Saturday, December 9, 2023

Fishing Line: Sept. 20

Courtesy Sea Star III
A nice Cobia for Randy Stanger.

By Mark Robbins

If you waited to go flounder fishing then now is the time to get moving. We are now facing the last full week of the 2023 summer flounder season. Some nice flounder are being caught at the local reefs, along with blue fish and triggerfish. Unfortunately, the sea bass that are being caught must be returned to the sea. Not to worry, though, as the next season for them will open Oct. 1. There are local boats sailing, so hop on a head boat, or a 6-pack charter, and get out there. Let’s see what happened recently for those who did get out.

Capt. Chuck, from the Sea Star III, reported a week where some days were better than others, but overall it was an active week that saw multiple limits caught and a mixed variety of fish winning the daily pools, including a Cobia. We haven’t reported on many of those winning pools on the area boats, so it’s a nice change and maybe the start of something different that will occur more often.

Pool winners for the past week were, with triggerfish, Ryan Wells (2.75 pounds) and Leroy Johnson, with a 3.4-pounder. Winners who claimed a win with fluke were Mike Maziarczyk (3.8), Jim Knowles (4.45), and Mark Croucher, who weighed in a 5.55-pound fluke. Finally, the remaining pool for the week went to Randy Stanger, who landed a 15-pound Cobia. Congratulations to all the winners.

Capt. Mike, from the Miss Chris, checked in to report that he fished some different areas this week. Fluke, bluefish, and kingfish were what they were catching while there.

Pools for the week went to Amber, from Clementon, with a 1.5-pound kingfish, Sally, from Cape May, with a 19-inch fluke, and Judy Walls, from Aston, Pennsylvania, who claimed her pool with a 19.5-inch fluke.

Judy Walls with her pool-winning fluke. Courtesy Miss Chris

The Miss Chris is now offering Capt. Mike’s Old Grounds Trips, which are eight-hour flounder trips. Capt. Mike will be taking you offshore on the hunt for big fluke. As of this writing, there were four trips planned. Space will be limited, so you’ll need to make a reservation to get a seat. Go to the Miss Chris Marina Fishing Facebook page, find the post about these trips, and then go to the link to sign up.

The Miss Avalon continues to pull in fluke, bluefish, and triggerfish as they fish the local reefs. They will be interspersing their “exotics” trips throughout September, and possibly later into the late summer and early fall. Mahi will be a focus of those trips but any different species could show up and make the day interesting.

The first “exotics” trip happened on the Tuesday before Hurricane Lee passed by. It was a 12-hour trip that left the dock at 3 a.m. and consisted of a sold-out crowd of excited anglers.

Sally with her pool-winning fluke. Courtesy Miss Chris

By trip’s end, the tally reached 37 mahi landed and another two dozen lost at the boat. There were four trips originally scheduled but one was lost to the hurricane. Two others are scheduled, but it remains to be seen if any more will be added. Make sure to check the Miss Avalon Fishing Facebook page to see if any more are added. You can also check on the schedule for the upcoming sea bass season.

The Starfish is preparing for the upcoming sea bass season, which begins Oct. 1. You can reserve a spot for opening day, or during that weekend, for their eight-hour sea bass trips. If you buy five trips, you can get one free trip, which makes for a nice six-pack of trips. Call 609-263-3800 to take advantage of this special.

Meanwhile, they have continued to sail for fluke, triggerfish, bluefish, and any other fish hanging around the reefs.

Boulevard Bait and Tackle reported that Brandon Overstreet stopped in Sunday morning to weigh in an 11.1-pound sheepshead. Brandon, whose been in previous columns, was out early before the first wave of rain rolled through when he caught his big fish. The storm arrived, he waited it out, then went back out and his diligence was rewarded as he landed another sheepy that weighed 3.6 pounds. Nice job, Brandon.

Brandon Overstreet and his 11.1-pound Sheepshead. Courtesy Boulevard Bait and Tackle

Both boats of the Sailor’s Delight fleet are busy catching fluke, bluefish, and small sea bass in the back bays. These fish are dominating the bulk of fishing in that area right now.

Open spots are available on both boats, but you should call ahead to be sure. Crabbing charters are also available. Call 609-827-8309 for fishing or 215-582-6539 for crabbing.

Check out Capt. Andrew’s GoPro video that he set up on a crab trap. He then dropped the trap to the bottom and waited. Plenty of sea bass, spot, pinfish, pigfish, and yes, crabs showed up. The video really showed the diversity of life in our backwaters. Go to the Sailor’s Delight Facebook page or YouTube to check it out.

Sterling Harbor has announced that they will be shutting down for the season Sept. 24. I want to say thanks for the pictures and reports that they make and allowing us to keep up with what is going on in the backwaters of Wildwood.

Saltwater Outpost, at Hereford Marina, reported that some nice flounder are still being caught. One angler stopped in to show off his catch that he made in Beach Creek while using minnows. Small tog were also being caught from around the bridges. Crab baits started out hot but then sand fleas became the desired treat.

Thanks to Len Fenimore who recently reported on a nice 27-inch fluke that he caught, then released. He was fishing on the Fishin’ Fever with Capt. Tom Daffin on some deep-water structure. This big fish fell for a bucktail that was tipped with a sea robin strip. Oh, and why did he let this fish go or you may ask, why was it the fluke’s lucky day? Because Len already had his “over” fish for the day. Still, it was a nice catch so congratulations Len. And now others, including Len, can have an opportunity on another day to catch this fish.

Well, it was a little quieter this week as less anglers were around and we started to feel some effects of Hurricane Lee as it passed by us, thankfully well offshore. Fewer boats were running as the waves and swells increased, as the week wore on, and the ocean conditions became ever more challenging. Considering that, don’t forget that we still have the backwaters to fish and that some nice fish are still being pulled from there. Good luck when, and wherever, you get to fish, take care, and I’ll see you around.

Submit fishing news and photos to


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

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