It is not too early to start setting up late summer and fall.
When the Mid-Atlantic $500,000 wraps Friday, Aug. 20 in Cape May, local offshore competition shifts to Atlantic City for the Tuna Stakes next week, Wednesday, Aug. 23 to 28.
This one has a lot of things going on, but is essentially a tuna contest with "added-skill" divisions. This contest has a satellite weigh station in Brielle.
Late registration at Atlantic City is noon to
3 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 22 at Hooters at Trump Marina, or 3 to 6 p.m. at Hoffman's Marina in Brielle on Saturday, Aug. 21. Both are followed by captain's meetings. The entry fee is $750.
The tournament carries a $10,000 purse with $2,000 prizes for heaviest bigeye, bluefin, yellowfin and longfin. The overall grand champion gets an invite to the 2011 IGFA world championship in Cabo San Lucas. Go to www.tunastakes.com for details.
Atlantic City Carpenters run a flounder, weakfish and bluefish South Jersey Cancer benefit Aug. 28. The entry fee is $20, and can be made at North Point Marina in Brigantine, Dolfin Dock in Somers Point, Chestnut Neck Boat Yard in Port Republic and Absecon Bay Sportsmen Center in Absecon. Call 609-345-0016 or 609-653-8995.
The Long Beach Island Surf Fishing Classic is Oct. 9 to Dec. 5, according to Margaret O'Brien at Jingle's Bait and Tackle in North Beach Haven. The eight-week tournament has four two-week segment prizes and overall grand prizes for striped bass and bluefish.
The Association of Surf Angling Club tour resumes Aug. 28 in Brigantine with the Men's Open. It is for boys 13 and younger and men 14 and older. Entry fee is $20 for men and $5 for boys. Registr-ation is 6 a.m. at Community Presbyterian Church of Brigantine, 1501 W. Brigantine Ave.
On Sept. 11, it's the Surf Jersey Surfcasters in Avalon Sept. 18 Ocean City Fishing Club and Sept. 25 with Long Beach Island Surf Fishing Club's 64th annual.
Tim Bailey on Lori Ann was a double winner in a fishing tournament out of Tuckerton that might have the longest name for any contest in this area. It is the Improved Order of Redmen Lodge 61 Family Fishing for Fun Triple Crown Tournament.
This contest is also unique for having a division for sea robin along with flounder and bluefish.
Bailey won bluefish with a 1.25-pound catch and sea robin with a 1.37-pounder for heaviest fish. Tom Lipton on Fixed It caught the heaviest flounder at 4.11 pounds.
There are less than three weeks left in the summer flounder season, which is open in the state through Sept. 6. Flounder fishing has remained much the same this season and aptly characterized by the phrase repeated over and over again: Lots of fish, few keepers.
The few exceptions are worth noting. Here's another. Sterling Harbor Marina Bait and Tackle Shop in Wildwood reported Frank Gregorio of Medford had a limit of six fish with the heaviest 8 pounds while fishing at Cape May Reef. Frank Sagen of Margate picked a 9.8 flounder also at the C.M. Reef.
More fish and more keepers seem to be migrating to the ocean on some of the reefs and wrecks, but backs bays still seem to have a ton.
A Fishermen's Memorial Service is Friday in Atlantic City with 5:30 p.m. mass at Our Lady Star of the Sea Church, 2641 Atlantic Ave. followed at 7 p.m. by a sunset service at Fishermen's Park, Rhode Island and Melrose avenues. Call 609-233-9774. Steve Jones is an organizer with Atlantic City 8th-Ward Councilman Dennis Mason. Jones said the service is in memory of Jeff Gianini, Steve Hayes and Ed Peterson lost at sea Aug. 20, 1999, and all recreational and commercial fishermen lost at sea.
1) Long Beach Island/Great Bay
A couple of 10-pound black drumfish caught in the mouth of Mullica River were a surprise when brought into Chestnut Neck Boat Yard in Port Republic. A 15 1/2-pound striped bass was caught in the same stretch of water. Kingfish have moved into back bays, including the Great Bay area. A run of 3-pound bluefish hit the surf on the south end of Long Beach Island for three straight days.
2) Atlantic County
Kingfish are in back bays of Great Egg and Absecon inlets, plus scattered throughout the surf sometimes mixed with spot. Anchor near a sand bar in the back waters and put out a clam chum pot. Use bloodworm, Fish-Bites, small pieces of clam, squid or shedder crab on small hooks for bait. Small to medium striped bass chase plugs and lures at dusk and dawn and under lights at night around bridges. Lots of flounder still in the back bays and inlets.
3) Cape May County
Pretty much the same here with kingfish in the surf and showing up in back bays, and many flounder. Croaker made an appearance at Eighth Street jetty in Avalon. Croaker like clam. Bait fish such as peanut bunker are in bays here. Striped bass are getting fat on them. Fish for bass at dusk, dawn and at night under lights with lures.
4) Delaware Bay
Croaker seem to have moved in off Maurice River. Shedder crab and clam take them. Bayshore Channel to off Cape May Point holds flounder. A few weakfish were reported by Sterling Harbor Marina Bait and Tackle.
Croaker moved into waters around Townsend Inlet. Try clam and bloodworm for bait on top and bottom rigs. Flounder are migrating to ocean reefs and wrecks. When ocean conditons improve, some decent fish should show up. Inshore trolling for bonito, Spanish mackerel, bluefish and small mahi is gaining steam. Boat captains troll small spoons, feathers and plugs. Offshore fishing has white and blue marlin, tuna and mahi at the canyons. Trolling ballyhoo and plastics have been the norm but chunking is starting.