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Shore fishermen are about to enjoy what will probably be the most exciting casting of the year during the next few weeks as big bluefish take over in rivers, inlets and bays. Most anglers would rather cast poppers to big stripers, but that only happens on rare occasions. Once the ravenous blues arrive, the action is often predictable and intense. It's always thrilling to watch a hefty blue clear the water to hit a popper, and to be able to enjoy that sport on your own and at no cost is a rare opportunity. Blues started moving inshore last week, but blitz fishing hadn't started as of Thursday. Bunker chunks have been producing some in Barnegat Bay and Toms River -- and the Tackle Box in Hazlet reported they were hitting all day Thursday in Raritan Bay. Joe Melillo reported from Castaways Tackle in Point Pleasant that some have come through Manasquan Inlet, and at any moment there should be such quantities there that the ground on both sides of the inlet will turn red from bluefish blood as anglers cast poppers, swimmers, metals and jigs to 10-to-15-pound choppers which generally don't show themselves until they hit. Within days they'll then be all over Manasquan and Shark rivers plus Barnegat Bay. The same thing occurs in Shrewsbury and Navesink rivers and along the Bayshore. Fortunately, the great majority of those blues have been released during the last few years. Use heavy leaders and a long-handled net to handle blues from the inlet walls and in Point Pleasant Canal. It's a good idea to remove belly hooks from plugs and use only a large single hook at the rear. You'll miss few bites that way, and blues can be unhooked safely. Emergency rooms don't need any extra business during the bluefish Bonanza! There may be a few tickets left for the IGFA Banquet & Fishing Tackle Auction which begins at 7 p.m. Friday in Doolan's Shore Club on Rt. 71 in Spring Lake. Call IGFA N.J. representative Jeff Merrill at 908 451-1110 to determine if there's  $75 ticket that can be held for you at the door. A limited edition tuna print by Don Ray is provided to each attendee.  Striped bass have been well established in Raritan Bay, but continue to be quite fussy. They appear to be focused on herring, and trollers have generally been doing best with stretch plugs. Capt. Lou Grazioso of Wall says the hot model has been the Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnow deep diver. He made a Thursday afternoon trip, and was excited to report that a new body of larger bass seemed to have moved in as he was suddenly hooking 40-inchers on the Crystal Minnows. At times the bass turn on for casters using lures such as the Tsunami 5-inch Shad in pearl white. Bait fishing has been very spotty so far, which has been tough on the party boat fleet. The best action has been at night, but even then Tank Matraxia of Lyndhurst said the bass were just sucking the guts out of bunker chunks. Except for a 25-pounder hooked hooked Monday night by Emil Pavalac, Matraxia said the four other bass caught by Johnny Bucktails' crew were all hooked by that young pro.  The ocean striper fishery is well overdue. There have been a few shots so far, but consistent action should start ant day now for the Golden Eagle, Miss Belmar Princess and Big Jamaica. Blackfishing has been set back by big swells, but the Big Mohawk from Belmar reported decent fishing on Thursday. Capt. Stan Zagleski will begin his daily hunt for tautog with Elaine B II from Bahrs in Highlands on Saturday at 7 a.m. That will continue until the season closes at the end of the month. Castaway's Tackle reports winter flounder are being caught in Manasquan River and at the south end of Point Pleasant Canal. Blackfish have started hitting clams in the canal. School stripers have been hitting small lures in the surf, especially at Island Beach State Park. At Seaside Park, Grumpy's Tackle reports bluefish are building up in Barnegat Bay. They weighed a 36-inch, 14.4-pounder for Kevin Malone on Wednesday after he caught it on a shad lure. Paul Haertel weighed a 14.4-pound blackfish there on Monday after catching it from his boat out of Toms River while working some wrecks. Other tog were caught, but there were no ling or sea bass on the wrecks. School stripers are hitting clam and bunker chunks in the surf.     

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Latest NJ Winter Flounder Reports

  • 2017-06-08 Ristori Bay Head

    Capt. Allen Lee had run the boat down there for this week's South Jersey Shark Tournament plus the upcoming tuna fishing, and was just fun fishing at 2 30 a. m. Sunday when the mako took two baits. Don Marantz invited me to join his Monday party on BarbGail IV from Point Pleasant along with former JCAA presidents Tom Fote and Mark Taylor plus Bruce Vitale and Dr. Eleanor Bochenek as Capt. Chris put us into a boat limit of sea bass on a wreck before making a run to Shark River Reef for another boat limit of big winter flounder that had to outfight protected ocean pout for Gulp 4-inch Swimming Mullet.
  • 2017-06-07 Ristori Bay Head

    Capt. Rob Semkewyc got an assist from Capt. Pete Wagner on Hyper Striper from Twin Lights in Highlands wih a castnet full of bunkers during his Tuesday Magic Hours trip with the Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands and boated several stripers from 30 to 46. Capt. Kenny Namowitz has openings on his Mimi IV from Point Pleasant on Thursday for bottom fishing that's been producing limits of sea bass and winter flounder.
  • 2017-05-27 Ocean Explorer Belmar

    Another great day of sea bass fishing,,fish were flying all day as we drifted as it was so calm out there...even had some flukes,,,winter flounder and ling mixed in to.
  • 2017-05-16 Seahunter Atlantic Highlands

    After all the rain and wind the past few days and the color of the water on the way out. We ended up picking most of the day with short and keeper Stripers and even had three jumbo flounder to top things off.
  • 2017-05-15 Dorothy B Atlantic Highlands

    The action on the shorts began as the first line went into the water and provided action on and off for the rest of the trip. We landed 4 keeper Bass, 2 Flounder as well as all the throwbacks even though the conditions were far from favorable. 
  • 2017-04-20 Ristori Bay Head

    Shore fishermen are about to enjoy what will probably be the most exciting casting of the year during the next few weeks as big bluefish take over in rivers, inlets and bays. Bunker chunks have been producing some in Barnegat Bay and Toms River -- and the Tackle Box in Hazlet reported they were hitting all day Thursday in Raritan Bay.
  • 2017-04-19 Ristori Bay Head

    20th Annual NJ Banquet Auction 20th Annual New Jersey IGFA Fundraising Banquet Auction Friday, April 21, 2017 at 7 pm Doolan's Shore Club700 State Hwy 71Spring Lake, New Jersey, USA Featuring a cocktail hour, hot cold buffet dinner, a Grand Raffle with items from YETI, Maxel, Tsunami, and much more!Reserve your seats today by emailing IGFA New Jersey Representative Jeff Merrill at jeffmerrill2 verizon.
  • 2017-04-19 Big Mohawk Belmar

  • 2017-04-14 Ristori Bay Head

    The Golden Eagle from Belmar saw some big bass on top early Friday, but only marked them later in the trip as a couple up to 33 inches were boated. Those boats will be looking for stripers Saturday along with Miss Belmar Princess and the Jamaica from Brielle.
  • 2017-04-13 Ristori Bay Head

    A mild winter and early spring often results in a good April bite of mostly short stripers on clams for Raritan Bay boaters, but this year the bass have been on herring and hitting lures. Grumpy's Tackle in Seaside Park is still hoping for the first bluefish report, but reports school stripers in the surf on clams and small lures -- plus many more in Barnegat Bay on bloodworms and small plugs.

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