Goodbye, spring. Thanks a heap for the wind, rain and cold water. Here comes summer, with no doubt better weather and fishing conditions.
The last few days saw a change in fishing, too. Despite the continued scarcity of minnows, the traditional popular bait for summer flounder, there have been a few nice fish.
Rob Barrett weighed in a couple of flounder at Dolfin Dock in Somers Point, and so did Andy Grossman at Riptide Bait and Tackle in Brigantine. Local stars Charles "Booper" Meyers and Bob Wosikowski had seven keepers drifting Ship Channel between Somers Point and Great Egg Harbor Inlet on Friday.
Meyers had a 3.06-pounder to top that bunch. Teresa Sbrana of Vineland had one that weighed 4.5 pounds in Rainbow Channel behind Ocean City. Donna Kramer certified a
6¼-pound flounder for The Press Fishing Contest at Riptide.
Barrett said he had two minnows left, and he was trying to figure out how much to charge for them. He was just joking, having a little fun like they like to do at Dolfin.
Tim Davis reported Friday from Moran's Dockside in Avalon that there are some "really nice" flounder in the back bays, and he said the keeper ratio went up again now that the weather has improved.
Moran's was the weighstation for a 5.53-pound flounder caught by 12-year-old Will Hopkinson of Avon-by-the-Sea. He caught it Monday in the back bays of Avalon and entered into the Youth Salt Water Division of The Press Fishing Contest.
Maryanne Anagnou at Dad's Place in North Wildwood said 4-year-old Madeline Bernacki of Cape May Court House picked a 2-pound flounder Friday afternoon from the pier there. She was fishing with 2-year-old sister Peyton and mom Laura.
And while Maryanne was on the phone Friday afternoon, Bill Doan, a longtime regular who takes one of Dad's Place rental boats, came in with a 2-pound flounder. It was caught with a minnow on a bucktail.
"I'll be back next week," the Cape May Court House resident was heard to say in the background.
And we are starting to hear more about flounder being caught at Reef Site 11 and Old Grounds, well south of Cape May, and on some of the inshore reefs. Fred Klug at Baitn Tackle at Utsch's Marina in Cape May reported dock tenant Charles Steer had eight keeper flounder. Klug said Reef Site 11 is 16 miles south and Old Grounds 20 miles south of Cape May.
Sea bass are there, too. Bob Cope and the crew on the charterboat Full Ahead limited out on sea bass Wednesday. Davis also reported from Moran's that Phil Judyski in his boat Misty had sea bass and two decent flounder - 5.34 and 5.2 pounds - Thursday at Townsends Inlet Reef. Davis said that Judyski was the first guy to bring in flounder to Moran's from the TI Reef.
Sea bass are getting some play, too. Adam Nowalsky had the Karen Ann II working off Atlantic City on Friday. He had his 9-year-old son, Jacob, helping him on a great day on the water, and the charter had caught some sea bass by mid-morning. Adam said Jacob makes 30 trips a year.
Mike O'Neill and the Stray Cat charterboat cruised back home to Seaview Harbor on Friday evening after a good trip offshore to the 28-Mile Wreck-Cigar area. He thought sea bass were not as active recently as they have been, so he changed tactics and went shark fishing.
He anchored up with bunker chum and mackerel filets and racked up one mako, one thresher, one tiger, one blue and a couple of brown sharks. That's a day's work. He and his charter crew returned them all alive.
Cliff Higbee at Higbee's Marina said they have a lot of small fish off Fortescue: croaker, spot, kingfish, bluefish and flounder, plus a few scattered weakfish.
Noel Feliciano said they were busy all week at One-Stop Bait and Tackle in Atlantic City. He said floating bloodworm at night from the A.C. jetties has been connecting with weakfish. Casting pink Zoom gets them, too. He said the anglers in A.C. are also getting kingfish, spot and flounder when the smooth sandsharks are not around.
A few striped bass are hanging in here. Riptide weighed a 15-pound bass Friday. Klug said that while minnows are scarce, crabbing is getting "better than good." He said one guy reported catching 141 keeper blueclaws.
It sounds like a number of captains will be heading offshore this weekend for tuna and maybe mahi, so there should be some details available for Tuesday's Shep On.
The Yacht Club of Pleasantville has a fishing tournament next weekend. It is a Saturday-Sunday (June 29-30) event in the Lakes Bay area. A captain's meeting is set for 6 p.m. Friday. Call John Rickert at 609-432-3341. The entry fee is $40 per person and funds raised will help with repairing storm damage at the club.
Shep on Fishing on Air and Ray Scott's Dock in Margate are giving away a free back-bay fishing trip for up to four people each month. Enter by calling Shep on Fishing on Air 7-8 a.m. today on 1400 AM at 609-927-1100 or Ray Scott's Dock a 609-822-6819 anytime during the day.
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Mike Shepherd is the retired sports editor of The Press. His column appears Saturdays and Tuesdays in the sports section. Call 609-350-0388 or email:
You also can hear Shep on 1400 AM from 7-8 a.m. Saturdays, plus reports Fri-days, Saturdays and Sundays at 6:05 a.m., 9:45 a.m. and 7 p.m. on 1400 AM and on our website: