Each fishing season has its share of interesting and sometimes surprising catches.

The Margate father-son fishing crew of Barry, 67, and Evan, 30, Winokur fish for sharks out of Great Egg Inlet. On July 12, they were out in the ocean off Ocean City and caught a 4-foot hammerhead and an estimated 80-pound brown shark.

They release the sharks they catch.

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"The hooks come out of every single one," Evan said.

But they also hooked up with a houndfish that weighed 2½ pounds and was 38 inches long with a girth of 6½ inches when measured at Ray Scott's Dock in Margate. Evan is the angler of record for the entry into the Most Unusual Catch division of The Press Fishing Contest.

Evan said the fish jumped clear out of the water "six or seven" times. Houndfish are the needlefish that we sometimes hear bout leaping into boats - particularly toward lights at night - and impaling anglers, mostly in southern waters.

Interesting, for sure.

Mike O'Neill, captain of the Stray Cat charter/open boat docked at Seaview Harbor Marina in Great Egg Inlet, overslept until almost 5 a.m. Friday. A heavy overcast stopped the sun from shining through to help get him moving and the rainy conditions stopped him from getting out in the boat.

So he got a welcome day off from fishing. That's part of life for captains of charter and partyboats in the summer here in South Jersey.

O'Neill said fishing is not hot sometimes, but everyone he takes out is at least catching dinner. He said he is getting flounder, porgy, triggerfish and even kingfish on some of the inshore wrecks and reefs. They troll up some bluefish, and got into bonito a couple of weeks back before they disappeared.

He is using squid and clam to fish the wrecks and reefs, plus he said Fish-Bites artificial bloodworms are outfishing the real thing.

He said that the great tuna action they had at the canyons and Hot Dog has spread out, so the fish are harder to find after a long ride offshore.

O'Neill said he had an experience that surely fits into the unusual category. He said he watched "thousands" of brown sharks boiling around the boat. He said he did not know what was going on.

Emil Conti of Ventnor wanted to fish the Angler's Club Fishing Pier in Margate on Friday morning but got soaked by a rainstorm going from the car to the pier. So he went back home and got wet again going from the car to his residence. On the second try later in the day, he made it. And he said after one of the rain squalls stopped, he caught some nice-size bluefish along, as did other club members, some of whom toughed it out on the pier while also getting wet in the rain.

On Thursday, Mike Hurchik said the water around the Ventnor City Fishing Pier was thick with spot. On Friday, he said that same area was thick with grass. They caught some kingfish Thursday but on Friday they got one. The spot were still in there, however, so the rain and building surf did not chase them.

"Scott" Scott said it was "pretty nice" out when he answered the phone Friday morning at Ray

He said that despite the threatening-looking conditions, he had two rental boats out. Scott said there was a light northeast breeze that was nice and cool.

He also said that dock tenant David Rubin caught and released a tiger shark off Great Egg Inlet. And Scott said he saw what he guessed to be 3- to 4-foot brown sharks finning on the surface recently while he was out on his boat in GE Inlet.

The surf at Long Beach Island has a lot of things going on, including flounder, kingfish and small bluefish. Eddie Johnston and David Smith, who both work at Oceanside Bait and Tackle in Brighton Beach, went surf-fishing Thursday down the street from the shop and picked off 17 kingfish in an hour, according to Johnston.

He also said brown sharks are taking chunks of bunker.

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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


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:

Fish for kingfish, flounder and small bluefish in the surf at Brighton Beach on Long Beach Island. Bloodworm and Fish-Bites take the kingfish, try cut bait for blues, and teaser rigs with cut bait or Gulp for flounder.

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