Variety seems to be an appropriate way to describe fishing in South Jersey.
Avalon Shoals, Table Top and Peacock Shoals, off Cape May County, were once known as good spots to catch bluefish. Mike Cunningham at Sea Isle City Bait and Tackle said Friday the hot thing going on there now is sharks. He said brown, black-tip and dusky sharks are relatively easy to catch. Cunningham is setting crews up with simple, easy to handle rigs: 100-pound test cable line, 9/0 Gamagatsu hooks and mackerel filet. He said you don’t need any weight. Just rig up a couple of lines and feed them out. Some are putting out chum to help get the action started.
He said it usually does not take more than a half-hour to entice the first shark to the bait.
Then it can get pretty busy with a fish nosing around every half hour or so. They are all being released live, Cunningham said. The fish can weigh from 30 to 60 pounds with the black tip sharks occasionally hitting 100 pounds.
Don Brown reported from Capt. Andy’s Marina in Margate that nighttime tuna chunking at the canyons has started up.
Roy Parker, who runs the Bad Influence from Great Egg Inlet, hooked up with 16 yellowfin tuna to keep 12 on the chunk at Wilmington Canyon on Wednesday night into Thursday.
Kingfish, a favorite of surfcasters, pier anglers and rock jockeys, have been here one day, gone the next and back again. Now there seems to be more of a sustained presence of the small but tasty kingfish along some beaches in South Jersey.
Pat Curran said Friday from Ventnor City Fishing Pier that they have a “windfall” of kingfish. The piermaster said they are not only killing kingfish but they are getting keeper weakfish, too.
She said the action has been steady at high water with the bigger but fewer kings moving in closer to the beach breakers and smaller but more plentiful kings off the end of the pier. It has been building there for a week or so.
She said snapper bluefish have been cruising around the past couple of days.
Emile Conte of Ventnor is a member of the Anglers Club Fishing Pier in Margate, and he said they were catching 14-to 15-inch bluefish on the pier midday Friday.
Richard Coles is a supervisor at the Atlantic City Municipal Utilities Authority water pumping station in Pleasantville. He’s been busy lately after the storm, so he has not had much fishing time. He was going for kingfish after work Friday. The Pleasantville resident has caught a few kingfish from the Ventnor Pier and the Brigantine Jetty.
Charlie Ulrick of Ocean City has grandsons Scott, age 10, and Ryan Ulrick, age 8, down from Churchville, Pa. The 18-year member of the Ocean City Fishing Club had them out on the club fishing pier Friday morning, and Scott had just caught the first kingfish of the day around 10 a.m.
Ulrick said the fishing around the pier has been spotty, so he has been going to the beach at 18th Street in O.C. and they have been racking up 2-3 kingfish and dozens of sea perch to keep the boys busy. Ulrick said pier anglers have been averaging 2-3 kingfish.
Frank Howardell, a veteran surfcaster on the Brigantine beaches, gave up on kingfish a couple of weeks back. He has caught a couple of flounder in the surf. He was painting his house in Brigantine despite the heat Friday.
A report from Jersey Bait and Tackle put kingfish out front in the surf on the north end of North Wildwood and in Hereford Inlet.
Triggerfish seem to be spread out from the wrecks and reefs in 50 feet of water to the inlets.
They are sometimes combined with flounder and sea bass on some of the artificial reefs.
The Sea Isle Lumps have them and other wrecks and shoals in the 50 feet of water range. The rocks inside Hereford at North Wildwood also have triggerfish.
Several recent entries for The Press Fishing Contest reflect the variety.
Timothy Lehman of Avalon certified a 101.8-pound bigeye tuna at Moran’s Dockside. It was caught at Wilmington Canyon on June 24.
Rodger Leeds of Ocean City is a dedicated fly-fisher.
He caught a 24-pound, 8-ounce striped bass fly-fishing Great Egg Harbor Bay, also on June 24. It was registered at Fin-Atics in Ocean City. Mike Simrell of Scranton, Pa., caught an 8.79-pound flounder at Townsend Inlet Reef. Moran’s entered it in the Youth Division. Griffin Kilgore of Schwenksville, Pa., got a 3.93-pound triggerfish at Wildwood Reef. Moran’s also handled the Youth Division weigh-in on June 26.
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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 on-line. Call 609-350-0388 or email
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