It is getting to be mid-summer now, hard to believe, and there is a wide variety of fishing going on in and around South Jersey.
Tautog season is open, and when some anglers try for them in specific spots, triggerfish are there, too, which is nice because the tog daily possession limit is a big-whoop one at 15 inches. Offshore action has been hot, and back-bay and inlet flounder fishing have been excellent.
There are a lot of little fish such as kingfish, spot, croaker and small weakfish, and a week or so back sheepshead made an appearance. Inshore fishing for sea bass and croaker seems to be there one day and gone the next.
Flounder seem to have been motivated by the warmer and considerably cleaned-up water in the back. There have been some incredible numbers posted by back-bay drifters.
Rob Barrett from Dolfin Dock reported Monday that a rental boat husband-wife twosome of Jim and Treasure Maack had seven keepers among 100 flounder they caught Thursday with pink Gulp off Pier 4 in Somers Point. Michael McCullough of Linwood had keepers that went 5 and 6 pounds with shrimp Gulp where Rainbow and Ship Channel meet inside Great Egg Inlet.
Margaret O'Brien at Jingle's Bait and Tackle in North Beach Haven said flounder fishing in the bays inside the south end of Long Beach Island has been great. She said the top stretch of water there is around ICW 110 and down toward Little Egg.
Robin Scott said Monday from Ray Scott's Dock in Margate that it was gorgeous on the back bays and everyone is catching keepers.
"It does not get any better," she said.
There is a sand bar along the inside of the back bays of Margate and a lot of boats and crews were drifting right along there with the standard minnows and squid and other cut bait.
Plenty of small tog with are with the keepers around the rocks on both sides of Absecon Inlet and hugging the sod banks of the back bays.
Noel Feliciano said from One-Stop Bait and Tackle in Atlantic City that green crab, clam and shrimp are working for anglers on the T-Jetty, Melrose and Massachusetts avenue jetties.
Andy Grossman reported from Riptide Bait and Tackle in Brigantine that the Brigantine south jetty has tog, too. Grossman said one angler has been sending him photos from the jetty and another has been gathering calico crab around the rocks and using them as bait to catch tog. Nick Rust of Brigantine had a 4-pound, 19-inch tog.
Sterling Harbor Marina in Wildwood logged five triggerfish to 2.5 pounds for Gabe and Grace Ferrante of Pittsgrove while fishing on their dad's boat Schming out of Wildwood.
Offshore action is spread from way south at Washington Canyon to most of the well-known areas off New Jersey: Massey, Poormans, Hot Dog, 19-Fathom Lump, Spencer, Lindenkohl. Trolling ballyhoo with skirts and jigging and sardines are both working. Bluefin tuna, yellowfin tuna, mahi and blue and white marlin have been reported, along with wahoo, skipjack and sunfish, and so far, one king mackerel.
In keeping with the statewide theme of "you can't keep us down" in the aftermath of Sandy, the Beach Haven Marlin and Tuna Club runs its 44th annual White Marlin Open from Thursday to Saturday. Tournament director Matt Garabedian said Monday that they will have an 80-by-40-foot tent where the clubhouse used to be, but basically everything else, including the grill and bar, will be up and running for the popular offshore classic.
Even the entries are ahead of last year. The entry fee incidentally is $1,200 and captains get to fish two of the three days. The last chance to enter is from 5-8 p.m. Wednesday before the captain's meeting. White marlin is the main category, but there are also divisions for mahi, tuna (except bigeye) and wahoo.
Down in Cape May County, the Avalon Offshore Open covers the same three days. The entry deadline has passed. Captains will choose one of the three days to fish. The Avalon Offshore Open is a billfish release-only with divisions for largest tuna and mahi.
The first Timmy Mitchell Flounder Tournament is based in Margate will be held Saturday. Anglers can fish from boat, beach, jetty, pier, bridge and the entry fee is $20 at Captain Andy's Sport Fishing Center. It is a heaviest-three fish contest. The awards presentation will be at Maynard's Caf�, across Amherst Avenue from Captain Andy's. Call 609-822-0916.
Also Saturday, the Brigantine Municipal Alliance will run its annual Hooked on Fishing Not Drugs outing for youth age 5 to 15. Register Saturday at 8 a.m. at the 16th Street beach. Grossman, at Riptide Bait and Tackle, said the first 100 to sign up get a free fishing rod. And there are all kinds of other giveaways, such as T-shirts and prizes, plus trophies and lunch. Call Riptide at 609-264-0440.
The Press Fishing Contest, now in its 60th season, is in a giveaway mode, too.
It's a bragging-rights certificate for best-catch of the week among the entries for July 7-13. C.J. Brown, an 11-year-old from Northfield, is a contest veteran, and his latest submission is a 2.89-pound largemouth bass he caught July 11 at his favorite fishing hole Birch Grove Park in Northfield. He and a couple of his buds weighed in a few fish they brought into Dolfin Dock in Somers Point alive in 10-gallon buckets filled with water, and then with an adult at the steering wheel, they returned them live.
There are a couple of interesting Press Fishing Contest entries recently that will be contenders for best-of consideration.
Pam Woerner of Northfield was fishing in Bargaintown Lake on July 14 and caught a 4-pound albino catfish. It was certified by Rob Barrett at Dolfin Dock. He said it was actually a little yellowish in color. And he said he never saw one before. Chip Romp of Centerpoint, N.Y., was one of those who made the long journey south to Washington Canyon on an Over-Under Charter boat Low Profile. He came back with a 242-pound bigeye, also July 14. It was registered at Moran's.
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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: