June is here, and some summer-like fishing arrived with the mild weather and warming waters.
Summer flounder and striped bass are fan favorites in the bays, inlets and the surf. There have been some phenomenal hauls of black sea bass, often mixed with ling on wrecks and reefs in the 20- to 30-mile range offshore.
Weakfish, some in the 5- to 6-pound class, and the first arrivals of kingfish have been recorded. Bluefish of all sizes continue to be plentiful in some of the inlets and back bays.
Black drumfish have been active on the Jersey side of the Delaware Bay and in some bays and inlets, such as Beach Haven Inlet leading into Great Bay.
Now, we can add the first solid reports of big-game fishing offshore.
There have been a couple of recent catches of bluefin tuna and at least one of a mako shark.
Dan Ponzio runs the Atlantic City-based charter boat War Dance and went for a ride with Frank Marchese, of Ventnor, on Marchese’s boat.
Another fisher on board, Frank Nardini, of Mays Landing, was the fisher of record who cranked in what Ponzio described as a 100-plus-pound bluefin tuna. Ponzio said they trolled the 30-Fathom Line off Atlantic City on Marchese’s Final Coat.
When called by the local scribe for details on that excursion, Ponzio said he had a call Friday from one of his other fishing buds who reported a 450- pound tuna at Wilmington Canyon.
Ponzio spent much of Friday searching for what he called blueback ballyhoo to troll on the trip he was planning for Saturday.
John Sowerby is the respected captain of the Hooked Up 2 party boat based at Utsch’s Marina in Cape May.
He just got his season started with some black drumfish trips in Delaware Bay and is just about to switch over to offshore journeys. He said he is getting good reports from his contacts. He expects the tuna fishing to break out soon, even as close the Elephant Trunk.
Summer flounder seem to be consistent in the 1-in-10 keeper ratio.
Mike Schuessler, of Margate, drifted for summer flounder in the back bays of Margate with George Crossley, of Delran, on Thursday, and said they had a good day.
They had keepers that weighed 4 and 3 pounds among 20 shorts under the 18-inch minimum. Very typical of summer flounder action.
Schuessler said Robin Scott at Ray Scott’s Dock in Margate advised to use “meat” as bait, such as cut mackerel. Bucktails with Gulp are also popular.
Middleweight to light-heavyweight striped bass returned. Mike Cunningham at Sea Isle City Bait and Tackle said he weighed a 40-pounder, a 30-pounder and several 20-pound striped bass caught in the surf between Corson Inlet and Townsends Inlet.
Noel Feliciano reported from One-Stop Bait and Tackle in Atlantic City that “nice-sized” kingfish are hugging the Absecon Inlet side of the T-jetty. He said they are biting on bloodworm and shrimp.
The Yacht Club of Pleasantville will hold its popular summer flounder contest next weekend.
The entry fee is $30. Signups will be taken from 5 to 8 p.m. next Friday at the club located at 344 E. Bayview Ave. in Pleasantville. First (heaviest fish), second and third place will earn prizes, and fishing will be restricted to the back bay.
Call Kirk Heiland at 513-2378.
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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.