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Fishing Friday: A Late Summer Species Invasion Spices Things Up

A bonito, also known as false albacore, hooked on board the Queen Mary party boat. (Photo: Queen Mary)

A bonito, also known as false albacore, hooked on board the Queen Mary party boat. (Photo: Queen Mary)

Fishing has remained steady over the past week, most reports have said, with a few bonuses such as triggerfish and a few other more “exotic” species being added to the Shore’s offerings from the deep (or not so deep, depending on where you’re fishing!).

We’ll be honest, though. The fluke bite has been steady, though keepers have been a bit more difficult to find this week than earlier in the season, a common issue that faces anglers between the 18-inch minimum size limit and the fact that the fish are on the move from the bays to the ocean. Four nice sized fluke have been weighed in over the past few days at Betty and Nick’s Bait and Tackle in Seaside Park, the largest of which was a 7-pounder.

The good news on the fluke front is that the fish have been found in numerous locations, meaning you’ll likely run into them wherever you decide to wet a line. Playing the odds, more summer flounder will be found in the inlets and in the ocean this time of year, since the species is on its migration out to the offshore haunts, but bay fishing is likely to remain somewhat consistent through at least the end of the month.

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Scattered bluefish have been found in the surf over the last few days, Mario from Murphy’s Hook House in Toms River said. The same report was echoed by the good folks at Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park as well as Betty and Nick’s. The staff at Grumpy’s is recommending fishing for blues at dusk, when there’s been good action lately. Additionally, reports indicate that triggerfish have been showing up at the north jetty rocks of Barnegat Inlet, so if you have a four wheel drive vehicle and can make it out there, you may come home with a delicious dinner.

“There are also some puppy drum around but you need to throw them back if they are not 16 inches,” Mario said.

Crabs and snappers are also keeping anglers busy. The Toms River at Island Heights has been a hot spot over the past week.

Now, for some of the fun stuff. We all like to relax on the beach or play captain in our boats, but sometimes leaving things to the pros comes with rewards. The crew of the Cock Robin put their customers this week on some cool fish that are a bit different from the usual fluke and sea bass routine. The boat ran into some Spanish mackerel this week, while the Queen Mary party boat located the season’s first false albacore sightings. Also on the Cock Robin, a customer managed to hook a small mahi-mahi, another testament to the variety of species anglers can find this time of the year.

Farther offshore, the Voyager party boat found the tilefish this week, with some excellent catches having been brought over the rail. Ling fishing has been “okay to good” while the tilefish and cod bites have been “very good,” a report from the boat said.

All of the party boats mentioned sail from Point Pleasant Beach.

Closer to shore, anglers getting ready for the fall striper season can get a bit of a preview at the Point Pleasant Canal, where some bass were hooked this week, according to the folks at Alex’s Inlet Bait and Tackle.

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