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Boating & Fishing

Look to Manasquan River, Point Pleasant Canal For Fluke and Bass

Fishing Report Sponsored By:
Pell's Fish & Sport
Bluefish caught on the Queen Mary party boat out of Point Pleasant Beach. (Photo: Queen Mary)

Bluefish caught on the Queen Mary party boat out of Point Pleasant Beach. (Photo: Queen Mary)

It’s been a slow week for fishing reports, as gloomy weather has kept anglers confined to their home, offices and easy chairs instead of their beaches, piers and boats.

With the weather improving, so should participation, and those who wet a line will likely be rewarded with something to bring home for dinner. Many of the fluke being caught locally are shorts, but some keepers are in the mix. One hot spot has been the Manasquan River, Pete from Pell’s Fish and Sport on Mantoloking Road said Thursday.

This time of year, the fish can be found in a number of locations in the river. At this point in the season, my favorite spot in the river is the small channel that runs parallel to the Route 35 bridge on its west side. The water is usually calm there, and there are some good holes where larger fish may be hiding in wait for their prey to swim on by. Nose around with your boat and use your depth sounder to find deeper areas, then give it a drift. Since the water this far from the inlet will be a few degrees warmer, Berkeley Gulp baits are a great choice, and of course the squid/spearing combination always works.

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According to Pete, anglers in search of striped bass and bluefish are finding them in and around the Point Pleasant Canal. A great place to score blues is right where the canal empties into the Manasquan River. Poppers is one of the most fun ways to catch them there. Try to catch the slack tide, as the current can whip up when the tides are running in either direction. It’s illegal to anchor up at the mouth of the canal, and the State Police or Coast Guard will quickly tell you to move along if you do so.

Crabbing “has been consistent and improving,” Pete said.

The bass bite this weekend will be aided by the astronomical moon phase, combined with an easterly wind, John from The Dock Outfitters in Seaside Heights said.

“These conditions may just trigger a daytime bass bite,” he said.

The shop is stocking fresh bunker, fresh clams and sand worms for anglers fishing multiple species. Bluefish are holding their own in Barnegat Bay, John said, though the bass bite has largely been a nighttime activity recently.

Fluking in the bay has also turned on, according to Mario from Murphy’s Hook House in Toms River. A few guys scored flatties this week fishing behind Island Beach State Park and wading out into the water. They were throwing bucktails and jigs tipped with Gulp baits and grubs.

“Crabs are getting bigger and we have all the bait and supplies needed to help you try and bring some home for the dinner table,” he added.

The inshore bite in the ocean was mainly cod and ling, according to the crew on board the Paramount party boat out of Bogan’s Basin in Brielle. The sea bass bite had slowed from a hot start, but some catches were still being made. The crew was expecting the easterly winds to warm up the water temperature this weekend, which may spark the bite.

Give the crew a call for sailing times.

The ocean bluefish bite has been steady aboard the Queen Mary party boat out of Point Pleasant. The crew was expecting winds to keep them at the dock Friday, but the weekend was looking like a go. On recent trips, when the boat has been able to sail, pool winners have been in the 15-pound range.

Hopefully this weekend will break the collective cabin fever we’ve all been experiencing in this most recent return to winter. If you catch something nice this weekend, show it off! We love seeing your reports, tips and catch photos in our inbox. Send it all over to!

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