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Fishing Line: May 8

Fishing Line: May 8

By Mark Robbins

Rick Cushman and his 44-inch striper.
Rick Cushman and his 44-inch striper.

Well, the nice weather, with comfortable summer-like temperatures and minimal wind, finally arrived. It was just in time for the last three days of blackfish season. Obviously, it’s nice that it finally arrived, but, with a greedy approach, you tend to think of what things would have been like if the good weather arrived a bit sooner. Now we need to keep it for the summer flounder season which, with this reminder, opens this Saturday. Let’s see what’s happened since the last column.

The Starfish got in two good trips during the final weekend of the spring blackfish season. Saturday was cool and cloudy, while Sunday was sunny and almost summerlike.

Saturday had plenty of action, from both shorts and keepers. Some ling were also caught, as well as some out-of-season sea bass. One regular to the column, Jerry Rau, was aboard and I’m sure he did well.

Sunday, after a slow start to the day, rebounded nicely as some keepers were caught around the boat. The action was steady as sea bass also contributed to the action.

The Starfish will now prepare for their next trip, that being on May 17 when the sea bass season opens. Call 609-263-3800 or go to starfishboats.com to book a trip.    

Paul Bodkin and his 12.10-pound blackfish. Photo Credit: Sea Star III

The Sea Star III was the place to be on the final Saturday of the blackfish season. Other days during the week produced nice keepers, and plenty of action, but Saturday took the prize as it provided a 12.10-pound pool winner for Paul Bodkin. His big fish was a little larger than another daily pool winner, an 11.25-pound blackfish that was caught by Curtis Sims. It was good to hear that some big fish were caught before the spring season ended. In addition to the big fish that were caught, there were several four-fish limits scattered throughout the week.

Other pool winners during the week were Lara DeLorenzo-Sims with a very respectable 8.85-pounder and Walt Prawdzik with a 3.75-pound fish.

Capt. Chuck is still accepting reservations for his drumfish trips. He also plans on fishing in the bay for summer flounder when the season opens this Saturday. He will switch to fishing for sea bass when their season opens on May 17. He plans on sailing daily, leaving the dock at 9 a.m., weather, and having enough anglers, permitting.  

Capt. Skip, on the Stalker, reported really good bluefish action recently. The touch of warm weather helped to produce fish weighing between 6 and 14 pounds. He is taking reservations for trips targeting these big fish. Call him at 609-972-5218 to see what he has available.

A 20-pound blackfish for Michael Kim. Photo Credit: Fishin’ Fever Sportfishing Charters

Fishin’ Fever Sportfishing Charters, with Capt. Tom, had another great catch of note recently. Some nice big blackfish have come over the rails of this boat during this spring.

Angler Michael Kim was fishing a jig when a big female hit it. After a nice fight the fish found the net. A quick visit to the scale revealed that she weighed 20 pounds. After a quick picture, the fish was released and swam back down for another day. Congratulations, Mike, on a great catch-and-release, and nice job Capt. Tom for putting your patrons on the big fish.

Full Ahead Sport Fishing had a good trip for the Casper Pierdomenico party. They went out recently, and despite some wind, Capt. Bob put them on the fish. Actually, the wind let them stay nicely on anchor which allowed for early, steady action. So much so that by mid-morning they had a boat limit of keeper blackfish. While reaching that point, smaller blackfish, and some sea bass, helped to contribute to the action. All those were returned to the ocean for another day’s fishing.  

Hands Too Bait and Tackle reported that Vivid Sport Fishing Charters was blackfishing at a local reef and provided the anglers aboard with a good day of fishing. A highlighted catch went to Russ Garrison who landed a 22-inch blackfish.

Luis with a 42-inch, catch-and-release, striper. Photo Credit: Boulevard Bait and Tackle

The Second Annual Doormat Derby 2024 will be hosted by Off the Hook Bait and Tackle on July 13. It will feature a 6:30 a.m. shotgun start and scales that will shut down at 5 p.m. A Captain’s Meeting will be held on Friday, July 12, at 7 p.m. The rules and regulations are posted on the Facebook page of Off the Hook Bait and Tackle. More information will follow.

Boulevard Bait and Tackle continues to be a hub of activity as anglers report their catches. Stripers and bluefish are the top catches right now with most being caught at low tide from the Sea Isle beaches while a few were picked up in the back bays.

Recent striped bass catches of note went to Paulie (32 inches), Jake (27-, 29-, and 30-inch fish over multiple days), John Mel (29.75), Luis (42 and 40), Gary (44 and 40) and Rob with a 39-incher. The large fish (any over 31 inches) were released in conjunction with striped bass regulations, while the legal fish were caught over a series of days. The one fish per day rule was also observed properly. Fresh clam was a popular bait.

Bluefish were caught by Joe (9.7 pounds), Todd (31 inches), and “Hoagie” who had a good day in the back bay by catching blues up to 32 inches. Clams and artificial baits fooled those big blues.

Tony with his 14.85-pound, 26.5-inch blackfish. Photo Credit: Sea Isle Bait and Tackle

Sea Isle Bait and Tackle weighed in a really nice double-digit, 14.85-pound, 26.5-inch blackfish for an angler named Tony. Another catch, actually four, to note was the limit of blackfish caught by Wes off of a local jetty. The late season blackfish action has been really good. Let’s hope the fall season, in November, picks up with the same great action that we’re seeing at the end of the spring.

Thanks go out to Valerie Bowers for sending in a picture of her brother Rick Cushman who landed, then released, a 44-inch striper from a spot along the Cape May beach. Clam was the bait that the striper couldn’t resist. Thank you for submitting the picture and report, and keep following our column.

Things are definitely progressing around the Cape. The fishing is getting better, as is the weather. And I noticed that the dogwood tree in the front yard is blooming, which means that the drumfish season is close to breaking out. Good luck if you get 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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