August brings with it a few sizable fishing tournaments with some of the largest purses in the world.

This week it was the 44th annual White Marlin Open Aug. 7-11 out of Ocean City, Maryland, which had a record $4,450,000 purse this year.

For up-to-date information on anglers on the board and weigh-ins see the Marlincam at whitemarlinopen.com.

The MidAtlantic Tournament, to be held out of the Canyon Club in Cape May, is slated for Aug. 20-25, with a purse of more than $3,100,000 expected.

Hundreds of spectators gather around the scales for weigh-ins to see some spectacular fish such as white and blue marlin, wahoo, tuna, and dolphin. If you can’t make it to the marina, see southjerseymarina.com for a live stream each day at the scales.

Offshore reports leading up to the tournaments have not been as active as years past, especially now that we are well into August. White marlin, tuna and mahi-mahi are being caught at the canyons, and the inshore lumps are holding yellowfin tuna and mahi-mahi.

Back bay and inshore fishing continues to produce the most action. Flounder fishing is one of the most popular species to fish in the summer. In an effort to reduce summer flounder mortalities and as part of its campaign to educate the fishing community on how to safely release a short summer flounder, the Department of Environmental Protection has begun distributing 20,000 free J-hooks.

According to the New Jersey Fish and Wildlife website, summer flounder, or fluke, is one of New Jersey’s most important recreational and commercial fish species. The “If you can’t keep it, save it!” campaign focuses on the proper methods and gear to use to reduce unintentional mortalities that can occur when flounder that do not meet minimum length requirements are returned to the water.

The DEP Division of Fish and Wildlife, in coordination with the American Sportfishing Association and Eagle Claw Fishing Tackle Co., are distributing larger-sized J-hooks that help anglers land bigger fish and reduce the potential for discards. The free hooks are available at bait-and-tackle shops. They can make a difference by reducing the number of smaller fish that are caught while lessening the risk of serious injury to the fish.

DEP Deputy Commissioner David Glass was joined by New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife staff this week for the distribution of hooks at Fisherman’s Supply Co. in Point Pleasant Beach.

“Whether you are a seasoned angler or it’s your first time fishing, it’s important for everyone who reels in a fish to be educated on the proper ways to handle them in order to best preserve current and future stocks,” he said.

For a list of shops see savefluke.nj.gov or follow the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife on Facebook at njfishandwildlife.

David Migliore of Light Tackle Fishing Charters out of Ventnor reported that finding no flounder in the back bay. He advised anglers to look on structures and in ambushing points both inshore and offshore. Striped bass, weakfish and bluefish are all attacking pods of peanut bunker and mullet, he said.

“If you find the bait, you've found the fish,” said Migliore. He is seeing the bluefish feeding heaviest dawn and dusk, while the other two inshore predators are feeding dusk until dawn.

He has been hearing of some southern species making it to the area. Cobia, wahoo, mahi-mahi, even Spanish and cero mackerel and the occasional king mackerel may join schools of sharks, rays and false albacore pushing far onto the continental shelf. These species make fine game for those willing to brave a 10-25 mile run offshore, and are excellent table fare.

Chris Mozitis of Wee Cat Charters in Ocean City reported flounder charters around the Great Egg Harbor Inlet still catching best near high tide. The rain has clouded the water, so white jigheads using Gulp Shrimp in Sugar-N-Spice Glow color outfished pink Gulp grubs this week, he said.

Wee Cat Charters boated flounder mixed with dogfish, sea robins and sea bass this week. Small bluefish swarmed everywhere, so bring a small silver spoon. He said the flounder ratio of throwback-to-keeper increased to about 25:1.The best fishing took place on drop-offs near deep channels, as 75 degree water is sending flounder into cooler water and out to ocean reefs, he said.

The Ocean City Fishing Center's boat Capt. Collet has been catching sea bass at a steady pace. Some days they are seeing a lot of throwbacks, and others they are seeing mammoth 6-pounders come over the rail. The center reports that fluke fishing has been hot in the ocean this week and they are still catching some in the back bay.

Whale Creek Marina in Strathmere is seeing plenty of short flounder in the Sea Isle City-Strathmere area with a couple of keepers being caught. Snapper blues are back all over, and there are tons of crabs, as usual. People are catching dozens from Whale Creek.

Tammie Carbohn of Avalon Hodge Podge said they did not weigh in any fish this week, but she did have a lot of reports of a variety of small fish being caught both in the bay and in the surf. Fluke are starting to move out of the back bays and can be caught closer to the inlet and off the Eighth Street jetty in Avalon, she said. Off the rock pile at the Townsends Inlet bridge you will find bluefish and taugtog as well as some small black sea bass. These fish are being caught on either clam or crabs.

Irv Hurd of the Miss Avalon reported one of his best weeks of fishing this summer. After last weekend’s storm, the ocean temperature dropped to the lower 70s and is teaming with life, and flounder, triggerfish, kingfish and sea bass are biting like mad dogs, he said. Notable catches include Lance Wardius of Downingtown, Pa., with five keepers in two days; Bill Bray from Philadelphia with a flounder and sea bass; and Trevor McHugh of Manassas, Va., hooked a lobster. Sean Donnelly of Downingtown, Pa., was the pool flounder winner of the week.

The Royal Flush out of Wildwood reported a big improvement in action. Last week brought flounder, sea bass, kingfish, weakies, triggers and snapper blues. There were a few croaker scouts caught on the night trips. Angler Stephan Langlois of Quebec and Hank Lewandowski of Williamstown caught triggerfish. Robert Clemente of Lumberton hooked sea bass and a triggerfish, and Shannon Logan of Shamong caught a weakie.

Cathy Algard of Sterling Harbor Bait and Tackle in Shawcrest said the flounder fishing at the reefs was excellent, with anglers reporting limits from Reef Site 11, the Old Grounds, the Cape May Reef and the Wildwood Reef. Mike Reed and crew of Rockledge, Pa., limited out while fishing Reef Site 11 on his boat Kensington Princess II. Frank Hennigan and crew of Glenmoore, Pa., limited out while fishing the Old Grounds on Hennigan’s boat Avalanche. Ray Dunne and crew were one fish shy of a limit while fishing the Wildwood Reef on Dunne Dreamin’.

Before casting a line this season, all anglers must inquire about the free saltwater fishing registration. See countmyfish.noaa.gov or call 888-674-7411 to find out if a license is needed to fish a desired species. Print out the certificate and keep in on your person while fishing. Stop in any bait and tackle shop for more details.

Fishing reports and photos can be emailed to Heather Holtzapfel James at heatherholtzapfel@yahoo.com. Reports need to be in by Sunday evening of each week.

Tide Chart

Week of Aug. 11

Wildwood

AM Low AM High PM Low PM High

Friday 4:31 10:37 4:45 10:52

Saturday 5:12 11:21 5:35 11:37

Sunday 5:58 12:11 6:33 none

Monday 6:49 12:30 7:37 1:09

Tuesday 7:47 1:31 8:46 2:13

Wednesday 8:50 2:41 9:55 3:21

Thursday 9:55 3:52 11:00 4:28

Ocean City

AM Low AM High PM Low PM High

Friday 5:00 11:00 5:13 11:15

Saturday 5:42 11:44 6:04 none

Sunday 6:27 12:00 7:02 12:35

Monday 7:18 12:53 8:06 1:32

Tuesday 8:16 1:54 9:15 2:36

Wednesday 9:19 3:04 10:24 3:44

Thursday 10:24 4:15 11:28 4:51

Ventnor

AM Low AM High PM Low PM High

Friday 4:26 10:32 4:40 10:47

Saturday 5:07 11:16 5:30 11:32

Sunday 5:53 12:06 6:26 none

Monday 6:44 12:25 7:32 1:04

Tuesday 7:42 1:26 8:41 2:08

Wednesday 8:45 2:36 9:50 3:16

Thursday 9:50 3:47 10:55 4:23