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There are good catches in the ocean, but don’t forget the bays - Ocean City Sentinel: Fishing

Fishing Report There are good catches in the ocean, but don’t forget the bays

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Posted: Wednesday, August 13, 2014 10:43 am

August is a very special time at the New Jersey shore. The ocean and bay water reaches its peak temperature and we start seeing some interesting aquatic life. 

Last week, while walking the docks, one of our dockhands spotted a very interesting fish swimming in the marina. It was about 2 inches and was blue, silver and black, with extremely long trailers originating at the end of its fins. We caught the fish and placed it in an aquarium so we could photograph it. We finally identified the fish as a juvenile African pompano. Definitely not a fish you would expect to see in Cape May unless it were in an aquarium. 

The warm waters moving up the coast in late summer bring many of these tropical species into our area. Some of the fish that can show up this time of year are sheepshead, northern sennet, angelfish, lookdowns and many more. Keep your eyes out while you are walking the docks or sod banks. You never know what might be around. 

The warm temperatures also bring more varieties to our coastal waters. Tuna, mahi-mahi and wahoo all move closer to shore, often being caught as close as 5 to 7 miles from the beach. This a great time to mix some trolling into your next flounder trip.

In regards to our baby pompano, we did release it back into the wild after we identified it. Sadly, five minutes after he swam away, a sea gull grabbed him. Rest in peace, little pompano.

Fishing reports

Cape May

We had our inaugural Cape May Flounder Tournament last weekend. We would like to thank all that fished and our sponsors as well. We had 23 boats participating, with a total payout exceeding $10,000.

The results: 

1st place — Reel Life III, Capt. Joe Musso, 19.13 lbs. (three-fish stringer)

2nd place — Red Contender, Capt. Mike Niedoba, 18.42 lbs. (three-fish stringer)

3rd place — Team Overkill, Capt. Jonny Thomsen, 17.37 lbs. (three-fish stringer)

Daily Day 1 — 6.32 lbs., Tuna Chic

Daily Day 2 — 9.35 lbs., Tuna Chic

Daily Day 3 — 4.91 lbs., Team Overkill

Big Fish Calcutta — 9.35 lbs., Tuna Chic

Flounder Pounder Calcutta — 9.35 lbs., Tuna Chic

Small Boat Calcutta (21 feet and under) — 5.19lbs., Stars and Stripers

Bluefish Calcutta — 0.96 lbs., Team Overkill

Matt Slobodjian, of Jim’s Bait and Tackle, said the inshore troll bite was excellent last week.

“Good-sized bonita, 4- to 5-pounders, are being caught at the 5 Fathom Bank and South Shoal. Getting a Clark spoon down deep has produced the best. There are small blues and false albacore mixed in with these fish. The East Lump gave up a few surprises this week. Lindsey Clarkson had a large white marlin hooked up for about 10 minutes before it jumped off and had another on in the spread. He also had three nice dolphin on the troll around the Lump. The wahoo are starting to show up on the Lumps just inside the Elephant Trunk. We are getting a lot of bite off reports in the area and Rick McKeon, of Cape May, boated a nice wahoo and some dolphin there. There are still yellowfin and bluefin being trolled up on these Lumps also.

“I spoke to several guys who fished the Old Grounds this week. Some had decent catches, others not, but the general consensus was there are a lot of short fish. Delaware Reef site #10 was very good this week but the bite wasn’t all day. It turns on and off throughout the day. The Cape May and Wildwood reefs are also holding a few fish on the structure. There are a lot of shorts there as well.

“There are still big-eye tuna being caught sporadically in the Wilmington Canyon, along with some nice dolphin around the pots. The best yellowfin action we heard of this week was in the Spencer and Lindenkohl canyons later in the week. A few boats got covered up with white marlin in the Baltimore Canyon this week, but the fish vanished as fast as they came on. It sounds like the southern boats are getting into the whites pretty good. Our canyons should start heating up very soon.

“The surf is still mostly croakers and small fluke around the Point jetties. There are a lot of rough-tailed stingrays around, and they are big. They put up a good fight on heavier surf gear. The surf guys are also catching some big sand tigers at the point at night and sandbars on the Cape May beach. Both are protected and should be released if caught. The kingfish bite is still best in Hereford Inlet on bloodworms.” 


Cathy Algard, of Sterling Harbor Bait and Tackle, said flounder fishing this past week was excellent, with fish being caught in the back bays, around the inlets and at the Reefs.

“The Wildwood Reef produced many nice fluke with keepers up to 5 pounds. The Cape May Reef has started to produce more keeper fish this past week, and Reef Site 11 and the Old Grounds continue with excellent flounder fishing. There are lots of throwback flounder mixed in with the keepers, making for plenty of action. 

“John Niewinski, of Mullica Hill, checked in with a 3-pound, 15-ounce flounder caught on a live minnow in the Intracoastal Waterway behind Wildwood. Nino Aversa, of Washington Township, fished with a buddy near the Grassy Sound area behind North Wildwood and boated eight keeper flounder. Eric Calvitti, of Warrington, Pa., landed a 13-pound sheepshead while fishing behind Stone Harbor. Gerald Vessels, of Wildwood, had a great day on the water fishing with 7-ear-old daughter Allyson and friend Billy on his boat Mc K & A III. The crew landed several nice mahi-mahis and had a nice catch of flounder. Allyson Vessels landed her first mahi-mahi that tipped the scales at 23 pounds. The fish was caught while trolling the 5 Fathom Bank areas. Billy Boyle Jr., of Philadelphia, weighed in a 5-pound, 14-ounce flounder from the Cape May Reef while using a Spro Bucktail and Gulp. The Cape May Rips are providing a lot of action for fishermen looking for snapper bluefish, croakers and kingfish. The offshore hotspot this week was the Wilmington Canyon, with big-eye tuna, yellowfin tuna, mahi-mahi and white marlin. The Lumps inside the canyons are still producing nice catches of bluefin tuna while trolling, chunking and jigging. There are plenty of schoolie stripers being caught in the back bays around the bridges and sod banks. Anglers have been catching them on soft plastics, top water lures and while chunking sardines. A few kingfish are being landed from the surf, and the bait of choice has been bloodworms.

Debbie Mooers, of Grassy Sound Marina, said there’s been a mixed bag of fish, including croakers, sheepshead in greater numbers, kingfish off the pier and stripers.

“The kids are having fun with the snapper blues, double headers and one right after the other. Still plenty of nice-size flounder coming in and crabbing continues to be strong. A 26-inch, 6-pound, 5-ounce doormat for the Roberts Brothers, of Logan Twp. They fished with pearl white gulp in Turtle Creek at slack tide. Matthew Gagliardi, 10, of Cape May Court House, came in with a very nice mahi-mahi caught at 2 fb buoy. Bill Kelly and Dylan Mooers, of Grassy Sound, caught two nice keepers to 20 inches at the Wildwood Reef on minnows and squid. Anthony Corrado, of Elmer, caught a nice 22-inche, 3½-pound flounder on minnows near the North Wildwood bridge on the incoming tide. Carol and Jim Boyle, of National Park, caught about 30 fluke with two nice keepers to 21 inches on minnows near marker 431 on the outgoing tide.


Cole and Chris Quesenberry, ages 7 and 10, of Horsham, Pa., caught a 19½-inch fluke on clam on the incoming tide.

Suzanne Braun, of Newtown, Pa., caught a 20-inch flounder off the pier on minnows on the incoming tide.


Tammy Carbohn, of Avalon Hodge Podge Bait and Tackle, said more kingfish and fluke are in the surf this week as well as keeper fluke coming out of the back bay. 

“The largest weighed in this week was 4.69 pounds and 24 inches caught by Chuck Umbra from the Flying Hawaiian. This fish was caught using pink gulp on bucktail.


 Robin Scott, of Ray Scott’s Dock, reported: “It’s called the second run of the summer. While offshore action heats up, a blast of cold water to the bay changes the character of the bite, reverting it to June conditions. 

“Anglers spoiled by the steady action of small flounder find themselves catching fewer numbers but larger fish. Unaccustomed to waiting the fish out, anglers called the dock asking, ‘is anybody catching anything?’ The answer came quickly. Mike Maslanich, of Linwood, hauled in a 6.5-pound and a 4.5-pound flounder. Jon McNichol, of Paoli, Pa., caught a 4.5-pounder, both winning $100 gift certificates in the dock tournament. McNichols has achieved a record, winning five of the gift certificates so far this summer. He still has a solid six weeks of flounder season remaining. Frank Boninu, of Philadelphia, and Al Thatcher, of Quarreyville, Pa., had three big keepers, one at 3.5 pounds, one at 3 pounds and another fat 2-pounder. The whispering in the store indicated pink as the preferred bait color during these overcast conditions. The Donato family, of Princeton Junction, N.J., trumped last weekʼs crabbing champs with their organized attack on the Margate Bayʼs blue claw population. They kept only the largest specimens; some over 6 inches across, and returned home with two 5-gallon buckets of the tasty critters. Most children return from camp shortly and school starts in four weeks. Now is the time to hunker down and hit the bay.”

 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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