Hot Spot

Fish for bluefish with cut or live mullet as bait from the beach at Holgate on Long Beach Island.

The weather has been spectacular, the kind of great weather many anglers and beachgoers wait for all year.

But fishing was kind of difficult over the weekend because seaweed, sometimes high winds and strong ocean currents played a role to start off fall.

Paul Thompson was in the ocean off the beach on the Cape May partyboat Porgy IV catching sea bass on a windy Monday with relatively calm ocean. The boat captain said he anchored rather than drifted the last couple of days because Sunday’s conditions were “windier” and sloppy and Monday’s wind was pushing the boat.

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He said there is a little nip in the air from a northwest wind and his customers are enjoying the trip and keeping busy picking sea bass, a couple of triggerfish, some porgy and a few flounder.

Thompson said there a lot of small sea bass and some nice ones, too. He expected to be able to send his customers home with dinner, but he may not see many 25-fish keeper sea bass limits Monday. Because he anchored, they have not caught many flounder with no keepers as of mid-day, he said.

The sea bass season is open again to Oct. 14 with a 12.5-inch limit.

Margaret O’Brien reported from Jingle’s Bait and Tackle in North Beach Haven that Tony Cuccinotto was down at the point in Holgate on Monday morning and reported catching six short flounder in the surf with cut mullet as bait. He and the rest of the Long Beach Island surf-fishing crew are catching a lot of bluefish, O’Brien said. She said fishing in the back bays or inshore over the weekend was tough going.

Dave Showell reported from Absecon Bay Sportsman Center in Absecon that long-time local angler Billy Lake had his usual success Monday morning. The Mays Landing resident had six keeper-size weakfish and one bluefish, so he had enough for dinner with the one keeper weakfish allowed and the blue. Showell said Lake had 16 weakfish recently, which was his best score in some time.

When the wind affects conditions elsewhere, back-bay fishing off Absecon often is viable. Showell said there are a lot of 16-inch weakfish but also some 20- to 22-inch fish in the catches. He said anglers are using the last of the shedder crab and Gulp with bottom rigs or bucktails.

Showell was out on the Brigantine beach netting mullet Monday morning, so was Linda Davoli of Brigantine. Showell said the mullet run is getting cranked up. He filled a 20-gallon bucket. Davoli said she was catching big kingfish on the north end recently, but the wind and current changed the beach where she was fishing.

Other anglers fishing near the south jetty in Brigantine on Monday were catching mainly small bluefish. On Sunday at high water, they were mainly getting splashed on that jetty.

Corey Solomon filed a report at Capt. Andy’s Marina in Margate that tautog and triggerfish are hugging some of the back-bay sod banks. He suggested Tog Island off the Margate Bridge and the rocks at Seaview Harbor Marina in Great Egg Inlet. It is a one-fish daily limit at 15 inches for tog.

In probably the last report of the season from Frank’s Boat Rentals in Strathmere, a nice catch was credited to Don Brown of Ambler, Pa. He had a 22-inch weakfish, a 29-inch striper and an 18-inch flounder. The report from Frank’s said weakfish in that Corson to Townsend Inlet back bays is the best its been in 7 or 8 years. Frank’s is shutting down Sunday.

Kelly’s Corner Pub Flounder Finale Weekend was afflicted with seaweed and wind, which made it a “challenge,” according to tournament official Steve Jones. The prize-winner from the weekend contest based in Atlantic City was taken by a 1.10-pound weakfish caught Saturday by Sonny Smith.

Jones emailed the results of the season-long Atlantic City flounder series. Dan Friel of Atlantic City took the honors this year with a 4.12-pound flounder caught May 26 on Bob Catalano’s Opera Ghost. Second and third were caught way back at the opening of the flounder season. Tom “Buzz” Smith of Atlantic City got a 4.03 flounder May 5 and George Pouleres got a 4.01 flounder May 6.

The proceeds of the weekend tournament went to the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation in memory of Joe “Bear” Clark and Michael Foley, according to Smith.

Another A.C.-based contest is the Atlantic City VFW Post 215 and Kelly’s Corner Pub striped bass weekends in November. Weighins are Saturday and Sundays starting Nov. 3. It has a one-time entry fee of $15 and proceeds benefit the Wounded Warriors and Veterans Haven, Smith said.

Here is another popular early November tournament to put on the calendar. The Jersey Shore Striper Tourn-ament based out of Sea Isle City is Nov. 9-11. It offers $2,000, $1,000 and $500 first-, second- and third-heaviest striper; $500, $350 and $200 in bluefish; $250 for youth 15-and under.

The entry fee is $250 for a boat with crew up to six and $40 individual land-based anglers. Call 609-778-8418.

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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

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:

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