Despite dense fog last weekend, anglers saw a lot of action on the water most days. Reports were scattered on where the action was and when. Bluefish dominated many reports, and the sizes have been quite impressive.
Nick Verducci, the advisor for the Ocean City Intermediate School Fishing Club, took the members on an outing last Saturday to Corson’s Inlet, where the fish had been jumping just days before. About 50 anglers lined up early on the beach alongside the students, but not a single bluefish or fish of any kind was caught from the inlet. Eighth-grader Casey Helms had a nibble, but that was about it. The next day, anglers were catching the blues continuously at the same location. It just goes to show how hit or miss fishing can be.
John Wilkinson of Babu Charters in Brigantine said he has had some nice catches of the blues. He is also seeing an influx of spiny dogfish sharks in the Absecon Inlet. The dogfish lifespan is estimated to be more than 100 years, and the gestation period is 18 to 24 months, among the longest of any animal. Wilkinson said the blues are on their way out and were a little hard to find over the weekend, but once he got to them fishing was “hot and heavy.”
Tom Christ of Brennan Marine in Somers Point reported that most of his customers are catching bluefish as well. He said large slammers could be found all over the back bays from the Ocean City-Longport Bridge to all the way up the Great Egg Harbor River. Blues in the 10- to12-pound class were not uncommon. They have been taken on bunker, mackerel, and various jigs and surface lures.
Perch, said Christ, can also be had up the river, and bloodworms are the bait of choice. Small stripers seem to be plentiful, but as of this report no really large fish had been reported. Clams seem to work on them.
As far as offshore fishing goes, Christ reported that Tim McBride and his crew ventured offshore to the area between the Toms and Carteret canyons last weekend. He said they slammed the school-sized yellowfin tuna. They had 15 fish and left with the bite still on. They were dragging covered ballyhoo, spreader bars, green machines and cedar plugs. The tuna were all in the 30-pound class, and the largest fish weighed 37 pounds. They also boated a 45-inch mahi mahi that weighed in at just north of 20 pounds.
The water was exceptionally clear and the water temperature was 74 degrees. The boat next to them caught what they estimated to be a bluefin tuna in the 300-pound class on a “green stick.”
Christ said it was the earliest tuna bite he can remember.
Bill “Bucktail Willie” Shillingford of Swainton, who fishes out of Whale Creek Marina in Strathmere, had big bluefish all last week up to 32 inches. He said it has been 40 years since he has seen bluefish this big in numbers in the bay. He slow-trolled with bucktails and twister tails that provided him the action. He hooked up to a few flounder, but mostly under the 18-inch regulation.
Tammie Carbohn of Avalon Hodge Podge saw her share of bluefish last week. She said the average was 8 pounds, and the biggest she saw was 13.94 pounds, 37 inches caught by Greg Komondor from Forrest Hills, Maryland, using a swimming plug. The striped bass fishing is improving, she said, with more and more keeper-sized fish being caught. Rich Ziegler of Philadelphia landed a 37-inch, 15.54-pound fish off the Eighth Street jetty using a yellow swimming plug.
In the southern end of Cape May County, Ray Szulczewski, a fly fisherman from Cape May who runs charters off his boat Tide Runner, said he had good action on the fly rod last week with schoolie-size stripers, sea herring, some fluke and some tautog. He fished the ocean using chartreuse-white and pink-white clouser flies, with the best action on the incoming tide in the evenings. He had one bluefish bite but said he hasn't seen the bluefish action other areas have had, but with the water getting warmer more will be around along with the first weakfish.
Szulczewski has been hooking some tautog. He does not target them on the fly during the year, but with the water temps around 55 the fish start spawning, and he said he believes they aggressively hit the flies as they think they are small fish trying to eat their eggs. With the tog and fluke seasons closed, keeper-size fish were released as were the undersize stripers.
Tom Daffin of Fishin’ Fever out of Utsch’s Marina in Cape May took out Sal Commiso and friends from Mullica Hill, targeting tile fish last Monday. They had nonstop action, hooking up to 60-plus tilefish up to 27 pounds. On Thursday Daffin took out Scott Thorpe from Pennsylvania and caught some nice drum to 45 pounds in the Delaware Bay.
With drum starting to make their way to the area, next week’s report will focus on how big they are running and where anglers are catching them.
All anglers must inquire about the free saltwater fishing registration. See www.countmyfish.noaa.gov or call 888-674-7411 to find out if a license is needed to fish a desired species, or stop in any bait and tackle store for details. Print out the certificate and keep it on your person while fishing.
- Capt. Tom Daffin of Fishin’ Fever Sportfishing out of Utsch’s Marina in Cape May has openings for drum, tile and sea bass trips. See www.fishinfeversportfishing.com.
- The Ninth annual Grassy Sound Marina Tournament will be held Saturday, June 27. All information and registration is at www.grassysoundmarina.com.
- The Royal Flush is sailing 8 a.m.-noon and 1-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday from Rio Grande Avenue and the bay in Wildwood.
- The Ladies Invitational Bluefish Tournament will be held Saturday, June 27. This year the tournament has been expanded to include prize categories for flounder, and for the first time in history men will be allowed to fish. The three weigh-in locations continue to be Atlantic City at Golden Nugget, Longport-Margate at Seaview Harbor, and Cape May at Utsch’s Marina. For information and registration see www.fishlibt.com .
- Skip Jastremski of Stalker II out of Snug Harbor in Cape May is fishing seven days a week. Call 609-972-5218 to book a private or open boat trip.
- Avalon Hodge Podge in Avalon is open 7 a.m.-6 p.m. seven days a week.
Fishing reports and photos can be emailed to Heather Holtzapfel James at firstname.lastname@example.org or faxed to 609-938-6978. Reports need to be in by Sunday evening of each week.
Capt. Tom Daffin said once they got it on the boat and on the scale he knew the angler had a shot of capturing a record fish. “It was something else” he said. They called ahead to Bobby Duckenfield at Jim’s Bait and Tackle to get the certified scale and paperwork out. The fish is being mounted. They had to have a biologist sign off on it. It didn’t take long to real up the fish – they had to break it away from the wreck. Open boat charter. Guy is from Brigantine who him and son has fished with him before.