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Monday, May 27, 2024


Fishing Line: July 5

A pool-winning flounder for Debbie Hackett.
Courtesy Sea Star III

A pool-winning flounder for Debbie Hackett.

By Mark Robbins

Well, that was an interesting week. The first half was basically unfishable due to excessive winds and then the second half was full of reports of nice flounder catches at the reefs and in the back bays.  

Throw in some weakfish, bluefish, triggerfish, and croakers, as well as tuna offshore, and it seems that summer fishing has arrived. We even had some drum fish caught, which harkens back to the spring.  

Now, we just need to have some consistency of fishable conditions and we will have it made. Let’s check things out.  

Grassy Sound Marina held their 17th Annual Flounder Tournament and congratulations go out to Ken McDermott and crew, who won the Boat Division and the Heaviest Fish category.  

Ken’s grandson, Ty, caught the winning fish, a 5.4-pounder that couldn’t resist a New Penny Gulp bait. Ty, who lives in North Wildwood and attends Margaret Mace School, was fishing in his home waters. The fish was caught in Turtle Creek on the outgoing tide.   

Second and third place went, respectively, to Thomas Takacs, of Boothwyn, Pennsylvania (3.9 pounds), and John Casey, of North Wildwood (3.6).  

Other winners were Brandon Olewiler, of Red Lion, Pennsylvania (4.2 pounds), in the Kayak Division, Jamie Clark (2.6) in the Women’s Division, and Kurt Kircher, of Court House (6.3), in the Two Heaviest Combined Division.    

Sterling Harbor Bait and Tackle reported that, “before the blow,” Ernie DiVincenzo and crew were out at the Wilmington Canyon, where they caught, and released, their first White Marlin. They finished their trip with a good catch of tilefish.  

Moving inshore revealed the reefs have a good fluke bite going on. The Cape May Reef is a popular spot right now where Pink Shine Gulp and minnows are the hot bait combination.  

The back bays are still offering up keeper flounder and striped bass, while weakfish are hanging at the local rock piles.  

Young anglers, Matthew and Mason Bulifant, and their cousin, Bradyn Bulifant, had a good day of fishing as they caught a keeper striped bass, flounder and weakfish. That makes for some good family memories. There is a little more on these anglers later in the column.  

Crabbing has been good so far this season and gets four claws out of a possible five. Stop in the shop to get all the crabbing supplies and bait that you’ll need.     

The Sailor’s Delight has been getting out regularly, minus an afternoon lost to extremely windy conditions, and their patrons were rewarded with some very nice flounder, including a hefty 5-pounder. The backwaters are still holding some very nice fish, so don’t pass up an opportunity to get out there.  

The Miss Avalon is sailing to the local reefs where they have been catching flounder, weakfish, and the occasional triggerfish. Sea Bass are also being caught in good quantities, but those are tossed back since they were out of season as of this writing. The second segment recently opened July 1 with a bag limit of one fish.  

A catch to note from a mid-week trip went to Stan, who returned to the dock with a 6-pound flounder.    

The Avalon Lady, sailing the backwaters behind Avalon, has been catching flounder, weakfish, and croakers. The croakers are “thick” all over and are providing plenty of action and good eating.  

The Avalon Lady is now sailing two trips a day, plus an evening trip on Wednesday.  

The Starfish is sailing out to the local reefs in search of flounder, weakfish, and triggerfish. Since the weather has been causing havoc with fishing, you can call ahead to check their schedule at 609-263-3800.  

First Fish Adventures provided bountiful trips recently to Joe Capetola and his brother-in-law, Joe, who returned with flounder, bluefish, Spanish mackerel and a striper, the Poletto family, who caught croakers and weakfish but kept enough for a fish taco dinner and then had a family outing of Capt. Zig, Paul, and grandson, Paul. Their haul was bluefish, bonito, and flounder. The bluefish were released, but the others found their way to the table.  

Boulevard Bait and Tackle reports that the local inlets have been good spots to fish as of late. 

Proof comes from Kevin, who landed a nice, early morning keeper flounder, from Jacob, who along with his dad, Dan, came home with a load of croakers, flounder, and a nice weakfish, and from Joey, who had some good action with seven flounder, which included one keeper for the dinner table.  

Sea Isle Bait and Tackle reported that Brandon M. stopped in with a flounder. The particulars show that it was 22.5-inches long and weighed in at 4.93 pounds.  

Congratulations to Sea Isle Bait and Tackle as they celebrate their 10th year of being in business.  

The Miss Chris had a challenging, but interesting, week as the weather played havoc with them, and everyone, during the windy, rainy period.  

When they were able to fish, the Miss Chris fished along the beachfront and down towards the Point.  

They caught a mixed bag of croakers, weakfish, and bluefish. Due to the one-fish bag limit on weakfish, many were released because the angler had already reached their limit. It’s nice to see that there is a good population of weakfish in the area.  

As conditions improved, the Miss Chris enjoyed a wacky Wednesday as their catch was a little surprising. They ventured to their local flounder spot where they caught flounder and triggerfish. The interesting part was that they also caught drumfish. The anglers involved went five for five on landing their fish, with the biggest hitting 58 pounds. The lesson is to get your bait in the water and be prepared to be surprised.     

The Sea Star III, with Capt. Chuck, had a good start to their most recent week as the fluke were feeding eagerly. Then, well, the weather arrived, and the fishing ceased. But happily, good fishing has returned.            

A short list of pool winners this week saw everyone win with a fluke. Debbie Hackett won with a 5.35-pounder and was joined by Mike Moore (4.0) and Frank Servocky, who won twice, with a 2.9- and 3.05-pound fish.  

Capt. Tom, aboard the Fishin’ Fever Sportfishing Charters, has been heading out for tuna and, even with a challenging bite, has returned with fish.  

Check out his Facebook page to see available dates and to see the next time he puts together a tilefish trip.    

Cape May Bait and Tackle reported that the beaches, both ocean and bayside, have croakers, weakfish, kingfish, and flounder, as well as a few stripers. They have been hitting on bloodworms, but you can also use Gulp or Fishbites. Mackerel strips or small pieces of squid also work.  

The Cape May Reef has been giving up plenty of flounder. Shorts and some good keeper-sized fish are being caught.  

For those who like to float bloodworms around the rock piles for weakfish, well, this is your notice that the time is now.  

Thanks go out to Cheryl Bulifant, who submitted pictures and a report of her three grandsons and their catches. Those would be 9-year-old Mason and his 27.5-inch flounder, 12-year-old Bradyn and his weakfish, and 9-year-old Matthew, who caught a 29-inch striper. These young anglers were very popular, as they were also mentioned in the Sterling Harbor Bait and Tackle segment of our report. Congratulations, gentlemen, on your catches.     

Thanks to Nick Rambo for submitting a report of his recent trip aboard the All Hanked Up II. He caught a limit, which included a 23-inch flounder and two that were 17.75 inches. Keep up the good fishing, Nick.   

These busy times are keeping anglers and captains happy. Good luck if you get out, take care, and I’ll see you around.  

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