Kingfish are improving in the surf throughout the area. When kingfish are biting, they add plenty to summertime fishing. Fred Hynes at Riptide Bait and Tackle said a surfcaster came in to the Brigantine shop at 7 a.m. Tuesday with a bucketful of kingfish as was headed back to Philadelphia.
Hynes said the angler was fishing that morning at the south end with bloodworm and Fish-Bites. Jim Moran was enjoying Tuesday's light easterly breeze at Moran's Dockside in Avalon as he reported the return of kingfish to Strathmere and around the Avalon Fishing Pier.John McLaughlin at Gibson's Bait and Tackle in Sea Isle City said there are a lot of kingfish in the surf there. He said they move up and down the beaches, so you have to keep up with them sometimes. Some surfcasters are getting 25-30 fish a day.
Anglers on the Ventnor City Fishing Pier got in on the kingfish action Monday night and Tuesday morning. Piermaster Emil Conti said the word spread and by Tuesday mid-day, he had 15 "dailies" (non-members who paid the daily fee) plus members out there on a beautiful day. It looked the old days he said.
Kingfish are in the surf right in the back of the wash around the ocean jetties in Atlantic City. Noel Feliciano at One-Stop Bait and Tackle in Atlantic City said they are catching croaker in there, too. Kingfish also are combined with croaker at Cape May Point, according to a report from Jim's Bait and Tackle in Cape May.
Ed Bronstein at Fin-Atics in Ocean City said this year is better for kingfish than last year. He had what he described as his best kingfish report in awhile: a surfcaster caught 10 Monday morning and went back in the evening for 15 more. Bronstein said that occurred on the south end of the island.
Surfcasters on Long Beach Island are catching a few more kingfish than they were, said Margaret O'Brien.
Aside from kingfish, surf-fishing on the southern end of Long Beach has an interesting feature. O'Brien said three anglers came into her Jingle's Bait and Tackle in North Beach Haven early this week to buy new fishing rods. That's because tough cownose rays broke two and carried the other one away. Those anglers were fishing for striped bass, which are scarce during the day in the summer heat.
Flounder fishing is really the best action in the surf, inlets and back bays of LBI. Sunday was a great flounder day. O'Brien had one angler report an excellent keeper ratio in the surf with three legal fish in a catch of 15 and another weigh in a 6-pounder from the beach.
Dave Showell at Absecon Bay Sportsman Center in Absecon believes a run of bigger flounder moved into Absecon Inlet. Bill Lake of Mays Landing racked up a rarity Monday when he got his limit of six keepers. Showell said they were between the 18-inch minimum and 21 inches. Lake reported most of the throwbacks were around 17 inches. Showell said Lake fishes for flounder a lot, he estimated 25-30 days this season, and the next-best day he had for keepers was three.
Showell had a couple of nice weighins recently. Dan Cloud came up from Jupiter, Fla. to swipe a 6 1/2 pounder on Sunday and 10-year-old Hunter Boney of Mays Landing got a 4 1/2 pounder. Chestnut Neck Boat Yard weighed a 7 1/2-pound flounder that John Montalvo caught inside Little Egg Inlet.
Great Bay/Long Beach Island
Margaret O'Brien, who owns Jingle's Bait and Tackle in North Beach Haven, has some advice for surfcasters on Long Beach Island in particular. "Fish for what's here and don't try for blue marlin in the surf." It seems some surfcasters are fishing for striped bass in the surf. They shy away from the sun during the day. Three surfcasters had to replace fishing rods, two broke and one went swimming, because cownose rays connected. Look for cuts in the sand bars and fish for flounder and kingfish. Flounder fishing is real good in the inlets, plus porgy showed up outside and triggerfish are in the back. Intracoastal 126 and the drop-offs inside Little Egg Inlet has flounder. Chestnut Neck in Port Republic said Garden South Reef has flounder. Crabbing is excellent in Mott's Creek and really everywhere in the back waters.
Kingfish are on beach pretty much everywhere, including Brigantine and oceanfront beaches of Atlantic City near jetties. Kingfish came back to Ventnor Fishing Pier. The pier was loaded with anglers and they caught kingfish Tuesday. Scott Robbins picked a 22-inch flounder from Brigantine surf. Fred Hynes at Riptide Bait and Tackle in Brigantine suggested using minnow on floating jig head for flounder in the surf. The back waters off Reed's Bay at marker 175 near Absecon gave up a rare limit of keeper flounder. Ship Channel, Anchorage Point and outside the Ocean City bridge is a good stretch for flounder. Joan Barrett related a story about a rental boat customer from Dolfin Dock in Somers Point who had a 19-inch keeper flounder in a cooler with no top, and heard a splash and saw an empty cooler. Looks like that fish got to live another day.
Cape May County
A surfcaster reported to Fin-Atics in Ocean City he caught 25 kingfish Monday on south end of O.C. There are lots of kingfish in the suds south of Ocean City from Strathmere, Sea Isle City, Avalon, North Wildwood to Cape May Point. Croaker were reported mixed with kings at Cape May. Small croaker and spike weakfish were combined with kingfish at Sea Isle, where some surfcasters are reporting 25-30 kingfish per outing. Triggerfish, tautog, kingfish and flounder have been around the 8th Street Jetty in Avalon. Here, like just about everywhere in the area, a ton of throwback flounder keep anglers busy in the back bays and inlets.
Flounder fans are going north, south and out of Maurice River searching for flounder. Old Grounds off Delaware and No. 9 and 10 buoys in Delaware have good flounder. Short drifts close to structure is the tactic at Old Grounds.
It looks like Tuesday was the day this week for big-game fishing. Jim Moran at Moran's Dockside said he has 20 boats entered in the Avalon Offshore Open that begins Thursday and runs to Aug. 1. This contest requires release of all billfish. Tuna and mahi weighins are 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. and open to the public at Avalon Sport Fishing Center. Beach Haven Marlin and Tuna Club's 41st White Marlin Open starts July 29, too. Fin-Atics in Ocean City weighed its biggest fish ever, according to Ed Bronstein. It was a 190-pound, five-foot long bigeye tuna caught by Jerry Coombs of Egg Harbor Township in a 20-foot boat at Lobster Claw, which is about 45 miles off. John McLaughlin, who works at Gibson's B&T in Sea Isle, pulled in a 15-pound mahi at Sea Isle Ridge. He said it took a skirted ballyhoo behind a teaser bird.