Offshore tuna fishing hitting its peak along Jersey shore
I haven’t written much about the offshore fishing this season.
Probably some of that is due to the fact that the billfish seem to me to be rather scarce. Some whites have been taken and a very few blue marlin and a couple of swords, but overall the pointy-nosed ones just don’t seem to be very abundant.
Of course, that can change almost overnight.
What has been very good out in the deep has been the tuna fishing. A good example comes from skipper Bob McCormick of Downingtown and his crew on the Happy Hour.
They made a recent trip to the Hot Dog and the net result was a half dozen yellowfin in the box. The largest weighed 57-pounds. The group was chunking butterfish. They also had some mahi so Bob and friends have been eating pretty high.
Closer to shore, the trolling from 5-to-30 miles off the beaches continues to be productive for football tuna, mahi, false albies, some blues, Spanish and king macks, bonito and cobia. I like to use a Clark Spoon when trolling out there, but cedar plugs, Green Machines and any number of other lures should produce strikes. I also like to drag a large oval bucktail tipped with a Gulp! or Uncle Josh Hook-Strip. Unfortunately, Uncle Josh is no more; so you might have to visit a number of shops to find someone with some still in stock.
Surfcasters continue to report loads of action on kingfish with some smaller blues and larger rays thrown-in.
Moving inside, those fishing the inlet jetties, bridge pilings and sea walls suddenly have started catching triggerfish and sheepshead. Fishing for sheepshead last year was excellent and it appears this season may be a repeat.
The peanut bunker also have arrived and they are being closely chased by some of the smallest baby bluefish you ever have seen. Some of these blues are about the same size as the bunker but be careful since they may be tiny but they are mean with very sharp teeth.
Then, there is the summer flounder. The number of flatties being hooked this season is amazing.
As you know, there is a very high throwback-to-keeper ratio, but those keepers are tending to be impressive fish. Remember, New Jersey’s summer flounder season comes to an end on Sept. 5.