Fishing just off the beaches in the ocean is playing a bigger role as we roll into August.

“Chasing inshore” was how Dick Herb, of Avalon, described what he is doing on the Escapade.

He is not the only one getting a piece of the trolling action for mahi, bonito, Spanish mackerel and, now, king mackerel, plus cobia, in the inshore waters off South Jersey.

Carl Sheppard is the captain of the charter boat Starfish out of Long Beach Island. He said the timing of the call from the local scribe Monday could not have been better because he just got back from a trip he described as “phenomenal.”

He said he trolled bonito, Spanish mackerel and bluefish. He also bottom fished in 50 to 60 feet of water and caught caught summer flounder.

He said the “big ones came in today.”

They also caught eight large black sea bass.

He said the rods were hooked with fishers on board working them continuously and keeping the mate busy.

“Now is the time,” he said.

In his missive for the Beach Haven Charter Boat Association, Jim Hutchinson Sr. provided an earlier report of a previous charter by Sheppard that racked up a limit of black sea bass while “wreck hopping” before trolling up 11 bluefish for dinner and many more released.

Mike O’Neill runs the Stray Cat charter boat/open boat out of Seaview Harbor Marina in Great Egg Harbor Inlet.

He also is catching bonito, mahi, Spanish mackerel and bluefish inshore by trolling. He said there is some “serious” life in 100 to 110 feet of water.

Mike provided a “how- to” for inshore trolling. He is trolling 4-inch lures such as the traditional No. 1 Clark’s spoons, cedar plugs and Hootchies with feathers underneath. He runs the boat at 51/2 to 8 knots. When a fish hits, he steers the boat through figure-8 patterns.

“It ain’t rocket science,” he said Monday.

He said he trolls past Atlantic City Ridge to Sea Isle Ridge.

Mike also provided a report from some in his fishers network that king mackerel are at 2FB.

Bob Connor sent a report about a Maryland state record 72.8-pound mahi caught Sunday. The fisher of record is Jeff Wright, of Cambridge, Maryland.

Ocean City, Maryland, is the big-game fishing headquarters this week with the famed Ocean City White Marlin Open that opened Monday. This is the 46th edition, and it looks as though records will be shattered. The contest website listed the number of boats entered is 404 — 389 of which sailed Monday.

Anyone interested can watch the weigh-ins at

Incidentally, the New Jersey record mahi is 63 pounds, 3 ounces set in 1974.

Tourney time

Young fishers get their shot this Saturday with the Ocean City Fishing Club’s 44th Girls and Boys Surf Fishing Contest.

It will start at 9 a.m. with signups at the north end beach near the Ocean City bridge over Great Egg Inlet. A parent or guardian must sign a waiver for insurance purposes. The contest runs from 10 a.m. to noon, followed by the awards ceremony. The age categories 8-10, 11-12 and 13-16.

Ed Hoban is the OCFC chairman.

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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.

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