Perch Fishing Report
***Update, Thursday, 2/23:*** Capt. Frank from the Vitamin Sea is going to try kicking off the boatâs fishing before April, he wrote in an email. Winterâs been warm, and heâs fairly sure striped bass and winter flounder will bite along the flats of Raritan Bay. An open-boat trip is slated to fish Wednesday, March 29, for stripers and flounder, and heâll announce more open trips when he gives a report next. Depending on how many anglers telephone and whether charters book, open trips will fish Saturday and Sunday, April 1 and 2, for either blackfish or stripers and flounder. Blackfish season will be opened beginning April 1, after closing in March, and heâs pretty sure the tautog will be active. Working Manâs Special Trips, sailing 4 to 9 p.m. on Wednesdays, will begin on April 5. Capt. T.J. will run most of those trips and most p.m. charters or open trips. Fishing is just as good during that time, and often better, because of less boat traffic. Many anglers already booked spring striper trips. Booking ahead can make sense, because you get the dates you want, instead of settling for dates that are left. The boatâs engine had considerable maintenance this winter, and now produces an additional 40 h.p. That speeds up cruising well. The heat-exchanger and after-cooler were serviced, new injectors were installed and the valves were adjusted. The air system was cleaned, and all fluids were changed. The hull was washed and waxed and the bottom sanded and painted. The interior will now be cleaned, and the deck will be newly painted with anti-skid. The port and starboard windshields were sent out, because they began to leak badly. The boat will be splashed in the next week or so, if all goes well. Frank will be at the Penn booth on Saturday, March 18, at the Saltwater Fishing Expo in Somerset. Stop by and say hello. He looks forward to another great season, he said. âGet your dose of Vitamin Sea!â
One of the Belmar party boats docked a few blackfish from the ocean Sunday, said Tom from Fishermanâs Den. Not a lot of the fish were biting, but some were. A couple of small, throwback striped bass were beached from the surf. Weather was warm and calm during the weekend, so a few anglers fished.
Parker Peteâs Fishing Charters will exhibit at the Greater Philadelphia Outdoor Sportshow this weekend, Capt. Pete said. That will be from Thursday through Sunday at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, Pa. Parker Peteâs will probably begin fishing for the year in late April, depending on weather. Trips then would blackfish on the ocean. Striped bass trips, also on the ocean, begin in mid-May, unless the migration shows up sooner. When striper fishing slows, fluke trips begin, also on the ocean. Those include annual On the Water Seminars that teach bucktailing for big fluke. Charters and individual spaces with charters who want more anglers will be booked at the show. Reserve dates, because they fill. ***Update, Thursday, 2/23:*** Get $75 off a charter if you book at the weekendâs show with a coupon.
Cod and blackfish were picked Saturday on the Jamaica II, the party boatâs Facebook page said. A 12-pound cod won the pool, and a few anglers limited out on blackfish. The angling was best in the morning, becoming slower in the afternoon. Trips are slated to sail 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. several days a week for cod, blackfish and ling.
Blackfish, decent catches, were boated from the ocean, said Eric from The Reel Seat. They bit in about 120 feet of water, and not a lot of anglers limited out, but trips scratched away and bagged some. Rumors, nothing first-hand, said a couple of striped bass were slid from the surf. The store is open Thursdays through Sundays.
Point Pleasant Beach
***Update, Thursday, 2/23:*** Bottom-fishing slowed on the party boat Dauntless, catching a little of everything, not a lot of anything, Capt. Butch said. A couple of cod were bagged per day. A few blackfish were axed. A few mackerel and herring turned up. Two or three ling were managed per trip â four was the most. Bergals were also brought in. Pretty slow, but the boat is one of the only, if not the only, from New Jersey that fishes daily during this time in winter, and year-round. Trips fished in depths from 130 feet to 200. Butch now expects to avoid water 190 feet or deeper, after trying those waters, because loads of dogfish were a nuisance there. The ocean on the fishing grounds was 38 to 41 degrees, coldest in the shallows, warmest in the deep. That was the surface temperature, and the bottom was probably about the same or 40 degrees this time of season, Butch thinks. Interestingly, a buddy said fishing bailed mackerel, 20 or 30 per angler, from Rudee Inlet in Virginia Beach, Va., yesterday. That was closer to shore than in years, and maybe the mackerel migration will swim that close to shore off New Jersey this spring. The Dauntless mixes in mackerel fishing with bottom-fishing when mackerel are in range, though that hasnât happened in a long time. Trips are bottom-fishing 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily.
***Update, Tuesday, 2/21:*** Great to be on the water this Presidentsâ Day weekend, a report said on the party boat Norma-K IIIâs website. Seas were calm, and the warmth felt great. A few blackfish were picked aboard, but the captain wouldâve liked to have seen more, and the fishing was tough. Pool-winning blackfish weighed 5 to 7 pounds on the trips from Saturday to Monday. On Saturdayâs trip, Andrew DiMatteo from Pennington limited out on the fish to 6 pounds...