It’s a game-changer.

Dave Showell at Absecon Bay Sportsman Center in Absecon said the thick population of spot that is filling up the back bays, inlets and spread throughout the surf is keeping — and should continue to keep — bigger flounder around.

Spot is a bait fish that just about all other fish enjoy.

It almost can be as much fun catching spot to use for bait as it is to catch the fish they attract.

But to keep spot alive and lively, a lot of other equipment is needed, such as aerated tanks, plus Sabiki rigs, bloodworms or small pieces of Fish-Bites.

It seems just as easy to cruise into a local bait and tackle shop or marina and buy them.

Showell took a ride over to Brigantine beach and cast-netted hundreds of spot for the shop. He said Friday that there are “more and more” around every day.

“Scott” Scott at Ray Scott’s Dock in Margate cast-netted spot for personal use. He said he was going to keep some and grow them so he can have them for the fall run of striped bass.

There are “tons” of spot in the surf of Absecon Island, he said Friday.

Linda Davoli of Brigantine has a couple of favorite locations where she catches spot on rod and reel.

She buckets a dozen or so, and keeps them fresh in the live well of her new boat and uses them to “blister” flounder in Absecon Inlet.

On Thursday, just before an evening drift that resulted in flounder and bluefish, she was catching spot she said had grown an inch in the couple of days since the last time she fished for them.

Showell said the spot he has been getting are 3 to 5 inches and perfect flounder bait.

The flounder are resident all the way in the back bays and well out into Absecon Inlet, and the inshore waters, Showell said. He also said you will catch more fish an hour before and an hour after high water than you will the rest of the day.

Sounds like he is advising a surgical strike with nothing but spot for bait.But he said a couple of local anglers used 3-inch Gulp for bait and also caught. Tony Pagano of Hammonton, for example, had four keepers, including one that weighed 61/2 pounds and the three others were all between 3 and 4 pounds.

Scott said they had another 4-pound flounder this week on a rental in the back bays of Margate.

He said to try for flounder in the usual locations such as Methodist Ditch and Risley Channel plus on the inlet side of the Longport Bridge.

He also reported that one skipper tried inshore for flounder Thursday, and fought a strong current to catch nothing.

He said in addition to spot, minnows and spearing are working.

Noel Feliciano at One-Stop Bait and Tackle in Atlantic City said another good flounder drift in Absecon Inlet is just off the old Hackney’s and Capt. Starn’s locations.

That is an inside channel off the ocean side of the William “Bill” Demones Jr. Fishing Complex near Gardner’s Basin in Atlantic City.

Just to show that spot seem to be everywhere, Jim Moran reported from Moran’s Dockside that there are “acres and acres” of them in the Avalon back waters.

He said Friday that he can’t imagine what the bottom of the channel there looks like because it is “inundated with them.

He said the stretch of water off the Avalon Yacht Club is the best inside Townsends Inlet for flounder. He said it was a “mob scene” there Thursday.

There are a number of reports about flounder on the inshore reefs from Garden State South off Ocean County to Cape May. Some have triggerfish.

Offshore fishing is more at the Hot Dog, two hours from Cape May, and the lumps to the south for bluefin and yellowfin tuna.

Don Brown reported from Captain Andy’s Marina that Bill Lewis of Galloway Township cranked up a 49-pound, 14-ounce tilefish while fishing on John Baumgardner’s Unanimous. That was at Wilmington Canyon.

Brown said the same crew was out in the deep again Friday.

Moran said the Avalon Sportfishing center was empty of all the charter and sportfish craft Friday because there is a major tuna bite going on at the Hot Dog. Everyone is at the Dog,” he said. He said it is a daytime chunk and jig and live bait action. And, he said, the same bait that attracts flounder in the back bays also entice tuna offshore. And that is, you guessed it, spot.

Moran runs a popular big-game tournament, and this is the 25th year for it. The Avalon Offshore is July 25-28. It has divisions for billfish, tuna and dolphin.

The cost is $400 before July 16 and $450 after. The captain’s meeting is 7 p.m. July 25 on the deck at Avalon Sportfishing Center. Call 609-368-1321.

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Mike Shepherd is the retired sports editor of The Press. His Shep on Fishing column and Shep’s Hot Spot appear Tuesdays and Saturdays in the sports section and daily on-line. Call 609-350-0388 or email

You can also hear Shep’s on-air fishing reports Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 6:05 a.m., 9:45 a.m. and 7:05 p.m. on WOND 1400 AM and on our website: