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Fluke, Blues Biting in the Bay; Sea Bass Hot in the Ocean

Summer fishing is heating up in the back bays, from Toms River to Great Bay

Photo: Capt. Jack Shea/Facebook
Photo: Capt. Jack Shea/Facebook
Fishing Friday is coming a day late this week, mainly to a scarcity of reports after Thursday's foul weather.

But by Friday, it was clear that the action in Barnegat Bay was continuing to be steady, as anglers flocked to both the central and lower bay regions to nab plenty of summer flounder.

"The fluke bite in the bay in the areas of the BB and BI buoys continues," a report from The Dock Outfitters in Seaside Heights said, while crabbing from the shop's big pier was "okay" but not on fire.

In the Toms River and locations bay-wide – but especially the Route 37 and Mantoloking bridges – bluefish were plentiful on poppers and metals.

Poppers are one of the most fun ways to catch fish in the bay. The best times are usually dawn and dusk, and a 4-inch popper can really excite the blues into a frenzy. It ain't big game fishing, that's for sure, but "poppin' blues" is an exciting and fun way to spend a summer evening on the water. A long cast followed by a fast retrieve while whisking the plug back toward you occasionally really makes for some great action.

"The back bay and [Toms] River is still producing Blues on bunker chunks, small swimmers and poppers," said Mario from Murphy's Hook House in Toms River, in a report. Blues were also nabbed in the river at Island Heights and all along Good Luck Point.

Customers occasionally weighed in fluke from the bay, and one customer came to the shop to show off his 25-inch weakfish he caught.

"We had a nice weakfish and a big blue on the scale, but the star of the show was Tommy Tomensky with a 53.1 pound bass he got with snag 'n drop on a boat," a report from Grumpy's Tackle in Seaside Park said.

Most of the bass caught this week, anecdotally, seemed to be coming from boaters snagging and dropping, which makes sense for late June.

On Long Beach Island, bass are still being caught in the surf, but you better get up early or wait until sunset now that summer is here, the folks at Fisherman's Headquarters in Ship Bottom said.

"There are still plenty of striped bass here in our local waters but fishing can be slow once the sun is high," a report from the shop said. "Bunker pods are also still around so a feeding frenzy couple pop up at anytime. In the warmer temperatures (both air and water) expect fishing to be best in the late afternoon, night and early mornings."

Ryan Dellane put in some time fishing for sharks in the suds on a recent night and caught a mix of dogfish and brown sharks, the shop said.

In the lower bay, fluke fishing has been great at the Middle Grounds, the ICW, Marshelder Channel and Great Bay waters from the old fish factory through the clam stakes.

The canyons were producing a steady pick of big eye tuna, yellowfin, and some bluefin.

Things were a bit slow on the Miss Barnegat Light this week, as the crew fished for blues. The boat was likely to begin five hour-long fluke trips if the action didn't heat up soon. Still, in past days there has been a slow pick of 6 to 10 pound bluefish.

Average catches have ranged from 10 to 25 a man of a mixed bag of sea bass and ling on the Dauntless, a party boat sailing from Point Pleasant Beach. The boat sails Friday and Saturday nights for blues and on Wednesday nights, the crew is bottom fishing for ling and sea bass.

As summer begins today, we're entering one of the best times of the year for all-around fishing, when it's not out of the realm of possibility to snag a "Barnegat Bay Grand Slam" (fluke, weakfish, striped bass, bluefish) even on an average day of fishing.

Before the bay waters warm too much and some fish begin to move to the ocean, keep fishing around the channel edges, near-shore thorofares and sedge islands for great opportunities.

Our photo this week is of a customer of Capt. Jack Shea on the Rambunctious, which runs out of Barnegat Township. Capt Jack is a back bay expert and can just as well keep the lines tight on the ocean. Check him out if you're interested in fishing this season.
J.JONES June 21, 2014 at 11:50 AM
FISHING WEAK IN POINT PLEASANT INLET BUT CATCHING ALOT OF SEA WEED ..
fed up June 21, 2014 at 08:54 PM
junkies banging (h) in public bathrooms

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