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Boating & Fishing

Fishing Friday: Crabbing Still Excellent, Fluke On Fire

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Pell's Fish & Sport
A customer on board the Voyager party boat shows off her tilefish this week. (Photo: Voyager)

A customer on board the Voyager party boat shows off her tilefish this week. (Photo: Voyager)

It’s shaping up to be a summer fishing season to remember, as anglers are loading up on doormat fluke and crabbing is at its best in years.

“Crabbing at the Mantoloking Bridge, Metedeconk River and all lagoons has been excellent,” said Pete from Pell’s Fish and Sport on Mantoloking Road.

Snapper blues have also begun to make a wider appearance in local waters, “providing fun for anglers of all ages,” Pete said, though they are generally small fish. A great way to fish for snapper blues, as I’ve mentioned a few times in this column, is to use a popper plug, which rides along the surface of the water. The blues attack the lure and sometimes put up a fun fight on the way in. Make sure to “pop” the popper by occasionally jerking the fishing pole toward yourself during the retrieve.

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Fluking has remained consistent on the Axel Carlson and Sea Girt reefs, Pete said. In the Manasquan River, the fluke are now generally being found east of the railroad bridge as they inch their way closer to the ocean. In a few weeks, most of the fluke will be found closer to the inlet itself.

In Barnegat Bay, fluke are still being found in the area of the BI buoy. A neighbor of mine caught a 25-incher there earlier this week. Snappers and blowfish are also around the BI buoy.

In the suds, fluke are being caught regularly, though reports were a bit scarce due to foul weather earlier this week. Still, bucktails tipped with Berkeley Gulp baits were seen as the best way to hook a flounder from the beach. The crew over at Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park was reporting good shark catches at night from the surf. Down LBI way, brown sharks were plentiful in the bay at night, as usual in the southern portion of the island toward Beach Haven and Holgate.

Customers on the party boats were seeing decent action as well.

“Lots of sea bass action, with many getting keepers along with a few keeper fluke,” the crew of the Queen Mary reported.

Farther offshore, the crew of the Voyager was putting customers on the tilfish bite. A recent trip resulted in limit catches of both blueline and golden tilefish. Incidentally, on one trip this week, customers on the Voyager found a snowy grouper, a few streamer bass, and some giant sized rosefish. Cod and ling action remain solid as well.

Congratulations also go to the Jersey Shore’s own Ray Bogan, who was appointed Thursday as U.S. Commission for the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, an inter-governmental fishery organization responsible for the conservation of tunas and tuna-like species in the Atlantic Ocean and its adjacent seas. Bogan is currently serving in an active capacity since the position requires a presidential appointment.