Summer flounder season is a wrap for this year after Saturday, and we are seeing some signs of fall fishing developing.
The north beach on Brigantine has been opened for fishing.
Gary Born, of Brigantine, is one of the best-known surf-casters on the coast. He has been fishing those suds in Brigantine for decades.
He was out on the beach Friday afternoon when the local scribe called to get an assessment of what’s going on up there.
He had some interesting reports of a season in transition, which is very typical of the dedicated fisher.
The first thing he reported was he had just caught his limit of keeper summer flounder in the surf in the vicinity of the old Coast Guard Station. He said he cranked in summer flounder that measured 211/2, 181/2 and 181/4 inches among the eight he hooked.
He was fishing Friday while waiting for the tide to fall. He said there is a stretch of beach on the north end where the high water goes right up to the dunes.
He said the high water was around noon and just before 3 p.m., and he expected to have to wait another half-hour to drive off.
Oh, well, he was obviously fishing while on the phone, so he was spending the time well.
The point is that you have take care and play the tides right.
He also said bluefish are getting bigger in the surf. They have grown from the 10- to 12-inch fish we have had here for some time to now coming in at up to 19 inches.
And, he said, they are often in tight, right in the surf.
Asked to describe local surf fishing, he said it is better.
Then he further explained: “I have never seen this many mullet in at least 25 years.”
And he said they are “monster mullet,” some going 7 or 8 inches. They are mixed with spot and shiners.
Mullet are a prime bait fish for just about all predators along the coast.
Striped bass? He is getting the same shorts, under the 28-inch limit, that are prevailing throughout.
That was a great insight into what’s happening from a longtime veteran of local and coast-wide fishing.
Meanwhile, Noel Feliciano ran his Flounder Finale contest this week out of One-Stop Bait and Tackle in Atlantic City.
On Friday — the next-to-last day of the season and the contest — he had four qualifiers, including a new leader caught by Tony Pano. It weighed 5.3 pounds and measured 241/2 inches.
Noel related a story about this catch. When Pano hauled it up, the fish jumped off the hook and dropped to the rocks. Noel said a mad scramble to nab the fish before it slithered back into the water was obviously successful.
Feliciano weighed a 3.3-pound, 20.5-inch entry caught by Nils Haydn. One-Stop weighed two other fish in the 2-pound range Friday.
Fishers have one more day to claim a piece of the $500-plus in cash and prizes for the heaviest fish and second and third places. Enter for free at One-Stop, fish Atlantic County waters and bring any entries back to One-Stop to be certified.
Feliciano added tons of spearing to the mix of bait fish.
Dave Showell posted a message at the Facebook page for Absecon Bay Sportsman Center in Absecon that he has live eels for the striper hounds and still some softshell crab in his pens there on Absecon Creek.
You need state beach access and Brigantine four-wheel permits to drive the north end of Brigantine.
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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.