Shep Hot Spot flounder Cape May Reef

Fish for flounder on Cape May Reef, and just about any of the reefs all the way up to Garden State North, with 4-6 ounce bucktails or weights on top and bottom rigs with minnows, squid, long strips of cut bait and Gulp.

The remarkable streak of sizable and plentiful flounder continues into September.

According to reports from off Long Beach Island to off Cape May, excellent weather, mild sea conditions and great fishing brought "hundreds" of boats out to some of the inshore reefs and wrecks over the weekend. There seem to be more short flounder but still good numbers of keepers.

Numerous 6- to 8-pound and up to 10-pounds-plus flounder were weighed for The Press Fishing Contest during August and into last week.

Joe Reese of Avalon put one in the Senior Division on Thursday when he certified an 8.7-pound flounder at Moran's Dockside in Avalon. Reese is 85 years old and caught it in Paddy's Hole behind Townsends Inlet.

Other flounder entries from last week: Frank Jankowski, the retired gentleman from Marmora who got out of the marina business after years at Frank's Boat Rentals in Strathmere, picked a 6-pound, 4½-ounce flounder from Strathmere Bay and weighed it at Sea Isle Bait and Tackle; and Ann D. O'Reilly may have set a record for someone entering the contest who lives the farthest away - Anchorage, Alaska - with a 5.27-pound flounder she caught at Townsends Inlet Reef and registered at Avalon Hodge-Podge.

Tammie Carbohn at Hodge-Podge reported O'Reilly also caught a 3.48 pounder with standard minnows and squid.

The Press Fishing Contest is up to 115 entries. It runs to Oct. 31 with prizes of $100 gift certificates from participating bait and tackle shops and marinas located throughout South Jersey. See the entries, many with photos, and get directions on how to enter at

The Press Fishing Contest also crowns weekly best-of catches during the season. The week of Aug. 25-31 had some excellent entries.

Paul Michener of Ocean City caught a 10.22-pound flounder in the bay behind 16th Street in Ocean City on Aug. 26 and weighed it at Fin-Atics in O.C. Bruce Dern of Town Bank entered a 10-pound, 1-ounce flounder into the Senior Division at Utsch's Marina in Cape May. It was caught Aug. 30 at Reef Site 11 off Delaware. Ross Dickinson of Cape May got a 9.91-pound flounder Aug. 30 in the ocean off Cape May, and it was third best for the week. Jim's Bait and Tackle in Cape May weighed it.

Allen Cohen of Ventnor got a 42-inch, 2.85-pound needlefish and submitted in the Most Unusual category on Aug. 30 at Ship Shop in Ventnor.

The Best Catch certificate for that week goes to 7-year-old Keegan Rothman of Northfield for the 11.79-pound sheepshead he caught Aug. 27 at a wreck just off Great Egg Inlet. He also caught an 11.2-pound sheepshead that trip with his dad, Dan, and Jerry Coombs. Fin-Atics weighed that one.

Matt Slobodjian reported from Jim's that bluewater fishing moved closer to the beach. The charterboat Common Sense raised three white and fought one to the boat for release at East Lump. And king mackerel were leaping out of the water diving on bunker at Cape May Reef and Hereford Inlet.

Sizable fleets trolling around offshore may have turned the big-game action down a notch.

A couple of nice tilefish were reported caught recently. Mike Frank of Mullica Hill caught one at Wilmington Canyon that weighed 41 pounds on Frank Hennigan's Avalanche out of Wildwood. Sterling Harbor weighed it. Tyler Bennett of Northfield went to the Baltimore Canyon with Bob Cummings on Saturday and brought a 35-pound golden tilefish back to Brennan Marine in Somers Point, where it was entered into The Press Fishing Contest

Margaret O'Brien of Jingle's Bait and Tackle in North Beach Haven said the offshore big-game action last weekend seemed to have moved more north. Bigeye tuna and white marlin were living at Wilmington, and now Lemke's Canyon and the Lobster Claw, plus Hudson Canyon.

In another completely different scenario, O'Brien posted a plea for surfcasters to be considerate now that the Holgate, Long Beach Island, portion of the Forsythe Wildlife Refuge is open for four-wheel drive beach access.

The parking lot at the ramp to and from the beach there is what she calls a "drive-through" from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. The parking lot is closed to parking and a "no noise and no stopping" area. She is concerned that loud noise, such as from car radios, will affect beach-access.

She said surfcasters can "air down" tires in the street. Long Beach Township manages the beach permits there. The cost for a four-wheel drive permit for Forsythe refuge is $50.

The New Jersey Beach Buggy Association is a busy group. The volunteers ran the 20th Youth Surf Fishing Tournament at Island Beach State Park and their competition team won the South Jersey Surfcasters surf fishing tournament in Avalon, both Saturday.

Tim Burden ran the kids contest with many volunteers and 110 participants. The NJBBA email said they had learning stations such as knot-tying, casting, fish identification and the Seaside Park rescue team with personal watercraft and a rescue boat. Fishing was real tough in the S.J. Surfcasters event, but Kurt Rennart said they squeezed six scorable kingfish over 10 inches out of the surf to take the honors.

The badges for the Atlantic County/Atlantic City Surf Fishing are out. The cost is $25. Surfcasters can register at Dolfin Dock and Brennan Marine in Somers Point; Ship Shop in Ventnor; One-Stop Bait and Tackle in Atlantic City; Bayside Bait and Tackle, Fish Finder Marine and Riptide Bait and Tackle in Brigantine. The contest opens Sept. 31. Beach-access permits for participating municipalities are available starting Sept. 16. Categories are striped bass, bluefish, tautog and kingfish.

The Riptide Striper Derby opens Friday and goes to Dec. 23 on the beaches of Brigantine. The cost is $20. Half the proceeds go to charity, including the Brigantine Municipal Alliance Hooked on Fishing Not Drugs kids outing. A valid Brigantine permit is required for four-wheel drive beach access.

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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:

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