The crew of the Reel Class have things in common. Two of them: They love to fish and their husbands are not too big on it. Sue Kennedy of Riverton, Kathi Manaham of Hammonton and Dawn Pizzo of Marlton got noticed last week when they racked up a rare excellent keeper ratio on flounder. They were fishing at Intracoastal Waterway 110 in the back bay off the white tower in Holgate when they had five legal flounder in a catch of seven total.
The catch was reported by Margaret O'Brien at Jingle's Bait and Tackle in Beach Haven. Flounder fans and anybody following these fishing reports know that is an unusually high score.
The three friends don't do that every time, of course. When contacted for this story, they had just come off the water with no keepers among 25 or 30. The day before, they had one keeper.
Kennedy is a retired teacher and was the field hockey and softball coach at Maple Shade High School. Pizzo was her assistant coach. Manaham and Kennedy go back 40 years, to when they were students at Shepherd College in West Virginia.
They trailer a 21 1/2-foot Sea Hunt cuddy cabin to Beach Haven, where Kennedy's aunt has a house. They fish just about every day when they are there, 3-4 days a week Kennedy said. She is captain and fish-cleaner, Manaham handles the duties of first mate, and Pizzo takes care of getting the bait.
They started fishing together 15 years ago with a 17-foot Boston Whaler. Then they went to an 18-foot Whaler. The name Reel Class is not on the Sea Hunt, but that's what Kennedy called it because of her teaching and coaching background.
Kennedy said their husbands are great and supportive of their love of fishing, and occasionally join them on a trip. "But we are really into it," Kennedy said. "We just think it's great being out there on the water and in the open air."
On Tuesday, they were waiting for high tide to go back out for another drift. When they catch fish, the end of the day routine is simple: Clean the fish, put them on the grill and eat them.
The annual Longreach Marina Youth Fishing Tournament will be Aug. 13. It is for anglers age 13 and under with flounder and weakfish divisions. First- and second-place prizes are $100 and $50 savings bonds, and $25 gift certificates for third. The entry fee is $10. Pat Harris at Longreach, which is located on the Maurice River in Port Norris, said no contestant leaves without a prize, plus there are drawings for a girls and boys bicycles. Call 856-785-1818.
The signup date is July 26 for the 23rd annual Avalon Offshore Open based at Avalon Sport Fishing Center. The July 29-Aug. 1 tournament is a release-only points system for marlin. Tuna and mahi will be weighed at Moran's Dockside. Captains compete for plaques and choose one of three days to fish. The captain's meeting is 6 p.m. July 28 at Moran's. Call 609-368-1321.
Scott Newhall earned heaviest flounder at 8.89 pounds and heaviest three for 19.87 pounds in the Absecon Saltwater Sportsmen's tournament Saturday. Steve Amato was second for three heaviest flounder at 12.11 and won bluefish with 2.21 heaviest and 6-pound total. Craig Hurless was third flounder at 11.9 and second bluefish at 2.18. Mark Balesteri caught a 3.87 weakfish, Mike Wrobel was second at 2.5 and Dave Williams third at 2.41
The purpose of the tournament, according to Carl Wilson, is to raise funds for a Field Of Dreams fishing trip Aug. 16 on Fish Finder partyboat.
Long Beach Island/Great Bay
Fish for flounder at Intracoastal 109 and 110 behind southern end of Long Beach Island and out in Middle Grounds. Minnows on white feather flounder rigs is one way to catch flounder. Chestnut Neck Boat Yard in Port Republic weighed a 4 1/2-pound weakfish and a couple smaller ones. The Carolyn Ann III partyboat out of Barnegat Light continues to report sea bass and flounder. One recent pool winner was a 5.2-pound sea bass, while flounder winners were in the 4-pound range. Friday, Carolyn Ann III starts a schedule of two-hour trips 8 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Tautog and triggerfish are around T-Jetty in Atlantic City with small croaker. Absecon Inlet has flounder mostly under the 18-inch limit, but Dave Showell at Absecon Bay Sportsman Center in Absecon says more keepers are showing. Try inside Great Egg Inlet - Ship Channel and Risley Channel, and behind Longport and Margate - for flounder with top and bottom rigs, single-hook rigs and bucktails with minnows, spearing, mackerel, squid and Gulp. Kingfish are scattered along the beaches. Cast to the second wave out while fishing around Vermont and Massachusetts jetties and Albany Avenue beach with bloodworm and Fish-Bites.
Cape May County
Tog and triggerfish are at 8th Street Jetty in Avalon mixed with flounder and kingfish. Green crab and clam for tog and triggerfish. A 2.94 triggerfish was caught at the rocks near Townsend Inlet Bridge. Hereford Inlet at North Wildwood and Grassy Sound have given up nice flounder, including one that weighed 7-14. Try Gulp swimming minnow on a jig for flounder. Croaker are in the surf with kingfish at Cape May Point. An 11-pound sheepshead was caught off Cold Spring Inlet jetty in Cape May. Kingfish are scattered along the beaches. It's bloodworm and Fish-Bites here, too.
Longreach Marina reported flounder are more spread out with fish north and south of Maurice River and right off at No.1. Steve and Dennis Weaver had seven keepers to 21 inches and Larry Abraham and Len Raymond, Pittsgrove Township, had three keepers and a lot of throwbacks. Brown Shoal, Reef Site 6, No. 9 and 10, Brandywine and No. 16 are other flounder spots. Croaker may be arriving. Miss Chris partyboat in Cape May fished off Delaware and reported 30 croaker per angler three nights in a row.
Marlin, tuna and mahi have been at canyons Wilmington north to Carteret and between at Spencer and Lindenkohl, and along 100-Fathom Line. A 30-pound mahi was caught at Wilmington. A report from Jim's Bait and Tackle said yellowfin tuna turned on Saturday at Baltimore Canyon. Troll ballyhoo plain or with skirts, green machines and spreader bars. Inshore lumps sometimes have mahi, little tunny, bonito and small blues. A 7-5 flounder and an 11-13 blue were caught at Great Egg Reef.