It's been tough getting reports from ocean fishers, mainly because of the less-than-ideal conditions.

Mike O'Neill on the Stray Cat charterboat and Irv Hurd on the Miss Avalon have had excellent sea bass action when they get to take advantage of a weather window.

O'Neill said Friday that sea bass have been "very, very, very, very good." That's a lot of verys. He must be taking lessons from Rob and Joan Barrett at Dolfin Dock in Somers Point on how to make a point. They post a sign in front of the tackle shop with succinct and numerous humorous reports like that.

Latest Video

O'Neill said anglers have been going home with "pounds" of filets.

Hurd, who represents the third generation of the family that runs Miss Avalon, was at Moran's Dockside in Avalon on Friday afternoon getting ready for a night cruise and an all-day charter today. He was out Wednesday. One of his customers - Mike Fishuk - weighed a 2.75-pound sea bass at Moran's. Another had one that went 2.76.

Hurd said he shifted to a location more north of where he was fishing off Townsends Inlet.

O'Neill is anchoring on wrecks 8 to 12 miles off Great Egg Inlet. The Stray Cat operates from Seaview Harbor Marina in Great Egg Inlet. He said one problem he has had to deal with is big sharks chewing on the sea bass as they reel them in.

He also said they caught the first croaker of the season this week, and small sea robin - which he called "grunions" - also just showed up.

Summer flounder have not been on the inshore wrecks yet, but O'Neill predicted that flounder will show up sometime this week. He said when the small sea robin move in, flounder are right on their tales and hungry. "Wednesday or Thursday," he said.

Adam Nowalsky on the Karen Ann out of Kammer man's Marina in Atlantic City said sea bass fishing is "OK" in 60-80 feet of water, and he has had some 4-pound fish.

Dick Herb on the Escapade charterboat out of Avalon said he has been staying in the back bays there because flounder fishing is "so good." He said the keeper ratio is 50 percent. He only used two "verys" when he described good fishing there. He said Friday he is "sick" of eating flounder, and is looking for different ways of cooking them up.

Life is tough sometimes.

He said he has been catching some blues and there are lots of smooth dogfish in the back bays. They are just about everywhere.

Weakfish and kingfish are spread out in the surf, inlets and bays along South Jersey.

Maryann Anagnou at Dad's Place in North Wildwood said that kingfish and weakfish have been caught from the pier there. One angler had 10 kingfish and 21- and 20-inch weakfish. The Dad's Place rental boats have been returning to the dock with keeper flounder and 2-pound bluefish.

Black drumfish have been one of the real important parts of the fishing scene in Delaware Bay this spring.

The heaviest so far in The Press Fishing Contest was entered on-line by Don Stein of Fortescue. It weighed 84 pounds, was 47¾ inches in length and had a girth of

38 15/16 inches. That is a precise measurement by Cliff Higbee at Higbee's Marina in Fortescue.

It went into the Senior Division, and a great photo of a tired-looking - or maybe just relaxed - angler appears on The Press Fishing Contest web page at

The 26th Flounder Pounder run by Carpenters Local 255 is next Saturday. It benefits the South Jersey Cancer Society. It pays $500 for first, $300 for second and $200 for third. Entry forms can be picked up at Absecon Bay Sportsman Center in Absecon, Chestnut Neck Boat Yard in Port Republic, North Pointe Marina in Brigantine and Dolfin Dock. Tournament director is Lee Scanny (609-653-8995).

The South Jersey Shark Tournament is today and tomorrow at South Jersey Marina in Cape May. Scales open at 2:30 p.m., but tournament director Bob Glover said most of the fish are likely to arrive between 4:30 and 6:30 p.m.

* * *

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 Fri-days, Saturdays and Sundays at 6:05 a.m., 9:45 a.m. and 7 p.m. on 1400 AM and on our website:

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.