• July 18, 2019

Know how to drift to catch one of the most popular fish in South Jersey - Ocean City Sentinel: Fishing

Fishing Report Know how to drift to catch one of the most popular fish in South Jersey

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Posted: Wednesday, July 9, 2014 10:25 am

Flounder is arguably the most popular fish in New Jersey. Most fishermen have fished for them at one time. They are also on most menus in shore town restaurants. There is good reason for this popularity: they make a delicious meal and they are a blast to catch.

Summer flounder are a flatfish with both eyes on the top side of their body. This configuration allows them to lie flat on the sea bottom and, along with their ability to change the color and patterns of their body, makes them excellent ambush predators. Fluke will lie along the bottom in areas where baitfish will swim along with the current. The challenge in flounder fishing is to find the areas where the fluke would set up to catch the baitfish. The first thing to look for is changes in bottom elevation, broken or rocky bottom, wrecks and/or reefs. Any of these will provide a good ambush environment for the flounder. The next challenge is to mimic the patterns of the baitfish. Smaller fish will follow the current, so predators will position themselves facing into the current. In the case of flounder they wait for the bait to come to them.

To accomplish this, the fishermen wants to present their bait in a way that it follows the current naturally. Most fluke fishing is drift fishing, picking an area to target and letting the boat drift over that bottom. The optimal drift speed is under 1 knot. Some days the current is moving much faster than this, so in that case many fishermen will use a drift sock to slow the drift. A drift sock is similar to a small parachute that is tied to the boat to create more drag. Keep in mind the wind can overcome the current and will push the boat against the tide; in this case the pros will power drift. Power drifting is using the boat engine(s) to mimic the current over an area, regardless of the wind. The most important thing is to realize which direction the current is moving over the area that you are targeting. If you present the bait in the wrong direction you will catch less fish when you are hitting the fluke in the back of the head.

Always remember to follow the New Jersey fishing regulations. Currently, summer flounder season is open until Sept. 7 and you are allowed to keep 5 fish at a minimum of 18”.

Good luck!

Ocean City

Bill Wiggins of Finatics reports, “Flounder fishing in the back bays has gotten a little better. Some fish in the 5-6 lb. range. Berkley Gulp in chartreuse or pink are still working real well. Look for the fluke in depths around 15 feet. There are also flounder showing up in the surf. Nightime, weakfish are being caught around Ninth Street bridge. Pink zoom or pink Fin-s have been working well on 3/8 or ½ oz. jig head. In the surf, the kingfish are showing up, but they are not thick yet. Look for them to increase as the water temps come up. Brown sharks are around and being caught in the surf, mackerel is the bait of choice.”

Atlantic City

Noel Feliciano, from One Stop Bait and Tackle, said, “we’ve been busy with fluke, croakers, triggerfish and kingfish. Some nice flounder are being caught. We weighed a 6.8 lb. flounder for Robbie Hawes; the fish was caught in the surf. The stripers are still being caught through the night and early mornings. We are also seeing some nice weakfish. The best bet for weakies is a float rig with a blood worm. Plenty of live N.J. minnows in stock, the biggest we’ve seen all season!”


Robin Scott, of Ray Scott’s Dock, said just when no one thought fishing in the Margate Bay could possibly get any better, it did. With five-pound after five pound-flounder coming through the back door, the competitive spirit has electrified Margate. Dr. Dan Greenberg of Longport rolled out solo early in an attempt to top Margate’s Fire Chief Tony Tabasso’s five-pounder and 4.75-lb. pound flounder. Exactly 17 minutes and one drift past the end of the dock later, Dr. Dan was back. Normally an angler’s quick dockside return is prompted by some sort of engine malfunction, never good news. This one however, yielded a six and an eighth pound beauty in the cooler.

The next 5.5-pound flounder was boated by Barry Winokur of Margate. James Texada of Villanova landed 126 flounder with 10 double headers, an uncommon occurrence. Bill Mendenhall Sr., a Margate Bay frequent flyer, landed three double headers, one of which had an over four pounder and one over five on a top and bottom rig, a once in a lifetime feat.
 The Klein family of Ventnor took a brief respite from dad Dan’s Atlantic City TriAthlon training to fish with friends in celebration of 11-year-old Ryan’s birthday to yield two flounder at 22 inches. Ethan Vogin and dad Mark of Ventnor fish together every weekend. This week’s dinner was a fat 21-inch flounder. Dr. Jim Spotila of Margate and Dr. Hal Avery caught a 23-inch flounder while Mike Passaro of Southhampton, Pa. and Jimmy Long of Philadelphia each won $100 gift certificates in the dock tournament for their four and a half and five and a half pound beauties. The Hockfield family of Margate caught blue claws and a 22” flounder with eight year olds Chloe and Maya. Likewise the DeNino family of Longport took lucky charms Alexis and Kyan Longinotti out to land a 3.28lb. and a 2.8lb. flounder.
With water temperatures steadily rising along with extremely healthy catches of flounder and blue claws, the timing is perfect for families to head to the bay.


Avalon Hodge Podge Bait and Tackle’s Tammy Carbohn reports, “With over 14 fluke weighed in this week the largest weighed in at 7.9 lbs. and 21.5” caught by A.P. Rossi from Wilmington, Del. He is 10 years old. He landed this fish while fishing with his family in the back bay near the Avalon Yacht Club using minnows. We also weighed in a black drum from the same area weighing in at 8.47 lbs. and 25.5” caught by Stephanie Hays of Avalon Manor. She landed this odd ball on minnows and squid while drifting for fluke. There were also more weakfish and blues caught throughout the ICW.”

North Wildwood

Debbie Mooers, from Grassy Sound Marina sent over the results from their 8th Annual Flounder tournament.Tournament Results:


1st Place Heaviest Flounder: Bill Roverano, Phila. Pa. 6.5 lbs

2nd & 3rd Place Heaviest Flounder: Ken McDermott, CMCH 5.3 lbs

Chip Gruff, North Wildwood 5.3 lbs

3. Heaviest Combined: Randy Peterson, Warrington, Pa.

Women’s Div.: Mary Bohrer, N. Wildwood, 3.8 lbs.

Children’s Div.: Wayne Petersen, Mickelton, 4.2 lbs.

Daisy Mae Award: (11th Heaviest) Mark Zebley and Keith Arenberg


1st Place: Tim Everett, Phila., Pa. 2.8 lb.

2nd Place: Ken Kang, Cape May

3rd Place: Savannah Kang, Cape May

Bill Kinsley Award: (First fish of the day) John Shahan, Phila., Pa.


Cathy Algard, Sterling Harbor Bait and Tackle, said fishing remained good this past week on the Jersey Cape. Flounder fishing is picking up every day with the best action continuing to be at Reef Site 11 and the Old Grounds. Back bay fluking remains good with keeper flounder in the 3 to 5 pound class being caught on a regular basis with plenty of shorts in the mix. Scott Harbison of Monroeville checked in with a 4 pound 11 ounce flounder caught on a live minnow in the ICW near Grassy Sound. Joanna McShaffrey of Erma caught a 24-inch flounder in the Wildwood back bays. Now is the time to get out there and sharpen your skills and find your hotspots before Sterling Harbor’s 21st annual Duke of Fluke Tournament which will be held July 12. Entry forms are available in the shop and can also be printed online at www.sterlingharbor.com.

Croakers made a showing along the beachfront and in the back bays and bloodworms have been the bait of choice.

Shark fishing remains good between the 20 and 30 Fathom lines with dusky, hammerhead and mako sharks being caught. Offshore fishing was spotty with some reports of yellowfin tuna in the 60 pound range, and a few mahi and white marlin being caught in the Baltimore and Poorman’s Canyons. Crabby Jack gives the crabbing 3 Claws this week.

Cape May

Rusty Zeigler, of Off The Hook Tackle, said fluke fishing is pretty good right now. Even with the easterly wind anglers have seemed to find some fish for the box. It seems that the Reefs and Wrecks in 60-90 ft. of water are holding the bulk of the keepers.There are plenty of fish in a little shallower water but the keeper ratio is not as good. The Old Grounds, Reef No. 11 and the Cape May Reef have been the most productive areas reported.

Charlie Rojas Fished the Old Grounds with his Pop and Brother Anthony. They filled the cooler with 10 keepers to 24”.

The Delaware Bay has produced some nice stringers of Fluke for anglers drifting around Miah Maul and Flounder Alley. A standard fluke rig with spearing and mackerel is the bait of choice. Barry Roxberry had a good day at a little wreck inshore on Sunday. He caught a nice mixed bag of croakers, triggerfish, sea bass, bluefish and weakfish.

There is still good fishing behind Stone Harbor, Wildwood and Cape May. Anglers have been catching fluke, weakfish, stripers and bluefish. With the occasional Sheepshead and triggerfish.

The tuna fishing remains to be good for the boats trolling the Poorman’s and Washington canyons. Yellowfins and Big Eyes have been caught with a few white and blue marlin mixed in.

Bluefins have been caught around the Elephant Trunk trolling Blue and white and pink and white Ilanders and Joe Shutes.

Matt Slobodjian, of Jim’s Bait and Tackle, said, “hey guys, the wind was a factor this week. It kept a lot of boats at the dock. The guys who did go found the Fluke fishing to be pretty good at the Old Grounds and Del. reef site No. 11. The drift was pretty fast and heavy lead was a must making it a little tougher to fish, but there are some really nice fish coming in. The Cape May reef is giving up a few fluke as well. There are also some trigger fish hanging around the wrecks. Smaller hooks and baits will work much better to put some triggers in the boat. We are also starting to see some nice fish come in from the Delaware Bay in the area around Miah Maul light and the stakes in the same area. There is still some good Fluke fishing going on in the intercoastal waterway and Cape May Harbor we’ve weighed fish to 7 lbs. from the back this week.

There are some croakers in the Rips off of Cape May Point with a few fluke mixed in. There are also good numbers of croakers in the Canal and they are pretty decent sized fish.

The inshore tuna bite was pretty good this week. There was a mix of yellowfin and bluefin in the Teacup area and on the lumps inside the Elephant trunk. We haven’t heard of anything on the chunk, all of the action was on the troll. The big bluefish showed up in some of these areas as well.

The Canyons are showing a lot of white marlin activity but the tuna bite was spotty. Some big blue marlin were being hooked up this week, many of which were hanging around the schools of skipjacks. The best tuna bites that we heard of were around the 1000 fathom line of the Wilmington and an early morning Bigeye bite in the Washington.

In the surf the croakers have shown up in good numbers. It’s hard to keep a bait away from them at Higbee’s beach. The surf shark fishermen are doing pretty well on brown sharks and we’ve seen the first sand tiger pictures from the beach. The fish looked to be around 150 lbs.

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@OffTheHookTk

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