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Plenty of happy anglers over Memorial Day weekend at the shore - Ocean City Sentinel: Fishing

Fishing Report Plenty of happy anglers over Memorial Day weekend at the shore

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Posted: Wednesday, June 4, 2014 11:32 am

Smiles. That one word describes fishermen Memorial Day weekend. Why was everyone so happy? Beautiful weather and lots of fish.

People in every tackle shop, on every party and charter boat I talked to expressed how good the fishing was Memorial Day weekend for many species. Black drum, weakfish, flounder, stripers, bluefish — all were being caught up and down the Jersey shore.

Offshore, a Gulf Stream eddy slid into the local canyons. The warm water brought lots of life into the Wilmington and Baltimore canyons. With that life came the first pelagic fish for the season.

Now everything is in place for some great fishing to start off the summer season.

Fishing reports

Ocean City:

I talked to Dan Scheeler from Finatics in Ocean City, who said fishing was very good Memorial Day weekend. The surf bite was good from 47th Street to Corson’s Inlet.

Bluefish were being caught from 3 to 5 pounds, with the biggest up to 10 lbs. Stripers were being caught along the beach and in the backbay. The stripers on the beach were biting on fresh bunker and fresh surf clams, while in the back the hot bait was bloodworms.

Black drum were also landed on the beach, with the biggest reported at 29 inches. He also reported weakfish in Corson’s Inlet up to 7 pounds on lures, and tuna being caught in Wilmington and Baltimore canyons.

Finatics’ Flounder Derby starts June 1 and is free.

Sea Isle City:

Mike Cunningham, of Sea Isle Bait and Tackle, reported a great weekend of flounder fishing.

The shop held its opening day flounder tournament Memorial Day weekend. First place and $2,380 went to Justin Kock with 6.1-pound fluke; second place was Ken Clayton, 5.9 pounds; and third place was John Fergon, at 5.7 pounds.

The stringer prize went to Mason Reeves, with a three-fish combined weight of 16.9 pounds.

Weakfish division was won by Jeff Ferfon, with a 6.6-pounder.

Cunningham also reported weighing a 24.9-pound striper for Peter V. from Langhorne, Pa.

Avalon:

Tammy Carbohn, of Avalon Hodge Podge, said, “The fishing really turned on around here.”

“We have been weighing in weakfish, drum, stripers, blues and fluke over the past couple days. These fish are coming in on a variety of baits and artificial both in the bay and surf. The largest fluke we saw was 24 inches and 4.77 pounds caught by Bob Scully in Patty’s Hole using mackerel strips. Bill W., of Blue Bell, Pa., weighed in a 41-inch, 29-pound striper he caught at the jetty using a swimming plug. The largest weakfish was 29 inches and 7.8 pounds caught by Bob P. from Oreland, Pa., using bass assassin nuclear chicken on a bucktail.”

Wildwood:

Cathy Algard, of Sterling Harbor Bait and Tackle, said both the weather and the fish cooperated for Memorial Day weekend.

“Drumfish are being caught in good numbers on both the New Jersey and the Delaware sides of the Delaware Bay. Corey Clark, of Wildwood, weighed in his first-ever black drum that tipped the scales at 72 pounds. Mike Brier, of Villas, landed a 59-pound black drum measuring 45 inches while fishing in his kayak. Weakfish are being caught around the jetties and throughout the back bays, with fish up to 8 pounds being reported.”

Scott Pierce checked in with an 8 pound, 3 ounce weakfish that took a pink zoom behind North Wildwood. Backbay fluking started slow due to the wind, but improved throughout the weekend with many keepers being caught on both Sunday and Monday.

Peggy Kelley, of Pittsgrove Township, caught her personal best flounder, measuring 25 inches and weighing in at 5 pound, 5 ounces caught while fishing behind Wildwood on her boat.

Malaina, 7, and Karleigh Preston, 4, of Drexel Hill, Pa., each had keeper flounder using gulp for bait in the Wildwood backbays.

Sea bass season is open and several boats got their limits, with the best reports coming from the wrecks around the 200-fathom line. Stripers are being caught along the beachfront and in the backbays. Clam baits are producing the best results.

Cape May:

Matt Slobodjian, at Jim’s Bait and Tackle, said “things are really starting to pop.”

“The drum fishing in the Delaware Bay is excellent and there is a consistently good bite going on almost every day in the 20-foot Slough. There are also fish in the Horse Shoe and Tussy’s Slough, as well as on the Delaware side of the bay,” Slobodjian said.

Blanca Schulte, of Palmyra, weighed in a 77.8-pound drum she caught aboard the charter boat Full Ahead. Also on that trip, Wayne Schwartz, of Little Egg Harbor Township, boated a 70.6-pound fish. The charter brought 10 fish to the dock and released even more.

“We are starting to see some really nice weakfish coming in from the local jetties. The fish are being taken on bloodworms and artificials,” he said.

Jim’s Bait and Tackle employee Casey Roohan weighed in a 7.5-pound trout he caught on worms on a local rock pile. James Warner, of Brick Township, brought in a 9.3-pound trout he caught on a bucktail and plastic worm.

“There was plenty of action on the surf for stripers, with the North Cape May beaches still being the best place to target. Bunker has been working best, but clams will also take drumfish, which are there as well. The Cape May beaches are also giving up a few bass but the dogfish are still pretty thick,” Slobodjian said.

Fluke fishing started off slowly in the backwaters, with just a few nice fish being caught, he said. Charles Danowski, of Lester, Pa., caught a 5.85-pound fluke in the backbay Saturday. A few fish were also picked at Cape May Reef.

“Offshore, the Baltimore Canyon produced some nice bluefin and yellowfin tuna this week,” Slobodjian said. “Mike Quinn gave us a good report from the 50 line inside the Baltimore, where Bluefin in the 50- to 60-inch range were pretty hungry. There were bluefin and yellowfin mixed as you move offshore to the 100 and out to the 500 line.”

Jim’s Bait and Tackle will be holding its shark tournament May 31.

Rusty Zeigler, of Off The Hook Bait and Tackle in Cape May, said lots of fish were being caught.

Weakfish were being caught along the jetties.

Dan Coughlan caught more than 30 weakfish Saturday, keeping the biggest 6.57-pounder.

“The hot lure for weakies is a jighead with a purple firetail,” Zeigler said. “The drum fishing has been literally ‘Off the Hook!’ The fish have been caught around the bayshore channel, with many boats reporting catches in the double digits up to 80 pounds. Flounder action was very good in the backbays. Many boats found keepers over the weekend. The biggest fluke was 4.43 pounds, caught by Paul Tripodi at Site 11.”

Zeigler said sea bass were being found from Cape May Reef out to 30 miles offshore. The best depth is 80 to 120 feet.

Captain Rob Kurian and the crew of the Sea Esta brought the first mako shark to the scales. It weighed 110 pounds and the angler was Paul Tsoukalas.

“The first nice temperature break hit the Wilmington Canyon earlier in the week and slid down the edge to the Poorman’s by Sunday,” Zeigler said. “Tuna were being caught by the anglers that found the edge of the temperature break. The bite was best around 64 to 69 degrees.”

Jimbo Samson returned with an 80-pound to 100-pound bluefin Friday from the Wilmington Canyon.

On Sunday, Jody Brown, his son Justin, Charlie Rice and Spencer Scharf had a good day at the Wilmington with seven yellowfin. They reported a 4-degree temperature break, with the fish biting on the warm side. They also saw lots of life: porpoises, pilot whales and turtles.

Margate:

Jessica Obermeyer, of the Jessie O Fishing Fleet, reported that the weekend brought out many anglers who have been eagerly waiting the flounder season.

“We opened the 2014 flounder season with 23 keepers on the backbay flounder trips. Pool winners for the weekend were Sandy Bobbs, of Cape May, with his 4.11-pounder; Mike Kopistansky, of Blue Bell, Pa., with a 4.14-pounder; Jennifer Goodman, of New York, 3.11-pounder; Mike Kinnon, of Modena Park, Pa., with his 5.5-pounder.

Jessie O’s Fish N Fun sails two backbay trips daily at 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. It also offers a progressive jackpot pool in which the winner takes all at the end of flounder season.

“Pot total after the weekend is $65 and growing. The fish to beat is a 2.10-pounder,” Obermeyer said.

Chuck Hinchcliffe is proprietor of Off the Hook Bait and Tackle at 989 Ocean Drive in Cape May.

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