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New Jersey & Delaware Bay


Posted By Jim Hutchinson, Jr., July 22, 2019
A good number of Spanish mackerel have shown up in the weekly reports in New Jersey and Delaware region in recent weeks. While on the diminutive side when compared to the larger king macks (which are also popping up in inshore catches), the Spanish mackerel is still a feisty little fighter on light tackle and makes great table fare when served fresh. Photo courtesy of the Big Jamaica out of Brielle.
It was certainly a hot one for Mid-Atlantic fishermen last week. The one positive perhaps was ocean water temps were a bit on the cool side along the beach, making the surfline a great place to be for folks looking to cool off a bit. Up and down the beaches of New Jersey and Delaware, it seems that kingfish provided the best action in the wash. A member of the drum family (which also includes weakfish and spot, two species also present throughout the range), the Northern kingfish grows to about 18 inches and can achieve weights of around 3 pounds (the New Jersey state record caught in the Margate surf back in 2003 by Art Higbee using bloodworm weighing in at 2 pounds, 6 ounces). “One thing the hot weather did in mid-July was to warm up the water temps in the bays and rivers, along with the inshore waters,” noted North Jersey field editor JB Kasper in his full report this week, explaining how this translated into good amounts of fish on the move for anglers. “Some of the best action was the bottom fishing which saw a big influx of triggerfish to go along with good catches of ling, sea bass, occasional whiting and increasing numbers of porgies,” Kasper noted, adding “Inshore anglers also enjoyed some nice light tackle bonito, Spanish mackerel and bluefish catches.” Those summer visitors really spiced things up at the Jersey Shore over the weekend. Central Jersey field editor Ashley Viola blowfish action turned on in Barnegat Bay in recent days, but said those inshore pelagics were really keeping anglers happy. “Bonito are being caught more and more, and it sounds like trolling Clarkspoons will get one over the rails,” Viola reported. She also said bluefish and stripers are still hanging around our waters at night, with resident linesiders in back bays and rivers whacking poppers up top early morning and late afternoon. Down in South Jersey and Delaware, adding to the catches of bonito and Spanish mackerel are a few midrange mahi and several king mackerel. The Fisherman’s Jim Hutchinson tallied up the South Jersey catches which included a host of good triggerfish catches from local jetties, a bunch of sheepshead along the docks and bridges, along with some spike weakfish mixed in with the surf kings. “Good amount of bait reported in the back bays and around some of the inlets which could bode well for nearshore action and jetty bite heading into the month of August,” Hutch noted, reminding anglers that New Jersey’s single blackfish bag returns as of August 1. Try green crabs or shedders on a crab jig for a shot at that one-fish bag along with a few triggers and sheepshead. Offshore editor Tom Pags said the mid-range bluefin bite continues strong from the Atlantic Princess to the Virginia. “The canyons are yielding bigeye, white marlin, mahi and, if you can find them, offering fair to decent shots at what have been the elusive yellowfin, so thick were they last week,” Pags noted, adding that swordfish also in the mix with a few folks out deep dropping by day.
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