One of the largest flounder ever caught "other than boat" in the state may have been in Absecon Inlet on Sunday afternoon.
Phil Todd was urged by his 10-year-old son, Phil "P.J." Todd, to take him on a Father's Day fishing outing. It sure turned into a celebration when the 42-year-old Todd hooked into a 17-pound flounder.
Curt Riccardi measured it at a full 3 feet in length at Offshore Enterprises tackle shop in Atlantic City.
Todd said he and his son first tried the beach in front of Harrah's Resort and Golden Nugget Atlan-tic City but did not do anything there. So Todd drove over to the area between the William "Bill" Demones Jr. Atlantic City Seawall Fishing Complex and the end of the old Atlantic City Boardwalk. Just after noon, Todd rigged a big minnow, cast it out about 40 feet off the bank and rocks there, and the doormat was taken in by the old "big bait, big fish" trick.
"She was beat," Todd said of the fish when he got it on land.
Todd moved from Cape Cod, Mass., to Egg Harbor Township in January 2000. He owns Phencemen, a fencing company with headquarters in Absecon. He fished in Cape Cod, where his biggest fish ever was a 34-pound striped bass.
He said that since he started the business he has less time to go fishing. So when his son started to talk about it, he thought it was a great idea, and that's just what it turned out to be.
The 17-pounder wipes out The Press Fishing Contest Other Than Boat record of 16 pounds, 8 ounces set in 1973 by Stan Staniszewski of Phila-delphia. The Press Fishing Contest and New Jersey State record is 19 pounds, 12 ounces and was established way back in 1953 by Walter Lubin while fishing off Cape May. Lubin's record is the oldest on The Press Fishing Contest books.
It is obvious the wind that seems to have been blowing for forever did not entirely shut down local fishing. Other back-bay catches were very decent over the weekend.
Rob Barrett weighed in flounder all weekend at Dolfin Dock in Somers Point and continued to do so early Monday.
Bob Maurer of Marmora was on a hot streak that began Saturday and continued Sunday and Monday. By 9 a.m. Monday, Barrett already had put a 6-pound flounder on the scales for Maurer, who also caught a 4.23-pounder Sunday and a 5.53-pounder Saturday.
Barrett registered a 4.72-pound flounder for Gene Doebley of Somers Point and a 3.92-pound flounder caught by John Kelly of Ocean City.
Barrett said Maurer was fishing just off the Crab Trap in Somers Point and other flounder were taken out toward Rainbow Channel between there and Ocean City.
They were not the only big flounder hooked up recently.
Nino Aversa from Williams-town was fishing on his boat El Nino in the back bays of Wildwood and breezed into Sterling Harbor Marina in Wildwood with a 5-10 flounder caught on bucktail with mackerel.
Dad's Place in North Wildwood had a 4-pound flounder come back on one of the rentals boats Sunday. Mary Anne Anagnou said from Dad's Place that a family from Gladwyne, Pa., went out despite the wind at 9:30 a.m. The family soon gave up and was back at the dock by 12:30 p.m. but at least had one nice keeper for its efforts.
A report from Frank's Boat Rentals in Strathmere included one of the heaviest flounder of the recent batch. Lena, Ryan and Ken Stuck from Harrisburg, Pa., racked up four keepers on a windy Wednesday fishing in the back bays there. Lena had a 7-pound, 1-ounce flounder.
Another four-bagger was registered during the week at Frank's by Tom and John Fala from Warminster, Pa.
Jim's Bait and Tackle in Cape May weighed a 6.99-pound flounder that was the first one ever caught by 12-year-old Justin Cambridge, who was visiting from Austin, Texas.
Dolfin also weighed a long needlefish caught Sunday in Rainbow by Matt Cruse of Egg Harbor Township. It weighed 2.33 pounds and was 38 inches in length. Cruse was using a Gulp for bait on a light bucktail and said the needlefish "jumped like a tarpon," according to Barrett.
That one will go into the Most Unusual Division of The Press Fishing Contest, mainly because of the snake-like length. The Press Fishing Contest record for needlefish is 5 pounds from 1993.
These nice flounder reported recently are timely be-cause four tournaments are coming up Saturday:
•The South Jersey Carpenter's Flounder Pounder signup fee is $20 at Chestnut Neck Boat Yard in Port Republic, Absecon Bay Sportsman Center in Absecon, North Point Marina in Brigantine and Dolfin Dock. Call Lee Scanny 609-653-8995.
•The Ocean City Exchange Club has flounder and bluefish for $175 per boat. Call 609-398-7199, 609-399-3889 or 609-437-3388. A captain's meeting is 7 p.m. Friday at All-Seasons Marina in Marmora.
•The Brigantine American Legion Post 396 runs a flounder contest that is open to the public. Register for $60 - four to a boat - after 11 a.m. daily at the Legion, 3218 W. Brigantine Ave. Call 609-266-0432 or 609-264-0631.
•The Brutus Fluke registration is $25 a person up to 9 p.m. Friday at Somers Point VFW Post 2189, 500 Bethel Road, where a captain's meet is set for 6 p.m. that day. Call 609-513-6219 or 609-412-7769.
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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 Tuesday and Saturday in sports and daily online. Call 609-350-0388 or email:
You can also hear Shep's Fishing reports Friday, Satur-day and Sunday at 6:05 and 9:45 a.m.and 7:05 p.m. on WOND 1400 AM and at PressofAtlanticCity.com