Flounder fishing in the surf is the best it has been in a long while on Long Beach Island.
Margaret O'Brien at Jingle's Bait and Tackle in North Beach Haven said Monday that over the past few days surfcasters have been connecting on just about every cast with some of them reporting hooking up with 100 fish from the beach along the sides of the jetties. O'Brien said there are 4-5 keepers in some of the anglers' hauls.
She reported that surfcasters are coming in to her shop using superlatives such as "amazing," "incredible," "epic" and "unbelievable" to describe what's going on there.
Keith Decker, of Califon, happened to be in Jingle's when the local scribe called, and O'Brien put him on the phone. He said he watched one surfcaster catch flounder "all day long" on Sunday. He got the fever from that experience and and was in the shop getting rigged out to try it himself.
O'Brien said to use a 1-ounce bucktail with a teaser and Gulp on both hooks. She said to cast out toward the end of one of the jetties from the wash and slowly retrieve the rig close to the rocks. Flounder might be laying near the jetties because of the ground swell and rough surf caused by the storms that are well offshore yet creating strong rip currents along the beachfront.
Valarie Zak at Oceanside Bait and Tackle in Brighton Beach confirmed O'Brien's assessment by also using the term "amazing" about the flounder fishing. Austin Pound of Beach Haven brought 5- and 3-pound flounder into Oceanside on Sunday. And Zak said another well-known local surfcaster, Steve Philpot, had four keepers in one hour's fishing.
Zak also affirmed the way to catch them is with a bucktail and teaser with Gulp on both hooks, and that the flounder are hugging in tight to the jetties. Zak added that the best time is incoming tide to high water.
Surf City Bait and Tackle had the same kinds of reports from surfcasters, including one from an unidentified angler who checked in with four keepers.
Zak said surfcasters are also "smashing" kingfish in the surf, and O'Brien put blowfish in the mix.
Meanwhile at the other end of the range, the intriguing news is that red drum have been sighted around Cape May Point.
Brandon Matejik of Levittown, Pa., caught a red drum that he reported to Sterling Harbor Marina in Wildwood. Matt Slobodjian reported from Jim's Bait and Tackle in Cape May that an "unusual" number of red drum have been seen swimming in schools past Cape May Point, and that they were mostly shorts. Red drum must be 18-27 inches to be legal with a daily possession limit of one fish.
Avalon Hodge-Podge reported the presence of a number of needlefish.
There is some stuff happening even though the winds and rains of the past week slowed things down considerably.
For example, Delaware Bay had some decent action recently. Eric Streahle at Longreach Marina on Maurice River said the locals tucked in close to get out of the winds and they had weakfish to go with flounder, kingfish and croaker. He said shedder crab has been picking up all three at No. 1 Buoy off the mouth of the river.
Tim Smith had a crew on board the charterboat Bodacious out of Longreach for a Friday and Saturday offshore overnighter. Streahle said they racked up 10 yellowfin tuna on the chunk.
That was not the only offshore action.
Brennan Marine in Somers Point reported Tim McBride took Bill Lacovara and Nuncie Sacco on a journey north to Hudson Canyon on Royal Flush and slammed seven yellowfin in the 70- to 80-pound class plus some mahi and a small mako chunking butterfish and sardines. Tim McGregor on Reel Maniacs also hit the Hudson on Saturday and returned with four yellowfin in the same 70- to 80-pound range.
Back-bay fishing also was slowed but not stopped.
The William B. Demones Jr. Atlantic City Fishing Center at the Seawall near Gardner's Basin is one of the best places anglers can fish in a strong easterly, like we had much of this past week.
Barbara and Elliott Hairston had some fine weather Saturday and some company with other anglers all enjoying the fishing and the impressive new-look at the much improved and renovated seawall. They were keeping busy and having some fun picking small bluefish on float rigs.
Now that the badges are out for the Sept. 24-Nov. 4 Atlantic County/Atlantic City Surf Fishing Derby, surfcasters with four-wheel drive vehicles can put Sept. 18 on the calendar. That's when you can start registering for beach-access permits. You need the $25 badge and valid license, registration and insurance to sign up at the Atlantic City engineer's office and at the police departments in Ventnor, Margate and Longport. You need a season beach-access permit in Brigantine.
Riptide Bait and Tackle in Brigantine runs a striper derby from Sept. 17 to Dec. 23 on the island between Absecon and Wreck inlets. It offers $500, $300 and $150 first-, second- and third-heaviest, plus $100 monthly and $25 weekly cash prizes. Call 609-264-0440.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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: