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Fishing Forecast - July New Moon

Fishing Forecast – July New Moon

It seems crazy that we’re already onto July, but here we are. The weather has not been friendly lately – either too hot, too windy, or both. The ugly weather is a double-sided coin though, and those that have been willing to go have been rewarded. That goes more for the boat and kayak crew, while the surf seems to be a grind for most. The high temps have really put the bass in a summer-time lockjaw type of mood in and around the bay. Out front they seem to be a little bit more willing to feed, but the windows are tight. Night-time and low-light conditions are often key as we transition into the summer patterns.

Striped Bass 

There are plenty of big bass to be found out front. Live eels, large topwater, and large plastics have been the ticket the past couple of weeks. Even when the bass are finnicky, they’ll usually come up for The Doc,whether they eat it or just swirl on it. Either way, you’ll know you’re on fish, and you can go from there. Live eels are another great fish finder, and sometimes the only way to get that big bite during the summer doldrums. Especially during the day. Big plastic eels like the GT Eel are a close second. They work great either weightless, on jighead, or a BKK Titan Diver depending on the situation. The Butchie Built Trolling Tubeis continuing to pick off big bass as well, especially for the kayak crowd. There have also been several accounts recently of people catching big bass while bringing up a black sea bass, so be prepared for that situation if you’re targeting black sea bass out front. If you can find a good window to get out to Block, that bite seems to have really taken shape the past couple of weeks. Big numbers of big bass, and they’re generally willing to eat. As well as live eels and GT Eels, try throwing other large plastic profiles like the NLBN 8” Straight Tail or NLBN 8” Paddletail. They will also crush a well presented bucktail.

Bluefish - Storming the Fluking Grounds

From now through to the fall, big bluefish will be all over the ocean front. They can be found anywhere in the water column - sometimes cruising the surface. I've even watched them surf on breaking waves. With the abundance of squid around, they should be willing to eat just about anything that goes by them. Small spooks like the Rebel Jumpin Minnow or Game On! X-Walk will work great when they're up top. I like something with a little rattle to get them fired up. That said - if you're willing to make the sacrifice to the toothy critters - Albie Snax are a nearly perfect squid impersonation. You will also mark them suspended in the water column on your fish finder while you're out on the fluke or black sea bass grounds. These ones can be a little trickier to catch, but they'll occasionally take a swipe at a fluke rig, bucktail, soft plastic, or metal/epoxy jigs. Although they're picky a small percentage of the time, bluefish are incredibly opportunistic and will rarely turn down a meal, as long as it looks somewhat realistic. Right now, the more you can make your presentation look like a squid, the better. 

A school of picky, suspended bluefish out on the fluking grounds last weekend.

The JygPro Swym is a great new paddletail that we’ve recently added to the shop. They have a unique channel for the jighead and hook to go into and out the top. It makes it much easier to rig your soft plastic perfectly so you aren’t hooking it several times before you get the right alignment. The channel not only helps with rigging, but the longevity of the plastic. It holds up a bit better than your typical paddletail – because of the channel, its much less likely to tear on the first or second fish. They come in 3”, 4”, and 5” in a handful of fishy colors. They’ve been catching striped bass, black sea bass, fluke, scup, and of course sea robins for me the past week or two.

 A barely-short fluke caught on a 5" JygPro Paddletail this past week.

Black Sea Bass - Easy Limits, Fun Times

The black sea bass fishing has been good and should continue to improve. There’s a mix of all size classes at this point in the year, but it hasn’t been too difficult for anglers to find their limit of two fish over 16.5”. They cover just about every piece of structure around the bay and out front. Don’t be surprised to see some big 20+ inch black sea bass making their way all the way up the bay this time of year. Along with being plentiful, they’re also very willing to eat, which makes them the perfect fish to target with children or anyone that’s new to fishing. They will eat metal and epoxy jigs all day long, as well as small plastics like the JygPro 3”and 4” Paddletail, NLBN 3” Paddletail, RonZ 4” Straight tail, Zoom Fluke etc. If you’re on a school of smaller black sea bass and you’re looking to pick out a couple of keepers, try upsizing your profile a bit. I like a decent-sized paddletail like the JygPro 5”or NLBN 5”.The larger sea bass will often follow smaller ones up to the surface but can be a bit trickier to fool. I’ve always liked to throw something big and black in those scenarios, as it looks like another sea bass and gets their attention. The JygPro has a great color called “2 stroke” that perfectly resembles a small black sea bass with a bit of brown on the underside – so I’m really excited to use it in that scenario as it should help pull the bigger fish out of the school. Other options include bigger straight tails, like the Zoom Magnum Fluke, Hogy 7”, RonZ 6”, RonZ 8”, or anything similar. They’ll also respond well to scented plastics like Gulp!or BaitFuel, but it’s usually not necessary.


Beautiful 17" male sea bass caught on a squid Ties by Ty bucktail while targeting fluke last weekend. I caught more keeper sea bass than fluke (of any size) on this day.

Fluke - Shorts Galore

The fluke fishing seems to be pretty hit or miss. There’s no shortage of small fluke around, but finding keepers can be tough. There has been another push of squid which should help improve the bite in the next couple of weeks. We have Flippin Out Fluke Rigsin stock right now, which are a great way to weed out smaller fish, especially when squid are present. Chartreuse has been the ticket to the early season bite, but as the squid continue to fill into those “flukey” areas, I’d expect it to shift toward white/pink. Scented plastics like Gulp!, Baitfuel,and Zman Doormatadorzare all great options at various sizes and profiles. They will also fall for a Bucktailas that’s probably the best squid impression out there. Nothing moves like a squid quite like bucktail does. I will drench my bucktails or unscented plastics in Pro Cure to get some scent in the water. Everyone has different opinions on scent and what role it plays, but it’s something to consider when fluke fishing. I don’t necessarily think it makes more fish bite, but I certainly think if you swing and miss on a fish, they’re much more likely to come back for seconds or thirds.

Local multi-species kayak fisherman, Todd Treonze, with a nice keeper-sized fluke caught out front last week.

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