Summer flounder season was highly anticipated, and opening day Friday lived up to expectations.
A lot of keeper-sized — but not doormat-sized — summer flounder were reported caught Friday by midafternoon. It was a spectacular day for fishing with a fresh breeze that played a role with the drifts.
Mike Tabasso runs the pontoon party boat High Roller from Gardner’s Basin in Atlantic City. His first trip resulted in a 1-in-10 keeper ratio with 40 fish caught and 10 keepers, mostly in the 19-inch range, or one inch longer than the 18-inch minimum.
One fisher from Philadelphia, Mark Beerly, had two of them, and that customer was back on the High Roller for the afternoon outing hoping to get one more keeper to complete his daily possession limit of three.
They had just gotten out on the afternoon trip when the local scribe called. Mike said the wind was building.
Otherwise, it was a gorgeous day to launch the fan-favorite summer flounder season.
Robin Scott of Ray Scott’s Dock in Margate had all of her rental boats reserved. She had a nice early report about 13-year old Olivia Polentis who caught a 21/2-pound keeper summer flounder and a bluefish while fishing with dad Ryan.
Mike O’Neill was out in the ocean anchored against the wind over a wreck on the Stray Cat open-charter boat that sails from Seaview Harbor Marina in Great Egg Harbor Inlet.
His crew of fishers was hauling up Black Sea bass and ling. He said they had put the probable pool-winner of 4 pounds when called.
Noel Feliciano answered the obvious question at One-Stop Bait and Tackle in Atlantic City with the answer of, “What’s not going on?!”
He said his crew of rock stars are catching striped bass and weakfish at night, bluefish toward the end of the T-jetty and kingfish closer to the beach.
Feliciano said he weighed 35-, 341/2- and 271/2-pound striped bass Friday.
Absecon Bay Sportsman Center in Absecon had a nice weigh-in for the customer appreciation contest Dave Showell is running through Friday. The first entry was a 2.7-pound summer flounder caught by Zach Tomlinson. Later in the day, Showell rang up a 4.85-pound summer flounder for Scott Clark. A few others were weighed at Absecon Bay.
Showell also weighed a 34.05-pound striped bass caught in the surf with clam by Victor Rosario.
The summer flounder excitement kind of buried other action.
Sports writer and columnist David Weinberg reported a 70-pound black drumfish was caught by Cape May Beach Patrol Lt. Terry Randolph.
Howard Sefton weighed a 6.1-pound weakfish caught by Don Vas, of Galloway Township, with a pink Zoom at an Atlantic City jetty.
White perch are filling up some coolers.
There is no doubt we are in prime fishing season.
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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.