We are starting to enjoy that almost-summer variety of fish in and off South Jersey.

Mike O’Neill had just returned the Stray Cat charter/open boat to the dock at Seaview Harbor Marina on Friday afternoon with another super catch of black sea bass when the local scribe called. O’Neill said they were fishing 10 to 12 miles off the beach, and everybody on board had either limits or 10 to 12 black sea bass, plus five or six ling and two or three bluefish.

The pool winner was a 4-pound fish.

He said the black sea bass were full of baby butterfish. He said they had calm conditions in the morning, but the wind came up in the afternoon. He also reported they had a water-temperature reading of 68 degrees. That’s getting into summer-like numbers.

Mike said he is hearing about bigeye tuna, bluefin tuna and yellowfin tuna off in the canyons, so he is planning some offshore runs.

The annual Margate Log Cabin Summer Flounder Tournament last Saturday had a clear winner and tie for second and third.

Contest organizer Tony Morgano reported that Dave Howard had the heaviest fish, a quality 4-pound, 6-ounce entry.

Tony said Anthony Compton, a 12-year-old from Mays Landing, shared second and third with Mike Affantano, both with 2-pound, 14-ounce entries. Morgano said Compton was also the youth division winner. He won the youth division last year, too.

The contest had 62 fishers enter. Morgano said some of the contestants complained about the skates and rays, while a couple of entrants racked up 15 summer flounder.

“Everybody had a good time,” Morgano said.

That is a typical reaction for this contest.

John Herron is the captain of the popular back-bay pontoon party boat The Keeper out of Margate. The summer flounder fishing was a little slow Friday mid-afternoon, but while John was on the phone with the local scribe for a few minutes he directed his crew to three fish the afternoon fishers were reeling in.

He was busy, so he was urged to get back to work instead of gabbing on the phone.

Kingfish are getting lots of play from the area’s surf-casters, jetty and pier fishers.

Noel Feliciano at One-Stop Bait and Tackle in Atlantic City has been providing reports of good kingfish catches from the jetties there.

Robin Scott said 17-year-old Margate resident Justin Foreman reported back to Ray Scott’s Dock in Margate that he is catching kingfish on the Margate beach.

Feliciano said the rock stars report summer flounder are getting bigger. Tony Pano, one of One-Stop’s regulars, caught a 20-inch summer flounder he kept and a 50-pound striped bass he released.

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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.

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Contact: 609-350-0388 ShepOnFishing@yahoo.com

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