The first of the fall surf-fishing tournaments began Saturday with the 58th H.W. Shaner held on the beaches of Avalon in less than ideal conditions.

There were some surprises in the stats provided Monday by Association of Surf Angling Club president Greg O’Connell.

First, they had what he described as a “good mix,” with 80 scoring bluefish and 60 scoring kingfish.

O’Connell said the winning team was R.H. Custom Rods with 364 points. South Jersey Surfcasters was second with 240. ASAC determines contest winners by the total length of fish.

The largest catch of the day was a 17-inch bluefish. O’Connell said they had 24 teams and about 20 individuals.

Greg said it was windy with rough surf in the morning and that fishing was better closer to the Eighth Street jetty.

Other decent kingfish reports were recorded before this latest weather punch, but there has not been much of anything reported the past couple of days.

Robbie Vallone is a well-known and respected surf-fisher whose home turf is Long Beach Island. He reported to his pal Greg Cudnik at Fisherman’s Headquarters in Ship Bottom that he picked off 16 kingfish he kept among many others he caught in the surf at Holgate on Friday.

There were no entries as of late Monday afternoon as another of the fall surf- fishing contests got under way. That’s no surprise, considering the lousy weather and conditions.

Andy Grossman at Riptide Bait and Tackle in Brigantine started his striped bass/bluefish tournament Monday, which, of course, is before fall begins Sept. 22. The Brigantine land-based tournament continues through Dec. 23, or two days after winter begins.

The entry fee is $25 at Riptide. The prize money is $500, $300, $150 for first, second and third places for striped bass and $300, $200 and $100 for bluefish.

The contest registration in combination with the Brigantine four-wheel drive permit allows surf-fishers to drive the Brigantine beach from the jetty to the bird and wildlife observation tower. Grossman said the exception is that vehicles are not allowed on the beach weekends in September.

Andy said Monday that funds raised support local charitable causes. Call 609-264-0440.

Grossman said two fishers were out on the beach Monday.

Noel Feliciano had a couple of eager anglers come in and pick up some green crab. They probably were headed out to a spot in the Absecon Inlet area that offers protection from the gusts. Neither heard of anybody catching anything by mid-afternoon Monday.

Robin Scott had two rental boats out Saturday from Ray Scott’s Dock in Margate.

One crew came back after catching short summer flounder. The other was a pontoon boat rented by six women who were enjoying themselves just being out on the water. Robin said they have a tradition of running the boat as a crew.

The Tony Eble King of the Back Bay contest is set for Saturday at the Yacht Club of Pleasantville. This one had been called the “trash fish” contest because any back-bay underwater denizen qualifies as long as it is a legal catch, except for sting rays and skates.

Sign up for $10 at the Yacht Club of Pleasantville or at Ray Scott ‘s Dock on Amherst Avenue in Margate. It is a single-heaviest contest, and fishing will go from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. from boat or land within the back-bay boundary from Somers Point Boulevard to behind Ventnor, including Scull Bay, Risley Channel, Lakes Bay and behind Margate.

Feliciano was setting up a youth event called Whippersnapper, but he prudently decided to put it off. Ocean and bay conditions might get to be rocky, and the weather could get seriously windy with rain this week depending on the path or affects of the hurricane forecast to hit the Carolinas this week.

Noel promotes Atlantic City area fishing with vivid videos he posts online. The latest from Monday showed breakers crashing over the T-jetty, but the rocks along the Boardwalk were doing their job holding back the waves.

ASAC will resume its fall schedule Sept. 22 with the 72nd World Series of Fishing on Long Beach Island.

The 34th Women’s Surf Fisching Club classic will be held Sept. 29 in Brigantine. They are followed by contests every Saturday in October and another on Nov. 3. Details to come on those.

On Wednesday, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will play host to the first of two public meetings concerning a New Jersey back-bay flood-risk study.

It will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Ventnor Educational Complex, 400 N. Lafayette Ave. The second meeting will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Ocean County College Gateway Building, Lot 1.

The public and stakeholders are encouraged to attend and participate, according to a DEP news release.

Follow Shep at


Mike 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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