It was a good year for sizable flounder among entries for The Press of Atlantic City Fishing Contest, which ended its 60th year on Oct. 31 and wraps the season by announcing the winners.
Marco DiSario headed a list of anglers who racked up 17 summer flounder entries that topped 8 pounds.
The Williamstown resident bagged a 14.97-pound flounder on Aug. 21 It was certified for the contest at Moran's Dockside in Avalon.
Seven of those old-fashioned doormats went more than 10 pounds. And they were from all over the area.
The heaviest striped bass entered was caught way back on May 26 by Sean Hillegass of Rio Grande.
It was weighed at Off The Hook Bait and Tackle at Hinch Marina in Cape May. There have been other heavyweight bass reported throughout the area. The Other Than Boat (surf) winner this year went to Joseph Cook for the 47-pound striped bass he caught in the Atlantic City surf on Oct. 22.
One-Stop Bait and Tackle in Atlantic City was the weigh station.
That fish took the grand prize for heaviest bass in the Atlantic County/Atlantic City Surf Fishing Derby.
Three young anglers earned Youth Division titles to wrap the 60th season.
T.J. Kepner II, a 5-year-old from Somers Point, had a heck of a season with numerous entries into the Youth Freshwater Division. His 5.05-pound largemouth bass caught in Birch Grove won him the title.
It was caught Oct. 19 and weighed at Brennan Marine in Somers Point. T.J. was a busy young man with five other Youth Freshwater contenders.
He also hooked up a 4.12-pound largemouth bass on Oct. 12 and a 2.92 largemouth bass plus a 1.20 pickerel on Sept. 14.
On Sept. 29, T.J. caught a 1.96 largemouth and a 1.97 pickerel.
He follows his dad, T.J. Sr., who himself had a Press Fishing Contest certificate as a youth.
Incidentally, they will be in the studio 7-8 a.m. today on the Shep Talking Fishing On Air on1400 AM.
Press Fishing Contest Youth Division records helped determine the winners in the Youth Saltwater Division.
Keegan Rothman, age 7 of Northfield, wiped out the youth sheepshead listing with an 11.79-pound entry caught Aug. 27 and certified at Fin-Atics in Ocean City. His dad, Dan, said Keegan has been concentrating on tautog lately, and catching some decent fish.
Keegan is in the second grade at Northfield Community School. They are also scheduled to be on the radio this morning.
Ryan Hearon, a 10-year-old who lives in Woodbine and goes to Dennis Township School, also had multiple contenders. He had a 19.46-pound golden tilefish that earned him a share of the Youth Saltwater title.
Ryan had two other notable fish on that same June 21 outing offshore to Baltimore Canyon: a 15.89-pound blueline tilefish and an 85-pound yellowfin tuna. Jim's Bait and Tackle in Cape May was the weigh station.
The heavyweight entry of the contest was a 253-pound mako shark. Jimmy Crudele of Sea Isle City brought it back from Wilmington Canyon on May 17 to be weighed at Sea Isle City Bait and Tackle.
Three black drumfish earned prizes in Women's, Senior and Boat Bay/Inshore (inside 3 miles) divisions. Ruth Thraen of Eldora had a big day when she caught drum that went 60 and 59 pounds on May 23.
They were weighed at Two Chums Bait and Tackle and Boat Rental in Sea Isle City.
Lester Kyle, age 73, of Pedrickton caught a 94-pound drum on July 3 for the Senior award. Don Stein of Fortescue won Boat Bay/Inshore with an 84-pounder.
The last two were caught in Delaware Bay and registered at Higbee's Marina in Fortescue.
The Press of Atlantic City Fishing Contest opened May 5 and ended Oct. 31. Winners get $100 gift certificates at sponsoring weigh stations: Absecon Bay Sportsman Center in Absecon, Captain Andy's Margate Sportfishing Center, Fin-Atics in Ocean City, The Ship Shop in Ventnor, Bayside Marina Bait and Tackle in Brigantine, Brennan Marine in Somers Point and Chestnut Neck Boat Yard in Port Republic.
The prize pickups will be set up by phone by the end of November.
A page with photos and prize winners appears on Page C4.
There were other significant catches during the season and there were other interesting trends. We'll pick up some of that stuff next Saturday.
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And here's some up to date fishing news.
A school of striped bass moved down to Barnegat Inlet. Josh Falcone at Viking Outfitters in Barnegat Light said Friday they started to bite on Wednesday in the ocean off Barnegat Inlet and just north, and close to the beach in 25-50 feet of water.
Falcone said this body of bass weigh between 14 and 30 pounds.
One of his pals caught 17 and another had 12 on recent trips.
He was also happy to report a couple of 10-12 pound bluefish were in there with them.
Falcone said the captains are jigging them with Diamond jigs with red, blue or white rubber tube tails, or trolling them with a custom-made lure he has there at Viking Outfitters.
He also reported outstanding tautog concentrations around the Barnegat Inlet jetty.
Noel Feliciano said Friday from One-Stop Bait and Tackle in Atlantic City that the T-Jetty in Atlantic City also has lots of quality tog around those rocks.
"They are here," Feliciano said.
Tautog go to six keepers daily from one starting today in New Jersey. Sea bass season just reopened, so inshore wreck and reef fishing should be pretty decent.
Porgy are also collecting around some of the wreck and reefs.
With expected mild weather this weekend, there should be some good action for a change.
It might be setting up well for the Leukemia Fishing Tournament next Saturday, Nov. 23.
The grand prize in striped bass is a Van Staal spinning reel, along with other prizes for striped bass and bluefish. Sign up for $30 at Tackle Direct in Northfield until 6 p.m. Friday with late registration from 6-8 p.m. that day at Anchorage Tavern in Somers Point.
Contestants can fish back bays, surf and boat up to 3 miles out from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. between Absecon Inlet and Hereford Inlet. Call 609-602-8957.
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Mike Shepherd is the retired sports editor of The Press. His column appears Saturdays in the sports section.
Call 609-350-0388 or email: