Sandy Hook NJ Fishing Reports for 2020
"Capt. John's Fishing Reports" gives you the latest information about our fishing charters as they occurred.
So bookmark this page and check back with us regularly.

March 22, 2020

Fellow Anglers,

I want to assure you that I take the health and well-being of my anglers and crew very seriously. Like you, I'm closely monitoring the quickly developing effects of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

I have temporarily paused any preparation and fishing activity to protect and care for those who fish with us as well as the entire crew.

We're still available for booking your full 4 man charters as well as your open boat reservations, but now more than ever, you must be flexible with your time schedule going forward.

When we'll start up for the 2020 fishing season is, at this point in time, unknown due that all non-essential businesses being shut down by the Governor's Proclamation as of last night. I will not be launching the boat until I am allowed to conduct business as usual.

The crew and I hope this will be soon, but I refuse to put anyone's health at risk until I'm given clearance to do so by government agencies. I will continue to keep you updated as conditions change and at such time as I am able to set sail again with loyal angler.

We are all in this together. For now....stay home, hang tough and be well.

Tight Lines,
Capt. John & Crew

March 17, 2020

Fellow Anglers,

Good don't get all riled up.....we did NOT go out this weekend because the boat is still in hibernation wrapped tight in her winter bed. I just wanted to give you some reading as we all sit home with the coronavirus to contend with for awhile.

Scary stuff this coronavirus. Bats....saw a one (1) hour special report last evening that the suspect of this thing, say researchers, came from bats infecting livestock in a food market in China.

Hopefully, and with a degree of wishful thinking, we all will be able to enjoy a beautiful day on the water doing what we all love to do soon. Don't have to worry about a ton of people in a tight crowded space that's for sure. But, as I'm sure you have come to know, I'm a big proponent of safety.....better safe than sorry. So, whatever we have to do to insure the well being of our nation has to be done.....and fast.

Now on to better news......Striped Bass are showing in Raritan Bay. Small fish....yes, but they are there nonetheless. Saw a report yesterday that some bay area surf guys caught mostly throwbacks (6) in the 24-26" range on sandworms, but the initial surge of spring Stripers are making their presence know just the same. Even though the water temperature in the bay was only 47 degrees yesterday, the first signs of Stripers showing up far back in the bay in shallow water is looking promising. Considering the bay never froze over during our mild winter, I can see why they are making an early appearance.

A few legal Winter Flounder are also being caught in the shallow back bay waters. Nice, as these fish have been very hard to find over the past few years. Saw pictures of them......a couple of guys fishing in a small wooden skiff. A real shame that these fish aren't around in abundant numbers as fishing for them can be a lot of fun anchored up chumming with a chum log, rabbit food, rice, corn, mussels or just about anything that will attract these great tasting fish to feed.

If you think Fluke makes a great dinner, you should taste Winter Flounder......oh boy! A dozen Oysters, a Blue Moon and a Winter Flounder dinner......Ohh my God! Doesn't get any better than that.

Making you hungry? Anyway, I'll be monitoring the weather over the next couple of weeks to see when the crew and I can cut the shrinkwrap off the boat, polish and clean the hull and load her up with all the rods/reels/tackle and other stuff to get ready for the season opener.

I'm aiming for a April 15th start date (when NY opens it's water for Striper fishing) and when bigger keeper size Bass are around. Once again, for the record, the legal NJ reg's......starting April 1, is one fish per angler 28"- 38" per day.

As you can see, the reg's are now set to harvest smaller Stripers and promote returning big breeding females back into the water. Over the past 5 years or so, I have seen a steady decline in the number of big females. But look at it this way.....a 38" fish comes in around 22-25 lb's. That's a damn good size fish with plenty of meat for some nice dinners. And the best part of that is you get to spend a day with me and my great crew...yes? :)

On a charter with 4 anglers, that's a lot of fish and a great day of fishing no matter how you slice it. Bottom line....we just have to leave the big females alone for a few years. Any Striper caught over 38" will go back in the water so be prepared....NO EXCEPTIONS!

There is also talk of a "Bonus Tag" Striper that can be harvested providing you register online with the NJ Div of Fish and Wildlife. I'm told that the registration will not become available until sometime in April. The beginning of the bonus fish is suppose to start May 15th in NJ WATERS ONLY. (NY does not participate in that program). I'm also looking into bonus tags for my charters as I hear there will will be an allotment for businesses in the for-hire trade.

Stay safe and be well.

Tight Lines,
Capt. John & Crew

March 11, 2020...7 pm EST

Fellow Anglers,

The Saltwater Expo has been cancelled according to their web site for the obvious reason of the pandemic outbreak of the coronavirus.

We've got a very serious problem on our hands. I truly hope you follow the guidelines that has been laid out by the CDC and wash your hands thoroughly and often and to avoid gatherings of friends and family until this thing can be figured out.

To read the official statement from the Saltwater here.

And whatever you do, please protect yourself and say healthy.

Good luck and God Bless us all.

Tight Lines,
Capt. John & Crew

March 4, 2020

Fellow Anglers,

It's official. The 2020 Striper regs are 1 fish at 28"- 38" and a bonus fish, beginning May 15, of one (1) 24" to 28" with your Bonus Tag.

Considering the very mild winter we're having, I suspect that the spring run of Stripers will be here very early. I was told at the Ramsey Outdoor show the other day, that bunker have already arrived in our waters...a very good sign.

If you are planning on fishing with us for Stripers, I would recommend calling now to reserve your prime tidal dates whether you are a full charter group or one of my many "open boat" anglers. Let's go guys and snooze, you lose as they say.

A small deposit locks in your day and that also pertains to the upcoming Fluke season as well. We will be hunting for bigger quality Fluke wherever that may take us. Many times that will be oceanside fishing with bucktails on some sticky bottoms. It would be nice if some of those bigger quality Fluke came into Raritan and Sandy Hook Bays.....but we'll see.

Tight Lines,
Capt. John & Crew

Feb 23, 2020

Fellow Anglers,

The ever popular Ramsey Outdoors "Cast and Blast" show for 2020 once again proved to be a busy and well attended gathering of outdoor enthusiasts from the North Jersey area.

The crew and I talked to many people at our booth as well as giving a 1 hour seminar on the art of bucktailing for Fluke. Mates Chris, Rich and I answered questions about many different topics as well as giving away Reel Fun long sleeve T-shirts and drawing the winner of a free 6 hour Fluke fishing trip....which was won by Judy Schiabel!

We were also blessed to book numerous charters and "open boat" trips with anglers who were at the show.....a busy day for Reel Fun to say the least. A common comment that I heard from those who booked charters was how reasonable our rates were. Nice to hear...good vibes from new anglers fishing with us in 2020.

I would like to say "Thank You" to those of you who stopped by to say's always great to see familiar faces and talk about fishing.

I must also give a "shout out" to my guys who, without their help, I could never have done this show (sore back). Mate Rich and my son/mate Chris are THE BEST. Thank you guys..great men. All my crew (Donnie and Braden included) are outstanding persons.

Some preliminary information...I was told at the show that the start of the 2020 Fluke season looks like Friday May 22, 2020 and ends Saturday September 19, 2020 and will feature 3 fish @ 18" per angler per day as a bag limit. Same bag limit as last year (2019)

Also unofficial word on this, and waiting final approval by ASMFC, is the NJ Striped Bass reg's could be 1 fish 28-38" long with a "bonus" fish of 1 fish 24-28" long providing you have a NJ bonus tag that you will have to apply for online. What I am told, it's not carved in stone yet, but that's the way it's looking for 2020. Retaining the bonus fish would start May 15th.

So, there you have it for this morning. A busy day for Reel Fun Sportfishing with some nice bookings and a lot of information to be gathered. If this weather keeps up like this, the crew and I will be at the boat in a few weeks getting her ready for another fishing season.

Tight Lines,
Capt. John & Crew

Feb 20, 2020

Fellow Anglers,

The ever popular Ramsey Outdoor "Cast and Blast" show is this Saturday,10 am till 4 pm. at their Roxbury Mall, Succasunna, NJ store. (275 Rt. 10)

I will be giving a seminar on "Bucktailing for Fluke" as this is, hands down, the most effective way to catch bigger, quality Fluke.

Beginners, as well as seasoned veterans, are welcome to come and pepper me with questions that I or someone in my crew will be glad to answer. Bucktailing is not hard and quickly learned within your first half hour of instructions. It is, by far, the most productive way to catch bigger quality Fluke. Sure, you can catch fish drifting bait, but they are usually smaller "throwbacks" under our current NJ 18" minimum. If you're going to spend your hard earned dollars on a fishing trip, you might as well do it putting some fish in the cooler to take home for dinner...and bucktailing is the way.

I will be covering...... rods, reels, lines, lures as well as tips for the beginner as well as the tournament fishermen out there. Whether you fish with us or you patronize party boats, there are tips here you should know about to be successful. Bring your questions and TAKE NOTES!

The Ramsey Outdoor store has an extensive supply of rod and reels for sale as well as bucktails and Gulp products in colors too numerous to mention. Great deals to be had for Saturday's one day show at nice discounts.

Seating for my seminar is somewhat limited, so get there early. At the end of my seminar, I will open it up to a question and answer period and some time will be allotted for a brief discussion about the upcoming Striped Bass season.

For those who attend my seminar, there will be a drawing for a FREE 6 hour "Open Boat" Fluke fishing trip (valued at $140) to a lucky winner.
My seminar begins promptly at 10:00 am.

Capt. John & Crew

Feb 2, 2020

Fellow Anglers,

Good Morning and welcome to Super Bowl Sunday.

This promises to be a great game between the 49'ers and the Chiefs down in Miami. Two great teams that should produce one of the best Super Bowl football games in a long while. All things considered, I'm going with the 49'ers on this one as they have one hell of a defense...but don't put your money on what I'll probably lose.

We are now into February and that means that flea markets and shows are springing up all over the place.

Here are a few....

The Hi-Mar Striper Club....Saturday February 8, 2020 from 8 A.M. to 2 P.M. at the Middletown VFW Post 2179 in Port Monmouth, New Jersey. Free parking. The Cost is $5 per person. Kids 12 and under are free..

Next on the agenda is the SWABC Flea Market....Saturday February 15, 2020 from 9 am to 3 pm at the Hasbrouck Heights Hilton. Admission is $5.00 and kids 10 and under are free. One of the biggest flea markets in North Jersey....a must see.

And don't forget the Ramsey Outdoor's "Cast and Blast" show at their Rt 10 Succasunna, NJ location. (Roxbury Mall) When and Where- Saturday February 22, 2020 starting at 10 am till 4 pm. Many vendors and seminars all day for the hunter and fisherman and a good day to get out with the family. Admission is FREE as well as my 10 am seminar on " Bucktailing for Fluke". (See below) Seating is somewhat limited, so please plan on getting their early. ***TAKE NOTES**

For those who attend my seminar, I will have a drawing for one FREE 6 hour "Open Boat" fishing trip (valued at $140) for Fluke to a lucky winner. Also worth mentioning, I will be offering my "Special Show Pricing" for my charters but the fare MUST be paid in full at the show. To see what that discount is.....just show up with your credit card. So mark your calendar for Saturday, February 22, 2020. Ramsey Outdoor's Roxbury Mall 275 Route 10 Succasunna, NJ.

On the fishing front, haven't heard anything definitive about reg's for Striped Bass or Fluke as of yet....way too early. But it looks like the Striper reg's will be one (1) fish per angler, 28" to 35" per day. Nothing over 35" as they're trying to allow the big spawning females some time to make babies for a few years. But hey, look at it this way....a 35" Striper weighs in at about 20 lbs...a really heafty and meaty fish. Good for at least 6-8 dinners. We have to leave the big females alone for awhile which is a good thing if we want these fish to propagate in good numbers in the future.

About the Fluke....nothing to report yet but let's hope that it stays at least the same as last years reg's...3 fish @ 18" per angler. Considering where we were fishing last year (ocean rough bottom) there are nice Fluke out there in the 4,5 & 6 lb. class to be had. So even at 3 fish, that's still some very good dinner's in the bag of fillet's you're going to bring home.

Enjoy the game...go 49'ers!

Capt. John & Crew

Jan. 8, 2020

Fellow Anglers,

Well here we are....the beginning of a new year. Let's hope 2020 is a little more quiet than 2019. It would be nice if we could all exhale and return to a more normal state of existance here in the good ol' USA.

Capt. JohnSo far, the winter has been quiet...above normal temps is a good thing. If this keeps up, the return of Stripers in the spring could be a earlier than normal which is a good thing too. The smaller schoolies usually arrive in Raritan Bay sometime around mid March with the bigger spawners around the mid April time frame. So stop back here often as I will keep you updated on their arrival. Or better yet, sign up for my emails.

Now is the time to look at your calendar and start to plan your spring fishing trips with us as I now have all my tidal data in my appointment book filled in. I am now taking reservations for the spring run of bigger fish as we will be sailing out first trip on or about April 15th.
You can call me at 908-421-4761 to reserve your date.

Now on to some show stuff.

The one show that I would like to draw your attention to is the Ramsey Outdoor "Cast and Blast" show and exhibit on Saturday February 22, 2020 at their Succusunna (Roxbury Mall) store. The show begins at 10:00 am and concludes at 4:00 pm.

Some great savings in the entire store are being offered (hunting and fishing) as well as a store full of vendors and seminars for the entire family....not to be missed. One of the biggest shows in northern NJ that has gained tremendous popularity over the past few years. Store manager, Marty Brennan, has done a masterful job assembling vendors from all over the tri-state area.

FlukeI will be giving a seminar on "Bucktailing for Fluke" at 10:00 am covering many topics for both the beginner as well as the veteran angler.

For those attending, I will be giving away a 6 hour Open Boat Gift Certificate, valued at $140, to a lucky person. Seating is somewhat limited, so get there early for this informative seminar and maybe win a trip for Summer Flounder.

Mark your calendar now and don't delay. See you at Ramsey Outdoor on the 22nd.

Tight Lines,
Capt. John and Crew

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arters Sandy Hook, NJ