The variety of species we get to enjoy fishing throughout the year in and around South Jersey is very impressive.
Right now, crabbing is great, and so is summer flounder fishing. Kingfish are improving for those who prefer to hug the back bays and beaches.
Sea bass were biting inshore to offshore right to Sunday’s Father’s Day finale of the 15-fish daily limit season. Striped bass and bluefish are in the mix, along with a run of quality weakfish.
Offshore reports describe bluefin, yellowfin and bigeye tuna from the canyons in the deep to closer well-known drops and a spread of blue water. Sharks are the heavyweights with 300-pound class makos and threshers weighed at marinas from Margate to Cape May.
The kids are out of school, Father’s Day already is in the rear view and summer is a day away. We are into our vacation and quality fishing mode with the Fourth of July in two weeks. Hard to believe.
One of the noteworthy catches among several the last few days is a striking-looking sheepshead that weighed 15 pounds for Ashley Edwards, of Chalfont, Pennsylvania, when weighed and photographed at Grassy Sound Marina in North Wildwood.
She caught it with green crab near the marina at the top of the tide. That sheepshead is awesome but still off the state record of 19-3 caught in Longport by William Catino. It won The Press Fishing Contest best-catch award in 2014.(tncms-asset)c0fd19a6-4fad-11e7-b73f-00163ec2aa77(/tncms-asset)
Summer flounder are prized by locals and vacationers, and it sounds from various reports that the fishing is very good.
“Too many weigh-ins to mention,” Avalon Hodge-Podge reported.
“All over the back bays,” noted the Grassy Sound report.
“Phenomenal” was the word from Ray Scott’s Dock in Margate.
They were bailing them over the weekend and into Monday in the Margate back bays despite windy conditions, Robin Scott reported.
Jenkins Sound, Turtle Creek and Shooters Island around Wildwood had them, and inside Townsends Inlet, too. Good flounder catches also were reported on the south side of Cape May Reef and Reef Site 11 and Old Grounds across Delaware Bay.
Youth fishers are getting into the groove.
This is about as young as you get.
Three-year-old Molly Henningan caught her first summer flounder while fishing with dad Frank in the back bays of Wildwood. It was 18.5 inches long.
Cathy Algard at Sterling Harbor Marina in Wildwood reported Frank and crew limited out with flounder to 5 pounds. They are from Glenmoore, Pennsylvania.
Jack Rech, an 8-year-old from Winscote, Pennsylvania, also caught his first-ever summer flounder, according to Jack Morrissey. It weighed 2.23 pounds at Whale Creek Marina.
Keegan Rothman, of Northfield, has been catching them up for years, and his latest was a 4-pound-plus sea robin that fishing partner and dad Dan said was the biggest he’s ever seen.
Reports of cool catches by youth segues right into a neat program set up for teens: the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association’s Junior Mates.
According to Jim Hutchinson, the first class is 7 p.m. Thursday at the Beach Haven Marlin & Tuna Club at 420 N. Pennsylvania Ave. in Beach Haven. Call captain John Lewis at 609-670-5980 for details.
Poorman’s and the Hot Dog are two of the well-known and colorfully named inshore drops that hold tuna, along with the more offshore canyons. Matt Slobodjian at Jim’s Bait and Tackle provided one report that sums it up.
A crew on the Cape May charter boat Common Sense worked Poorman’s on Thursday and had two bigeye tuna that dressed out at 113 and 89 pounds, a limit of bluefin tuna and three yellowfin tuna.
Here’s one more reminder about Tuesday’s captains meeting and registration for the Ladies Invitational Bluefish Tournament that starts Wednesday. It is back to a women’s-only crew of fishers. Call Kim Kirk at 609-412-0641 for details.(tncms-asset)772df7b0-4a39-11e7-bbff-00163ec2aa77(/tncms-asset)
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Mike Shepherd is the retired sports editor of The Press. His column appears in the Tuesday and Saturday print editions and online.