Stone Harbor, NJ Fishing ReportsShow more
March 2, 2024
Jersey Cape Hook, Line, and Heroes
I want to inform everyone that I am running my second annual Jersey Cape Hook, Line, and Heroes Event. Last year I had 4 boats and I believe 16 Veterans out fishing. So far this year I have 32 boats signed up to participate and we will have over 100 Veterans out on the water fishing. I have some fantastic helpers too. Howie Prickett has been invaluable, Paul Hewitt of American Warrior Outdoors has been solid, and so many others. Friends and businesses are coming out to support the event too. We have received several incredible donations, and hope to receive more. We are trying to fund the entire event; purchasing all bait and tackle, t-shirts and hats for our Veteran participants, and a food truck for the after party being held at Mooncussers. Special THANKS to Andy, Jerry, RRR Construction, J Byrne, Lower Twp Moose, and others for the generous donations. We are currently running a 50-50 raffle that will be drawn on May 19th at Jim's Bait and Tackle in Cape May at the Drum Tourney weigh ins. Tickets are $5 each and all proceeds will be split between the event and the winning ticket holder. On March 9th, Surrans Nursery in Corbin City will be holding a Chili Contest. I am entering a batch. All donations for the event will be given, extremely generously by Surran's, to the Jersey Cape Hook, Line, and Heroes event. On June 7th, from 5 to 8pm, we will be holding a fund raising Barbeque at the Petrella-Repici-Caprioni-Champion VFW Post 6257 located at 556 Woodbine Ave, Woodbine, NJ 08270. Tickets for the event are $15 at the door. There will also be a Chinese Basket Auction with lots of good stuff. Live band and good food. Please come out and support a great cause! And finally, the actual fishing event will be held on August 8th from 8am to 2pm. And then the after party from 4pm until? We are in the process of setting up a rain date in case the 8th doesn't work out. So, that's it. This is the big event. I am hoping to make this an annual event. Please consider helping us out in any way you can. All donations are greatly appreciated. An thoughts or suggestions too. Help us to give back to those who have given so very much already. Thank you all!
December 16, 2023
Every now and again everything comes together just the way you hoped. Today was one of those days. Jesse and I ran out into the ocean in hopes of finding a striped bass, and if not, some tog. We came out of the inlet and found a small fleet of boats aimlessly circling, dragging Mojo's or spoons, or whatever. We cruised past and kept an eyeball on them for signs of fish. Not a single bent rod. So, we pressed on. Around this time my phone began to buzz. I received texts from my friends Justin and George. Both were telling me there were some stripers being caught further South. So, we headed South. We looked for signs of life along the way; a splash, boil, birds, whales, anything. There were sea ducks everywhere. Hundreds of them. They'd erupt from the water splashing as they took flight. Every flock caught our eye. Then we saw the fleet. There were boats scattered all around, close to shore, and further out. Some were trolling, others aimlessly casting. Every now and again we'd see a small fish come over a gunnel. We poked around still searching for a sign. Then we got one. A huge bird play in tight to the beach. There was one boat already there, another raced in, and we were closing in fast. We deployed jigs to the bottom and snapped them up in hopes they would be intercepted by a cruising striper. We got our wish. I hooked up first, Jesse was close behind. We each landed 32-33" stripers. We missed a few, or had the hooks spit, and landed a few more each. We found if we hung out and let everyone else leave and chase the birds we would have school after school of stripers swim beneath us. It played well in our favor throughout the day. Once the bite petered out we cruised around looking for the next bite. It didn't take long. A cloud of birds formed a short distance away with stripers erupting from the water below. Birds and stripers were devastating bunker schools. We glided up to the melee, I put on a bone Mag Darter, Jesse switched to a silver flutter spoon. Both worked. I hooked a good sized striper on the plug and fought it to the boat. Jesse had just released a nice one. He reached over to grab the plug, which I warned him not to do. Not being one to listen, Mr. Helpful was rewarded with a 4/0 treble buried in his finger. Now I had to carefully grab the thrashing striper, avoid the plug, and keep Jesse's finger from becoming a murder scene, while lifting everyone over the gunnel. Once in the boat, I had to keep the bass from thrashing and further damaging Jesse's impaled finger. I managed to grab the pliers and took hold of the hook. Jesse was able to pull his finger free of the hook. A bit sore, but it still worked. Of course I didn't get a picture of the event. Missed opportunity. We repeated the run and gun rampage throughout the day. The majority of the stripers we landed were 32" to 47". Jesse did manage to catch a 31" keeper. Luck played a role in our second keeper of the day. As we were jigging up another school of stripers, we had a striper splash next to the boat as it drifted past. It just lazily flopped on the surface. We grabbed the net and motored up next to it and scooped it. It was fresh and healthy, but must've been exhausted from a battle and unable to swim. Regardless, he became our second keeper of the day. After we scooped the bass we noticed a huge boil on the surface. We ran up and found a school of bunker being assaulted by stripers from below. We tossed plugs and picked off a few more. Around this time the wind was begining to pick up and white caps were becoming more prominent. With our arms starting to feel the brunt of our many battles today ( we landed well over thirty stripers), we decided to leave the action to go find some tog. We ran to the reef to try some rubble. Jesse picked a short. I fought with the trolling motor. Then we ran to a wreck. Again, a few hits, more motor issues. We ran to another wreck, and it was more of the same. Every time, I would set up over the tasty structure, hit spot lock, the boat would drift off. It was definitely chopper and winder than it had been, but the motor should have held without issue. After resetting ten times I called it quits. We'll just have to come out and chase the tog another day. The early striper action was epic, and more than made up for the trolling motor misery. With luck, the striper migration will continue through Christmas break and we'll get another shot at them before they cruise down South for the winter. Fingers crossed... Tight Lines!
December 2, 2023
Tog Action and Fog!
It was one of those days. I tried to find someone to go fishing with me, but everyone had other plans, or had an ailment. Looking at the weather I started to figure fishing was probably not the greatest idea anyway. It was pretty dismal out. And besides, there were some good college football games scheduled throughout the day.
I took Bubbalouie out front to check the mail. He kept looking over at the truck. So, we took a ride over to Avalon to check the inlet. The ocean looked quite inviting. There was a bit of fog, but entirely manageable. So, I hit the tackle shop and snagged a few dozen green crabs. Then ran home to prep the boat and gear.
While wolfing down some left overs, I tried another fishing buddy. As luck would have it, George was available and wanted to go. So, I was no longer a solo trip. I met George at the ramp and we headed off for the reef. The fog that had been rather wispy earlier was getting thicker. We poked our way through the ICW and made it into the inlet and made our way to the reef. We looked for signs of stripers along the way, but the fog was a major impediment.
We spot locked over some rubble and dropped green crabs down to their doom. It didn't take long for the tog to find their free snacks. They picked us clean the first few rounds, but then we got the hang of it. We pulled up shortie after shortie. It was nonstop action. Towards the last of our crab bits, George and I caught our only keepers of the day. His was 16", mine was just shy of 20". The fat bugger was five pounds. Around this time we noticed we could no longer see any of the other boats that were around us. The fog really socked in! And it was getting late. Time to bug out.
I put the radar on and followed my track back from whence we came. Running in a heavy fog is just eerie. All sense of direction vanishes. Sounds are distorted. Thank God for electronics. We made it safely into the inlet and under the bridge. Once inside the ICW we felt constricted and disoriented. We thought about pulling into one of the other, closer boat ramps or just tying up at one other marinas for the sake of safety. Then we just figured stuff it. Let's take our chances. So we pressed on. Pretty sure the fog got even more dense as we approached the football field area. If you know it, you know it. The place is a long stretch of narrow channel flanked by mucky mud flats. The place eats boats on crystal clear days. We were running it blind. Slow and steady won the race. We made it through and picked our way back to the marina. We arrived in the dark. The fog never relented. I pulled the boat and made for home. George was good company and a solid navigator, picking the channel markers out of the pea soup. We didn't find any stripers, or any of the streaking bluefin tuna that have been rampaging through bunker schools. Maybe next time...
November 11, 2023
First, Happy Veterans Day. Thank you to all who have, and still serve. Our Veterans Day trip, unfortunately, fell through. I'm hoping to make it up next summer with a bigger and better event to give a bit of thanks to those who have given so much for us.
I still managed to get out today with Jesse and Scott. The morning started off a little bumpy, but it really settled out nicely by the afternoon. There were gannetts dive bombing from above, raining terror upon hapless bait fish. We cruised past the areas to see what we might find. No stripers, but loads of bait. Hopefully they show up soon.
We ran out to the reef and spot locked over some rubble. We dropped down rigs loaded with green crab pieces and were rewarded with extremely willing tog. We had our three fish limit in short order. We could've had our five fish limit per man had it been the 16th. Tog are just so much fun to catch. We bounced around to different pieces and caught at each one. When our green crabs ran out we switched up to squid, clam, and Mole crabs. The sea bass were willing takers. We managed three keeper sea bass. We poked further out hoping to find bigger fish in deeper water. Didn't happen.
We came back inside and worked over some wrecks. Jesse landed the biggest, slime covered, ugly, damn eel, I've ever seen. And the best part, Scott wanted it because they're good eats. Nope. Scott managed to find a stray triggerfish on one of the pieces of wreck. A few bergals, and far too many spiny dogs rounded out the days catch. We landed well over a hundred fish today. We had nonstop action. Lots of laughs, memories, and fun. A perfect day.
October 28, 2023
Sea Bass Fun!
Ran out to the rubble and wrecks with Keith. Our first pile was a barrage of constant tog bites. The rigs no sooner hit the bottom when they were assaulted by rapid fire tog bites. I managed to pull up five. Keith fed them. Nothing big, but all were fun. We decided to run out deeper. We didn't mark much on the pieces we were hovering over, but we built up a bite. All short sea bass, and a short flounder landed by Keith. Just before we left, we managed a keeper sea bass each. But the bite had slowed considerably. Onward we went. Our final destination had two boats already working it over. We found our own area to ply and dropped down our rigs. Mole crabs, squid, and clam all worked. The current was really heavy, pulling our sinkers out further than we wanted. I should have put on heavier leads, but we managed. The boat drifting behind us pulled in a beast of a sea bass, measuring in at 20 inches. The other boat to our left wasn't doing so well. We had consistent action. Our companions decided to leave, so we poked around. We spot locked on what looked to be a tasty piece with fish hovering above it. Around this time another boat decided to join us. Rather than simply drifting across the area, he decided to run a circle around us. He then stopped about twenty yards off our stern and held his position by back trolling. His exhaust fumes we just lovely. Then he'd let her go and drift by us. And repeat the process. Granted, he never interfered with our fishing, but it was annoying. Especially his exhaust. Courtesy is dead. They finally left, they weren't doing so well. We hung out enjoying the now quiet and fresh air. We ended up keeping thirteen out of the fifty sea bass we caught (yes, I keep score). We tossed plenty of keepers back. We could have had our two man limit, but decided we didn't need all of those fish. We had plenty. We finally called it a day. The conditions were incredible, except for the raging current. Not sure of it was the Moon or the tropical storm, either way, it made things interesting. The trolling motor got a work out. Can't wait for tog season to open back up, and the striper bite to get more consistent. Well, out front at least. It is going strong in the back at least... Tight Lines!
October 14, 2023
Had an absolute blast today! We ran out to the reef and spot locked over a big piece of rubble. We had nonstop action with sea bass, blues, and triggers. The only issue was, everything was short. We made a move to a wreck, but it was devoid of life. We ran further out to another wreck. Again, we found a bunch of short sea bass. We ran even further out to another wreck area. There were sea bass pots all around and we set up a drift between them. There were clouds of fish below. We began by using rigs with bait, but switched up to bounding jigs. Jigging is more productive, and loads more fun. As we were drifting past the one pot we noticed some movement. Turned out to be small mahi. Try as we might, we couldn't catch the little buggers. So, we went back to jigging for sea bass. We were just shy of out two man limit, which given more ti.e, we would've gotten. Unfortunately, time was not on our side. Regardless, we had a blast! The fishing will only continue to improve!
July 23, 2023
Fun out on the reef
Ran out this morning with Randy, his son Sean, and buddy Matt. The weather prognosticators finally got it right today, we had the calm seas they called for. The water was clear and warm too. Perfect conditions. We ran to the reef and set up our drift over some rubble. These guys were new to salt water fishing. So I explained the finer points; bounce your rod, give line to the fish when they hit, feel the weight and set the hook, don't reel all the way up, don't lift the fish out of the water,...and so on. It's a lot if you don't do it often. Getting the feel takes time. So, we drifted over the rubble, they got hits, missed, and gave out free meals to hungry fish. You're welcome PETA. Eventually they got the hang of it and started to pull up fish. Matt started things off with a sea robin. Then Sean got a sea bass and a sea robin. Around that time I decided to make a move and switch up tactics. We set up over a really large piece and I back trolled to hold us over various parts. The drift was slow anyway, but I figured it was worth a shot. It worked. Sean got a flounder. Then Matt got a keeper, but due to a SNAFU, it shook the hook. I won't mention any names...Matt! As was his usual today, Matt reeled up way too far and lifted. He was also tangled in Randy's line. The flounder saw it's chance and bolted. It was of course a nice sized keeper. To Matt's credit, he did land another keeper on a subsequent drift. He listened this time and it went into the box. Things slowed up on the rubble piles so we took a ride and spot locked over a wreck. We picked at sea bass and fed a bunch. While sitting there a school of striped fish took up residence beneath the boat. Not sure if they were pilotfish or banded rudderfish. We dropped small baited hooks down, even a jig, but they wouldn't touch anything. Would've been nice to catch one to see what they were. We called it a day when the bite slowed. I think a few of the boys were feeling a bit green beneath their gills too. But they endured the entire trip and did very well. We had a blast, and a lot of laughs. We won't discuss the ride behind Avalon in the no wake area... let's just say, there are some serious idiots driving boats out there. And I can't always hold back my 12 Guage, hair triggered mouth. The Coast Guard had a word with them, so all is right in the world. And overall, it was a great day! Tight Lines!
July 22, 2023
What a fun day! I had the pleasure of guiding CJ, Kim, Chase, and Lucia. We ran out into the ocean to see if we could spot some dolphins. It was a bit on the choppy side ( again), but manageable. Chase and Lucia were laughing their heads off enjoying the wild ride. CJ was a bit worried the kids wouldn't enjoy the ride, let alone the fishing. We had planned on going for two, maybe three hours. Suffice to say, we made it a bit over four. I offered the opportunity to fish one of the near shore wrecks, to see how the kids might like it. We spot locked over some structure and dropped our lines down. We were marking fish, or my sounder is a massive lying twat. We couldn't get them to bite though. They'd steal the baits, but you never felt a touch. We moved around to different pieces, but it was always the same. The wind kicked up a bit more and Kim decided it was time for us to head into the back to see what we could find. We drifted a few different areas and again encountered bait stealers. I put a Brown Dog Bomb kingfish rig on one of the rods and we finally broke the ice. Lucia, and then Chase hauled up a croaker each. And just that fast the bite turned off in that spot. We hit another area and drifted a sod bank. We started catching again. Lucia pulled up a few little sea bass, as did Chase. Then CJ finally kept his bait on long enough to pull up a flounder. It was short, but he had bragging rights for biggest fish. It was short lived. Chase hooked and landed a bigger flounder! It was about an eighth of an inch short of keeper size. There were a few more sea bass and croakers in the mix. But Chase ended up as the high hook on the day. The fishing wasn't stellar, but the fun and memories were beyond worth the time spent on the water. Lucia and Chase will be pestering mom and dad for a boat for sure. I hope they get one. They'll enjoy it for years! Tight Lines!
July 21, 2023
Shorts, but fun...
Ran out front with my friend Keith and his son Keith Jr. The maritime forecast was a bit off, imagine my surprise. It called for 2' at 12 seconds, which would've been a dream. Instead it was 2' with occasional 3's at maybe 1 second. It was manageable though. We had planned on going out to try our hand at trolling to see what we might find. Given the conditions we decided to stay closer and play with flounder. When we arrived on the reef we were greeted by an 8' hammerhead shark cruising along. It came up to the boat then slowly slid back down into the depths before we could get our phones out for a photo. Not sure how effective throwing a baited hook would've been, but that thought crossed our minds briefly. We set up on our first drift over some heavy rubble piles and found that the drift was rather fast. Spent the rest of the time backtracking rather than using the trolling motor. It worked as we picked at the flounder, sea bass, and weakies. All of which were short, of course. After we made a few drifts over that pile we moved on the next. Of course some nimrod in a blue boat decided that I knew where the fish were and followed me. And closely, never mind etiquette. I normally don't care if someone is close, it's usually crowded on the reefs. But I was one of six boats, not counting the two head boats there. Spread out! So Mr. Blue kept following me and staying close. Finally I said something, he acted like he couldn't hear me, but must've gotten the message as he moved away. Anyway, we continued to pick at shorts. We made one more move over a wreck. I spot locked over some choice structure and we tried for sea bass. It was dead at first, but then we started to pick at them. Then it died out again. We took a ride out to check out a buoy, but nobody was home. The wind was coming up some and the white caps were getting more pronounced. We called it a day and ran it back in. Really fun day out there catching up with Keith and I trouncing Jr. to inshore fishing. Pretty sure he's now hooked... Tight Lines!
July 18, 2023
Fun Bay Beach Day
Ran Jim, Shay, and Colby down onto the beach today to try the surf. We were greeted with some thick fog. Things looked good otherwise. I set out four rods to ply the waters. And there they sat. An hour, not a touch other than us hauling them in to change the baits. Decided to make a move to the Bay side. Walking off the beach one of the wheels popped off the cart. The lynch pin holding the tire on somehow vanished. Luckily I had some wire and made a quick fix of the situation. Another angler walking onto the beach asked how we did, to which I replied, nada. He said it was the same yesterday. So, adding things up in my head, I read we had some upwelling and a front push through, then of course we have the New Moon. And the water looked quite cloudy. Thus, no fish. We arrived on the Bay side and set back up. Three fun fish rods, two for sharks and rays. The action was more immediate. We started off with a kingfish, then a spot, then a spike weakie. Then a doggie. And the action continues just like that. Steady pick of mostly spot, weakies, and kingies, with a few doggies in the mix. A bit later one of the big boy rods went over. Shay pounced on it and whipped a nice little brow sharks tail. We got the hook out and took a few pictures for posterity, then got it swimming again. Once the tide turned back out the bite slowed considerably. We picked a few more fish, but no where near as many as earlier. Then the crowd started to thicken, so we called it a day. Had a great time with Jim and the boys. They kicked butt and took names today. Solid fishermen. Hopefully they check out some of the spots I showed them and find some more fish before they head back home... Tight Lines!
June 30, 2023
Ran a few back bay trips this week. All three I tried to get out onto the reefs for flounder. Two of the trips we came back in due to the choppy conditions. One we came in because of a little dudes sea sickness. Again, due to choppy seas. Suffice to say, the weather prognosticators got it very wrong as far as the sea state was concerned. Each trip was an absolute blast in its own way. The personalities onboard, the shared laughs, the ribbing, the bonding. Michael and his group came out on Wednesday. We tried to get out front, but the chop was a bit much. We stayed in the back and landed a ton of croakers. Wanting so.e fish to eat they kept fifty. Cleaning them was a chore, but they had a nice bag of meat to show for their efforts. Thursday I had Matt and his gang onboard. We made it out front and fished the reef for about an hour before his son started feeling ill. We came back inside and played with the croakers for awhile. Then we took a ride to get away for the voracious little buggers and tried for flounder. We had quite a few hits, dropped one, and then Joe landed the buzzer beater for the win. Last drift of the day, just about to call it, he nailed a 17" keeper. Perfect ending to a fun day. Final trip for the week was a fun trip with long time friend Tim. We planned to hit the reefs, but as usual, the forecast was off. Bumpy seas and increasing wind forced us into the back bays. We skipped the croakers and hunted for flounder. We tried various areas, and most appeared fishy, but luck wasn't on our side. After a lot of well intended, but fruitless drifts, we decided on a hopeful long shot. It paid off. We found some sweet bottom contours holding bait fish and worked the area over. Tim got hammered, dropped back and was rewarded with a rod bending, drag pulling flounder. It measured 22.5 inches. It made our excellent, though fishless day even better. In subsequent drifts Tim hauled up another just short flounder. I landed a doggie. Not my day. Once the tide finally turned the drift was all messed up and the little bite we had died out. We called it a day. If I haven't said it before, I'll say it now. I love what I do. This is what I plan to do in retirement. Regardless of having to get up at 4 am, or struggling with over stuffed sharks in the sand, this is the greatest "job" in the world. I get to follow my passion and share it with others. Nothing better. Well, maybe just one thing, that being family and being married to the love of my life. But this gig is definitely the icing on the cake... Tight Lines!
June 18, 2023
Spent Father's day morning out on the reef and wrecks with Jesse and his father, Rod. We set up on various wrecks and drifted over structure in hopes of catching some flounder and sea bass. Our first spot had a huge school of fish hovering over the structure. When we dropped down out baits were immediately attacked. Jesse and I pulled up a weakfish each. Then the school moved on and vanished. We continued to work over the wreck and pick at little sea bass. So many were just shy of the 12.5" limit. Or close enough it wasn't worth risking a bad measurement. Jesse pulled two keepers from out of the structure. The bite was fairly slow overall, so we moved out into the rubble field. We picked at some short flounder, and finally Jesse landed a nice 19.5" keeper. Again, hlthe bite was slow, so we decided to go find some wrecks elsewhere. We got to the next wreck only to have another boat move in on us. The guy explained that he had landed several sea bass here the day before and wanted to try again. Yeah, that excuses your intrusive behavior. So, we drifted around him and finally spot locked over a pile of sea bass. He moved off. We worked it over and then went to the next wreck. On out final approach over the new wreck, we dropped our lines to see what we might find prior to setting spot lock. My rod got hammered! I thought I caught a big flounder by the way this fish was fighting. Instead, I landed my personal beat sea bass. It was 19". Biggest I ever caught! Not much else on this wreck, but we picked a few more sea bass. I got a big tog too. I wish they were still in season... Our final stop of the day was occupied by another boat who was trying to hold his position with his outboards. He was struggling. The wind had come up quite a bit. We moved in and onto the structure. He took off. Guess we offended him. Not like there is much courtesy on the water anymore. He must've caught them all before we got there. I got a dink flounder and one sea bass. It was enough to put me ahead of Jesse in the fish count. So all was good in the world again. We called it a day. And a fun day it was! Happy Father's Day dad! And to all the dads out there. Tight Lines!
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