This weekend looks as if it is setting up nicely for boat captains to try a combination outside-inside plan of attack.
Dave Showell said Friday from Absecon Bay Sportsman Center in Absecon that a mid-day high tide will enable anglers to run out to the ocean at low water and work the inshore wrecks and reefs in the morning, and come back to the back bays and inlets for the afternoon.
And he said, it should be good fishing all the way if the weather gives us a break on the weekend for a change.
He put that fishing pattern into play last Friday during the Atlantic City Airshow when he made three stops that produced.
He went out to the reefs in the morning, hauled in to the old outfall pipe off Raleigh Avenue in Atlantic City and then drifted inside Absecon Inlet. He and his crew got flounder on the wrecks and pulled a couple of more keepers at the outfall pipe as the boats went by to form a fleet off Atlantic City for the airshow. The back-bay part of the tour produced flounder and weakfish.
Showell said he is more impressed with the solid presence of weakfish than anything else.
There are some nice weakfish around. "A lot of 16- (to) 18-inch fish and some over 20 inches," he said.
He also wondered where these fish have been hiding. The limit is one fish at 13 inches because they have been scarce in recent years. But he said they had to be around somewhere for so many decent-size fish to have suddenly grown up and shown up.
Live spot are the "very best" bait for bigger weakfish, Showell said. He rigs the live spot with 3/0 or 4/0 hooks on a short leader. He said a slide weight or a rig that keeps the spot close to the bottom works for weakfish and flounder.
He said to investigate any bird play when fishing the ocean. It could be anything this time of year, he said. Blues in the 1-pound class are most likely to be keeping the schools of bait company, but weakfish, schoolie striped bass and recently cobia have been caught inshore.
The wrecks and reefs have a mixture that includes sea bass, big porgy and triggerfish. Some veterans say you have to be right on top of the structure, but reports also describe action 100 to 150 feet off the rubble.
Little Egg, Garden State South, Atlantic City, Ocean City, Townsends Inlet and Cape May reefs have all been mentioned in various reports. Old Grounds and Reef Site 11 off Delaware are top spots, too.
Captain Andy's Marina in Margate had a catch of the week by Chris Bierberbach, of Cherry Hill, who connected with a 52-inch, 50.8-pound cobia. He was flounder fishing Ocean City Reef when he saw cobia. He cast a bucktail and hooked up.
Moran's Dockside in Avalon weighed in three cobia caught off Townsends Inlet. John German is the captain of the Fast Pace charterboat that docks at Avalon Sportfishing Center in Avalon. Jim Moran reported from Moran's Dockside that German took the day off to go fishing. German hooked up with buddy Gary Twiggs on his boat Blind Luck. German's day off from charterboat fishing resulted in a 66-pounder for him and a 48-pounder for Twiggs. Moran said they weighed in another cobia recently.
Noel Feliciano at One-Stop Bait and Tackle in Atlantic City said the "fish catching" is "ridiculous!" around Absecon Inlet.
He said anglers fishing the beaches next to the T-Jetty and at Martin Luther King and Albany Avenue before and after the lifeguards are on duty and at the rocks at T-Jetty and Pacific Avenue also are getting a "phenomenal" variety.
He listed flounder, kingfish, little sea bass, croaker, triggerfish, tautog, weakfish and bluefish. And he said blowfish were there last week, but not so much over the past few days.
He said the weakfish are mostly small "spikes" that come through in schools, so some days they are there and other days not. Everybody got keepers one day recently, he said. Kingfish are caught when the abundant spot miss your bait.
Showell said it is almost impossible for spot to miss because they are everywhere. Actually, he says he believes that for whatever reason they are more in the back bays now than in the ocean.
Maybe they have been chased inside by predators or have found plentiful food there.
He had just taken a break from the shop and fished from the beach at the cove in Brigantine with rod and reel. He just stuck his rod in the sand and cast out and picked up 30 in an hour or so without even hardly trying.
Other bait fish besides spot are thick: peanut bunker, big spearing and mullet. That's probably what is keeping flounder and attracting weakfish in the back bays.
Captain Andy's reported that anglers fishing them live in the deeper sloughs of Lakes Bay are also getting flounder and weakfish.
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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 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: