While a number of captains of sport-fishing craft are aiming for white marlin in the offshore canyons, Curt Riccardi at Offshore Enterprises in Atlantic City also is advising crews to pull up short of the deep and fish for the "inshore four" at 750 Square, 28-Mile Wreck and The Cigar.
Riccardi described the "inshore four" as yellowfin tuna, bluefin tuna, wahoo and mahi. He said ballyhoo, Islander lures and a wahoo rig he makes at Offshore are popular for trolling them.
He said Friday that three boats reported back to Offshore with a total of eight wahoo at 750 Square recently.
White marlin have been "phenomenal" at Wilmington Canyon, according to a couple of reports, so it is likely that there will be more than a few crews heading out this extended Labor Day weekend hopeful of decent weather and ocean conditions, and spectacular big-game fishing.
Don Brown reported from Captain Andy's Marina in Margate on Friday that Roy Parker of Northfield and the crew of Bad Influence that sails from Sen. Frank S. Farley State Marina in Atlantic City had an oustanding catch Thursday morning at the tip of the Wilmington. Brown read off a menu of two bigeye tuna - one 206 pounds and the other 176 - a 78-pound wahoo, two 20-pound mahi and two white marlin.
Reports from Oceanside Bait and Tackle in Brighton Beach, Fin-Atics in Ocean City and Hinch Marina in Cape May confirmed that white marlin are plentiful at the Wilmington.
A few blue marlin and some bigeye tuna are with white marlin at the notch of the Wilmington, according to Chuck Hinchcliffe at Hinch Marina.
Dante Soriente at Oceanside reported white marlin at the Spencer in addition to the Wilmington. He also said Friday that bigeye tuna are "on fire" at Hudson Canyon to the north, and that the Spencer has some, too.
You might be able to add a another species to make a fifth member of the inshore club because cobia arrived in waters even closer to the beach within the last couple of weeks.
Cobia catches that were entered into The Press Fishing Contest came from Sea Isle Lump, 3FB and Ocean City Reef.
Brown had another interesting report Friday. Chris Cook of Ventnor was fishing Cookie Monster with brother Brad on Thursday at 28-Mile Wreck. They were bucktailing for flounder when a bluefin tuna struck. Brown said it was a "50-weight".
Flounder and sea bass are populating the inshore wrecks, sometimes combining with triggerfish, tautog, porgy and croaker. There are numerous examples of excellent catches.
Jay Olsen took a charter on Victoria Ann to the Atlantic City Reef and piled up 15 keeper flounder and 30 keeper sea bass, according to a report from Captain Andy's. That's the same place that Demetri Papadestephano and Fab Stabile of Ventnor got nine keepers and small mahi.
The sea bass season closes Monday and reopens Sept. 23.
Fish for flounder on the reefs with 2- to 5-ounce bucktails or bottom rigs with long strips of cut bait on 5/0 hooks.
Flounder are also thick in the surf of some beaches, and don't give up on flounder in the back bays.
Soriente said a pal of his from New York, Rob Lyman, caught six flounder with five of them keepers in the surf on Long Beach Island. One of them went 5 pounds, 5 ounces, and the other 4-8. Plus, he had 18 kingfish.
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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 online. Call 609-350-0388 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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: