Shep's Hot Spots
Long Beach Island/Great Bay: Sea bass are improving on inshore wrecks and reefs. Star Fish partyboat racked up 200 sea bass to 5.25 pounds Saturday morning, according to a report from Beach Haven Charter Boat Association. Miss Beach Haven had sea bass Sunday and the pool winner Saturday was a 7.5-pound flounder. A 5 1/2-pound sea bass took the prize recently on Carolyn Ann III out of Barnegat Light. Jingle's Bait and Tackle weighed a 7.12-pound bluefish and some bass, including the 49-6 pounder, a 19-pounder and one that measured 31 inches. Crabbing is good in the Mullica River area and elsewhere throughout the area. Mary Ann Schutz at Chestnut Neck Boat Yard in Port Republic said one crabber reported getting 80 keepers with a hand line.
Atlantic County: A 90-pound black drumfish caught Saturday evening by Eric Fluck of Allentown, Pa. at Brigantine jetty tops recent catches. Riptide Bait and Tackle in Brigantine also weighed in a couple of puppy drum. Kingfish are more consistent. Surfcasters are picking them along beaches and around Atlantic City's jetties. Plus piercasters at Ventnor and Margate fishing piers have them. Riptide weighed a 46-pound bass caught in Brigantine Inlet and another 38-pound bass. Back-bay flounder fishing is good. Simon Lively visiting Ray Scott's Dock in Margate from Athens, Ga. caught a 20-inch flounder and a 28-inch striped on a recent Margate bay trip. Bob Heins boated flounder that weighed 2.28, 1.84, 3.24, 2.34 off Somers Point, reports Brennan Marine in Somers Point. Absecon Inlet back waters also hold lots of flounder Try drifting from the windmills to Harrah's behind Atlantic City with minnows, spearing and squid. Steve Rich, Ventnor, got a 40-weight bass on the Margate pier.
Cape May County: They are still picking striped bass in the Cape May surf. Bass in the 33-inch class are taking clam and mackerel at Avalon. Justin Fesler of Cape May Court House had two keeper flounder fishing with Gulp from his kayak in Wildwood Crest back waters, according to a report from Sterling Harbor Bait and Tackle in Wildwood. The flounder keeper ratio recently improved in Avalon back bays. Jim Moran at Moran's Dockside in Avalon said it went from 1 keeper in 15 to 1 keeper in 10. Kingfish are showing in good numbers around the 8th Street Jetty in Avalon and over to Sea Isle City and Strathmere surf.
Delaware Bay: Flounder are off Maurice River, along with some black drumfish and bluefish. And one lonely weakfish was reported at Longreach Marina. The Old Grounds and Reef Site 11 off Delaware have decent flounder action. Jim's weighed an 8.54 flounder.
Offshore: Bluefin tuna are strong. Troll way, way back with ballyhoo and Ilanders and other skirts, and with small cedar plugs, feathers, spoons, spreader bars or Zucker's at Atlantic City Ridge, 28-Mile Wreck, Cigar, 19-Fathom Lump, Hambone, 20-Fathom Line. Big bluefish are at some of these same areas. Stretch 25s and Hootchies work on blues and sometimes bluefin attack them. Fish for sea bass at Atlantic City or Great Egg Reef and you might get flounder. Brennan Marine reported a yellowfin tuna at A.C. Ridge.