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Sunday, May 26, 2024

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Fishing Line: May 1

Photo Credit: Sea Star III
Eddie Lord and his 3.5-pound, pool-winning blackfish.

By Mark Robbins

The best thing to be said now is that the 2024 summer flounder season is only three days away. Sadly, the spring season for blackfish ended yesterday. Many trips were blown away by weather that never fully cooperated. A stray good day was followed by multiple bad days. There were some workable days, but just not enough. Even on those days, trips weren’t made. The reason was not enough anglers were willing to show up at the dock. The questionable conditions, and the forecast of threatening weather, had many unwilling to take a chance and drive a distance only to be told that the trip was canceled. Such is the situation with spring, and even late fall, fishing. Let’s see what was caught by those who toughed it out.

Capt. Chuck, on the Sea Star III, gave it a great effort and toughed out the conditions. His perseverance helped to put some nice blackfish in the coolers of his patrons. He also reported that sea bass and flounder were caught. Those were returned to the ocean since their seasons haven’t opened yet, but they got everyone excited for the fishing that lies ahead.

Pool winners for the past week (all with blackfish) were Fred Nelson (4.25 pounds), Gary Agness (5.3), Ken Blanda (3.9) and Eddie Lord with a 3.5-pounder.

Capt. Chuck is still booking seats for his Prime Time Drumfish trips that begin on May 8. Call 609-884-3421 to reserve your seat.

Greyson and a 30-inch striper. Photo Credit: Jim’s Bait and Tackle

Full Ahead Sport Fishing, with Capt. Bob, was out recently and one of the anglers aboard was Len Fennimore. You may recognize Len’s name as he is mentioned here often. He recently joined the 20-plus-pound club. That’s an unofficial club, but one known to those who like to stay up with anglers who have caught big blackfish, aka tog.

Len reported that the recent trip he was on saw everyone aboard catch big female tog that were full of eggs. Some weighed up to 13 pounds. In a showing of good sportsmanship, and to help preserve the fishery, all those fish were released. Even after releasing those fish, there were enough other keepers, and shorts, to provide plenty of action during the trip and filets at the end.    

Fishin’ Fever Sportfishing, with Capt. Tom, stayed busy during a recent trip. Many large females, full of eggs, were caught, photographed, weighed, and released. A large male, weighing in at 10 pounds, was caught, then released, by an angler named Anthony. Plenty of shorts, as well as some nice keepers, kept those aboard busy and happy.

Other nice catches from a recent trip were made by John Ginsburg, who reeled in a 20.5-pound blackfish and matched Len’s big fish from the week before, “Tuna John” who weighed in a 14-pound tog, and Len who recorded another nice double-digit fish.

Now that the spring blackfish season has ended, the Miss Avalon is gearing up for the sea bass season which starts on May 17. They will be running a 10-hour trip which will leave the dock at 7 a.m. Reservations will be required for this trip so make sure you call ahead at 609-967-7455. 

The Starfish will be finishing up with blackfish, then looking toward sea bass and the opening of that fishery. Call 609-263-3800 for any information about the trips they are running.

Stalker Fishing Charters, Cape May, with Capt. Skip, is fishing in the back waters where he is targeting stripers. He also runs the charter boat, Stalker II, that hits the ocean for tuna and deep-water fluke trips. Give him a call at 609-972-5218 to see what he has available on either boat

Jerry and a 23-inch weakfish. Photo Credit: Boulevard Bait and Tackle

Boulevard Bait and Tackle has been busy weighing in, and taking reports of, weakfish, striped bass, and drumfish being caught. These anglers have been able to beat the wind and rain in the back waters or have snuck in some time on the beach.

The first striper to be weighed in for the year was a 9.8-pound, 30.5-inch specimen that was caught by an angler named Kyle. Other stripers went to Tony T. (27.5”), Matt (30.75” and 12 pounds), Bob (28”), Rich (30”), and Deano with a 28-inch fish. Karl (42.5”) and Phil (35”) caught and released some nice “overs.”

Two other catches to note were a nice drumfish to an unidentified angler and a 23-inch weakfish, from the back bay, for Jerry.

The Slack Tide Brewing Company Flounder Tournament, of which Boulevard Bait and Tackle is a sponsor, is scheduled for June 15. Registration will begin on May 15 and more details should be coming soon. 

Hannah and a nice weakfish. Photo Credit: Sea Isle Bait and Tackle

Sea Isle Bait and Tackle reported nice blackfish for Dennis (19 inches, 4.45 pounds), Tyler, and Vince (3.2 pounds) after being gutted and bled. Nice weakfish went to Hannah (22”, 3.75 pounds) and to Dom V. Dom’s was the first of the season.

Sea Isle Bait and Tackle will hold their 100% Cash Payout Flounder Tournament on May 11 and 12. There will be three prizes for flounder and one each, through separate calcutta’s, for the heaviest weakfish and bluefish. Registration ends May 11 at 7 a.m. sharp and all fish must be weighed in at the shop by 3 p.m. sharp on May 12. Call 609-263-6540 for more information about the entry fee and the payout structure for the winners. Also, every angler on each boat entered must be entered in the tournament.

Don’t forget that Grassy Sound Marina is running an Opening Day Flounder Tournament. They also hope you save the date of June 22 for their 18th Annual Flounder Tournament. To get more information on either tournament, give them a call at 609-846-1400.   

Well, the blackfish season was too short with too many cancellations. We now will have a short break of a few days, then summer flounder takes over. Then, a couple short weeks later, it will be the first portion of the sea bass seasons. Fishing is moving forward and, hopefully, the conditions follow. Good luck if you make it out, take care, and I’ll see you around.

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

Columnist

Author of The Fishing Line, a regular column published in the Cape May County Herald covering the local fishing scene.

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