This time of the year, captains face decisions when they plan to go fishing for flounder: Make the trip outside to the reefs and wrecks or hang inside the inlets and back-bay channels.
Capt. Jerry Hurd has been putting Miss Avalon on Townsends Inlet Reef, and the result has been a couple of good days, according to Jim Moran at Moran's Dockside in Avalon. Moran had another Press Fishing Contest entry on the way Friday for a 6.98-pound flounder caught Thursday on Miss Avalon by Charles Lockwood, who is a visitor all the way from Seattle.
That is just a couple of days after Kim Luzeckyj of Avalon caught a 5.70-pound flounder in the Avalon back bays that Moran entered in the Women's Division of The Press Fishing Contest. Luzeckyj was fishing with her dad, Joe Paschal, of Avalon, and they also had two other keepers and a few throwbacks.
Mike Evans of Atlantic City caught a 4.75-pound flounder Monday in Lakes Bay, which is behind Margate and Ventnor. It was certified for the contest at Ship Shop in Ventnor. Karen Santoro at Ship Shop said Evans had a couple of keepers that day. Santoro also said that Ann Fox of Margate has been consistently getting flounder inside Absecon Inlet.
So recent Press Fishing Contest entries indicate there are some decent flounder no matter which way you turn: offshore or back bays. Of course, the other factor in making a decision is the weather. It was windy and rough for a couple of days, so it probably was wise to fish inside and not outside during the middle of the week.
When anglers get to go out into the ocean to bottom fish the reefs and wrecks, there are other things to catch, including sea bass, porgy, triggerfish and tautog.
But when they go in the back bays, they can always go crabbing, which is starting to get good.
These bits of information do not do much to help make the decision any easier, do they? Maybe the message is: Anglers have a decent shot at a keeper flounder or a fun day by going in either direction.
And then there is a report from Mike O'Neill, captain of the Stray Cat open/charterboat based at Seaview Harbor in Great Egg Inlet. He added a monster sting ray with a five-foot wing span, a seven-foot bull shark and a four-foot hammerhead shark to the cast.
He was fishing eight miles off on what he called half-day family-fun specials Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. The bull shark took a hunk of bluefish. And they also caught sea bass, triggerfish, bluefish and tog, but not many flounder, he said Friday.
And then he had an offshore tuna trip blown out Wednesday night.
There are a lot of superstitions in the fishing world. Many captains won't let anybody bring bananas on board the boat, for one example.
Last Tuesday provided ideal weather and great fishing conditions, but Linda Davoli of Brigantine was bothered by not "blistering" flounder like she has been most of this summer.
She blamed that on the fact that her net, although handy in the rod rack behind the captain's seat, was not in its proper place.
She moved the net to stow it under the gunnel, where it belonged, and almost at the same instant the second of her two flounder took the hook.
Her keepers weighed 3 and 3½ pounds and were caught while drifting in Absecon Inlet with live spot as bait in her new boat.
Spot are thick just about everywhere in the ocean, surf, inlets bays and even up in the rivers throughout. Catch them with Sabiki rigs and small pieces of Fish-Bites or bloodworm.
Davoli took a couple of days off from fishing, and then went surfing Friday. She still found time to catch what she described as "monster" minnows in the trap next to her boat. The windy weather and what she said were four-foot whitecaps prevented her from fishing and surfing in the middle of the week.
It might be interesting to learn about other superstitions or fishing phobias. Send them to:
or Shep on Facebook at Facebook.com/ShepOnFishing, so we can print some.
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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 on-line. Call 609-350-0388 or email:
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:
Drift for keeper flounder in Absecon Inlet with live or cut spot and "monster" minnows on slide rigs around high water.