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Barnegat Bay is Fishless

Old 07-10-2018, 11:14 AM
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Default Barnegat Bay is Fishless

I just moved down to the area this year and got a nice fishing boat. Am I doing something wrong or is this bay just useless to bother fishing in?

I spent quite a few days out there this summer, specifically the better part of last sunday with 500 other boats not capable of going offshore with the storm moving through and I didn't see ONE fish caught. I was targeting fluke, and tried killies, squid, bucktails, gulp. Drift was good...BUT NOTHING! What gives.
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Old 07-10-2018, 12:33 PM
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It's not fishless, but it certainly is not anything like it used to be. I remember catching lots of fluke and weakfish down by forked as a kid. Some small blues and bass as well. I don't even bother anymore

I'm 30, so I'm guessing it was maybe 23-25 years ago I remember catching a decent amount of fish
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Old 07-10-2018, 04:44 PM
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90% of the fish are in 10% of the water. the other 10% of the fish are spread out in the other 90% of the water. the trick is to finding that 10% water. Now 95% of the people don’t know where that 10% is lol. And us that do aren’t telling the other 95%! There are currently, bass, bluefish, fluke, weakfish and sharks inside the bay. All between manasquan and Barnegat Inlets. Not to mention crabs, clams and scallops. Regulars catch all they want. Go explore. First bit of advice is if you see a bunch of other boats there......don’t try there. They don’t know either. Lol. Here are a few tips.....early mornings, late evenings into the dark and during the week will all increase your odds ten fold. Weekends between 9 am and 9 pm just go anchor at tices and chill. You would also be surprised how many fish are in less than 3 feet of water at sunrise and sunset. Big fish......use good bait. Dragging frozen spearing and squid strips won’t cut it regularly. sure you will always find something ready to commit susicide but lively live bait or fresh dead bait will work wonders. Don’t discount top water lures or gulp on a jig head.

all that being said.......Barnegat bay couldn’t hold sand hook bay’s jock strap. They are in another world up there.


Now go go start looking and when you find the spot, keep it to yourself.
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Old 07-10-2018, 06:35 PM
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I posted a similar thread last year and was told I didn't know what I was doing or what I was talking about. post was called Barnegat bay Rest In Peace

Last edited by SeaBoss21; 07-10-2018 at 06:41 PM.
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Old 07-10-2018, 06:43 PM
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Crabs and clams, slam dunk. I know where to find them here...but man cannot live on crustaceans alone.
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Old 07-10-2018, 07:16 PM
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BB sucks now a days man. Fishing inside is a waste of fuel and time. Five miles out is where the bite is in my personal experience over the last few years.
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Old 07-11-2018, 05:39 AM
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Originally Posted by ho1ywars View Post
BB sucks now a days man. Fishing inside is a waste of fuel and time. Five miles out is where the bite is in my personal experience over the last few years.
I agree, it's just not always an option for a 25 footer. Hate cancelling a fishing day completely but I just might start if If the bay can't even produce a few shorts.
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Old 07-12-2018, 07:46 AM
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Barnegat Bay is very good if you know where to target and can avoid peak times of boat traffic
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Old 07-12-2018, 07:54 AM
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The bay (any bay for that matter) can be really good. You just really need to know exactly where to fish, when, and what to use. Having said that, I can't really tell you about any of it because i suck at bay fishing.

I've been on Great Bay for 18 years now. The biggest fluke I've ever seen caught came out of the bay, not the ocean. It's always from a retired, older guy, who knows exactly where to fish. Local "sharpies" if you will. This pretty much is the way it is from south of the Raritan, to Cape May. Fishing out front is a lot easier in terms of locating the fish because they are almost always around the wrecks and reefs.

Biggest fluke I've ever seen in my entire life came from the bay and it easily weighed close to 15 lbs.
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Old 07-12-2018, 02:23 PM
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Guess I was lucky growing up on Sandy Hook Bay. One day a friend of mine and I caught 200 snapper blues in about 2 hours.
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Old 07-12-2018, 05:39 PM
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The Manasquan River is closest to me and until recent years my boats wouldnít handle rough water to well so unless I wanted myself or my family to get beat up I stayed in the river and got to know it really well. I can put a decent catch together in the river on any given day now. The Manasquan is connected to the Metedeconk River by the Pt Pleasant canal and itís not a lot of fun to navigate. Itís all no wake and takes forever burning fuel wholesale against the tide so I didnít do it much. In the last two years Iíve been launching in the Metedeconk or taking the canal to try new water.
To me the Metedeconk seemed fishless too.
that didnít make much sense as theyíre connected so why? Itís simple. Itís new water, the fish are there I just havenít found that 10% of water yet.
My best suggestion for you is to pass on the weekends, get out on the weekdays when the water is quieter and the old timers that have been fishing that water forever are out.
Make note of the tides and the spots their working. That will get you started.
Follow all the prior advice. I like to collect my own live bait from the waters im fishing which can take up a third of my trip but it pays. One last thing when the Weaks are running a white spro jig with a squid pennant soaked in shedder crab oil used to to work well for me.
Keep at it youíll figure it out. When you do you wonít have to get beat up or burn fuel to put s catch together.
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Old 07-13-2018, 07:31 AM
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Thanks for all the input. I now have a glimmer of hope. LOL
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Old 07-13-2018, 09:02 AM
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Originally Posted by offshorebri View Post
90% of the fish are in 10% of the water. the other 10% of the fish are spread out in the other 90% of the water. the trick is to finding that 10% water. Now 95% of the people donít know where that 10% is lol. And us that do arenít telling the other 95%! There are currently, bass, bluefish, fluke, weakfish and sharks inside the bay. All between manasquan and Barnegat Inlets. Not to mention crabs, clams and scallops. Regulars catch all they want. Go explore. First bit of advice is if you see a bunch of other boats there......donít try there. They donít know either. Lol. Here are a few tips.....early mornings, late evenings into the dark and during the week will all increase your odds ten fold. Weekends between 9 am and 9 pm just go anchor at tices and chill. You would also be surprised how many fish are in less than 3 feet of water at sunrise and sunset. Big fish......use good bait. Dragging frozen spearing and squid strips wonít cut it regularly. sure you will always find something ready to commit susicide but lively live bait or fresh dead bait will work wonders. Donít discount top water lures or gulp on a jig head.

all that being said.......Barnegat bay couldnít hold sand hook bayís jock strap. They are in another world up there.


Now go go start looking and when you find the spot, keep it to yourself.
What kind of shark, anything good?
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Old 07-13-2018, 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by DR. SMASHER View Post
What kind of shark, anything good?
We caught and released a bunch of big brown sharks and one sand tiger in Great Bay a week ago.
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Old 07-17-2018, 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by SeaBoss21 View Post
I posted a similar thread last year and was told I didn't know what I was doing or what I was talking about. post was called Barnegat bay Rest In Peace
I just went back and read your thread. Kinda comical that I without knowing plagiarized you! We both can't be wrong, yeah sure there are "some" fish in the Barnegat, but most days it sure does seem like a waste of time and fuel.
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Old 07-17-2018, 11:53 AM
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Guys, the bay was like 85 degrees 2 weeks ago. You aren't going to catch anything in there, especially considering it averages 6' deep.
Early summer, June, is awesome for fluke near the inlet....and huge blues roam the Toms River and seaside park side of the bay starting in late spring.

But now, in summer, in the inlet is pretty much the only place to find life. Fluke won't be hanging around in 85 degree water very long.
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Old 07-17-2018, 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by JonisMist View Post
I just moved down to the area this year and got a nice fishing boat. Am I doing something wrong or is this bay just useless to bother fishing in?

I spent quite a few days out there this summer, specifically the better part of last sunday with 500 other boats not capable of going offshore with the storm moving through and I didn't see ONE fish caught. I was targeting fluke, and tried killies, squid, bucktails, gulp. Drift was good...BUT NOTHING! What gives.

I just got a house near the bay as well. Itís no sandy hook but Iíve caught a bunch of shorts and a couple of keepers. Iíve gone out about 6 times. Three keeper fluke and probably about 15-20 shorts. I actually got a tiny sea bass in there as well. All in the last three weeks.
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Old 07-18-2018, 01:47 PM
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Originally Posted by SandysHook View Post



I just got a house near the bay as well. Itís no sandy hook but Iíve caught a bunch of shorts and a couple of keepers. Iíve gone out about 6 times. Three keeper fluke and probably about 15-20 shorts. I actually got a tiny sea bass in there as well. All in the last three weeks.
You're in tuckerton right? You will see tons of tiny sea bass from right about now through August and into September. Using gulp helps to stop them from stealing your bait.
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Old 07-18-2018, 02:26 PM
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Been awhile since I fished seriously near tuckerton but the weakfishing can be amazing there.
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Old 07-18-2018, 05:26 PM
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Originally Posted by JonisMist View Post
I just moved down to the area this year and got a nice fishing boat. Am I doing something wrong or is this bay just useless to bother fishing in?

I spent quite a few days out there this summer, specifically the better part of last sunday with 500 other boats not capable of going offshore with the storm moving through and I didn't see ONE fish caught. I was targeting fluke, and tried killies, squid, bucktails, gulp. Drift was good...BUT NOTHING! What gives.
I do pretty good in the bay for fluke. Last uear there was only one spot in the entire bay that held blowfish. I was lucky to find it. I would gladly trade you a fiahing trip for a clamming trip.....the most I ever got was 50 and I worked my ass off for those.
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