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Posted By Jim Hutchinson, Jr., June 22, 2020
”Not bluefin but big false albacore some of the largest I've ever seen are from the shipping lane out,” said Capt. Jim Freda out of Manasquan over the weekend. “Really easy to catch, nonstop action, doubles and triples are common, makes for some real fun,” Capt. Freda said on Sunday.

“The bluefin have been ranging closer to the shorelines and this past week saw several pods of tuna move into the mouth of Raritan Bay according to our reports this week,” noted JB Kasper in his North Jersey report summary this week. Is it possible that bluefin are in back behind Sandy Hook? I’m not sure where the actual BFT report started, it’s certainly possible; but my money is on big false albacore perhaps gray hounding and crashing baits in tight to shore.

A lot of folks out looking for the bluefin in recent days have found extraordinary action with those jumbo albies, what Capt. Jim Freda called “some of the largest I've ever seen are from the shipping lane out!” While the shipping lanes are a bit off the coast, kayakers should keep in mind that The Fisherman’s “Coastal Kayak Clash” is going on right now with several species of fish in play for tournament competitors (including false albacore). Get details under the Features tab above, and consider looking around for these inshore pelagics while they’re there.

Since beginning to disperse from Delaware Bay in recent days, black drum are starting to show in some of the darnedest places. “Black drum are showing up in better numbers and big boat towing rays will make their presents know anytime now,” said Kasper along the northern coast, adding “There are even some weakfish, blowfish and kingfish being caught.”

Same as along the Central Jersey coast where field editor Ashley Viola said the mixed variety of summer species is in to take the place of black sea bass which pretty much comes to a summer close on Monday (a two-fish bag limit returns for summer as of July 1). “Although sea bass is coming to a close, you can still get out there and drop a line for some ling, flounder, blues, bonito, albacore, cod, and porgy,” Ashley said this week, adding that the surf is hot with striper, blues, drum, and fluke. “The stripers and blues are hitting both bunker and topwater plugs, while drum are eyeing up the clam,” she noted.

As per the reports this week, it would appear that most of those black drum have made their way in along the Brigantine beaches at some point in recent weeks. “The beaches are giving up a mixed bag of kingfish, drum, small stripers, small weakfish and a few flounder,” said South Jersey reporter Anthony Califano. Those hunting for a few of the weakies should look to the local jetties at dawn and dusk. In terms of summer flounder, Anthony advised, “Those taking refuge behind the barrier islands found that the flounder are still there in good numbers, but you need to fish a bit deeper for them.”

“A tremendous week in the canyons for yellowfin and bigeye, with the mid-range grounds still providing good-to-excellent opportunities for bluefin,” said Tom P. in our Offshore Report for the week. Tom received pretty solid intel from our reporting shops and captains this week, and he is expecting the stellar action at the edge to continue through this week. The offshore weather forecast from NOAA Weather for the Hudson to Baltimore as of Monday morning is mostly 3 to 4, and a few 3 to 6’s mixed in on Wednesday.

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