Midsummer brings hot, muggy days, warmer water temperatures, thunderstorms and a lot of action in the back bays and in the ocean. We are seeing constant movement in the back bay waters and it has been an attraction to the younger anglers — small snapper blues jumping out of the surface, seagulls dive-bombing the waters plucking their prey — enough to make any young angler run for their fishing pole.
A.J. Lauletta, a summer resident of Ocean City, fishes from his bayfront home from the time he gets up in the morning until it is time to go to bed. The Riveria section of Ocean City where he lives is made up of small lagoons — not much to offer those looking for anything sizable, but still plenty of fish that will hook up to a line.
Last week Lauletta rigged his line with a small spoon, got a hit and reeled in an 18-inch striper. Then he and his friend, Tray Marco, grabbed a couple of fishing rods and tried their luck in the middle of the lagoon on their paddleboard. A couple of small snapping blues kept the action going as well as the hunt for the “big one.”
While last weekend’s full moon was the easy scapegoat for anglers who didn’t hook up to many…
Those fishing the open back bay are hooking up to bigger fish. John Wilkinson of Babu Charters in Brigantine had a great week of fluke fishing along with seabass and a thresher. He said they are catching an average of 30-plus flounder per trip with a 1-in-10 keeper ratio. Wilkinson said his best fishing has been in the bays behind Brigantine and Atlantic City. The inshore wrecks are also producing.
Whale Creek Marina in Strathmere had anglers coming in with a lot of flounder, and sea bass are starting to show up. Bluefish are still finding their way on to people's hooks along with some striper in the Strathmere-Sea Isle City area. Kingfish have finally arrived in the surf, and the reefs are slowly starting to heat up with flounder.
Irv Hurd of the Miss Avalon said kingfish are close to the beach, and biting on clam and mackerel. Onboard anglers Joe and Rita Marioni and Amy and Dave Bookbinder of Mount Ephraim caught sea bass, kingfish and flounder. Christie Bruce of Medford caught her first fish on a recent trip. The Avalon Lady has been bending the poles in the back bay with plenty of toss-back flounder mixed in some nice keepers.
The Royal Flush out of Wildwood reported that it has seen a big improvement in the fishing action as the ocean temperature rises. They are fishing out front in the ocean and for the most part, catching mostly kingfish and weakfish. They are also catching triggerfish, snapper blues, sea bass and flounder here and there. Notable catches this week include Matt Wilson of Levittown, Pa., with a weakie; Luke Tretter from Havertown, Pa., with a kingfish; Joe Black and Joe Black III from South Philadelphia with some kingfish; and Ed Moriarty and Kevin Miller from Syracuse, N.Y., netted triggerfish. Amanda Long from Phila, Pa. caught a snapper blue.
Robin Scott of Ray Scott’s Dock in Margate said the talk of the fishing community this week is the announcement by New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration supports New Jerseyʼs 2017 summer flounder regulations.
“At least for now, until the haggling starts against a proposed cut in our quotas for 2018, we can exhale," she said. "Get out the breading and fry up those fillets!"
Anglers are trying their best to do just that. Robert Ferrin of Linwood caught a 28-inch beauty he called the "Margate Monster." Its mouth was so big he could fit a tennis ball in it.
Scott reported that Alex Goldberg, 7, of Germantown, Pa., dragged a net into the store at Ray Scott's Dock that held a 5-pound flounder reeled in near the Longport bridge. His fishing partners were Asher, 5, and Ace, 3. Mark Ernst, 10, of Huntington Valley, Pa., nailed his very first fish, an 18-inch flounder, on a pink Gulp in the Margate bay with his family.
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.
The 24th annual Duke of Fluke Tournament was held Saturday, July 14 out of Sterling Harbor Bait and Tackle in Shawcrest. A total of 87 boats and 42 kayaks entered the tournament. Here are the results.
Single heaviest fluke
First Place: Wayne Reichle, Feast or Famine, 6.36 pounds
Second Place: Michael Bascome, Size Matters, 5.79 pounds
Third Place: Mike Messina, Wendy 7, 5.25 pounds
Five heaviest fluke
First Place: Christopher Voss, She Gave In, 23.03 pounds
Second Place: John Peterson, Unreel, 20.89 pounds
Third Place: Ross Dickinson, U10, 18.12 pounds
Kayak division - single heaviest fluke
First Place: Joe Muravsky, Hobie Pro Angler 14, 4.20 pounds
Second Place: Brad Hamilton, Hobie Outback, 3.81 pounds
Third Place: John Kapler, Hobie Pro Angler 14, 3.79 pounds
Duchess Award: Dana Townsend, 3.50-pound fluke
Heaviest sea bass: Clint Clement, Common Sense, 3.06 pounds
Heaviest bluefish: Mike Schaeffer, Fluke You II, 3.96 pounds
Week of July 21
AM Low AM High PM Low PM High
Friday 12:12 6:11 12:09 6:38
Saturday 1:09 7:08 1:05 7:32
Sunday 2:02 8:03 2:00 8:24
Monday 2:53 8:56 2:54 9:14
Tuesday 3:43 9:48 3:46 10:03
Wednesday 4:32 10:39 4:39 10:52
Thursday 5:20 11:30 5:32 11:40
AM Low AM High PM Low PM High
Friday 12:41 6:33 12:38 7:01
Saturday 1:37 7:31 1:34 7:55
Sunday 2:31 8:26 2:29 8:47
Monday 3:22 9:19 3:23 9:37
Tuesday 4:12 10:10 4:15 10:26
Wednesday 5:01 11:01 5:08 11:15
Thursday 5:49 11:52 6:01 none
AM Low AM High PM Low PM High
Friday 12:07 6:06 12:04 6:33
Saturday 1:04 7:03 1:00 7:27
Sunday 1:57 7:58 1:55 8:19
Monday 2:48 8:51 2:49 9:09
Tuesday 3:38 9:43 3:41 9:58
Wednesday 4:27 10:34 4:34 10:47
Thursday 5:15 11:25 5:27 11:35
Fishing reports and photos can be emailed to Heather Holtzapfel James at email@example.com. Reports must be in by Sunday evening of each week.