Looks like the weather might have a say in this weekend's fishing, again.
Offshore catches were excellent, but if Friday's stormy conditions are any indication, the back bays, surf or inlets might be where to find the real action.
And there are some things worth noting, and doing.
Weakfish are mixing with flounder in the surf and back bays. It's one 13-inch possession limit per day for weakfish. There seem to be plenty around.
Margaret O'Brien said from Jingle's Bait and Tackle in North Beach Haven that surfcasters are catching spot - which is hard not to do - and cutting them into pieces to use as bait to catch weakfish in the surf and from the back-bay piers and street ends of Long Beach Island. Anglers fishing for flounder in the inlets with minnows and squid also are picking them off.
Pat Damiani at Polly's Dock in Beach Haven said to fish for weakfish at Intracoastal 109 and at a locally known spot called The Crossing inside Long Beach Island.
Damiani and O'Brien both mentioned that blowfish are mixed in.
Flounder seem to be collecting around the rocks and jetties on the beachfront of Long Beach Island. When the small-boat captains can get back out into the ocean, flounder catches should be more than decent at the reefs and wrecks all along South Jersey.
Mary Ann Anagnou was going home mid-day Friday from Dad's Place in North Wildwod because the storm chased everyone from the pier and brought the crews on the rentals back to the dock.
It's been kind of a family thing going on there. Her grandson Nikolas Anagnou caught two keepers and his buddy Jay DeVico got one. They are both 13-year-olds who live in Cape May Court House. And her daughter Artemis equaled that with three keepers.
If there was any skepticism about the phenomenal, record-level white marlin catches by offshore sportsfishers recently, the first days of the White Marlin Open in Ocean City, Md., should prove it.
First of all, 253 boats from all over the East Coast competed for a total purse of approximately $2,307,000, according to the WMO website. That's right: $2 million-plus dollars. The 39th annual event concluded Friday. The three-day white marlin haul was 921 released and eight boated.
Blew Bayou out of Ocean City, Md., with angler of record William Woody, of Pasadena, Md., weighed a 72-pound white marlin at Harbour Island Marina and stands to rake in an estimated $900,000 if it holds up.
The tuna division also had some mind-boggling numbers. Right Hook out of Heathsville, Va., with Norman Pulliam of Yorktown, Va., is the leader with a 238-pound entry worth a possible $324,000.
Both those fish were caught Wednesday.
Tra Sea Ann, a well-known boat based in Brielle here in South Jersey, is third in tuna with a 229-pounder that could earn $24,000. Christian Menetta of Brick is the angler. Got Game and Doug Ortlip, listed from Cape May, is tied for second in dolphin with a 27.5-pound fish that could win $6,000.
A number of South Jersey boats, captains and crew entered the offshore happening.
The next big-game "major" is the Mid-Atlantic $500,000 from Aug.19-24. It will be headquartered in Cape May at the Canyon Club and Sunset Marina in Ocean City, Md.
Most of the white marlin in the WMO were probably caught at Poorman's Canyon or farther south at Washington Canyon.
But there are other reports of white marlin a little closer and within range of South Jersey craft.
O'Brien said they were having a downpour at Jingle's on Friday, so the weather was threatening for at least part of yet another weekend.
She also reported that local boats trolled Toms Canyon and the excitement was pretty close to what they had off Maryland. She said Fish Trap, Jersey Devil, Bounty Hunter were offshore recently. O'Brien said they described an ocean full of life with white marlin, blue marlin and tuna Wednesday. She said a young crew, some on their first offshore trip, on Jersey Devil had a great experience.
Rusty Ziegler at Hinch Marina in Cape May also said many of the Cape May-local boats are sticking closer by working the Spencer and Lindenkohl canyons, and having what he described as "half-decent" trips. He said many of the white marlin caught in the WMO open are smaller fish now, and they might be skittish because of the pressure.
He said a lot of Cape May-area based skippers were out Friday, no doubt hoping to beat the storms back to the dock. He said none of them expected to get out this weekend because of the weather. In fact while he was on the phone Friday, the line went dead because power was briefly knocked out at Hinch Marina.
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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 fshing 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: