With little more than a week to go to August, we continue to have a wide variety of fishing for every style for a midsummer peak.

Offshore fishing starts to gain attention this time of year. Tilefish have been decent, some quality mahi are popping up and tuna have been scattered.

Inshore trolling has been very good for bonito, Spanish mackerel and small bluefish, along with the first reports of king mackerel.

Triggerfish have been plentiful both inshore and in the inlets and back bays. Black sea bass and summer flounder are on the the wrecks and reefs.

Summer flounder are in the back bays and inlets with enough keepers mixed in to keep it interesting.

Kingfish also are caught in good numbers in the surf and inshore. They move around a lot in and out of the surf and up and down the beaches. There are some very quality fish, and sometimes in good numbers.

There are also a lot of spike weakfish shorter than the 13-inch minimum and mostly short striped bass caught mainly at night.

So that is generally the midseason lineup.

Steve Bent runs the Free Spirit out of Margate. He said Monday a recent offshore trip resulted in a 35-pound mahi, four small yellowfin tuna they returned to the water and some nice tilefish.

Steve said he is adding a new wrinkle — five-hour trips. He said customers can leave the dock on Amherst Avenue in Margate at 7 a.m., be back at the dock at noon, have the fish cleaned and then spend the afternoon on the beach.

And, yes, he will still schedule his 8-hour offshore-inshore trips.

Tom Daffin runs the Fishin Fever out of Cape May. He said Monday tilefish have been grea” offshore. He said they hooked a swordfish on a drop and fought it close to the boat before it escaped.

He has been catching summer flounder on the reefs, including a 61/2- pounder. Plus, he has been trolling sizable bonito, Spanish mackerel and bluefish. Tom is the captain who contributed king mackerel to the previously mentioned melange.

Jim Lutz on the Nev-R-Enuf out of Avalon said they are catching summer flounder on the inshore lumps, plus trolling up bonito, Spanish mackerel and bluefish at Avalon Shoals.

Bob Cope on the Full Ahead out of Cape May said he is picking a lot of ling with summer flounder and triggerfish.

Brandon Hurd is the young captain of the Avalon Lady back-bay pontoon party boat based at Avalon Sport Fishing Center. He said he has been putting his customers on summer flounder and kingfish. His dad, Irv, runs the Miss Avalon on ocean runs for black sea bass and triggerfish.

There have been a few white marlin and blue marlin reported.

Tourney talk

The hunt for billfish will get a test this week in the Yacht Club of Stone Harbor Marlin Tournament.

This is the 53rd edition of this event. Tournament director Jamie Diller said he believes this is one of the longest-running billfish events on the East Coast and the longest in the state.

It is a billfish-release format with points awarded for white marlin and blue marlin. Fishing days are Friday and Saturday. The Canyon Club in Cape May is the weigh station.

Registration and the captains meeting are set for 6 p.m. Thursday at the Yacht Club of Stone Harbor, 9001 Sunset Dr. That is also where the awards ceremony will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Sunday.

The entry is $2,000 per boat. The points winners are 1-2-3 for boats and individual fishers, plus awards for the top female and youth 16 and under. They also have first and second categories for tuna and mahi and for teams.

Interested crews can still sign up by calling Diller at 609-827-0200.

Follow Shep at

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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Contact: 609-350-0388 ShepOnFishing@yahoo.com

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