Inshore trolling adds to the fishing scene when mahi mahi move in closer to the beaches to mix it up with bluefish and bonito - and sometimes tuna. Almost all of the reports received lately mentionedmahi mahi (dolphin), including one about a 35-pounder caught 6 miles off the beach.
Clint Clement, captain of the Common Sense charterboat that operates from South Jersey Marina in Cape May, took a group from Green Holly Camp Ground in Cape May Court House headed by Buddy Zimmerman to the edge of drop-offs of the 30-Fathom Line on Monday, Aug. 1. They trolled up 15 mahi.
The winner of the mahi title in the Avalon Offshore Open was 18-year-old Devin Johnson, of Avalon, with a 24-pounder, according to Jim Moran at Moran's Dockside in Avalon. Moran said this is the fourth time Johnson has won the mahi division, and he was fishing with Clement on Common Sense. The Avalon contest was held Thursday, July 28 to Saturday, July 30.
Clement said Tuesday, Aug. 2, that mixed-bag catches are common this time of year. A recent Common Sense inshore troll at 5-Fathom Bank off Cape May resulted in 3-pound bluefish, Spanish mackerel and bonito.
Don Brown said from Captain Andy's Marina in Margate that he has had reports of cobia and mahi moving in close to the beach off Great Egg Inlet. The warm water - 80 to 83 degrees in some stretches - is bringing them in.
He said mahi weighing 30 to 50 pounds are found from 3 miles out to the canyons. Brown said smaller mahi and cobia hang near debris or pots. He said start looking for them at the first lobster pots off Atlantic City. Troll close to pots, and weed lines and debris such as floating buckets or wood with tuna clones, small feathers and white bucktails.
Brown said cobia take live bait such as eels and cut bait. He said they sometimes act like sharks and come right up to the "motor." He said it is sight fishing for cobia, meaning you have to look for them and take your shot at them when you see them.
Brown said three of the charterboats that are part of the emerging Margate Fishing Center fleet are fishing regularly for mahi, tuna and marlin out of Captain Andy's - Steve Bent on Free Spirit, Eric Jefferis on O'Beth and Norman Brooks on Darlyn Marlyn.
Brown said yellowfin tuna in the 20- to 30-pound class and 50- to 60-pound bluefin tuna and larger mahi are showing up along the 20- and 30-Fathom lines at The Cigar, Elephant's Trunk and Lobster Claw
Alex Sacchetti reported from Bayside Marina in Brigantine that Max Lee of Brigantine caught a pair of 16-pound mahi Sunday, July 31, at Atlantic City Reef 14 miles off Absecon Inlet while fishing for flounder with minnows. Cathy Crossland, also of Bayside Marina, was fishing with husband Scott and Bob McGonigle at Lobster Claw on Sunday, July 31, and caught a mahi that was one foot shorter than she is.
White marlin rule at the canyons. Tommy Leehan reported from Offshore Enterprises in Atlantic City that he was with Jim Fowler on Tail Dancer at Lindenkohl Canyon on Sunday, July 31, when they tagged two white marlin and had two other knockdowns. Leehan said they had 82-degree water but no temperature breaks - and therefore no tuna - at Spencer Canyon and the 750 Square.
The 42nd annual Beach Haven Marlin & Tuna Club White Marlin Invitational that wrapped up Saturday, July 30, had a couple of big mahi entered. The Melina had the winner at 57.6 pounds and Still Smokin added a 47.7-pounder.