One week remains in The Press Fishing Contest, which coincides with the end of summer flounder season here in New Jersey. The contest and the flounder season are open through Friday, and closed as of 12:01 a.m. next Saturday.
Entries for the contest have not slowed while heading for the stretch run. We've had some neat catches qualify in the first couple of weeks of September.
Jim Moran mailed an entry for a 63-pound yellowfin tuna from Moran's Dockside in Avalon for the Youth Division for 12-year-old Michael Galdi of Avalon. It was caught Sept. 14 at Spencer Canyon on the boat Kimberly Joe. Jerry Ambrose of Telford, Pa., caught a 39-pound, 7-ounce mahi on the same day. It was weighed at Riptide Bait and Tackle in Brigantine. It was submitted online at presscontests.com with a great photo of the smiling angler and his beautiful catch.
The Press Fishing Contest has a couple of extra prizes other than the listed 10 categories to award. One entry that is a contender for a possible freshwater youth award is a 3-pound, 2-ounce pickerel caught by Cory Bennett of Egg Harbor City. Bennett caught it in Egg Harbor City Lake and certified at Capt. Howard's Bait and Tackle in Egg Harbor City.
Sea bass season
The sea bass season reopens Monday with a daily possession limit of 25 fish at 12½ inches. So, for a few days the sea bass and flounder seasons overlap. Almost like the "old days."
There have not been many opportunities to write about good fishing in Delaware Bay this season, but now is one of them.
Tim Smith, captain of the charterboat Bodacious out of Longreach Marina on Maurice River, had his best flounder day of the season Sunday with 13 keepers for his crew. He also anchored up and they caught weakfish. He said they were done by 4 p.m. and also had dozens of bluefish and small croaker. He said his favorite bait for all is freshly cut bait.
He said fishing in Flounder Alley south of Miah Maul in Delaware Bay is as "good as it has been in a long while."
Mike Hodges at Budd's Tackle in Villas said weakfish are the star attraction off Pierce's Point, Reed's Beach Higbee's Beach and down to Cape May Point. He said surfcasters wading and casting out and boat anglers anchored up off the second bar there are catching them with Fish-Bites in place of the hard-to-find shedder crab.
Hodges also said there are a lot of small croaker with them. Anglers are using Sabiki rigs to catch croaker and rigging them up to catch weakfish.
Hodges said Friday that Curtis O'Bryant of Villas and Dave Amos of Cape May have been catching weakfish at Cape May Point, also with Fish-Bites and fresh cut bait. Hodges said he has seen them with 3.3- and 2-pound plus weakfish.
Bluefish are putting on a little weight, which is to be expected with the plentiful schools of bait fish such as spot, mullet and peanut bunker.
Mary Ann Anagnou said two anglers fishing from Dad's Place Pier in North Wildwood picked off 14 bluefish weighing 2-5½ pounds, plus some kingfish. Edward Milnewicz of Bloomfield and Rich Zulla of New Allentown came back later and got more kingfish.
Margaret O'Brien at Jingle's Bait and Tackle posted the ocean temperature as 71 off Long Beach Island on the last day of summer. Surfcasters there needed 5-ounce weights to hold bottom and they were catching small blues.
Moran said there is a "ton" of mullet moving in the back bays of Avalon, and Valerie Zak posted from Oceanside Bait and Tackle in Brighton Beach that the mullet run along the front beach of Long Beach Island is "ridiculous." When the mullet start migrating like that, can the fall arrival of big striped bass and bluefish be far behind?
Small fish were keeping anglers cranking on the Brigantine beach this week. Andy Grossman at Riptide Bait and Tackle got out himself on Brigantine and caught 75 spot, some kingfish, small blues, puffers and pompano. He was using bloodworm and Fish-Bites.
The lineup for the Weekend at Kelly's Corner Pub Fishing Tournament has changed. Steve Jones said they are dropping striped bass and adding weakfish. The locals have been catching a lot of weakfish, so they held a meeting and adapted. Sign up for the flounder, bluefish and weakfish contest at Kelly's, 2721 Arctic Ave. in Atlantic City.
The tournament runs today and Sunday. Call 609-348-4925.
The 58th Long Beach Island Surf Fishing Classic is signing up surfcasters. It costs $30 to register at Jingle's Bait and Tackle in North Beach Haven, Oceanside Bait and Tackle in Brighton Beach, Fisherman's Headquarters in Ship Bottom and Surf City Bait and Tackle. This is a super eight-week community event from Oct. 2 to Dec. 2 with fishing for striped bass and bluefish from the beaches of Long Beach Island.
The grand prizes for heaviest striper and blue are $1,000. But there are other awards, including pizzas, car washes, T-shirts, hats and gift certificates.
Other cash awards: $400 two-week segment, $125 weekly, $50 weekend, $35 daily first and $25 daily second, $150 ladies and seniors and $100 weekly juvenile.
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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 p.m. on WOND 1400 AM and on our website: