Summer flounder fishing is flying, according to several pros.
The season started Friday, and there are plenty of positive reports. The less-than-ideal weather adversely affected things Friday afternoon and Sunday, but there was a lot of interest and activity overall.
The biggest fish of opening day might have been weighed at Grassy Sound Marina in North Wildwood.
Debbie and Jim Mooers ran an opening day contest that recorded a 5.15-pound, 231/2-inch summer flounder caught by Chris DeCarlo, of Collegeville, Pennsylvania.
Debbie said Monday it was caught with a white bucktail garnished with a pink Gulp on the incoming tide. DeCarlo won the division for nonslip holders.
She said fishing has been “really good” and that all the fishing holes near Grassy Sound were producing summer flounder at every tide and on every bait.
One of the fish at the curbside weigh-in was still flopping after being caught close to the marina.
Eric Delellis, of Aston, Pennsylvania, weighed a 3.79-pound summer flounder to edge Kim Moore, of Dennisville. Her fish weighed 3.76.
Debbie said the crew fishing with Delellis had a total of four keepers and some bluefish.
Hollie Van Nostran, of Margate, is the first mate with captain Ed Giacomucci on one of the back-bay pontoon boats out of Ray Scott’s Dock in Margate. She caught the first keeper weighed at the Amherst Avenue Marina. It was 191/2 inches long, and she came back the next day with another keeper of about the same size, according to Robin Scott.
After a “freezing” Sunday, Robin said, they had all 12 of their rental boats out Monday. Robin said that “bodes well” for the season if every boat was out early Monday when the weather was still pretty gloomy.
She said ”fishing is good, but conditions have been terrible.” She said two boats had two keepers in a catch of around 30 fish each Sunday.
Mike Tabasso on the High Roller back-bay pontoon boat out of Gardner’s Basin in Atlantic City said Monday they had seven keepers and 74 throwbacks under the 18-inch minimum. That was an opening-day two-trip total. They had three keepers at halftime of the Memorial Day morning trip.
Mike is running two trips daily, 8 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m.
He said the opening weekend had been “positive.”
At the other end of Absecon Island, John Herron reported they had “two keepers so far” on a cold Monday morning aboard The Keeper out of Margate.
His morning trip on opening day resulted in five keepers and “quite a few” shorts.
Andy Grossman had a cool report from Riptide Bait and Tackle in Brigantine about surfcaster Ben Crallahan, who was waiting at the door for the fourth straight day for the shop to open to weigh a striped bass. He has been fishing around the south end Brigantine jetty with bunker. The fish were in the 30- to 35-inch range, according to a report from Riptide.
Noel Feliciano is running a three-week summer flounder contest out of One-Stop Bait and Tackle in Atlantic City.
He weighed a 3.6-pound summer flounder that went into the youth division of the contest. The contest also has divisions for boat and land. Sign up for free at One-Stop. Call 609-348-9450 for details.
Noel also reported on a phenomena concerning striped bass. He said he is getting news about striped bass being returned to the water not because they are undersized but because they are longer than the 38-inch limit.
We are allowed one striped bass measuring 28 inches to less than 38 inches.
Noel said a school of big striped bass came through Sunday night. He also reported weakfish and bluefish were in the mix recently.
Black sea bass season opened May 15, and it sounds as though wreck and reef fishing also got off to a great start.
Bob Rush said that his two offshore party boats, Starfish out of Sea Isle City and Susan Hudson out of Barnegat Light, recorded limits of keepers.
Paul Thompson said the Porgy IV party boat docked at South Jersey Marina had a similar catch of fish, some up to 4 pounds.
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Michael Shepherd is the retired sports editor of The Press.
His column appears Mondays online and Tuesdays in print.