Mike Shepherd

Longtime fishing columnist Mike Shepherd tells you what's biting, where to find them and how to catch them. His column appears Saturdays in The Press.

The Press Fishing Contest enters the final month of its 60th season with a lot of nice entries.

Part of the deal is a best-catch of the week certificate. For the week of Sept. 15-21, a 92-pound wahoo caught by Robbie Davies of Ocean City on Rich Adelman's boat Alana Ken, was a winner. It was caught at Atlantic City Ridge on Sept 21.

Davies said they were catching little tunny trolling and hooked up a bonito. He said they left it out on the line. The wahoo attacked and bit it in half and then came back for rest and took the hook. Davies said Monday that it took an hour and 40 minutes to get it on board because it hit one of the light lines they had out for the smaller fish. Davies said that trip also was memorable because they saw two waterspouts with a storm brewing.

Latest Video

Hailey Walker, 10, of Egg Harbor Township, caught her first tautog, a 3.43-pounder, fishing with dad Matt in Rainbow Channel from the Route 52 (Somers Point to Ocean City bridge) fishing pier. She also deserves recognition. The tog added to her lists of firsts this season. Matt, who caught a 7.4-pound tog a couple of days later, said the Egg Harbor Township Miller School fifth-grade student also had flounder and striped bass among her list of firsts.

Brennan Marine in Somers Point weighed both.

T.J. Kepner II, a 5-year-old from Somers Point, picks up a Press Fishing Contest certificate for the week of Sept. 8-14. He caught a 2.92-pound largemouth bass and a 1.20-pound pickerel on Sept. 14 and entered them at Dolfin Dock in Somers Point.

More recently, John Sweeney, of Prospect Park, Pa., caught a 5.51-pound red drumfish while fishing in the back bay of Longport. Sweeney is 86. Jim McKinley of Seaville got an 11.21-pound flounder on Sept. 21 just before the season closed on Sept. 25. Moran's Dockside in Avalon weighed it. Richard Bowers, of Elverson, Pa., caught a 3.52-pound triggerfish on Sept. 23 from the 8th Street Jetty in Avalon. Moran's also weighed that one.

Contest entry forms are available at bait and tackle shops and marinas located all around South Jersey. There is no fee or pre-registration. Catch a fish and enter it on-line with photos and details if available at Presscontests.com or mail in the entry form. The contest offers $100 gift certificates for striped bass, flounder and bluefish; boat/bay inshore (inside three miles), offshore, other than boat (surf, bridges, jetties etc.), senior (65 and older), women, youth (under 15) freshwater and saltwater, and most unusual. The contest runs to Oct. 31.

Tourney talk

The Atlantic County/Atlantic City Surf Fishing Derby wrapped the first of six weeks Sunday. Two kingfish were registered at One-Stop Bait and Tackle in Atlantic City over the weekend.

David Callaway of A.C. picked a 1.4-pound, 15-inch kingfish from the surf on the Atlantic City beach. Richard Coles of Pleasantville got a 1-pound, 14-inch kingfish while fishing in Brigantine. George Bucci of Northfield with a 4.19 tautog was the first angler to enter a fish for this year's Derby. The Derby has overall grand prizes of $500 for biggest striped bass, $300 for bluefish, tautog and kingfish, plus $300 for women and youth (under 14) heaviest fish. Striper, blues, tog and kings also have $50 weekly prizes.

We are just one week away from the opener of the eight-week Long Beach Island Surf-Fishing Classic. This is the 59th renewal of the popular community event. It offers a ton of prizes from $1,000 for overall heaviest striped bass and bluefish, $400 two-week segment and $125 weekly awards, women, youth, senior awards. The entry fee is $30 for adults and $15 for youth age 17 and under. Register at Surf City Bait and Tackle, Jingle's Bait and Tackle in North Beach Haven, Fisherman's Headquarters in Ship Bottom and Captain's Quarters in Brighton Beach.

And now for actual fishing reports from the past few days.

Sea bass season opened in New Jersey opened Friday, but windy conditions took a hand. Mike O'Neill, captain of the Stray Cat charter/open boat, said Monday that a three-day "dry" northeaster, was the culprit. He said he fished the coral bottom near the Ocean City pots and had a tough time with sea bass but had a total surprise when his crews started catching 15-18 inch weakfish and a lot of croaker anchored up with squid as bait. He is going to try for sea bass again Wednesday on an 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. open-boat trip.

Noel Feliciano at One-Stop Bait and Tackle in Atlantic City said nice-size bluefish, croaker, spot, herring and a lot of tog are biting around the T-Jetty and other rock piles around Absecon Inlet. He said the striped bass catches are in the "straggler" class around Atlantic City.

Weakfish are getting more plentiful all around the area, including at the first drop-off close to the banks of Delaware Bay. They are taking grass shrimp, bloodworm and hard crab cut into leg sections in Delaware Bay, and bucktails with rubber artificials and live bait such as mullet and peanut bunker.

* * *

Become a fan of Shep on Facebook at:


* * *

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:

Can't get enough High School sports? Get the latest scores, game highlights and analysis delivered to your inbox each week!

Recommended for you

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.