We might be at a summer fishing peak with quite a variety providing something for just about every taste and style.
The incidental catch of a small great white shark at the Cigar has created quite a buzz.
A 4- to 5-foot great white was hooked and released after a short fight that brought it to the boat by Chris O’Neill of Little Egg Harbor Township. As soon as the crew of Joe O’Neill, Chris’ uncle from the Manahawkin section of Stafford Township, Sam Messler, of Manahawkin, and Robert McLauglin, of Barnegat, identified it as a great white, they quickly released it unharmed because it a protected species.
O’Neill, who is 34, said in a phone call Friday afternoon that he and his crew are responsible fishermen who follow all the rules. Sounds as though the crew did everything right during the release. They fish together a lot on his 26-foot Angler boat that he docks in his “backyard,” meaning he lives on the water.
He also said he has caught bigger striped bass. He then made a guess that the fish was months old. And he estimated the phone call from the local scribe was the 30th he has received from various media.
Greg Cudnik at Fisherman’s Headquarters in Ship Bottom said Friday that is not the only great white he has heard about over recent weeks. A photo of the great white at the boat while being released was posted by Fisherman’s Headquarters and got the attention of the fishing community.
Cudnik, who runs Fisherman’s Headquarters, said he had reports from Jake Adair, who saw one two weeks ago, and Ron Carter, who saw an estimated 15-footer circle the boat, and Mark Finelli of Laura Sport Fishing who saw one “inshore.”
And, Cudnik also threw it out there speculating or wondering if this small great white is an offspring of the famous Jenny Lee that has been tagged and reporting her location off the East Coast for years.
It has been quite a busy summer flounder week. The water in the back bays warmed up into the 70s and, according to pro Bill Shillingford, that causes the fish to seek out the deeper holes and sloughs in the back bays and the inlets.
Robin Scott said she had something happen that never happened before on a boat out of Ray Scott’s Dock in Margate. She said that a group on a pontoon rental fished the back waters on Tuesday, and on the first drop two brothers each caught 8-pound summer flounder.
Robin said it was a reunion outing with the Dubiel family, some from New Jersey and at least one from Texas. She said one of the fish was 8.2 pounds and the other 8 pounds.
What are the odds?
On the same day, Debbie Rohlinger of Satellite Beach, Florida, was on another Ray Scott’s rental and picked up a 61/2-pound summer flounder. She was waiting for a flight back to Florida on Friday and described a team effort with John Abramson, daughter Francesca, and Susan Polsky and Jonathan Amora on the Margate-based Dream Catcher boat.
And just to stay with the summer flounder on Tuesday theme, Brook Koeneke, captain of the Somers Point-based back bay pontoon partyboat Duke O’ Fluke, called with the news of a 7-pound, 11-ounce summer fllounder caught by John LaTorre of Galloway Township on the incoming tide in Ship Channel inside Great Egg Inlet.
Eddie Roberts of Ventnor was fishing at Ski Beach at the bay end of Dorset Avenue when he caught a 4.5-pounder. It was certified at Ship Shop in Ventnor.
There is something for all tastes and styles right now.
When asked for a fishing report at Fisherman’s Headquarters (where?) the response was “tuna, tuna, tuna.” Yellowfin have been biting from Poorman’s Canyon down south the Carteret Canyon up north and in between. Trolling for tuna has also resulted in the first blue marlin.
One captain left a message that king mackerel and bonito have shown up and are being caught on the troll with big bluefish at an inshore location. Kingfish are improving and triggerfish are moving in, both in the surf and around the rockpiles.
Black sea bass are back on board with a two-fish daily possession limit. Another catch that made the media occurred in Brigantine, where a huge 5-foot wingspan sting ray was caught by a surfcaster and then released from the beach after the hook was removed.
It was quite an effort from a group that was determined to release the ray back into the water alive and unharmed while avoiding getting stung by the tail.
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.