After getting off to a somewhat later start than usual, fluke fishing in the ocean continues to be steady, with local party and charter boat captains reporting several keepers per trip and surf anglers reeling in the occasional fish for the table.
“Fluke fishing has been decent most trips,” a report from the Gambler party boat, out of Point Pleasant, said. “Catching a fair amount of keeper fluke with some short fish. Also, seeing plenty of sea bass but only a few of them are keepers. Our pool winners have been around 5 lbs most trips.”
Drift conditions have played a major role in determining whether keeper fluke would be boated during recent trips, the Gambler crew said. If the drift is too fast, sinkers won’t hold bottom, but if it’s too slow, the boat won’t cover enough ground to place anglers on the fish – “a 10 to 15 knot wind seems to be best,” the report said.
Surf fishing for fluke has been decent at Island Beach State Park and other local beaches, according to the staff at Murphy’s Hook House in Toms River.
“Bucktails tipped with Gulp and Jetty Ghost Mullnuts with a teaser in front did the trick for a couple guys,” Mario from the shop said. “Already heard of a few decent keepers today off of IBSP. Plenty of snappers in the wash hitting small metals so if you catch one try live lining it.”
For those fishing from local piers and bulkheads in the back bay, snapper blues have provided the bulk of the action. According to Mario, using spearing on a snapper rig, metals and snapper poppers have attracted the fish. There have also been a few small striped bass to be found in the Toms River.
Surf anglers began tangling with sharks again after some foul weather earlier in the week, the folks at Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park said.
“The swell has pretty much died and the sharks have made a come back after two days of pretty tough conditions,” the shop’s report said. “We heard of several caught and a bunch of hook-ups. Most of our reports came after dark and from IBSP. We also heard of more cownose and butterfly rays.”
Bunker is the bait of choice for nighttime shark fishing.
For those who have yet to catch a keeper fluke, perhaps this week’s photo attached to this article can serve as some motivation. Pictured is Mick Martino and his massive, 27-inch, 8.6 pound doormat. The fish was caught off Lavallette on board the Fire Escape.