Mike Shepherd

Vernon Ogrodnek

September almost ... already?

We are one month from the end of The Press Fishing Contest on Sept. 28, and we got some really cool entries recently, topped by four cobia.

Three of them first hit the column Saturday with a 66-pounder caught by John German of South Dennis and a 48-pounder for Gary Twiggs of Cape May Court House. That was the Aug. 19 run that had German taking a break from his own charterboat Fast Pace to fish with Twiggs on his boat Blind Luck. Moran's Dockside in Avalon certified them for the contest and reported they were caught trolling at 3FB. German's cobia was 57 inches in length.

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A third cobia also was weighed and measured at Moran's and entered into the Women's Division. It was 34 pounds and 43 inches long, and was caught by Denise Marie Theiler of Little Egg Harbor Township on Al Crudele's Reel Calm. This one was caught at Sea Isle Lump, also on Aug. 19.

The other cobia Press Contest entry was from Chris Bieberbach of Cherry Hill. It weighed 50 pounds and was caught on a bucktail at Ocean City Reef. Captain Andy's Marina in Margate was the weighstation for the Aug. 17 catch.

During a check to see if any other cobia hit the scales over the weekend, what seems to be an oddity surfaced. Moran's has a Press Fishing Contest entry on the way from Mary Thomas of Jupiter, Fla. It is a 16.8-pound codfish caught Friday at Deep Water Reef.

Cod and cobia seem an odd combination for South Jersey in the warm waters of late August.

Back-bay and inlet flounder fishing seem to be having a late-August rally in some areas, while in others blowfish are taking up residence where flounder are scarce.

Grassy Sound Marina in North Wildwood has seen some bigger flounder come from the back bays there, according to Debbie Mooers.

Ray Kaminsky of Philadel-phia had a 5.6-pound flounder at Turtle Creek on the top of the tide. Rick Ahlum of Mays Landing picked a 4-pound-er near the North Wildwood bridge. Charlie Chabot of North Cape May got a 4.75-pound flounder near the Stone Harbor bridge. Mooers said they all took minnows.

Frank's Boat Rentals in Strathmere had a similar back-bay report. The mother-daughter team of Mia and Attalia Randolph of Blackwood had an 18-inch flounder, and 9-year-old Ciera Schultz of Hatboro, Pa., had an 18-inch flounder.

Margaret O'Brien at Jingle's Bait and Tackle in North Beach Haven said blowfish are hugging the east channel in 6-8 feet of water in the bay behind Long Beach Island from Holgate toward Little Egg. Anchor up with a clam chum pot and small pieces of clam on small hooks. Pat Damiani at Polly's Dock in Beach Haven pointed to Middle Grounds and behind Parker Island. He said to use Sabiki rigs with clam.

Flounder continue to be plentiful on the reefs and wrecks inshore and in the inlets, and at Reef Site 11 and Old Grounds on the south side of Delaware Bay.

Sterling Harbor Marina in Wildwood weighed a 7-11 flounder for Mike Sheller of Wildwood caught at Reef Site 11 on Rob Ferrante's Schming out of Wildwood. Frank Hennigan on Avalanche out of Wildwood had nine keepers to 2 inches, according to Cathy Algard at Sterling Harbor.

Frank Heins fished Great Egg Inlet early last week and had five keepers, and he went back Friday and connected with a 6-pound flounder on K's Krew. Brennan Marine in Somers Point reported he used Gulp as bait.

Frank Stever of Margate picked a 5-pound flounder off the Ocean City Reef, reports Rob Barrett at Dolfin Dock in Somers Point.

Howard Sefton at Capt. Howard's Bait and Tackle in Egg Harbor City said one of his regulars - Paul Booli-Man of Philadelphia - caught weakfish to 3 pounds, "quite a few" keeper flounder and 20 bluefish in the 15- to 18-inch range. Sefton reported Booli-Man was fishing a few miles off Atlantic City.

Algard took a back-bay excursion herself on a Hobie Mirage Pro Angler Kayak and hooked into a 38-inch striped bass. Barrett also reported that Brenda Szemis of Egg Harbor Township racked up a 3-pound tautog and a 4-pound triggerfish while fishing the rocks and pilings at Seaview Harbor Marina in Great Egg Inlet.

Tournament action starts to switch back to surf fishing with the 45th Ocean City Invitational on Sept. 15. It is sponsored by the Ocean City Fishing Club and the Ocean City Recreation Department. It is an Association of Surf Anglers event open to teams and individuals. Registration is $50 per team and $10 for individuals. Four-wheel-drive beach-access permits are available at registration. Last year, 25 teams and 49 individuals competed. Call Mike Hayes at 856-466-9546.

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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 online. Call 609-350-0388 or email sheponfishing@yahoo.com.

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:


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