Now that flounder and sea bass seasons have opened, we have quite a variety of fishing in southern New Jersey. Striped bass continue to hang in, black drumfish are increasing, codfish are mixed with sea bass, bluefish are cruising, kingfish make an appearance once in a while and the first offshore action has been reported. And white perch remain in strength in the rivers and streams.
A lot of striped bass between 20 and 30 pounds filled the vacancy before sea bass and flounder opened, and they are still around with some bigger ones up to 40-pound plus.
Surfcasters on the Cape May beaches enjoyed another powerful run of striped bass Monday, May 31, and this one included at least one black drumfish This excellent fishery has been a happening for more than one month.
Jim's Bait and Tackle in Cape May weighed in two 45-pound stripers caught at the cove in Cape May on Monday, May 31. Plus, 12-year-old John Brittin Jr. of Marmora beached a 46-pound, 43-inch drum.
Robin Scott predicted before the opening weekend that anglers fishing for flounder would also catch other fish. Several of her rental-boat patrons picked striped bass.
Mary Ann Anagnou at Dad's Place in North Wildwood said Sunday, May 30, was a good day for anglers fishing her rental boats. One two-man crew boated four keepers. She said the first kingfish was caught on the Dad's Place pier.
Andy Grossman is getting worn out already at Riptide Bait and Tackle. One of the reasons is that they have been weighing some nice bass caught from the beach and in the ocean.
Jillian Cooke of Absecon fished the white water in a boat off Brigantine and tied into a 42-pound striped bass for one recent example.
Grossman also had one dedicated surfcaster work hard to catch kingfish. It was a long-casting effort that resulted in five.
A few scattered kingfish have been reported from Brigantine to Avalon, but that is not consistent yet.
June is always a busy tournament time, and several of the area's oldest and biggest are coming up.
The captain's meeting is 7 o'clock today (June 3) at the Brigantine Elks Lodge for Saturday's (June 5) Greater Atlantic Bluefish Tournament. The entry fee per boat is $250. This main event is in its 23rd season, and there is some added incentive with a flounder division. The entry for that division is $50 per boat.
Surf N Land Sportsman's Club holds its surfcasting contest Saturday (June 5) on Brigantine beach. Registration is $50 per 6-person team and $9 for individuals, plus a one-day, $10 four-wheel drive special-event permit is available.
The Townsend Inlet Fluke Tournament is also Saturday (June 5). It's a battle between anglers from Avalon vs. Sea Isle City. Entries are $20 at Larsen's Marina in Sea Isle, Pier 86 in Townsend Inlet and Moran's Dockside in Avalon.
The 11th Wendy Llewellyn Memorial is a just-for-women surf-fishing event June 12 at Brigantine. Registrations are 6-7 a.m. - $20 for experienced and $10 for novice - at the Presbyterian Church, 1501 Brigantine Ave. in Brigantine.
The Ladies Invitational Bluefish Tournament is June 19. Call 609-412-0641.
Atlantic City's Hooked on Fishing Not Drugs contest is June 19. It is a free fishing derby for Atlantic City residents. The registration deadline is June 11 and applications can be obtained at city schools or at the Atlantic City Police Athletic League, 250 N. New York Ave. Call 609-347-5504.
Jim's is running its shark tournament June 19. Mako take precedence, but thresher are eligible if there are no makos. Call Jim's at 609-884-3900.
The American Legion Post 396 is running a flounder tournament June 26 with several divisions: heaviest single fish with a $500 prize, three heaviest, ladies and children under 12 years of age. Entry forms can be picked up at the Post, 3218 W. Brigantine Blvd. Call 609-264-0631 or 266-0423.