migrating toward inlets and to become much more hit or miss in the bay in the coming weeks.  Ocean wise the Blues should stay heavy in-close for at least another 3 weeks before heading offshore.  One of the most reliable patterns I have ever seen is that you can catch Bluefish at the mouth of Barnegat Inlet on the outgoing tide early in the season.  Of course, it can get rough especially when a bunch of boats are trying to work the same patch.

BY THE WAY, Seabass also opens this week.  Enjoy it while it lasts.  Expect Seabass fishing to be phenomenal.  The fish have not been picked on for months.   Some good wreck numbers and some clam and limits will come your way.   There is not as much social recogntion of the Seabass regulations as the Fluke regulations but Seabass regulations are absolutely egregious at this point.  The generous bag limit of 10 Seabass gives way to 2 for the Summer season (staring July 2) and 5 for October - December.    To those not in the know, the Seabass migrate and school up on offshore wrecks late in the year and party boats run offshore trips specifically for this.  However, these trips are not cheap.  Not many are going to pay $200 for 5 Seabass.

Tight Lines.

Latest NJ Weakfish Reports

  • 2017-09-15 Atlantic Star Atlantic Highlands

    It was another great day of weather and porgy fishing. We made both morning and afternoon trips and everyone caught plenty of fish on both trips. We also had a few trigger fish again today with a couple of weakfish. 
  • 2017-09-14 Captain Ron Atlantic Highlands

    Very good fishing for the 7th day in a row. Couple nice Weakfish & Blowfish today on the change of tide. Everyone went home with a nice bag of fillets and many took their fish whole, for the grill or the smoker.
  • 2017-06-23 Ristori Bay Head

      Capt. Dave De Gennaro had good news about weakfish as mostly 15-to-17-inchers have shown up on the west side of Barnegat Bay. There were also a couple of 23 and 20 inches that hit killies while Hi-Flier from Barnegat was drifting for fluke. Bluefish of all sizes are abundant in the inlet, and are hitting poppers and soft plastics along with a few short stripers.
  • 2017-06-08 Captain Ron Atlantic Highlands

    Found some better action today with nice keeper Fluke.  Capt. Ron Sr. did his thing and I even managed to wet a line and land a nice 4 pound fish. Had two Weakfish in the mix with a couple blues also. 
  • 2017-02-16 Ristori Bay Head

    NOAA Fisheries issued a warning to New Jersey fishermen a few years ago warning them that they'd better learn how to fish for red drum as climate change would be sending southern species further to the north. There was no indication in the NOAA Fisheries prediction that the fisheries scientists there are aware that the Central Jersey Shore was the place to be for red drum anglers a century ago -- and that their reappearance would only be a return to the norm of a hundred years ago.
  • 2017-02-02 Ristori Bay Head

    The ASMFC meeting in Virginia finally came up with a summer flounder regulation for 2017, but NJ DEP Commissioner Bob Martin is standing fast in insisting on status quo regulations pending completion of a new baseline summer flounder stock assessment which many expect will show that species is in much better condition than outdated statistics presently indicate. com shore blogs fishing or updates on the fluke situation as well as other species involved at the ASMFC meeting.
  • 2017-02-01 Ristori Bay Head

    Commissioner Martin will be testifying at 8 tomorrow morning before the ASMFC meeting in Virginia -- and seems prepared to go out of compliance if necessary. I'll have more about this tomorrow.
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    There were a few legal blackfish and some shorts, but the Ocean Explorer is expecting better results offshore in lighter winds on Tuesday. Sunday's porgy fishing on the Jamaica from Brielle was slower than expected due to strong currents, but there were catches of up to 25 to 30 scup along with a few ling -- and several weakfish.
  • 2017-01-07 Ristori Bay Head

    The redfish were around the docks both N and S of the Ft. Pierce Inlet most were undersized, but we did catch a couple of slot fish as we fought our way through the sheepshead to get to them. I was able to get out the inlet and fish along the inshore reefs and had 2 days of great fishing.
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