After nearly a week of wipeout weather, anglers took advantage of a great day and gave it a try Friday.

Jim Moran said Friday from Moran's Dockside in Avalon that the Miss Avalon partyboat had "26 brave people" on board and Capt. Jerry Hurd was taking them out. Miss Avalon had not ventured out all week since Sunday.

Moran said that one of the captains of a boat that docks there at Avalon Sportfishing Center picked up some bait for an offshore canyon run he was planning for Friday.

Joan Barrett at Dolphin Dock in Somers Point said the back bays are placid and the water is clean, and flounder, triggerfish and weakfish are among recent catches there. Isabella Amato, a 7-year-old from Reading, Pa., caught a 3-pound weakfish on a Dolphin Dock rental boat at the Anchorage in Ship Channel inside Great Egg Inlet. Barrett said flounder and kingfish have been caught at the Anchorage.

Fall fishing is not far off and some cooler temps are forecast for the coming week after the effects of a couple of offshore storms clear out.

Moran said one of the best developments lately is the movement of bait fish, which can be a sign of a transition to fall conditions. He said mullet are moving but not necessarily out of the back bays. He gets an up-close look out the window and from the deck at Dockside. He said he sees some splashes around the mullet, which likely indicates striped bass and weakfish are already on them. He also sees peanut bunker back there.

Noel Feliciano had a bucket of fresh-caught mullet in One-Stop Bait and Tackle in Atlantic City earlier this week. They were a little bigger than the smallish finger mullet.

If the wind blows out of the east this weekend, Delaware Bay in close to Fortescue should be "fishable", according to Cliff Higbee at Higbee's Marina in Fortescue.

He said they have had good flounder action lately to go with 1- to 3-pound bluefish, and some kingfish, croaker and the ever-present spot. Plus, he said catching your one-fish limit of weakfish with a 13-inch minimum is easy to do. Higbee said he has been sending captains to Elbow and the old wreck. They use bloodworm for spot and croaker and filet them up for bait to catch flounder, weakfish and bluefish.

Contest update

The Press Fishing Contest is moving toward its final weeks, and we have a couple more interesting entries. Joe Miskofsky of Bellmawr caught a 2.76-pound remora at the Cigar on Aug. 30 and entered into the Most Unusual category at Captain Andy's Marina. Ryan Ferdinand, an 8-year-old from Merchantville, entered the first kingfish of the season. It weighed .91 pounds and was caught from Avalon Pier. It was registered in the Youth Division at Avalon Hodge-Podge.

On Aug. 23, Erick Stephen Haman, a 5-year-old from Zionsville, Pa., was fishing Great Egg Reef and caught a 7.26-pound flounder. It was submitted into the Youth Division at Fin-Atics in Ocean City. Brenda Szemis of Egg Harbor Township caught a 4-pound triggerfish at the Seaview Harbor Marina rocks. It was entered at Dolphin Dock.

Heather DeFeo of Brigantine caught a 32-pound, 52-inch wahoo Tuesday. It was verified for the Women's Division at Riptide Bait and Tackle in Brigantine. Davis Soltis of Galloway Township got a personal-best 8.45-pound flounder. Absecon Bay Sportsman Center handled the weigh-in.

The Press Fishing Contest continues to Sept. 28 with divisions for Striped Bass, Flounder, Bluefish, Boat Bay/Inshore, Offshore (3 miles and beyond), Other Than Boat (surf), Women, Youth (under 15), Seniors (65 and over) and Most Unusual. Enter by catching a fish and taking it to a weighstation located throughout South Jersey for verification and enter it online with a photo if available or mail it in to the address on the entry form. There is no pre-registration or entry fee.

Badges available

Badges for the Atlantic County/Atlantic City Surf Fishing Derby are now available. The cost is $25. The Derby opens Sept. 24 and runs to Nov. 4 on the beaches, rockpiles, bridges and bulkheads of Absecon Island. The tournament offers a $500 prize for the overall heaviest striped bass, and $300 for the overall heaviest bluefish, tautog and kingfish. All four categories have $50 weekly prizes for the heaviest fish. And $300 goes to the youth 14-and-under and women's overall heaviest.

The weighstations where badges can be purchased are Ray Scott's Dock and Captain Andy's Marina in Margate; Dolphin Dock and Brennan Marine in Somers Point; Ship Shop in Ventnor; One-Stop Bait and Tackle in Atlantic City; Bayside Marina Bait and Tackle, Fish Finder Marine and Riptide Bait and Tackle in Brigantine; and Absecon Bay Sportsman Center in Absecon.

Surfcasters with four-wheel drive vehicles with valid registration and insurance can start signing up for beach access permits on Sept. 18 at participating municipalities. Brigantine requires a yearly permit.

Moran has his 25th annual fall surf-fishing contest scheduled to start Sept. 15. He is putting weakfish back into the contest to go with striped bass and bluefish. He also is putting a 24-inch minimum on weakfish to be eligible, so surfcasters won't kill any small fish to enter the tournament. The boundaries are Corson to Hereford inlets. Call 609-368-1321.

Howard Sefton is running a white perch tournament Sept. 29 out of Capt. Howard's Bait and Tackle in Egg Harbor City. The cost is $20. Half of the proceeds are for first-, second-, third- and fourth-heaviest and the other half benefits the Atlantic County chapter of multiple sclerosis. Call 609-965-7955.

The 58th Long Beach Island Surf Fishing Classic is Oct. 6 to Dec. 2. That community-wide event has divisions for striped bass and bluefish. The entry fee is $30. There are all kinds of prizes in the Classic, from pizzas and car washes to weekly, two-week segment and grand prizes.

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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 sheponfishing@yahoo.com.

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: