• October 14, 2019

Labor Day is end of summer, but not the end of fluke fishing - Ocean City Sentinel: Fishing

Fishing Report Labor Day is end of summer, but not the end of fluke fishing

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Posted: Thursday, September 11, 2014 9:14 am

Well, Labor Day has past and with it the unofficial end of summer. The kids go back to school and the shoobies go home. But, let’s not forget September is a great month for fishing in south Jersey. Flounder fishing has been very good and the season does not end until Sept. 27.  So, if you have the chance, enjoy the reduced traffic and get out there and catch some fluke.

The white marlin fishing has been off the hook this week and September is usually the best time of year to get your chance at double-digit catches of white marlin. Keep an eye out for temperature breaks and offshore eddies along the continental shelf. This past week we had a very nice break in the Baltimore canyon and many boats had a chance at some amazing fishing! A great resource for sea surface temps is available through Rutgers Marine science website. http://rucool.marine.rutgers.edu/


The docks in Cape May were busy near the end of August with the 23rd annual Mid Atlantic Tournament. This year’s event had 127 boats with a record payout of $2,412,510. The billfishing was very good and relatively close to home (around 60 miles) with lots of white marlin being caught in the Baltimore canyon.  This year there were 595 white marlin releases and 24 brought to the scales, 25 blue marlin releases and 5 at the scale – some really good fishing with some impressive release totals. 

For me, the most exciting result of the tournament was local boat Krazy Salts weighed an 81 lb. white marlin to win the top prize.  Krazy Salts is a Cape May-based boat owned by Dave Anderson. The crew is also from Cape May, Captain Keith Greenburg and Mate Luke Hickey. It is always nice to see the locals bring home the big prize.

Also, on the last day of the tournament, the Krazy Salts crew caught and released 3 white marlin, 1 blue marlin, and a sailfish for a grand slam!  Another impressive accomplishment – 3 different billfish in one day.

Other winners for the event, heaviest blue marlin was 847 lbs. weighed by the boat Why Knot in Ocean City, Md.  The heaviest tuna was a 123 lb. bigeye caught by the Canyon Runner.

All in all, a very exciting event. I can’t wait for next year.

Rusty Zeigler, of Off The Hook Tackle, reports, “Overall it was a good holiday weekend here at the Cape. Anglers were able to enjoy some decent fluke fishing at the Old Grounds and the Cape May reef. The conditions weren’t perfect, but they were fishable. The Niedoba family fished Saturday and had a handful of keepers topping the scales at 7.60 lbs. for Sharon DeFulio, and they did it again on Sunday at the Cape May Reef ending with another handful of keepers to 6.24 lbs. for Mike Niedoba.

Capt. Jason Olson took out the Clean Sweep for a fluke trip on Saturday, filling the cooler with 15 keepers to 6 lbs. and a handful of bluefish and sea bass.

The offshore bite was good in our southern canyons like the Poorman’s and the Washington.

Boats trolling out there had to fight off the weed lines, but there was plenty of life around them.

Bull Dolphin to 40-plus lbs. were reported, also yellowfin to 70-plus lbs. and big eyes topping the scales at 200-plus lbs. were reported. The white marlin bite was epic numbers with a number of boats with double-digit releases.  Some boats out of Canyon Club had great trips this weekend. Krazy Salts had 22 white marlin releases and Fishaholic had 15.

Matt Slobodjian, of Jim’s Bait and Tackle, reports, “Big croakers have started to move into some areas of Cape May Reef. There are still plenty of fluke on the reef as well, still a lot of shorts but enough keeper sized fish to make a trip worthwhile. Delaware Reef Site No. 11 and the Old Grounds are still giving up some pretty good catches of fluke and a few nice sea bass. The Backwaters have slowed up a lot, mostly small Fluke, little sea bass, and small blues are what’s biting along with some croakers in the Canal.

There are still small blues at the Five Fathom Bank on the troll along with a few bonita and an occasional mahi. Didn’t hear much on the East Lump, or Sea Isle Ridge this week. We are still getting good reports on the troll from the Lumps inside the Elephant Trunk. There are a lot of false albacore but a few yellowfin and more than a few wahoo are being caught in this area. The wahoo seem to be traveling in packs, so you can usually pick up more than one. There is also some nice dolphin hanging around the pots on the 20-30 fathom lines.

Offshore the white marlin bite is starting to heat up in the southern canyons. Reports of double-digit catches were coming in all week from the Washington and South Poorman’s Canyons. We also got reports of 5-plus shots on whites from the Wilmington as well. The day chunk was on again in the Lindy early in the week, but went to a night bite later on. A few bigeyes were caught in the Wilmington at night again this week, but there wasn’t a great concentration of fish.

The surf is slow in Cape May; small blues, croakers, and a few small fluke are being caught at the Point, but not much else. There are still some nice croakers coming from under the Canal bridge and the West Cape May Bridge on clams or shrimp. North Wildwood beaches are still the best bet for kingfish.”

According to Fred Klug, of Utsch’s Bait and Tackle, “fishing has been real good when the boats could get out. Tuesday and Wednesday (at the end of August) the charter boat Fishin Fever had its limit of flounder up to 7 pounds. The charter boat the Full Ahead on Wednesday had 28 flounder up to 6 lbs. and on Thursday both charters fished and came back with less keeper flounder and Capt. Bob stated it was very rough sea conditions all day. The Cape May Reef is holding some nice size flounder, which some of our slip holders reported Saturday and Sunday of Labor Day weekend and also the Old Grounds which has been holding flounder and a few nice size sea bass. I have not had a good off shore report since the week before. I posted our yard sale date, which is Sept. 20, and our striper tournament is Nov. 7-8. 


Cathy Algard, of Sterling Harbor Bait and Tackle, reports, “Flounder fishing leads the action again at the end of August, but that even slowed up as Hurricane Cristobal passed by. However, by the weekend, the water began to clear and fluke catches were improving. Scott Wheeler of Wenonah and crew had 11 keeper flounder up to 8 pounds while fishing the Cape May Reef on Scott’s boat Big Bone out of Wildwood. Other anglers also reported excellent flounder action at the Cape May Reef with a lot of throwbacks mixed in with the keepers. Offshore, it seems like the tuna are north of us right now in the Lindenkohl Canyon and white marlin are scattered from the Wilmington Canyon south. Wahoo and nice mahi-mahi have been reported from the East Lump out to and along the 20 Fathom Line. Along the beachfront kingfish are taking bloodworms and Fishbites (I Can’t Believe It’s Not Bloodworms!) with a few croakers mixed in. Back bay striper fishing is red hot with sardine chunks being the bait of choice. Crabby Jack gives the crabbing 4 Claws this week and said the crabbing picked up and crabbing is good right now and should be good right through September.”

Debbie Mooers, of Grassy Sound Marina, reports, “Larger stripers are being caught off the pier and in the back at different tides.  Hereford Inlet, outgoing tide is where they’re finding the fluke.  

Liam Casey Hawk, Willow Grove, Pa. caught his first flounder, a hair away from a keeper.  He was also having fun catching snapper blues near Hereford Inlet, top of the outgoing.

Catherine Binowski, Cherry Hill, caught a 24”, 5 lb. flounder near the toll bridge at Hereford Inlet, outgoing tide.

Patrick O’Drain & Crew, Phila. caught 6 nice keeper fluke despite the conditions at the Cape May Reef, the largest at 23”, 4 lbs.  They were using drift rigs with squid and minnows.

At the Pier, catches include a 31 ½” striper for Carmen Zaccaro, a pier member, on bunker from the pier, slack tide.

Mike Kiska, Cheltenham, Pa. 35”, 20 lb. striper on bunker, top of the incoming and a 22” weakie on spot, incoming tide.

Jim Mooers, Grassy Sound caught two stripers to 32” & 28” on a rubber lure and a jighead, outgoing tide.

Eric DeLellis, Aston, Pa. caught a 23”, 4.6 lb fluke, the mouth of Hereford Inlet on minnows, outgoing tide.

On a rental boat, Nicole Decker, Smyrna, Del. caught 2 keepers to 21” on minnows, outgoing tide.  She out fished the men having the only keepers on the boat.”


Tammy Carbohn, of Avalon Hodge Podge Bait and Tackle, reports on the Labor Day weekend, saying, “Today and yesterday finally anglers were able to get off shore to the TI Reef and found keeper fluke as well as bluefish, sea bass and banded rudderfish while bottom fishing with squid and minnows. Also the tuna guys headed south to Poorman’s and found yellowfin there. These tuna were caught both on the troll with ballyhoo and on the chunk. The beach action never really slowed down with lots of smaller fish being caught using bloodworms or clam for the most part. This week we finally started seeing more spot showing up.”


Mary, from the Ocean City Fishing Center, reports, “half-day deep sea fishing action has varied with various weather patterns passing the Jersey shore this week. Some good fluke fishing yielded keeper flounder up to 7.4 lbs., along with a mixed bag of black sea bass, some dinner plate size porgy’s and triggers!  Bob Kerball from Pennsauken had a 7.4 lb. fluke and limit bass, and a porgy. Dan Coyle, limit to 5.1 lb. fluke and 2 triggers.  

As for bay trips, action has slowed as expected for late summer however some decent fluke are still being landed in between anglers being occupied by other species which at most points have provided a nearly nonstop action trip. 

Check the fishing calendar for schedule updates for the fall and winter schedule at fishocnj.com or call 609-391-8300.”


Robin Scott, of Ray Scott’s Dock, reports, “Justin Foreman, a student at Margate’s Tighe School, waited all summer to get his keeper flounder. His dad, Jerry, bought a boat this summer and has given his boys multiple cracks at the feat. In the nick of time before returning to school Justin proudly brought in a 22-incher. He already has his “What I did this summer” report written. Likewise, Dan Klein took his two boys Ryan and Cole and their buddies out for a last fishing trip before school. They caught their record in snapper blues, 73, along with huge blue claws. No offshore angler with a large tuna has been more excited, or bounced higher coming up the dock. Dad Dan dutifully filleted all the fish and cleaned the crabs. Cole says, “They are delicious!” Michael Mosca of Ventnor held true to his Labor Day record of catching keeper flounder in the Margate Bay through September with his three and a half pound flattie. A couple of bucks for fuel, in and out of the dock and dinner. Michael does it every time. The Morgenstern family of Margate caught a 23-inch flounder, while the Baldwin’s of Ocean City nabbed a keeper flounder and a well over 12.5” sea bass in the bay. While Kevin Golden Sr. and Jr. were driving to Margate from Delaware, the Cunninghams were on the way here from Philadelphia. They were rewarded with flounder and croaker. Meanwhile, Steve London and pals headed to the inshore reefs to clean up with large flounder. The Labor Day holiday has offered anglers spectacular weather and Jersey shore dinners for all.”

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