It is a great time to be surf-fishing.
You don't need waders if you are casting from the beach because the water is still plenty warm, the ocean is calm and clean, it is not crowded and there is a wide variety of fish to be caught.
Pompano has been added to the mix of flounder, kingfish, some bigger bluefish, still a ton of spot, and an occasional striped bass or weakfish in the surf. Last week, red drum were sighted around Cape May.
Pat Curran, piermaster at Ventnor City Fishing Pier, said Friday that the spot are the biggest she's ever seen. Some are 10-12 inches and she said they can fill up a bucket fast. She said the crew on the pier has "done well" lately with kingfish, a lot of snapper blues and even a 24-inch short striped bass.
She said they have been catching pompano. She described them as having yellow fins, and they are small, around 8 inches in length.
Corey Soloman at Captain Andy's Marina in Margate also reported surfcasters talking about catching pompano elsewhere on Absecon Island.
Flounder action in the surf at Long Beach Island has slowed, but Margaret O'Brien at Jingle's Bait and Tackle in Beach Haven said that could be because 3-5 pound bluefish have invaded. Surfcasters using bucktails with teasers and Gulp, were catching lots of flounder by casting close to jetties and slowly retrieving. That's still happening, O'Brien said.
Rebecca Umpierre runs Island Tatoo parlor located right next door to Jingle's. Umpierre had a man cancel an appointment Thursday to get in on the flounder blitz. So Umpierrre closed up and went fishing herself. She caught flounder and a "a lot, a lot" of bluefish. She said the blues went up to 4-5 pounds. Umpierre puts all the fish she catches back in the water alive.
Jim Moran was doing Friday what many bait and tackle shop owners do this time of the year. He was bagging mullet at Moran's Dockside in Avalon. He said the mullet run is in "full swing." Mullet, along with spot and bunker, are favorite baits for stripers, bluefish and weakfish, and just about everything that swims through these waters.
Offshore fishing is bouncing back after the storms went away.
Moran said Tony Galdi steered Kimberly Joe in to Avalon Sportfishing Center with flags flying Friday morning after an overnight trip to Spencer Canyon. Michael Galdi, the captain's 12-year-old son, defeated a 63-pound yellowfin tuna. Moran said they had six yellowfin, all caught from 1-4 a.m.
Inshore fishing is notable, too.
It's always memorable when you get a personal best. That's what Mel Jenkins did while fishing with Jerry String on Undercover Charters out of Sea Isle City Marina. String said he was working a wreck just outside Towsends Inlet Reef with Ben Werntz, Jenkins and Jerry String Sr. Werntz was high hook until the last drift when Jenkins earned bragging rights with a 7-pound, 27-inch flounder. String reported by e-mail that they had a lot of action with lots of throwbacks, and triggerfish were "thick and good size." They were using bucktails with cut bait.
A group effort in A.C.
Eddie Morgan Jr. is a well-known jazz musician in Atlantic City and South Jersey. He plays trumpet and lists gigs in Cape May, Somers Point, Stone Harbor and in A.C. at Kelsey and Kim's Southern Cafe, Chicken Bone Beach and Gardner's Basin. He is an elementary school music coach and an assistant with the high school marching band in Pleasantville.
He is also a fisherman of some note. He and a group that includes Elliott Hairston, Tom Bell, Noel Feliciano and Mike Johnson helped get a drive started two years ago that resulted in impressive upgrades at the newly dedicated William B. "Bill" Demones Jr. Atlantic City Fishing Center at the seawall near Gardner's Basin.
Phase 1 is completed, Morgan said Wednesday, and they are about to start working on Phase 2. Phase 1 included paving, benches, a fish-cleaning station, trash cans and lights. Morgan said people now can feel comfortable to take walks to enjoy the view of Absecon Inlet, and to go fishing. Phase 2 has proposals for a gazebo at the marina side and a picnic table with grassy area on the the inlet side.
Morgan said the committee will meet soon to determine how to raise awareness among anglers and visitors to prevent litter at the new center.
The fishing can be very decent there, and anglers pull up with their vehicles and often have some great "sounds of the seawall" music going on. It is family-friendly and can be an enjoyable experience.
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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 online. Call 609-350-0388 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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: