Northern New Jersey Fishing Report- August 24, 2023

The bays are loaded with blowfish and snapper blues, fluke fishing holds strong around the ocean reefs, and the wahoo bite picks up near Bacardi wreck.

Anglers are feasting on the smorgasbord of species that late August usually brings. 

Fluke, sea bass, bluefish, blackfish, porgies, false albacore, bonito, Spanish mackerel, triggerfish, mahi-mahi, wahoo, yellowfin and bluefin tuna are all on the table. There are also snappers, blue claw crabs and spot to be caught.  
Those willing to travel to the canyons can target swordfish and bigeye tuna. It’s time to go fishing before a big storm ruins the meal. 

Rick Hebert at Tackle World in Rochelle Park and his buddies got into the bluefin bite releasing an 80-incher after a 3-hour fight last Sunday. The too-big tuna hit a live squid about 20 miles out of Barnegat Inlet. Hebert also reported that the fluking is holding up nicely on reefs and wrecks and there is a good porgy bite by Breezy Point. There are more snappers around as well. 

Danny Stolba at Fish Tail Bait and Tackle in Carteret said bluefish finally showed up in the Arthur Kill and are hitting bunker chunks. The blues are up to 5 pounds. 

Capt. Phil Sciortino at the Tackle Box in Hazlet said Spanish mackerel, bonito and jacks are popping up along the beaches. He also said there are black tip sharks showing up in the bunker schools. There are lots of triggers being caught, he added, and the fluke and porgy fishing is solid as well. 

Mike Pinto at Giglio’s Bait and Tackle in Sea Bright said bigger fluke are showing up on the beaches as more peanut bunker and spearing appear in the surf. Bluefish are off the beaches and albies and Spanish mackerel were reported in the Monmouth Beach area. One customer is catching plenty of short bass in the Shrewsbury River on spooks and twitch baits.

Giglio’s Bait and Tackle regular Walt G. got this pair of 4-pound fluke with help from his son-in-law.

Mike Gleason at TAK Waterman in Long Branch said there is still a load of fluke biting on the beach and there are some kingfish in the mix as well. There are all kinds of bait around, he said, and it brought false albacore close to the shore earlier this week. Spanish mackerel have been reported as well. Gleason went diving on a local jetty at the beginning of the week and reported seeing plenty of blackfish in the rocks. Bluefin fishing on the squid grounds has been decent while the yellowfin bite has been good in a number of spots. Jigs and poppers have been working for them and Gleason said the fish are big. Big schools of are bait have been seen heading south along the beach from the pier in Ocean Grove. There’s been adult and peanut bunker, spearing and rainfish. False albacore were on it Tuesday morning off Bradley Beach. 

Bob Matthews at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar said that the fluking has been very good for the boats out of the marina, including the Big Mohawk and Ocean Explorer.  The Golden Eagle has been successfully targeting bluefish. Spanish mackerel, false albacore and bonito have been popping up off the beaches with greater regularity, he said, and slim metals and epoxy jigs will get them to bite. The Shark River is loaded with bait and more snappers have appeared. Divers are telling Matthews there’s a lot of bass in the river, but he hasn’t heard of many caught. 

Capt. Pete Sykes on Parker Pete’s Sportfishing said the fluking has been very good this week except for the days the big northeast wind was blowing. Pool fish have been in the 5- to 7-pound range. He’s expecting even bigger fish to show as the season winds down. He’ll be posting the open-boat dates for September soon so check the website for details. 

Parker Pete’s Sportfishing out of Belmar posted this photo of Wednesday’s catch.

Capt. Steve Spinelli on the Skylarker out of Belmar reported good fishing all week catching bluefish, bonito, Spanish mackerel, triggerfish and fluke. He also spotted false albacore breaking off Monmouth Beach. 

Dan Dwyer from Howell caught this 7.5-pound fluke last week aboard the Skylarker out of Belmar.

Matt Heagen at The Reel Seat in Brielle said not much has changed since last week and that means the fishing is good. Bluefin are still on the lumps eating all the squid that just keep hanging around. The yellowfin have moved closer, he said, hitting jigs and poppers and the wahoo bite has been very good with some big fish caught. XL Darts and cowbell lures are the popular choices for them. There’s plenty of mahi-mahi around, he said, both at the pots and free-swimming. In the canyons, Heagen reported a good bigeye bite and an uptick in the number of swordfish caught. Inshore fluking has been good with bigger fish reported caught and the togging has been decent in the Point Pleasant Canal.  

Kyle Tangen at Fishermen’s Supply in Point Pleasant Beach said there is a lot of good stuff going on right now. For starters, the bonito bite on the beaches has been good south of the Manasquan Inlet off Mantoloking and Seaside. There are loads of small blues off the surf as well up and down the coast. Triggerfish and sheepshead are also being caught off the jetties and at the inlets. Blackfishing is halfway decent in the Point Pleasant Canal on green crabs and clams. Shorts dominate the action. He said fluking has been very good on the reefs with the bigger profile, 6-inch Gulp, getting the bigger fish. A few 8 pounders have been reported. Tuna anglers are enjoying a better yellowfin bite 40 to 50 miles out around the Glory Hole and Bacardi. Jigs with a bigger profile, he said, have been catching more fish. Tangen said the wahoo bite really lit up the last week and if you’re out looking for yellowfin, do yourself a favor and troll for wahoo during the search. 

Capt. Danny Gregory on the Norma K III out of Point Pleasant Beach reported a good day of fluking on Wednesday despite a tough start due to the wind. The seas calmed as the day went on and the fishing was good with a 7-pounder taking the pool and a few 4 pounders caught. The Norma K sails for bluefish every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night.

Chris Parlow from Captain Bill’s Landing in Point Pleasant Beach reported that the bluefin tuna bite remains red hot at the southern lumps with a number of fish being weighed in. The yellowfin have also been biting in the 50–70-mile range, with wahoo also in the mix. It’s been an afternoon bite on the tuna. Fluke fishing was also very good over the weekend with a lot of fish caught on the Sea Girt Reef. 

Captain Bill’s Landing in Point Pleasant Beach shared this photo of the crew of the Rookey Duke and the 129-pound bluefin caught earlier this week.

Capt. Kenny Namowitz on the Mimi VI out of Point Pleasant Beach said the bottom fishing has been all right with porgies filling in a number of spots, some nice-size triggers and big sea bass. One triggerfish weighed 7 pounds and a sea bass measured 24 inches, one of the biggest Capt. Namowitz has seen. 

This 24-inch sea bass was caught earlier this week aboard the Mimi VI out of Point Pleasant Beach.

Frank Giacalone at Gabriel Tackle in Brick reported that fishing remains good over all, with the local beaches producing fluke and blues. Fishing in Barnegat Bay remains good with plenty of fluke at the mouth of the canal and around the bridges and crabbing has been the best it’s been in a long time. The offshore bite remains good for bluefin and yellowfin and there’s still plenty of squid at the lumps. The mahi bite has picked up at the pots as well, he added. 

Pete Kupper at Charlie’s Bait and Tackle in Normandy Beach said the kayakers are doing well with false albacore off the beach while fluke and bluefish continue to bite in the surf. Snappers are back in the bay and it is loaded with bait. 

Frankie Z at Grumpy’s Bait and Tackle in Seaside Park said keeper fluke, bluefish and Spanish mackerel are being caught off the beach. Nothing real big, he said, but plenty of action. The bay has blowfish and tons of small blues. Snappers are much more plentiful, he said, and there’s lots of spot and the crabbing is good.  

Best Bets for the Weekend

There’s plenty of fish to choose from right now, but fluke remain the top target with good fishing off the beach and on the boats. There’s about a month left in the season and bigger fish are starting to show offshore and in the surf. 

If you’re fishing the beach for fluke, bring an extra rod in case the blues, Spanish mackerel, false albacore or bonito pop up. It’s that time of year.  

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