Spring fishing shifted into the next gear as flounder were added to the eligible list of keeper fish. Add them to the other species being caught and we have a lot of tasty options to pursue. Lots of people were fishing before and after the holiday weekend, so let’s see how they did.

Tammie from Avalon Hodge Podge reports “lots of great action” during the past week and particularly before as the weekend was kicking in. “Monster bluefish” were caught in the surf near the 8th Street Jetty and elsewhere along the surf. They were hitting big swimming plugs or chunks of bunker.

The start of fluke season “did not disappoint.” Fishers brought in several fish over 20 inches, but the biggest went to Garry Bates who caught a 5-inch, 5.87-pound fish. It hit a bucktail tipped with Gulp.

“Sporadic reports” also mentioned that fishers caught striped bass and weakfish.

Boulevard Bait and Tackle had a few nice stripers come through their door recently as Cathy, George and Jeremy brought in three, plus a nice bluefish. Two other stripers were caught along the Sea Isle beach by Tony and Deano. A 36-inch, 13.1-pound striper was weighed in for a young angler named Ethan on the same day that George caught a keeper flounder.

Boulevard recently switched over to their summer hours: 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday to Thursday, 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 5 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday.

At Off the Hook Bait and Tackle, they had a busy week as they weighed in a 25.1-pound tuna and an 11.1-pound Mahi for the crew of the Harvester after their trip to a local canyon. Other catches include Ray Trainor and Joe Smith who weighed in 3.26 and 3.47-pound weakfish respectively. Charleigh and Lily brought some nice sea bass, to 2.71-pounds, to the scales.

Jim’s Bait and Tackle checked in to mention that Missy Alcorn stopped in with something to weigh. After hitting the scales, Missy had a new personal best with a striped bass at 44 pounds. Congratulations to Missy on a great fish.

Grassy Sound Marina had their opening day flounder tournament. The winners were John Dailey with a 25-inch, 6-pound fish and Fred Lebesco with a 20.5-inch, 3.2-pound entry. Other notable weekend catches went to Jake Vicoli who caught his first keeper flounder, 3-year-old Ben Lee who landed a 19-inch flounder from the pier, and “veteran fisherman,” 7-year-old Owen Moore, limited out while fishing in a backwater creek. A 4.2-pound weakfish caught by Stevie Reppert helped to round-out a beautiful weekend of fishing.

Cathy, at Sterling Harbor, reported “good catches of flounder” with the backwaters “producing the best.” These waters also provided “plenty of bluefish” that were in the 2-pound range. The inlets also held these fish. If you went out of the inlet to the offshore wrecks, you had a good shot at sea bass.

The Delaware Bay, particularly the area just off of North Cape May, was still a good place to catch drum fish. Crabbing has started which means we have Crabby Jacks first grade of the season. After checking things out, he gives us a score of three out of a possible five claws.

Sea Isle Bait and Tackle weighed in some nice fish. Brad B. came in with a 37.9-pound, 43.75- inch striper which he caught from the surf, Trish B. landed a 29.7 pound, 44.5-inch striper from the surf, and Dan A. got 4.5-pound, 25-inch flounder.

The boats at the Miss Chris Marina have been out chasing and catching drum fish. They are also running trips for sea bass, so decide what you want then head down to the dock. They are running four hour trips that leave at 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. They also provide 6-hour fishing that leaves at 9 a.m. The Sea Star III, berthed at the marina, has been doing double-duty by fishing for sea bass by day and drum fish from the late afternoon into the night. Sea bass, both shorts and keepers, are being taken on the 9 a.m. till 3 p.m. trip. Matt Maxwell won a pool with a 2.4-pound fish. Big drum fish that won pools were caught by Dylan Pastuck (68 pounds) and Frank Servocky (51).

The Sea Star III is set to stop fishing for drum fish on June 8. Give them a call at 609-884-3421 so you can grab a seat before they are all gone and the trips finish up for the season.

The Cape May Lady has been busy while fishing a varied schedule. Eight-hour and four-hour trips are the norm while a 20-hour tilefish trip is on the schedule. If the weather cooperates, it will have been run by the time you are reading this article. The more normal length trips have been providing sea bass by day and drum fish by night. One of the highlights of the week went to Linda Fiordmondo who won a pool with a “jumbo” 4-pound seabass. She also caught some nice ling to round out her day.

The Porgy IV has been running 8-hour trips and has been enjoying some good sea bass action. Bill Ash and Ray Rotay caught a 3.5-pound sea bass, on different days, and each won the pool on those days. Tim and Andrew Hayes “teamed” up to land 14 keepers and the pool on Sunday. Many limits were experienced during the week.

Captain Bob from the Full Ahead took a break from drum fish and took out a charter who wanted some sea bass. The change-up was successful as many sea bass and some ling were caught. That little change of pace paid off nicely.The Fishin’ Fever with Captain Tom has been running charters also for sea bass. As with many who are fishing for sea bass, they have also been bringing in some ling. “Fishing has been great” with “easy boat limits.” Keep both boats in mind because open seats occasionally occur on a short-notice basis.

The Sailor’s Delight was busy with bluefish, sharks, flounder, drum fish and their first red hake, a.k.a. ling. Their main target was flounder, which were readily available, and they had some nice keepers to 20-inches. Throw in some evening drum fish plus a splattering of the other fish mentioned and you have a recipe for busy, happy anglers.

The Avalon Lady was also fishing the backwaters for flounders, bluefish, weakfish, and maybe even a striper. They caught some bluefish and some nice keeper flounder, plus an angler named Jake added a 17-inch weakfish to go with his keeper flounder. They have been totaling a few keeper flounder per trip. Their biggest, a 5.35-pounder, is also on the leaderboard at Moran’s Dockside Bait and Tackle. That’s a good way to start the season. The Miss Avalon was fishing for sea bass and flounder. The ocean has been a little cool for flounder, so they really haven’t shown up at their regular places yet. But the sea bass has provided plenty of action, and limits, and sent many anglers home with a tasty dinner.

The Starfish, out of Sea Isle, is also hitting the ocean for sea bass and other wreck dwellers. They have been putting fish in the coolers of their patrons and sending people home with a tasty dinner. Special thanks to reader Keri Falcicchio for the report on her recent trips. She and her friends have been in the bay looking for drum fish, seen some big bluefish caught near the Ferry, then caught some big sand sharks behind Stone Harbor.

To Keri, her friends and everyone else, keep fishing and let me know how you did.

Submit your fishing news and photos to mrobbins@cmcherald.com