Good offshore fishing is spreading northward and closer to South Jersey.
Michael Del Rosario of Margate headed toward Toms Canyon on Saturday with a crew on Sturgeon General that included Jon Weiss, Jeremy Juffe, Dave Waddell and Mike Weiner. They found clean, warm water but very little life in the water. Del Rosario said by e-mail that they "trolled hard" despite the fact they found no temperature breaks where game fish like to lurk. He said sometimes you just need to work an area and you might be surprised.
Well, given his record of success, it is no surprise that the crew went 2-for-3 in yellowfin tuna in the 40-to 60-pound class and caught more than two dozen mahi, and raised two white marlin.
Weiss is the owner of Offshore Enterprises in Atlantic City and was taking a break from running charters on the Carly A from Pirate's Cove out of Oregon Inlet in North Carolina's Outer Banks. Juffe is from Atlantic City, Waddell from Egg Harbor Township and Weiner from Margate.
John Raimondo, a veteran and successful offshore competition angler, said in a conversation on Saturday morning's Shep on Fishing on Air (7 a.m.-8 a.m. on1400 AM, WOND), that significant temperature breaks are hard to find. He says 1 or 2 degrees is all you need sometimes, which kind backs up Del Rosario's point.
Prior to this recent stretch of great weather, a fleet offshore sportfishing craft were piloted well south, often more than 100 miles to Washington Canyon. Quite a run for the average big-game fan.
Avalon Hodge-Podge reported a 100-pound plus wahoo that was 66 inches in length was caught by Kevin Best trolling the Hot Dog.
Matt Slobodjian reported from Jim's Bait and Tackle in Cape May that the east wall of Wilmington had bigeye tuna, as many as 10 per boat, Saturday. Matt verified that Washington Canyon is still a hot spot for yellowfin tuna, white marlin and a few blue marlin.
That area is likely to see a lot of traffic this week during the White Marlin Open, or WMO, out of Ocean City, Md. Incidentally, a number of well-known and respected South Jersey captains, crews and boats are competing.
The WMO has posted an estimated $2.4 million in prize money and a juggernaut of 262 boats from all over the East Coast. On a beautiful Monday opener, 204 captains and crews decided to take advantage of the conditions. The weigh-ins will be held from 4 p.m.-9:15 daily through Friday at Harbour House, 14th St. and the bay, in Ocean City, Md., just in case anyone wants to hop the ferry and go on over.
Slobodjian's dispatch also described more mahi and some tuna along the 20-Fathom Line and trolling around the pots might connect with bluefin and yellowfin.
The Overnight Billfish run for the 36th year by Ocean City Marlin and Tuna Club had some last-day drama. Tournament official Brian Logue said before the final overnight Friday-Saturday that only one boat, the Frigate, was sailing. When it pulled up to the weighstation at Ocean City Yacht Club on Saturday afternoon, it put a 161-pound bigeye tuna on the scale. It was caught by Aaron Braunstein, and it bumped Sailmaker, with a 139.5-pounder caught by Andrew Hall, out of third place.
The rest of the standings held up: Trust Me Too was overall tuna points leader with four bigeye. Troy Shadoin led Trust Me Too with a second-place, 216-pound bigeye and the heaviest mahi at 26.5 pounds; Thomas Garmany put Viking 70 up on the podium in second overall tuna with a 232-pound champion bigeye.
Polarizer won the billfish release honors with three and was third in tuna points. Viking 70 and Outrage also had billfish releases.
The Press Fishing Contest is just past the halfway point, and we recently received entries for two of the three heaviest flounder of the season.
Charles Grabbe of Sewell pulled an 8.55-pound flounder out of the back bays of Stone Harbor on July 23. It was registered for The Press Fishing Contest at Avalon Hodge-Podge.
But the day before, Dennis White of Clayton caught a flounder at Cape May Reef that weighed 9.5 pounds. Utsch's Marina in Cape May was the weighstation for that one.
The Press Fishing Contest runs to Oct. 31 with $100 gift certificates from participating bait and tackle shops and marinas located all around South Jersey. We also award weekly best-of certificates for top catches.
Bob Scittina of Media, Pa,. caught a 67-pound, 5-foot-7 inch wahoo on July 27 at Wilmington Canyon. Moran's Dockside in Avalon weighed it.
So for the week of July 21-27, Scittina and White share the best-of bragging rights.
Another contender for that week was a 4-pound, 1-ounce largemouth bass caught by Hal Becker at Penny Pot Lake and certified by Captain Howard's Bait and Tackle in Egg Harbor City.
Flounder continue to hang in the back bays as we head into August. Hard to believe that four weeks from today is Sept. 3, one day after Labor Day.
In addition to the two Press Fishing Contest flounder entries, Sterling Harbor Marina in Wildwood reported that George Danley of West Wildwoood picked a 7-9 flounder off Cape May Reef on Liquid Asset using a bucktail. And just to use this alliteration and to show that flounder are picking up inshore: Martin McMaster of West Wildwood whacked a 5-14 flounder at Wildwood Reef on his boat Wicked Witch. (I had to do it!)
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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 Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 6:05 a.m., 9:45 a.m. and 7 p.m. on 1400 AM and on our website: