Weakfish and black drumfish are great, flounder action is fair and big bluefish scarce, and blowfish are picking off bait intended for striped bass. Offshore, big sharks have appeared and sea bass are on the inshore wrecks and reefs. Kingfish and croaker plus spot are in the surf and also around the jetties.
That certainly is a nice variety, but as we all know, fishing is all weather-related in this spring of lousy conditions.
Mary Ann Shutz at Chestnut Neck Boat Yard said weakfish catches in the mouth of Mullica River can be described as normal. It always seems to be a home for weakfish this time of year. She just entered a 6.21-pound weakfish for Mike Williams of Egg Harbor City into The Press Fishing Contest.
Another weakfish weighing 9.2 was caught by Dan Pettit of Ocean City and weighed at Capt. Andy's Margate Sport Fishing Center.
Just about every reporting station from Great Bay to Delaware Bay described good weakfish action.
In fact, Matt Slobodjian's correspondence said it looked similar to the opening day of trout season in Pennslvania with wily weakfishers elbow-to-elbow Friday along the rocks in Hereford Inlet at North Wildwood. And he also directed weakfish fans to the rocks at Cape May Point and North Cape May.
Tammie Carbohn said Avalon Hodge-Podge weighed several weakfish in the 20- to 24-inch range. Tom Schultz of Maple Glen, Pa., picked off one that weighed 3.12 at 8th Street Jetty in Avalon and then moved over to Townsends Inlet and hooked into a 3.66-pound flounder.
Debbie Mooers at Grassy Sound Marina in North Wildwood reported Chip Gruff of Anglesea and Steve Wunder of Cape May Court House posted what she described as a "grand slam" with weakfish, flounder, striped bass and bluefish behind Stone Harbor. They were using home-made bucktails with herring as bait at slack tide.
Try for weakfish with Fin-S and Zoom with bucktails; and they float bloodworm and cut bait from the jetties.
Black drumfish really are moving up to the heavyweight division. Dan Stein of Fortescue hauled an 84-pound, 47-inch drum into Higbee's Marina in Fortescue, where Cliff Higbee entered it into the Senior Division of The Press Fishing Contest. That was caught last Tuesday.
Drum are on the Jersey side of Delaware Bay and they are biting night and day on fresh bunker. Anchor at Pin Top, Tussey Slough and now at the Oyster Beds.
Striped bass still are poking around South Jersey. Rich Jones of Plymouth Meeting, Pa., hauled a 32-striper up on the Grassy Sound fishing pier. He was out there with herring as bait on slack tide. Rick Botoff of Longport got a 16-pound striper Sunday, reported Robin Scott at Ray Scott's Dock in Margate.
There is no shortage of flounder in the back bays. What there does seem to be a lack of is anglers out there, probably mainly tied to the weather.
Scott said Monday that she had an angler, John Schiavo of Deptford, rent a pontoon deck boat and catch a keeper in the back bays one day and came back a couple of days later with his nephews and they went 4-for-4 with keepers. She said they were all 3-pounders.
Lots of "cookie cutters" that size, she said. And "nobody's bored" because the back-bay fans also are getting into sharks, skates, rays, blowfish and small bluefish.
Other significant flounder catches recently: Mary Connors of Absecon got a 5-pounder weighed at Absecon Bay Sportsman Center; Jim Simms caught a 6.72-pound flounder and Kathy Gallagher got a 3.16 flounder, both in Ship Channel and weighed at Brennan Marine in Somers Point.
The Carolyn Ann III partyboat out of Beach Haven reported good sea bass catches over the past week or so with 6-12 keepers per man not unusual. Jim's put sea bass on the wrecks in 120 feet of water and Sterling Harbor's report put them 10-30 miles off the beach.
And we wrap with the heaviest fish registered to date. It is a 467-pound thresher shark caught by Bill Miller on Miller Mania. Off the Hook Bait and Tackle at Hinch Marina certified it.
It's hectic keeping up with upcoming contests. South Jersey Marina in Cape May put the big-time South Jersey Shark Tournament off for a week due to last weekend's weather. The captain's meeting is Thursday and competition days are Friday and Saturday. Call 609-889-2400. The Brutus Fluke contest in the Somers Point area is Saturday. The headquarters for this 15th annual are the Elks Lodge on Somers Point-Mays Landing Road and the Somers Point American Legion 911. The contest supports charities that benefit veterans and handicapped children. The entry fee is $30 and the captain's meeting is at 6 p.m. Friday at the Elks Lodge. Call 609-513-6219 or 609-412-7769. The Polecats Stay in the Bay is also Saturday. This one has flounder, weakfish and bluefish heaviest-three divisions and registrations of $20 can be made 6 p.m. Thusday at Mott's Creek Inn. Call 442-2322.
And on June 22, we have the 26th Flounder Pounder run by Lee Scanny for Carpenters Local 255. It benefits the South Jersey Cancer Society. Entry forms are at Absecon Bay S.C., Chestnut Neck B.Y.; Dolfin Dock in Somers Point and North Point Marina in Brigantine. Call 609-653-8995.
And finally, Shep on Fishing on Air and Ray Scott's Dock in Margate will announce the winner of the first free back-bay fishing trip Saturday on Shep Talking Fishing on Air from 7-8 A.M. on 1400 AM WOND. There is still time to enter for the June drawing by Robin Scott: Call Shep on Talking Fishing on Air this Saturday at 609-927-1100 or Ray Scott's at 609-822-6819 or email:
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Mike Shepherd is the retired sports editor of The Press. His column appears Saturdays in the sports section. Call 609-350-0388 or email:
You also can hear Shep on 1400 AM from 7-8 a.m. Saturdays, plus reports Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 6:05 a.m., 9:45 a.m. and 7 p.m. on 1400 AM and on our website: