There is plenty to report as we head into September and Labor Day weekend.
The variety continues to grow as a barracuda was added to the mixture. Summer flounder continue to be strong, kingfish are improving, bluefish are cruising and mahi, bonito and little tunny are inhabiting the inshore waters with some cobia. A big fat tautog came out of the Margate back bay.
Rick Shetler, of Beesleys Point, caught the barracuda Thursday on the Sea Isle City-based charter boat Relentless with captain Joe Cunningham. It weighed 35.2 pounds and measured 55 inches at Sea Isle City Bait and Tackle.
Cunningham said they were targeting cobia off Townsends Inlet when the barracuda was caught on the first cast of the day with a bucktail. Cunningham said it took 30 minutes to subdue and jumped twice.
“We were not expecting that,” Cunningham said Friday.
He said they have been catching “quite a few” cobia. Cunnigham said they do some spearfishing on the Relentless. Reminder: Cobia have a minimum limit of 40 inches.
Robin Scott said Justin Forman, of Ventnor, is one of her crew at Ray Scott’s Dock in Margate. He runs his skiff with a group of young fishers who buzz the back bays of Margate.
The 16-year-old caught what Robin called a gorgeous tautog. Robin also provided reports of a big mako shark, a sailfish and a wahoo during what she described as a “bumper” week of action.
Rick Andrews, of Margate, is a regular on the Ventnor City Fishing Pier. He described several days of quality fishing this week from the pier.
He had multiple double-figure catches and reported one of the pier fishers racked up maybe 60 kingfish. He was using bloodworm, but others were using shrimp and Fish-Bites.
Lazz Santello, a veteran fisher who works the surf in Sea Isle City and Strathmere, reported kingfish also were thick in that stretch this past week.
He recorded one surf-caster who racked up two full stringers of kingfish, including one string that had 36 fish.Â
Some of the local worthies are catching kingfish in the Atlantic City-Brigantine area, too.
Summer flounder just don’t seem to want to leave the area.
Noel Feliciano reported from One-Stop Bait and Tackle in Atlantic City his regulars have been keeping it going.
Will Martinez, of Atlantic City, has been lighting it up all summer while fishing the rockpiles in the Atlantic City area. His latest achievement three more keepers Thursday. They measured 18 1/2, 19 and 20 inches.
Feliciano also weighed a 5-pound, 25-inch summer flounder for Manny Carmonoa, of Atlantic City. It, too, was caught Thursday.
Noel also reported or rather marveled at the thick schools of bait fish hanging out throughout the local waters. He said peanut bunker and silversides have been joined by mullet.
Jimmy Zavacky, captain of the charter boat Reel Determined, had two super summer flounder trips this past week, with 10 keepers each time, according to a report from Jim Hutchinson Sr. for the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association.
Mike O’Neill, who runs the Stray Cat charter/open boat out Seaview Harbor Marina in Great Egg Inlet, has been trolling inshore and racking up mahi, Spanish mackerel and bonito.
He said cobia are plentiful, too. He also contributed two houndfish to the lineup. He is running an open boat Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.
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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.