During these dog days of summer, local fishing action can be tough. Especially on local streams and rivers.
Willie Marx, from Willie’s Bait & Tackle in Cementon, says the Lehigh River is high, ripping and chocolate colored from the rains we’ve had, so forget fishing it. But he hears lakes like Mauch Chunk are yielding largemouth bass while Leaser Lake is producing good numbers of largemouths and muskies, both of which must be immediately released.
At Chris’ Bait & Tackle in Mertztown, Chris said Blue Marsh Lake in Berks County has been producing good numbers of large and smallmouth bass on Senko worms and jigs.
At Ontelaunee Reservoir in upper Berks County, anglers are taking largemouths by working frog lures over the many Lilly pads there.
He’s been selling a lot of trout for Leaser Lake anglers who are targeting the huge (catch-release) muskies there. Largemouth bass too are hitting well but both must be immediately released unharmed.
Otherwise, most of the angling action is at New Jersey shore points.
First up is Capt. Howard Bogan of the Jamaica, who reports his trips are hauling in bluefish up to 12 pounds as well as some sea bass and a few sizable fluke. He has offshore tuna trips planned and recommends checking his website for dates and times.
On the Water Magazine has received decent fluke, bluefish and albacore reports. For example, Bob Matthews, at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar, NJ, says it was an excellent week for jumbo fluke with the biggest weighed so far was a 13-pounder caught aboard the Big Mohawk. The Ocean Explorer got a 12 pounder with Capt. Cal II bringing in blues up to 12 pounds. The Shark River is loaded with snappers while false albacore are plentiful in the Shark River Inlet jetties. Most are being caught on Epoxy jigs.
Giglio’s Bait & Tackle in Sea Bright reports albies appeared off Monmouth Beach on Tuesday and were in Sea Bright on Wednesday. They also report good crabbing action.
Rich Hebert, at Tackle World in Rochelle Park, said giant bluefin were being taken off Rockaway and added that the fluke bite was good on the reefs and wrecks.
Capt. Phil Sciortino, at the Tackle Box in Hazlet, reports a 130-pound bluefin was caught in the Sandy Hook Channel last week. Blues have been appearing all over the place and fluking has been good at Scotland Grounds and the Rattlesnake with porgies hitting at Breezy Point.
John Vafiadis, at the Reel Seat in Brielle, said his customers are catching everything from false albacore, Spanish mackerel and bonito along the beaches and outside the Manasquan Inlet. He added that fluking has been good on all the local reefs with giant bluefin being found not far from shore. There are also a number of southern kingfish while the canyons are giving up bigeye tuna, swordfish and wahoo. “It’s been crazy,” he concluded.
If you’re heading to the beaches, On the Water says the schools don’t stay in one place for long. But chasing them can be frustrating. So, it may be better to stay put and let them come to you.
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Nick Hromiak has been an outdoors and automotive writer for over 30 years. He's been published in numerous national and state-wide outdoor magazines and newspapers.