Off­shore tuna fish­ing hit­ting its peak along Jersey shore

The Phoenix - - SPORTS - By Jim Loe For Dig­i­tal First Me­dia

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.

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