Every reporting station along the South Jersey coast proclaimed pretty much the same description of fishing over the weekend.
As one local captain has a habit of saying: "It's a wow!"
From back bays to the deep offshore, flounder to blue marlin, all waters were alive and served up great catches.
Two tournaments Saturday showed what good flounder fishing we have.
"Couldn't have asked for a better day," reported Lee Scanny, director of the 25th South Jersey Carpenter's Flounder Pounder. He said they had a lot of fish at all four weighstations: Dolfin Dock in Somers Point, Absecon Bay Sportsman Center in Absecon, North Point Marina in Brigantine and Chestnut Neck Boat Yard in Port Republic.
Tom Hageman of Egg Harbor City scored the heaviest flounder with a 7.7-pound doormat that earned him the $500 first-place prize. Scanny reported that Hageman and his son limited out and more, releasing keepers to get the big one.
Lew Johnston of Egg Harbor Township was second with team Heckler with a 5.47-pound flounder, and donated the prize money of $300 to the Flounder Pounder charity South Jersey Cancer Fund. Jim Lynn of Brigantine was third at 4.75 pounds.
The 14th Brutus Fluke Tournament had 124 contestants, according to a report from Walt Gregory. Of the 31 flounder weighed at Somers Point VFW Post 2189, 13 weighed more than 3 pounds. The tournament raised more than $7,000 for the charities of the Egg Harbor Township Elks Lodge 2569 and the Somers Point VFW, according Gregory.
Steve Amato on King Cobra took the $600 first-place prize with a 7.42 catch that Gregory said was caught in the ocean just north of Table Top. Keith McCarthy was second with a 7.33 fish and Wayne King third at 6.40. The Bay Rat Award honoring the late Mark Teitjan was won by Mike Ross with a 5.18-pounder.
And there were a lot more:
Rick Hubler of Haddon Township picked off an 8.5-pound flounder Saturday in Great Egg Inlet, reports Captain Andy's Marina in Margate. Lou Santoro of Wildwood got a flounder at Cape May Reef that weighed 6 pounds, 8 ounces at Sterling Harbor Marina. Murray Silverstein of Valley Forge, Pa., caught a 9.94 flounder at Reef Site 11 and Harry Pittman of Dennis Township got a 7.88 flounder at Old Grounds, both off Delaware according to Matt Slobodjian at Jim's Bait and Tackle in Cape May.
Offshore catches were so exceptional that it is not easy to decide where to start.
How about with what seems to be the start of a bigeye bite?
Curt Riccardi at Offshore Enterprises tackle shop said Monday that a couple of bigeye showed up before, but bigeye "was the word" over the weekend. Jimmy Fowler of Brigantine brought back a 136-pound bigeye on the Full Moon on Sunday from Baltimore Canyon.
Moran's Dockside in Avalon weighed a 101-pound bigeye Monday morning that was caught Sunday at Wilmington Canyon by Tim Lehman on Sea Mistress owned by John Raimundo. Kurt Lutter said from Moran's that it was caught with a skirted ballyhoo.
Brennan Marine in Somers Point reported Charlie Dollaway on Capt. Chazz got a 137 bigeye, two yellowfin tuna and released a white marlin Friday at the 100-fathom line of the Wilmington.
Yellowfin tuna catches have been nothing short of excellent all this month.
On the day before he had the bigeye, Fowler and Full Moon racked up eight yellowfin at the Baltimore.
Steve Bent took Bob and Kyle Cummings on the Free Spirit charterboat from Margate Sportfishing Center at Capt. Andy's Marina in Margate to Wilmington Canyon on Friday. They had two yellowfin and a load of golden tilefish, according to Brennan's.
Andy Mason on Can of Worms had six yellowfin, Riccardi said. Sterling Harbor Marina in Wildwood reported Joe Gillen on Y-Knot out of Wildwood had eight yellowfin at Wilmington.
Moran's also weighed a 35-pound wahoo trolled up at Wilmington Canyon on Sunday by Mike Hassell on Endure-Fin owned by Len Warren.
The list goes on and on. These fish are being trolled mainly with plain or ballyhoo skirted by Ilander and Sea Witches plus spreader bars, green machines, daisy chains and cedar plugs. Slobodjian said a warm-water eddy drifted in, and the cool side of the break has tuna and the warm side has marlin, wahoo and mahi.
Slobodjian put bluefin tuna into the mix but inside at the lumps in the 20- to 30-fathom range. It's a troll there, too, he reported.
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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: