TackleDirect Blog

Northeast Bottom Brawl

Close-up of a cooler with a variety fish that have been caught

Some serious cooler-filling type of fishing has descended upon the New Jersey/New York Metro region.

I hopped on the party boat Dauntless out of Point Pleasant, NJ this past week on word that the bottomfishing has been lights out. It most certainly was. On tap were a smorgasbord of species, highlighted by red hake, (aka ling), cod, winter flounder and black sea bass. When I say it was drop-and-reel fishing, that’s no exaggeration.

Bottomfishing weaponry came in the form of Shimano Teramar TMCE70MH rods and Shimano Torium 16 reels, spooled with 50-pound Power Pro and a 8 foot top shot of 40-pound Triplefish leader. Ammunition came in the form of size 2/0 to 3/0 Gamakatsu Octopus hooks, rigged with Berkeley Gulp! 3-inch swimming Mullets and 2-inch Gulp! Alive Minnows as well as fresh clam baits cut in 1-inch pieces doused with FinEssence shrimp oil. 1-inch bits of clam claimed all the ling we could handle, while Gulp! Swimmin Minnows attracted most of the sea bass bites.

After swinging and missing on some rat-a-tat hits, I scaled down my baits to using clam ribbon strips and proceeded to connect with some absolutely huge winter flounder up to 5 pounds. To that mix were a couple of just keeper cod caught on the boat. All said and done, the cooler was filled with over 60 fish to bring home for fillets. Most of the action on keeper sea bass, flounder and ling started in about 85 feet of water but then we ended the day in about 140 feet where the ling were thick as thieves.

On any bottomfishing day out, be sure to bring along a throwaway cloth rag as baits and ling can get really sloppy and slimy. As well, a pair of Calcutta Needlenose pliers or a Dehooker makes for fast unfastening of fish either to return back to the water or into the cooler. If you want to fill the fridge with fillets for summer Bar-B-Ques, now’s the time.

Nick Honachefsky on a boat on a large boat holding three fish Angler on a large boat holding two fish Cooler with a variety fish that have been caught