As luck will have it, now that the flounder season is shut down for the year, anglers are hooking up to some doormat fluke as they target other species.

Robin Scott of Ray Scott’s Dock in Margate said retired Army Lt. Col. Brian Morgan of Ventnor, armed with green crab in his favorite tautog spot, landed the flounder of his lifetime. Scott said he told her he threw it back, but “It hurt.”

Other marinas are reporting the same. Fish that are in season are also biting well; even the schoolie-sized species are giving anglers a run for their money.

John Wilkinson of Babu Charters in Margate had a fishing trip last week and caught more than 50 fish, with a mix of blues, fluke and sea bass. All were released. The ocean was too rough that day, he said, but the bay was producing lots of action.

Tautog has been the fish of the week. There is a limit of one fish per person per day.

Robin Scott said Scott Bonar and Liz McClellan hosted McClellanʼs brother Tom and friend Yvonne from Southern California. Although most anglers consider tautog one of the more difficult species, she said, they each quickly caught a keeper. Other anglers were coming in with snapper blues, which also make for a nice fish fry.

Scott said Jersey blues are finally gaining respect as a top-notch protein source. Fast swimming and fast growing, they can achieve a 5-pound body weight within a year, limiting the amount of mercury they accumulate. They have the highest amount of Omega-3 fatty acids in the fish world, according to Scott.

Tammie Carbohn of Avalon Hodge Podge said larger schools of snapper bluefish can be found just about everywhere in her area. The species is not all that picky, she said, and can be caught on everything from bait to plastics to metal lures; just keep in mind the fish size when choosing a hook size.

Kingfish are still around, particularly in the surf, and have been taking bloodworms, she said; because the water temperature is still very warm, she expects them to hang around for some time.

Carbohn said some anglers coming into the shop are still hooking up and releasing flounder and black sea bass inshore on a variety of baits and lures; both species are catch and release only.

The "resident" striped bass in the back bays seem to be growing up, and some are now keeper size. Clam or any other strip bait will work.

William “Bucktail Willy” Shillingford of Sea Isle City said he caught and released 63 flounder over the course of four days in the channels near shallow bays and sounds. Some of them were in the 18- to 21-inch range.

Cathy Algard of Sterling Harbor Bait and Tackle in Shawcrest reported plenty of schoolie stripers and snapper blues in the back bays. The stripers are being found around docks, bridges and sod banks, and are hitting on clam bait, soft plastics like Storm Swim Shads, 360 Searchbaits, and plugs such as Rapala Skitterwalks and Stillwater Smack-It Jrs. Evenings seem to be best.

Off Cape May Point there have been spike weakfish, a few croakers and plenty of snapper blues.

Offshore, Algard had one report of scattered yellowfin tuna from the Spencer Canyon, and scattered wahoo from the 30 Fathom Line out to the canyons. Frank Hennigan and crew of Avalanche out of Wildwood checked in with a 68-pound wahoo caught along the 30 Fathom Line.

Stan Stankiewicz, of Cape May, formally of Canyon Clipper charters, is now running a pontoon boat called Sailor’s Delight for charter. He is doing some back bay fishing catching sea bass, bluefish and kingfish, and is hosting crabbing excursions.

The Strathmere Fishing and Environmental Club will host the 2017 New Jersey State of the Fisheries meeting 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 14 at the Strathmere Firehouse on Commonwealth Avenue in Strathmere. The meeting will focus on state fishing regulations, fishing seasons, and how regulations are generated.

The meeting will feature a panel of federal and state elected officials, representatives from the NJ DEP, the NJ Marine Fisheries Council, the Recreational Fishing Alliance, and others who have a broad understanding of New Jersey fisheries issues. Other topics will include beach replenishment and inlet navigation.

All are welcome. There will be a public question and answer session.

Before casting a line this fall, all anglers must inquire about the free saltwater fishing registration. See 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 Reports need to be in by Sunday evening of each week.

Tide Chart

Week of Sept. 25


AM Low AM High PM Low PM High

Friday 3:28 9:38 3:51 8:53

Saturday 4:07 10:18 4:35 10:34

Sunday 4:46 10:59 5:21 11:16

Monday 5:25 11:42 6:08 none

Tuesday 6:08 12:01 7:01 12:29

Wednesday 6:56 12:53 7:58 1:23

Thursday 7:52 1:53 8:57 2:23

Ocean City

AM Low AM High PM Low PM High

Friday 3:57 10:01 4:20 10:16

Saturday 4:37 10:41 5:04 10:57

Sunday 5:15 11:22 5:50 11:36

Monday 5:55 none 6:38 12:05

Tuesday 6:37 12:25 7:30 12:53

Wednesday 7:25 1:17 8:27 1:47

Thursday 8:21 2:16 9:26 2:46


AM Low AM High PM Low PM High

Friday 3:23 9:33 3:46 9:48

Saturday 4:02 10:13 4:30 10:29

Sunday 4:41 10:54 5:16 11:11

Monday 5:20 11:37 6:03 11:56

Tuesday 6:03 12:24 6:56 none

Wednesday 6:51 12:48 7:53 1:18

Thursday 7:47 1:48 8:52 2:18

Stay informed! Sign up to receive breaking news delivered to your inbox.