Everyone has “their” mode of fishing that they love most. But at the Jersey Shore, petty preferences always give way on July 4 weekend to summer flounder fishing, or a traditional day or hanging out on the bay and crabbing.
Fortunately, anglers seeking out fluke and blue claws are in for a good weekend, according to those who have made it out on the water before the big holiday weekend rush.
We’ll start on the bay, where crabbing is on fire, basically, everywhere. Hot spots have included the Mantoloking Bridge, and all along the water’s edge in Barnegat Bay and the Toms River.
“Crabbing continues to be very good in the Toms River and they are only going to get bigger after the next full moon and their shed,” said Mario from Murphy’s Hook House in Toms River.
Likewise, Brick anglers said good crab catches were being hauled in from the banks of the Metedeconk (closest to the bay was best) and some spots on the Manasquan.
Fluke are being boated at the normal spots in the river and back bay areas, especially in the area west of the the Route 35 bridge and the channel off Clark’s Landing in Manasquan River. In Barnegat Bay, the area between the BI buoy and Barnegat Inlet has been holding a very good number of fish, but a lot of seaweed in the area has been mucking things up for anglers this week. For those willing to travel a bit southward, fishing for fluke in the area of the inlet itself has been great lately, so we’ve heard, especially behind the lighthouse – of course, fishing in the channel this weekend may not be the easiest feat to accomplish.
“Small to keeper size fluke continue to be the surf action right now,” said John from The Dock Outfitters in Seaside Heights. “Add to that a few small blues just to keep you on your toes.”
Anglers should keep in mind that at Island Beach State Park, there is a special limit of two fluke at 16 -inches. This only applies to fish caught in the surf from the park, and not to boaters. The limit otherwise is five fish at 18-inches.
For what it’s worth, the folks at The Dock say bucktailing Berkeley Gulp baits have been the ticket over the past few days, as well as a live killie/squid combo.
In the ocean, most anglers are now focusing on fluke since the sea bass regulations have dropped to a two-fish bag limit as of July 1. That regulation will stay in effect until July 31, at which point the season will close until Oct. 22.
Good catches have been reported all week on the Cock Robin out of Point Pleasant Beach, with keepers boated on every recent trip. The haul, of course, was a mix of keepers and throwbacks, as usual.
The crew on board the Jamaica II made the best of a week that included some iffy weather and poor sea conditions, a testament to the staff and to the good fishing opportunities that exist out there.
“Some nice fluke, big sea bass and even some ling with tough conditions some days,” Capt. Ryan wrote in a report this week. “Too much wind and current some of the days slowed catches, but it’s good fishing when the drift is right.”
Anglers were reporting decent catches at all the local reefs and lumps. For those who fish out of Barnegat Inlet, the Tires were giving up excellent catches over the past few days, we heard.
With that, we’d like to wish you the best of luck fishing and a very safe and happy Independence Day weekend! As usual, we welcome your catch photos and reports to firstname.lastname@example.org, and check back for some updated fishing reports over the weekend!