Fishing is high quality inshore and inside.
Inshore trolling is at a peak for bonito. Summer flounder continue to reside in the back bays, but they do seem to be changing their dining habits.
Robin Scott from Ray Scott’s Dock in Margate said Friday it is a recipe of “peanut bunker, peanut bunker and peanut bunker” for breakfast, lunch and dinner for summer flounder.
She said her dock crew is netting and subsequently bagging 2- to 3-inch peanut bunker and serving them to customers on her rental boats and to private boat captains and crews to use for bait.
She said she had two rental boats come back to the dock Wednesday with three keepers, and three boats return Thursday with three more keepers, one weighing 4 pounds.
She stole a phrase used by Dave Showell at Absecon Bay Sportsman Center in Absecon, saying it is “bait soup” in the backwaters.
Robin also said striped bass are chasing surface lures cast and retrieved by fishers at night.
Mike O’Neill was just pulling into the dock at Seaview Harbor Marina late Friday afternoon with the Stray Cat charter/open boat when the local scribe called for a report.
He said he has had seven straight days of bonito and bluefish inshore south of Great Egg Harbor Inlet. Without giving away his exact location, O’Neill said, “If you’ve gone 10 miles, you’ve gone too far.”
He is trolling Clark’s spoons and also picking off cobia.
A cool report from Fisherman’s Headquarters in Ship Bottom described a “jetty slam” recorded by Anthony Smith, who walked off the Barnegat Inlet south jetty with a 2.5-pound, 16-inch tautog, a 4.5-pound, 19.5-inch triggerfish and a 4.2-pound, 17-inch sheepshead.
Willie Davis reported from Fisherman’s Headquarters that inshore fishing for bonito, Spanish mackerel and king mackerel has resulted in “a ton.”
He said fishers are seeing them and casting lures from just off the beach and on out. Davis also said mahi are hugging the pots inshore. That has been a trolling action. Davis said peanut bunker are thick there, too.
Small buefish are charging throughout the area. They are blitzing rain fish off Long Beach Island, according to a report posted by Surf City Bait and Tackle.
Another report from that stretch of water off Beach Haven comes from Jingle’s Bait and Tackle. It added a houndfish to the ever-lengthening list of species recorded here in South Jersey.
The MidAtlantic offshore big-game classic gets started Sunday with fishing days Monday through Friday at the Canyon Club Marina in Cape May.
The sport-fishing crews and craft will seek marlin, tuna, wahoo and dolphin. Weigh-ins are from 5 to 9 p.m. at the Canyon Club and the satellite weigh station at Sunset Marina in Ocean City, Maryland.
This contest has some big-money payouts in numerous categories. Go to TheMidAtlantic.com for more info.
Surf Fishing Derby
Plans are coming together for the Atlantic County/Atlantic City Surf Fishing Derby, one of the fall’s anticipated contests.
Tournament director Don Brown said the dates are Sept. 24 through Dec. 2. Badges will be available at bait and tackle shops throughout the county by Labor Day weekend.
The cost to enter is $25.
There is no fee attached to obtaining four-wheel drive beach-access offered by participating communities on Absecon Island. Brigantine requires the purchase of a four-wheel drive beach-access permit.
Cash prizes are offered for striped bass, bluefish, tautog and kingfish. Participating weigh-in and sign-up stations are Ray Scott’s Dock in Margate, Ship Shop in Ventnor, One-Stop Bait and Tackle in Atlantic City, Bayside Marina and Ripttide Bait and Tackle, both in Brigantine, Absecon Bay Sportsman Center in Absecon and Tight Lines and Point Tackle, both in Somers Point.
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Mike Shepherd is the retired sports editor of The Press. His column appears Tuesdays and Saturdays in print and Mondays and Fridays online.