All sorts of nice catches on opening weekend of summer flounder season – Press of Atlantic City

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All sorts of nice catches on opening weekend of summer flounder season

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The winning crew of the weekend’s Local Boys contest in Northfield included, from left, Chad Williams, Logan McGuigan, Phil Adams and Sean Healey.

Fishing columnist Michael Shepherd

Walter Lewis and his son Kyle, both of Bridgeton, each picked a keeper striped bass while fishing from the Atlantic City rockpiles this April. Kyle Lewis also connected with a nice weakfish.

Tony Lopez, a member of the Pennsauken Fishing Club, caught a 28.-5 inch striper on the north end of the Brigantine beach this April.

John Ruggiero, of Millville, caught and released a 38.5-pound striped bass this April in Fortescue.

Vuth Choub, of Philadelphia, caught a 28.5-inch striper this March in Fortescue.

Long Lee shows the 9-pound tautog he caught on Starfish party boat in December 2020.

Wil Martinez, of Atlantic City, caught this flounder and weakfish in June 2019.

MICHAEL SHEPHERD
For The Press
Opening weekend of summer flounder season was productive, positive and populated.Fishers who went out on the back-bay party boats enjoyed great morning catches the last three days.Lots of keepers with fish up to 3-plus-pounds were weighed on those pontoon boats.John Herron on the Margate party boat The Keeper reported an opening-day total of 20 keepers and 14 more on the morning run Sunday.Herron reported his crew racked up a lot of 3- to 4-pounders.“All nice fish. I was pretty happy with that,” he said Monday.Up the road a little in Atlantic City, where Mike Tabasso captains the High Roller, the story was much the same.On Monday, they had seven keepers and 44 shorts with 14 customers.The heaviest catch went 3 ½ pounds. Father and son Rick Martin Sr. and Rick Jr. had three keepers.“Good so far,” Mike said Monday.Brandon Hurd guides the Avalon Lady from Avalon Sport Fishing Center. The patrons on that pontoon boat also have been catching 3- to 3 ½-pound summer flounder.He said it was a “parking lot” in the back bays with the number of boats out there on opening day.He said minnows, squid, mackerel and Gulp were all working as bait.We can keep three fish daily possession at 18 inches minimum in state marine waters and 17 inches minimum in Delaware Bay and tributaries.Those back-bay specialists schedule two four-hour trips per day, generally 8 a.m. and 1 p.m.The heaviest fish reported so far weighed 8 pounds and was the winner of the Local Boys opening-day contest run by a private individual, Roy Parker, out of Hackney’s Boat Yard in Northfield. It was caught by Logan McGuigan on the boat Wild Thing with captain Sean Healey.Tia Bucci was the women’s winner with a 3.8-pound, 23-inch entry. Bill Grant Jr. was the junior champ with a 3-pounder.Joe Rocks and Hunter Reese each caught a fish that weighed 4.6 pounds. Rocks got second when his fish measured 23 3/4 inches to the 23 1/2-inch entry from Reese.The contest was headquartered at Hackney’s Boat Yard in Egg Harbor Township. It raised $6,500 for Gilda’s Club South Jersey, according to organizer Roy Parker.Robin Scott at Ray Scott’s Dock in Margate and Debbie Mooers at Grassy Sound Marina in North Wildwood also had great reports.Mooers said they weighed 4.6-, 4.5-, 4.3- and 3.7-pounders for the opening-day contest. Anthony Pandini, of Philadelphia, was the winner.She said fish were biting all over “out here” and that they were weighing fish all day.Scott reported that Amanda and Tony Tabasso went out Saturday night and were back to Ray Scott’s in an hour with two 20-plus-inch summer flounder and a 29 1/2-inch-striped bass.Striped bass, weakfish, black drumfish, bluefish and kingfish join the frolic in the back bays, plus black sea bass out in the ocean.One nonfounder flash: Noel Feliciano at One-Stop Bait and Tackle reported the catch-and-release 44 1/2-, 49- and 50-inch striped bass caught on the Atlantic City rocks Sunday night.Follow Shep atFacebook.com/ShepOnFishingMichael Shepherd is the retired sports editor of The Press. His column appears Mondays online and Tuesdays in print.Contact Mike Shepherd: [email protected]

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