It was another nice week of weather that included multiple mornings with fall-like temperatures, leading to many fishing opportunities and noteworthy results.
An over 5-pound flounder made a young angler ecstatic, nice weakfish continued to be caught, and a local tournament crowned a new champion.
Grassy Sound Marina had their 15th annual Flounder Tournament June 26. There were several divisions and a historic winner, Diane Casey, who won the Boat Division, with a 5.8-pound flounder, which made her the tournament's first female winner - congratulations, Diane.
Second place went to Ken McDermott (5.4), while third was claimed by Jason Bilderback (5.3). The winner of the three-heaviest combined went to Randy Peterson and his 11.1-pound total, the Women’s Division went to Jon Dougherty (3.9), the Child’s Division went to Carter Gould (2.7) and the Kayak Division went to Brendan Duffy (3.3). The Pier Division, in winning order, went to Jennifer Jackson, Kyle Rooney and Leslie Nievery.
Another catch to note, from the pier before the tournament, went to Carmen DiGironimo, who landed a 34-inch striper on a chunk of bunker.
Cathy, checking in from Sterling Harbor Bait and Tackle, said that weakfish, though smaller than previous weeks, are “patrolling” the local jetties, and “a few tide runners" are in the mix. The back bays and inlets have bluefish and flounder, and those venturing to the reefs have also seized some flounder. Poorman's Canyon has some “scattered” yellowfin tuna while tile fishing is “good” at the Wilmington Canyon.
Sterling Harbor is preparing for their 28th annual Duke of Fluke Tournament, which will be held July 17. Registration is available online, at sterlingharbor.com, or by stopping in the shop.
The Sailor’s Delight had a productive weekend with a vigorous mix of keeper and throwback flounder. Their patrons also fought some skate and sharks, plus the first back bay sea bass of the season appeared. Capt. Stan was also able to coax some flounder into biting while he was running one of the vessel's crabbing trips, which caught some tasty crustaceans.
The Cape May Lady is running three trips daily, at 8 a.m., 1 p.m. and 7 p.m., and has been catching their fair share of weakfish and triggerfish. Some kingfish band croakers are also on the roll call.
Capt. Chuck, of the Sea Star III, reports nice flounder fishing accompanied by pleasurable sea bass action up to the fish's season temporarily closing. Flounder action is increasing, but throwbacks are still outnumbering keepers.
This week's pool winners (all with fluke) were Tony Koska (2.7 pounds), Gary Agness (2.95), Ken Murphy (2.35), James Hackett (4.0), Jaime Stephenson (3.6) and, with the week's biggest, Mike Ruhl, at 5.75 pounds.
The Miss Chris, led by Capt. Mike, spent most of their time fishing off Cape May Point, reporting that “each day, the fishing seems to get better and better” as more kingfish arrive and join the weakfish giving up some nice keepers. Keeper flounder are also being caught, as Dan Ceramic proved, with his 19-incher. Finally, during a recent trip to the reefs, Sara MacDowell closed out the first part of sea bass season by catching a 16-inch keeper.
Jim’s Bait and Tackle recently announced they will hold the “King of the Cape Flounder Tournament” July 24. Their Facebook page or store, at 609-884-3900, has details.
Cape May Bait and Tackle reported an up-tick in flounder fishing, with reports of keepers coming in from the beaches and reefs. Also, the area's jetties are being frequented by croakers, weakfish and short stripers. A nice bonus is that sheepshead are starting to be caught by those fishing rock piles.
The Miss Avalon has been busy with trips to local reefs. While there, they have been catching flounder, triggerfish and weakfish. A nice flounder won a recent pool for Porscha Shidler, who was visiting from Colorado. John Denny, from South Carolina, also won a pool with his flounder. During a mid-week outing, angler Austin pulled in a nice 21-inch keeper that was the largest of that day.
The Avalon Lady is sailing daily and has been catching nice flounder during those trips. The recent “big fish alert” goes to 6-year-old Declan, who caught his first-ever flounder. It was one he’ll remember since it measured 26 inches and weighed 5.67 pounds. The big fish, which hit a mackerel strip, puts Declan at the top of the boat's leaderboard for the season's biggest flounder - congratulations, Declan, on an excellent catch.
The Starfish is sailing twice daily, at 8 a.m. and 1 p.m., and hosts four-hour trips on Monday and Wednesday evenings, departing at 6 p.m. Their recent trips produced their first triggerfish of the season, plus some nice flounder.
First Fish Adventures had productive outings with multiple keepers during recent trips for Christopher Burruano and Benjamin Clark, and a combined family outing for the Shaw and Strain families. The Sample family also enjoyed a trip that produced three keepers, while a trip for the Blacks culminated with all aboard catching fish, including a nice striped bass. All fish from the Black's trip were released for another day.
Finally, Bill Dockerty and friends went out, which resulted in the kids keeping one flounder, as the girls outfished the boys. The scales were busy at Avalon Hodge Podge, as anglers, who were able to get to the tuna grounds, stopped by to weigh and show off their yellowfin tuna.
Logan, 5, came by to weigh his 2.5-pound, 19.75-inch flounder he caught from a local dock while fishing a live minnow. Another flounder of note was caught by Nick in the back bay on a 5-inch white Gulp. It weighed 3.66 pounds and was 22-inches long.
Avalon Hodge Podge is also running a TruFishing contest. Check their Facebook page or visit the store for details.
Boulevard Bait and Tackle reported nice flounder catches from the backwaters, the inlet, and out front at the reefs. The biggest fish from the back went to Matt, who landed a 26.5-inch, 6-pounder. Eight keepers were bagged by him and his crew.
The back bay also gave up a limit to Danny, his third of the season. The inlet area provided 18.5 and 19-inch keepers to Gus, while the local reefs gave up a 25-inch keeper to Conner. Store owner Cameron, who also caught a nice sheepshead during a recent trip, reported that flounder are scattered throughout the waters.
Get out and enjoy the satisfying weather and fishing. Take care and I’ll see you around.
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