The water temperatures are rising and the crowds are filling in…it must be July in Ocean City! It’s becoming full on summer here at the Jersey shore and anyone who visits can get into some great fishing. With the recent string of great weather, anglers are having great success from the bay to the offshore canyons.
Fluke are on the move in the intercostal waterways. Anglers are reporting good numbers of short flounder with a few keeper sized fish mixed in. Hot spots have been the Kennedy Park area, Ships Channel, and Anchorage Point. Don’t hesitate to fish some of the deeper channels as water temperatures rise. The baits that seem to be producing are Berkley Gulp! baits, mackerel or squid strips and minnows. Boats heading to the reefs aren’t finding large numbers of fluke yet, but are pulling up decent fish in the three to five-pound range. Jon Werley of Ocean City brought in this week’s biggest fluke with a flatty that weighed just over six pounds. Crabbing has been picking up and should only get better as the water warms up.
Brown sharks starting to tease anglers
On the beach side we are hearing of decent sized kingfish in great numbers. Surf anglers are using bloodworms to catch the kings with the artificial bloodworm beginning to work better with rising temperatures. Brown sharks have started ripping up bluefish rigs in the surf and anglers targeting them are hooking up. Use a wire leader and bring a pair of pliers for safety when catching brown sharks from the suds. The offshore action has been incredible over the past few weeks. We have heard Large numbers of small yellowfin and bluefin tuna in the spencer and Baltimore canyon. Most boats are having more success with the tuna on the troll rather than chunking.
Possible World Record?
Maureen Klause of Ocean City, NJ brought a beautiful one hundred and twenty-six pound Mako shark to the scale earlier this week. This catch is a pending I.G.F.A world line-class record, she caught it on 6lb test! It seems this summer will be great for fishing so get out on the water.
With the recent heat wave calming down, it is safe to say that summer arrived. June has been an awesome month for fishing so far with the action only heating up. The beach has come to life over the past weekend. Reports of decent kingfish in really good numbers continue to pour in. Surfcasters are even catching a few nice weakfish mixed in with the kings. The hot bait has been bloodworms as the water temps hang in the low to mid 60’s. Look for Fishbites to start producing when the ocean water temps eclipse 65 degrees. The middle of OC, beaches from 15th to 34th street have been the most consistent for the kingfish.
We are hearing daily reports of great fluke fishing in the bay and even out on the reefs! I know it’s a little early, but boats prospecting on the reefs for fluke have been pulling limits. Rick Martin from Ocean City was rewarded with a five and a half pound fluke while bouncing a bucktail on the Atlantic City reef last week. Also, Bob Pelikoski, a regular at the shop, had a banner day in the bay with two fluke taking the scale at three and a half pounds and a third pushing over four pounds. It seems these larger fluke are making a push for the ocean reefs so now is the time to get them while you can in the creeks and channels! As usual Berkley Gulp! baits, mackerel strips and minnows have produced the most bites. This year has been far different than the disappointing 2016 season, a lot more keeper fluke. Now is the time and get out and fish before the water warms up too much and the crowds move in!
Summer has finally arrived in South Jersey and so have the summer flounder! The state has officially settled on the summer flounder regulations. The season will run until September 5th with an 18 inch minimum length and a limit of three fish per angler. Several anglers are finding keeper sized fish and even their bag limits in the bay behind Ocean City. Productive spots have been Ships Channel, Rainbow Channel and Kennedy Park on the Somers Point side. Anglers are catching fat flatties on Berkley Gulp, squid, minnows and mackerel strips.
It seems that the large, gator blues we had this spring have moved on. They have been replaced with smaller, cocktail sized bluefish hitting lures and bait in the inlets. Reports are also coming in of nice flounder, small blues and even the occasional striper off the piers on the 9th street causeway. People are using cut baits off the pier such as bunker, mackerel and clam to catch these fish. Decent sized kingfish, striped bass and three to five-pound blues continue to be caught by local surf anglers along the beachfront. Finger mullet, bunker and bloodworms have been the most productive baits on this front.
Sea bass will be open until June 18th and the action has been great. Boats heading to the wrecks in the fifteen to thirty-mile range are catching tons of fish and having no problem catching their limits of ten fish per angler at twelve and a half inches. With plenty of opportunities to fill the cooler now is the time to get out and fish! The store is stocked with plenty of bait and tackle so make sure to stop by before heading out on the water.
Debra Almeda of Corbin City weighed in the biggest fluke of the season so far at 6.23 pounds last weekend. There have been plenty of other fish tipping the scale at three to four pounds regularly. Bill Carew came in the shop to weigh a solid five-pound weakfish. He caught it while jigging a bucktail for fluke behind Margate.
For the past three years Fin-atics has sponsored a FREE Fluke Derby for our customers to participate in for the summer season. It is a friendly competition that we encourage everyone to enter. All we require is to sign up each season and provide us with valid contact information. All winners are notified via email and below you will find this years results.
1st Place – Ken Ruckle (25-1/2″ – 5.34lbs)
2nd Place – Brian Schuler (24″ – 4.95lbs)
3rd Place – Mike Gardner (24-1/2″ – 4.64lbs)
1st Place – Chip Roman (26-1/2″ – 7.57lbs)
2nd Place – Dennis Molette (26″ – 6.02lbs)
3rd Place – Ken Ruckle (24-1/2″ – 5.56lbs)
1st Place – Bob Pelikoski (25-3/4″ – 7.41lbs)
2nd Place – Dennis Molette (26″ – 6.76lbs)
3rd Place – Phil Degliomini (25-3/4″ – 6.11lbs)
Tournament Overall Winners:
1st Place – Chip Roman (26-1/2″ – 7.57lbs)
2nd Place – Bob Pelikoski (25-3/4″ – 7.41lbs)
3rd Place – Dennis Molette (26″ – 6.76lbs)
Congratulations to our Fluke Derby winners for 2015, we look forward to next seasons tournament.
Jetty fishing can be a very fun and effective way to fish in the Jersey Shore area. The only problem is that it can be very dangerous, and even deadly, if you are not VERY careful. Below are some tips on making your jetty fishing experience fun and safe.
Ocean City NJ Jetty Fishing Tips
It is HIGHLY recommended to use spiked shoes or to buy spike attachments for your shoes. Jetty rocks can be extremely slippery so this way your shoes will have a safer grip. Even with spikes, a worn down jetty can still be dangerously slippery.
If you have never fished on a jetty before, it is not recommended to do it at night. Like any other fishing spot, you have to learn all the elements of a jetty to make it productive and safe. Master your jetty during the day and especially at low tide when you can see all of the submerged rocks and holes. That way you can be successful at night.
Fish along the whole jetty. Although the fronts have generally the deepest waters, that doesn’t mean that deep water is only at that section. There are plenty of holes and troughs on the sides and back as well.
Have a fishing buddy. Jetty fishing is dangerous, especially for beginners. It’s a good idea, no matter how safe a jetty looks or how experienced you are with jetty fishing, to fish with another person so that you can look out for each other.
With proper precautions and practice, jetty fishing can be an awesome experience in the Ocean City NJ area. Fin-atics offers a wide assortment of fishing rods, fishing reels, fishing line, and anything else you may need both in store and online. Come check out this awesome Jersey Shore bait and tackle shop.
“Should I buy Fishing Rod and Reel Combo or should I buy them Separately?” That is a very common question among many who enjoy fishing. Many professional fishermen will give you a variety answers. To figure out what is best for you, you must narrow down the type of fishing you are going to do.
Jersey Shore Rod & Reel Combos
For fly fishing, buying a combo is usually the best way to go about it because they are specialized. If you fish casually as a hobby, you can usually find packaged deals at tackle shops that will be able to meet all of your fishing needs. If you are an avid fisherman and have a variety of fishing spots and techniques, you may want to buy the rod and reel separately so that you can move your reel to different rods that are more suited for what’s on your fishing agenda.
While many fishing tackle shops will be honest and try to help you get exactly what you need, some may just be after your money. They may try to pitch something to you that you really don’t need. Do your research, and walk into a shop with an idea of what you want. For non-weighted opinions, go around to your local fishing spots and ask experienced fishermen what they would recommend.
Fin-atics offers a wide assortment of fishing rods, fishing reels, fishing line, and any other fishing accessory you may need both in store and online. Come check out the best Jersey Shore bait and tackle shop!
Striped Bass fishing often comes down to catching fish while trolling. Trolling for Striped Bass in New Jersey can be a very effective method to catch Striped Bass when they are not schooled up in large numbers. Often you will find a run of fish that are in broken up schools and are feeding on bunker, sand eels or herring. The trick is to mimic the size of baitfish that the Stripers are foraging on; sometimes it may be small 4-5in bait while other times it can be an 11-12in size.
The waters off New Jersey have a variety of baitfish in them depending on the time of year. We often see Sand Eels, Spearing, Anchovies, Butterfish, Herring, Mackerel or Bunker in near shore and off shore waters. Imitating the baitfish is the key to success while trolling our waters and there are many different lures available that will accomplish this goal. The first and foremost rule to trolling for Striped Bass is your speed, the SLOWER THE BETTER! Once you remember this important rule the more productive your fishing experience will be. The second rule is that a good fish finder is a must for this type of fishing. If you can’t find the bait you won’t find many Stripers.
The easiest method to imitate a small school of bait fish is the use of an umbrella rig. The last few years we have seen great production with 9ers Lures, a New England based manufacturer of umbrella rigs. What makes them unique is that they are tangle free, in comparison to traditional styled umbrella rigs. Their 6-way bar has baits directly attached at a raked back angle, making it a tangle-free fishing experience. Choose either a rig with tubes to imitate small baitfish or one with shads to imitate the larger baitfish. Troll these lures on the “flat” lines directly behind the boat; trolling them from outriggers is very impractical. You will need to use a trolling weight or downrigger to get these lures to the depth of water the Stripers are feeding in.
Another good lure that has produced consistently over the years is the Mann’s Stretch 25+ and Stretch 30+. These lures are designed with a large lip and as their name implies, will swim up to 25+ feet and 30+ feet deep respectively. You will be amazed at how quickly these lures dive to depth when you troll them. These lures should also be trolled on a “flat” line because of the pressure they put on a rod while they are trolled. I often find that the Stretch 30+ will produce more strikes than the 25+ when Bunker is the large adult size because of the profile they present.
Choose a stout rod and reel to troll these types of lures, because they apply a lot of pressure while trolled. Today’s braided super lines are a great choice for this type of trolling as they have far less drag in the water than monofilament. However, you should still use a monofilament or fluorocarbon leader to attach the lure so when reaching for the leader you don’t cut up your hands on the braid. Common sizes for the braid are from 30-50lb and leaders should be from 50-80lb.
Chunking Bunker for Striped Bass can be a very productive method for catching that trophy linesider. It is a very simple method that will produce bites in a variety of conditions and different areas of the bay or ocean. Most often this fishing technique is used from an anchored boat but it also can work from areas such as a pier, dock or bridge. Take a Bunker (Menhaden), cut it up into pieces about 2 inches long and throw a few at time into the water, chunking is just as it sounds.
The trick is not to chunk too many at a time, get the Stripers feeding on them but not enough to satisfy their hunger. I find that a dozen bunker will last for about 2 hours of slow and steady chunking, of course if the bite is on it will go much faster. Use a larger piece of Bunker, usually a head or mid-section 4-5 inches wide as a bait with a large 8/0 to 10/0 hook (circle hook or J-hook based on your personal preference) . Drift or cast the baited hook, using a fish finder style rig out behind the boat or away a bit from the pier. Use of a Baitrunner or conventional reel with a clicker is important here so you may leave the reel in free-spool, the fish can pick the bait up and not feel the sinker or drag of the reel.
Find a place to anchor or a spot on a pier where your bait will drift into a hole, the edge of a drop off or a nice rip current and fish it a couple hours before or after the change of a tide. The current slows a bit and your chunks won’t be carried away as fast during this time. I have found that there is no set tide, high or low that will produce all the time, the time of day and season will dictate when they bite. Striped Bass are the most unpredictable of fish when it comes to their behavior, they may bite on the top of the incoming tide one week and the bottom of the outgoing another. Put the time in and you will eventually learn their patterns for the area you are fishing at the time of year you choose to fish it. This will help narrow down the when and where to fish and increase your chances of landing that once in a lifetime Striped Bass.
Hooks, jig heads, weights, floats, and leader materials make up terminal tackle. It is highly recommended to carry a wide variety of hooks in your tackle box for any kind of catch. Multiple sizes of circle and “j” hooks from #1 through 8/0 will do the trick. Go with some smaller sizes i.e. #1 or 1/0 or sheepshead and snapper and then change to 2/0 – 4/0 for larger species like snook and redfish. When chasing tarpon I use 7/0 or 8/0. Using mostly circle hooks for most of your fishing needs is helpful because of the ease on the fish and the angler. They take all the guesswork from the hook set. It’s also good to use weighted screw in type hooks for my soft plastics, so you will want some of those as well. 1/16 oz-3/8 oz will be fine. Switching to jig heads again variety seems to be best. 1/16 oz – 1 oz depending on the application will cover all your bases. Don’t get too caught up in colors, but some variation may be beneficial. Weights come in all shapes and sizes and a little of each would suit your needs. Some pinch on’s for easy on and easy off are great. Egg sinkers work best for deeper water and knocker rig application and therefore should be a part of your tackle. You can sometimes use worm weights for soft plastics, so add a few sizes. Floats are used for many applications, but a few need mentioned. Popping corks should be a staple item in every tackle bag, just make sure and get the ones with the titanium shaft; they won’t get all bent up after a few fish. Also go with the ones that have a concave front as opposed to oval, they make more noise in the water which will lead to more strikes. It’s good to have a variety of other common floats when using live bait around mangroves or over the grass flats. Use the weighted floats, you will get further casts. Finally, let’s take a look at leader material. Fluorocarbon has been the big deal for quite some time and is recommended by many avid anglers. Have a few different strengths; 15lb-30 for smaller species and 70-100 for larger. You can cut pre-length leaders and put them in zip lock bags, it will save you time later.
Fin-Atics.com offers a huge variety of terminal tackle both in store and online in the Jersey Shore area. Feel free to contact us regarding any questions you may have.
Choosing a hook for saltwater fishing isn’t always the easiest. When it comes to choosing the size and shape of your hook, there are some important things to know. There are a wide variety of hooks for every fishing style, so it’s likely to be an ongoing learning process as you change your fishing techniques and types of fish.
You can use a small hook to catch a wide variety of fish. For example, a number five size hook can catch fish from a quarter pound to 25 pounds. However, angling and landing that number 25 fish, when using a small number five hook, requires careful and expert angling, or landing with a net.
Choose brand name hooks that are well known and proven to be of great quality. There are also many of other name brand hooks that work even better than Eagle Claw and Mustad. Ask your fellow fishermen what they use. Retailers often push what they either make the most profit from or they are trying to push overstocked items.
Different lengths have different purposes. Short shank hooks are good for their strength and long shank hooks are easier to remove.The short shank hook, by design, is more durable and will not straighten out or break easily. In areas with many coral heads or a drop off, use a strong, short shank hook, heavier lines, and always keep the line taut with the fish on. Instead of forcing the landing of a fish in these conditions, an alternative is to let a big, strong fish tire itself in the deeper water and reel it in in the shallow, line breaking area, after it is no longer putting up a hard fight.
If you are in the Cape May County NJ area and are looking for great quality fishing hooks, bait, or other tackle, come check out Fin-atics in Ocean City NJ! You can also check us out at our website.