Keeper fluke bite starting to heat up
Fly casting instructor Joe Mahler hosts free classes on fly tying and net casting for families at Bass Pro Shops in Fort Myers every Wednesday night.
Mike Skelly had a good day on the water hunting for flounder. He was able to nail this 6 pounder for the table. (Photo: RipTide Bait and Tackle, Brigantine NJ)
The main attraction in the backwaters still seems to be about fluke fishing, as shops up and down the coast report a better bite finally shaping up. But don’t forget about offshore opportunity as bluefin tuna moved in thick around the 20 fathom line off Cape May. No doubt, we are entering the midsummer stage now with various back bay activity and pelagic fishing heating up.
“Fluke fishing seems to be getting better here day by day in Absecon Bay,” said Dave Showell of the Absecon Bay Sportsman, Absecon. “Many of the fish are being caught in Absecon Channel, along the edges at the top of the tide. There were guys that had fish up to 9 pounds this week.” Showell also noted that anglers fishing for fluke are happening into some weakfish catches as the spiketooths are picking up the fluke baits, which means there are more than a few weakies hanging around.
Jim Dinicola with a 6 pound flounder on the scale. (Photo: RipTide Bait and Tackle, Brigantine NJ)The Atlantic City reef has been giving up pretty solid catches of fluke as well as sea bass to spice up the cooler. “Anyone looking to find a striper can liveline eels around the bridges or other backwater structures,” said Showell. “Fish the top of the tide during the night time to find bass up to 15 or 18 pounds.”
Chris Mears and Ethan Bruzzese with a brown shark landed from the Brigantine surf. (Photo: RipTide Bait and Tackle, Brigantine NJ)
“It seems that fluke are pushing toward the inlet now,” said Ed Bronstein, Fin-Atics, Ocean City. “Spots like Anchorage Point, Rainbow Channel and the toll bridge are seeing more activity, and I hear the reef sites are picking up as well.” It’s bene an unusual year in the Ocean City back bays as flounder fishing has not really been too productive, but as the waters continually warm, a new bite may spark up.
The Atlantic City reef has been holding a good amount of keeper fluke as Captain Al Crudele had found some limits of flatties, and witnessed a few cobia and brown sharks on the reef as well. “The beach bite on kingfish has been red hot,” added Bronstein. “The mid 20 streets are holding a lot of fish, and it doesn’t matter about time or tide, just be sure to fish where the sandbars are to find kingfish.
There’s also a lot of cow nosed rays moving through the surf, so expect the reports of ‘shark sightings’ to amp up this week.” Bronstein also noted that triggerfish moved in around the Longport Pier as clam bits are scoring the beak-mouthed brawlers.
“Decent fluke fishing continues in the back bay, however the ocean reefs are also heating up with keeper fish,” declared Tammy Carbohn at the Avalon Hodge Podge, Avalon. Lynn Tierno from Somerdale, NJ weighed in a 3.77-pound fluke taken on live minnows at the TI Reef.
A few straggler stripers are also hanging around as customer Matt from Broomall, PA landed a 13.31-pound linesider while casting a bucktail tipped with Gulp at the TI Bridge.
Offshore tuna fishing is picking up as bluefin to 100 pounds have moved into the Massey’s Canyon area and mako sharks to 275 pounds have been hooked while chunking the Cigar area. One customer named Pete is reportedly catching some spinner sharks on the fly rod only 10 miles off the Avalon beachfront.
“Fluke fishing at Cape May Reef and Delaware Reef Site 11 is picking up nicely,” said Matt Slobodjian, Jim’s Bait and Tackle, Cape May. “There are a lot of short fish, but you can definitely put a good amount of keepers in the cooler out there.” The lower Delaware Bay is also starting to give up some quality fluke as Crow Shoal and the #16 buoy near the channel have been hot spots.
Offshore fishing really highlighted the fishing activity this week as bluefin tuna have stormed into Massey’s Canyon. “Some boats are still trolling but the best bite is chunking and jigging. There are some yellowfin mixed in but most are bluefin,” said Slobodjian. Gina Milner was fishing on her boat the "Heavy Cat" trolling just northeast of Massey's and hooked into a nice 62.2-pound wahoo.
Lure making is lifetime passion. BART BOATWRIGHT/Staff
Word also has it that the first bigeye tuna have moved into the Wilmington Canyon and that larger mahi are hanging around the lobster pots. Inshore trolling around Cape May reef with feathers and spoons will produce catches of false albacore and a few bonito and small mahi.
Off the surf front, kingfish are inundating the waters at Cape May Beach and Wildwood Crest, and the catch and release shark fishing is heating up off Cape May Point as browns and sand tigers up to 200 pounds are hitting bunker and mackerel baits.
Reach Nick Honachefsky at email@example.com.