It looks as though summer flounder — the fan favorite of a lot of fishers — are in what might be called a revival due to the excellent summer weather we are enjoying.
The kids are out of school, and some families are starting their vacations. Back-bay fishing and crabbing trips are always good ways to rack up some quality time with family and friends.
Some very quality fishing has developed recently.
John Herron is the captain of the popular and successful back-bay party boat The Keeper that sorties from Amherst Avenue in Margate. John said Monday afternoon when the local scribe called that while they were talking he had five customers catch a fish.
He said fishing has been “way better” over the past few days. He said they had 200-plus summer flounder catches Sunday, with seven keepers on one of the trips and five on the other.
Staying in that same stretch of Margate-Longport backwater, Robin Scott reported from Ray Scott’s Dock on Amherst Avenue that every rental boat, party boat or private boat that left from her docks returned with keeper summer flounder over the weekend. One fish weighed 6.6 pounds, and two others were more than 5 pounds.
She also reported that a private boat captain who docks down the street recorded 21 caught with three keepers, including one that went 3 pounds.
Noel Feliciano from One-Stop Bait and Tackle in Atlantic City said he thinks the thick schools of peanut bunker are holding these summer flounder in the back bays inside area inlets.
Bottom fishing while drifting with minnows on bare hooks is a traditional way to catch summer flounder, but white Gulp with bucktails are working. Others suggest red or other brightly colored artificials.
Kingfish are active in the surf all along the beaches from Cape May to Brigantine.
Tim Davis called from his new digs for Century Rods in Avalon to report kingfish are mixed with sea perch and spike weakfish around the Avalon Fishing Pier.
Tim said pier member Kevin Coyle is catching them up with a “Slingshot” 1265 Century, which is a 10 1/2-foot rod that heaves 3/4-ounce to 3-ounce weights for those kingies, a favorite for pier, jetty and surf fishers. Tim’s rod-making outlet is located at 3101 Dune Drive in Avalon.
Feliciano said kingfish are plentiful around the rockpiles and off the William B. Demones Jr. Atlantic City Seawall Fishing Complexl inside Absecon Inlet
Every once in awhile, one of the weakfish are bigger than the “spike” variety, longer than the 13-inch keeper requirement. We are allowed one weakfish per day.
We are no longer allowed to fish for black sea bass. The first version of the season closed June 22. It opened May 15 with a daily allowance of 12 and a 12.5-inch minimum size.
Black sea bass reopens July 1 and will continues through Aug. 31 with a two-fish daily possession limit. There are two more versions of black sea bass seasons later in the year.
Dave Showell said Monday the blueclaw crab shed is over, so he went fishing for striped bass and found them in the Mullica River. He did not have any keepers, but it was an active outing. Dave owns Absecon Bay Sportsman Center in Absecon, which is famous for its softshell crabs.
Offshore big-game action is also lighting it up in the deep. Yellowfin tuna and mahi are cruising. One of the best-known areas is Poorman’s off Maryland.
The 26th Duke of Fluke Flounder Tournament will be held July 13 at Sterling Harbor Marina in Wildwood. The boat entry fee is $300, the kayak registration $75. The captains meeting is set for 7 p.m. Friday, July 12.
Contestants can also sign up in advance of the 7 a.m. starting time the day of the tournament.
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Michael Shepherd is the retired sports editor of The Press. His column appears Tuesdays and Saturdays in print and Mondays and Fridays online.