Fisherman Magazine Update

Thursday marked the first day of autumn while New Jersey’s fluke season comes to an end on Sunday – it doesn’t get any more official than that! We received late word on Wednesday of the very best fluke fishing of the year out of Belmar with multiple fish from 7-1/2 to nearly 10 pounds, while the fleet along the Raritan Bayshore is sure to be stacked through Sunday on top of the action; Cape May Reef and Axel Carlson remain two of the better producers of good fluke action through the weekend. Speaking of Axel Carlson, the new “Shady Reef” was deployed there on Wednesday in honor of the late John Grady, III, while another old commercial vessel called the Lisa Kim will be deposited this week at Wildwood Reef as the New Jersey artificial reef program continues. In Delaware, the wrecks and reefsites continue to produce a summer flounder bite, and as long as that’s happening it’s still game on for First State anglers where there is no 2016 fluke closure. Of course, both states anxiously await the October opening of black sea bass, while the first reports of stripers being plugged up in the wash are beginning to file in to The Fisherman as peanut bunker and finger mullet begin making their way down the beach. This weekend, join The Fisherman staff at Lakewood Blueclaw Stadium for the Jersey Shore Boat Sale and Expo from Friday through Sunday; that’s presented by the Marine Trades Association of New Jersey.

Reports in to The Fisherman this week have the mullet running down Jersey Shore beaches with false albacore taken in the Ocean and Monmouth County surf – the albies are mixed with mahi a ways off Atlantic and Cape May County beaches at some of the inshore lumps with Clark spoons and feathers bending rods. While Delaware anglers will continue to hammer away at summer flounder for as long as the bite will allow, we’re down to the final days in New Jersey where peanut bunker, snapper blues and bucktails are scoring a few big fish at the local wrecks (at least two true “doormats” over 10 pounds reported mid-week!) A new state record triggerfish was brought in to Shark River Inlet this week, while offshore boats are finding an intensifying chunk bite offshore in between the tropical swells. Those looking to hit the beaches with light tackle outfits this weekend will find flatties taking bucktail and Gulp combinations, with fat kingfish in the wash hitting bloods and Fishbites. A few cooler nights have pushed bait out of local creeks helping prompt the night bite along bridges and sod banks for casters throwing plugs under the cover of dark – the fall run is beginning!

Post-tropical cyclone Hermine was situated about 90 miles SE of Montauk as of early Thursday morning, and was finally expected to move northeast where it should dissipate off Massachusetts by Thursday night. That leaves a slightly brighter offshore forecast window for part of Saturday, however NOAA is forecasting an increase in SW winds to upwards of 25 knots with seas building to 4 to 7 feet by Saturday night. Tuna were definitely left biting before Labor Day, as our most recent offshore report revealed a great chunk bite at the Hundred Square and good topwater at the Bacardi. Those not pressing offshore will be dropping big baits in deepwater structure along the inshore grounds looking for big fluke this weekend; plenty of peanut bunker and finger mullet in the bays, and it’s only a matter of time before things break open out along the front beaches. Big lively baits are a good bet for doormats at the wrecks, while the back bay weakfish action continues to keep light tackle anglers happy especially in Barnegat Bay. Like two stripers passing in the night, New Jersey’s striped bass bonus program kicks off as of September 1, while the Delaware ‘summer slot’ has come to a close as of August 31. A season long Brigantine striped bass and bluefish derby kicks off this week as well!

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