• July 20, 2019

Keeper flatties, triggerfish and heading out for tuna catches - Ocean City Sentinel: Fishing

Keeper flatties, triggerfish and heading out for tuna catches

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Posted: Wednesday, July 23, 2014 10:58 am

There was lots of excitement around the shore towns last week. The 21st Annual Duke of Fluke was all the buzz around the Wildwood-Cape May area. Also, Ocean Yachts and Viking Yachts had their 25th annual South Jersey Ocean/Viking Showdown. With nice weather and two great events and lots of boats were fishing.

Sea Isle

I talked to Nicole Keba-Conti, from Two Chum’s Bait and Tackle. She said, “There are still keeper flatties being brought in from the back. We’ve been using a bucktail and a glass minnow in a top and bottom rig with squid and minnows. Working awesome! Mike from North Jersey went out to SI lump and got lots of trigger and king fish.”

Ocean City

Bill Wiggins, FinaticsOC, reported, “Flounder are still biting in the back bays around Ships Channel and Corson’s inlet. Look to deeper water for the fish. Triggerfish are being caught around the O.C.-Longpoint Pier. Use clams on No. 6 hooks to catch triggers. The surf fishing has been slow with the winds and the upwelling brings cold water and grass into the surf. The kings should be there once the water cleans up.

One notable catch, Charlie Roman, 8 years old, caught a 6 lb. 4 oz. flounder on live spot in the back bay.”

North Star has been getting decent action on the wrecks for sea bass and recently keeper fluke have been coming up. Bay trips have steady action when lined up with good tides. Lots of shorts and “almost there” sized fish. On a private charter in the bay, a happy guy pulled up a monster flatty, 29.5” and 12 lbs.!

North Star is sailing half days: 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the ocean and1-4 p.m. in the bay with night trips sailing at 5 p.m. Monday to Friday. For those looking for a full day trip go on both half-day trips for the full day rate of $70. Reservations strongly suggested for all trips! Private North Star and 6-pack charters available, as well as party cruises. Call 609-391-8300 or visit fishocnj.com.


According to the Stray Cat, fluke fishing slowed, the weather was too calm. The water rolled over and got really nice. Tuna fishing on the 30 line got hot with bluefin and yellowfin on the Cigar and up on the Lobster Claw area ... time to go. With the water change sea bass returned to inshore wrecks, Saturday Charter did very well on the sea bass; Ryan Damm from Belmar caught a 3.82 pounder to win the pool. There were several fish over the 2 lbs. The Stray Cat will concentrate on tuna for next few weeks.


According to Tammy Carbohn, Avalon Hodge Podge Bait and Tackle, “It seems we are now in the ‘summer doldrums.’ Well, at least in the back bay when it comes to flounder fishing.”

Though there is the occasional keeper fluke, most are shorts lately. Those fishing the wrecks and reefs are getting keepers, however it is still slow out there and most are throwbacks. Seven-year-old AJ Saccento from Scotch Plains weighed in a 25” and 5.05 lb. fluke he caught with his family while fishing the North Channel using Gulp. Also, 14-year-old Ryan Ferdinand logged in one that measured 24” and weighed in at 4 lbs. using live minnows in the bay. The surf report is pretty much the same with kings, croakers and triggers feeding on bloodworms and clam. The off shore report has been anywhere on the 30 line with good Bluefin action at the Hot Dog.”


Robin Scott, Ray Scott’s Dock, “The shop phone rang off the hook this week with anglers inquiring about bay conditions following the week’s storms. Flounder ‘myth busters’ to the rescue. A storm or weather disturbance does not mean fishing automatically shuts off. In this case, fishing and crabbing picked up with a drop in water temperature and an increase in water clarity.

“Another common assumption is that about mid-July, all flounder take a one way ticket from the bays to the ocean. In reality, as the bay is flooded with such a glut of bait fish that daily dolphin shows provide a private ‘Sea World.’ It would only make sense that larger fish hunker down in deep holes to enjoy the bounty. It is not unusual for anglers targeting striped bass in September with live spot to catch beastly flounder instead.

Jon McNichol of Paoli, Pa. fished post storm and kept his track record going strong with five keeper flounder, one at 4.75 lbs. He is on his third this season. Tyler Bennett fished offshore Thursday morning, but returned to the Margate bay in the afternoon to catch a 4.5 lb. flounder and kingfish. Team Canuso of Margate fished and crabbed post storm with healthy catches in flounder and blue claws. Lynn Simon along with her husband Fred and buddy Phil, caught the largest quantities of flounder ever over the weekend, lost a couple of big ones, and boated a 22-incher.

Cape May

Rusty Zeigler from Off The Hook Tackle reported, “Well, it turned out to be one heck of a week for fishing. The spotlight of the week was the fluke fishing; some really nice reports came from all over the southern Jersey waters.”

Flounder Alley in the Delaware Bay, Reef site 11 and the Old Grounds were the hot spots of the week. Charlie Rojas fish with his dad on the Delaware Bay and ended with 10 keepers to 24”.

Paul Tripodi and his crew put together a nice day at the Old Grounds with eight keepers to 27”/7.26 lbs. Team Overkill from Hinch Marina fished Friday ending the day with 10 keepers to 25” and then on Saturday had 18 keepers up to 10.61 lbs., winning the Duke of Fluke Heaviest Fish Award. Congratulations, Team Overkill.

The tuna fishing seems to be good along the 30 fathom line. Areas like the Elephant Trunk, the Hot Dog, the Tea Cup and the Lobster Claw, all had reports of mostly bluefins, but a few yellowfin mixed in.

Al Columbo and his crew went to the Hot Dog to try some chunking, but after having no takers by 11 a.m. switched up to trolling and within 30 minutes had three fish hooked up, only landing one, a 44”/59 lb. bluefin.

Dave Cluff and his gang fished the Baltimore Canyon on Friday and said they found plenty of life, skipjack tuna, pilot whales and plenty of bait, but no takers. They moved in towards the Hot Dog area and found one 60 lb. bluefin to save the day. As far as Canyon fishing, there are some good white marlin reports from parts of the Wilmington all the way down to the Poormans Canyons.

Matt Slobodjian of Jim’s Bait and Tackle said, “The fluke fishing tailed off a little at the Cape May Reef. We are hearing mostly short fish with only a few keepers and most of the bigger fish are tight to structure.”

The Del. Reef site No. 11 is still giving up some nice fish along with the Old Grounds although there are quite a few short fish in these areas as well. We are still getting good reports from the Delaware Bay. The fish are starting to move a little closer to us and are starting to show up by 14 feet light in around 20-25 feet of water.

The croakers are still biting well in the Cape May Canal on pretty much any kind of cut bait.

The inshore troll bite is still holding up pretty well with bluefin and yellowfin coming from the lumps on the inside of the Elephant Trunk. We are getting good reports from The Lobster Claw to the north and the Hot Dog to the south of good Bluefin action. The crew of the “Miss Andrea” chunked up several bluefin to the south, but all were big and they could only bring one home. John Briley of Jenkintown was on that charter and boated a nice 20 lb. bull dolphin.

Offshore there was a decent bite in the Wilmington on yellowfin Saturday on the troll. John Chadrow and the crew of the “Seaveyor” boated two Bigeyes, 178 and 188 lbs., on the troll, and a 45 lb. yellowfin chunking. The Lindenkohl was giving up some Bigeyes along with a few white marlin. There were also some whites caught in the Baltimore Saturday.

The surf is about the same as last week with croakers being the easiest to catch especially at the Cape May Point jetties. There are still plenty of fluke on the Point as well. Most are small but a few keepers have been caught on the jetties and at Sunset Beach.”

Fred Klug, of Utsch’s Bait and Tackle, reports, “Last weekend Old Grounds produced some keeper flounder on Sunday after the ocean settled down a bit. The Full Ahead on Saturday had 14 fluke up to seven pounds up the bay. On Sunday, Full Ahead had a lot of small fish and only a few keepers. On Thursday, the Fishin Fever was up the bay and caught 25 shorts and seven keepers. The Full Ahead had 18 keeper flounder. Sunday a boat on C Dock in our marina had many short fish at the cape may reef and brought home seven nice fish, two of them were between 5 and 7 lbs. There is dolphin and skipjack a little south of the 19 Fathom Lump area.”

Two of our slip holders had fish yesterday in the Viking/Ocean Tournament. Fluke are being caught by the Two Mile bridge. A couple of small boats out of our marina have brought back a few keepers in the past two days. Crabbing is also doing very well in the back bay coming back with at least four dozen or more.


Sterling Harbor Bait and Tackle had their 21st annual Duke of Fluke Tournament on Saturday. Kathy Algard sent over the results:

116 boats and 39 kayaks fished the tournament.

Single Heaviest Fluke

1st Place – Capt. Jonny Thomsen, Jr. – Overkill – 10.61 pound flounder

2nd Place – Capt. Sean Gallagher – Team Beagle – 7.31 pound flounder

3rd Place – Capt. Mike Cannon – Mega Bites II – 5.75 pound flounder

Five Heaviest Fluke

1st Place – Capt. Joseph Musso – Reel Life – 32.20 pounds

2nd Place – Capt. Scott Pierce – Tuna Chic – 27.61 pounds

3rd Place – Capt. Wayne Reichle – Feast or Famine – 25.58 pounds

Kayak Division

1st Place – Jim Dickinson – Hobie Pro Angler 14 – 4.45 pound flounder

2nd Place – Bob Jackson – Hobie Pro Angler 14 – 4.10 pound flounder

3rd Place – Jesse Wichouski – Cobra Fish-N-Dive – 3.89 pound flounder

Junior Angler

Ethan Smith – Broke Ass Friends – 4.51 pound flounder

Duchess Award

Sharon DeFulio – Red Contender – 7.24 pound flounder

Heaviest Sea Bass

Capt. Ted Savidge – Tides of March – 2.48 pound sea bass

Heaviest Bluefish

Capt. John Fergone – Rage N C’s – 2.11 pound bluefish

Jim and Debbie Mooers, of Grassy Sound Marina, report, “A number of 4 to 6 lb. flounder caught this week in Grassy Sound, outgoing tide being most productive on live bait and some Gulp. Resident stripers just about keeper size being caught regularly off the pier. Another phenomenal crabbing week.”

Chip Gruff, N. Wildwood weighed in a 6 lb., 25” fluke caught on his hand tied bucktail, outgoing tide. John Heisler, CMCH, caught a 5 lb. 12 oz., 26” flounder just south of the N. Wildwood bridge on squid, outgoing tide.

Mary Bohrer, N. Wildwood, caught two fluke almost 4 lbs. near Nummy Island on minnows. John Mooers, Covina, Ca. caught a 23” flounder on minnows near the marina at Mooers Slough, top of the outgoing tide.

Hunter Martin, North East, Md. caught two nice keepers near the marina on Gulp and minnows, top of the incoming.

Rental boats: Joe Marinan, McConnellsburg, Pa. caught a 25”, 4 lb. flounder on minnows and squid near the N. Wildwood Bridge, outgoing tide.

Pier: The first flounder for 4-year-old Tommy Griffin, Springfield, Pa. with a 24” fluke on a minnows, outgoing tide. Moose Pizzo, Micco, Fla., caught a nice keeper on minnows, incoming tide. Melissa Desher, Fishtown, Philadelphia, caught a 20” flounder on minnows and squid, top of the outgoing.

Chuck Hinchcliffe is proprietor of Off The Hook Tackle at 989 Ocean Drive, Cape May. To send fishing reports or for more information, email chuck@offthehooktackle.com or Twitter@OffTheHookTkl

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