An almost state-record cobia was weighed-in, said Mike from Sea Isle Bait & Tackle. The 86.4-pounder, ounces lighter than the record, was boated at Ocean City Reef on Wednesday on a summer flounder trip. Seas were somewhat rough, but larger boats sometimes flounder fished the ocean reefs, and not a lot was heard about the angling, but flounder seemed to gather at the reefs. Tons of bluefish, 10- to 15-inch cocktails, schooled Townsend’s and Corson’s inlets. Mackerel caught them well, and metal beaned them, and many anglers fished the spearing rig that looks like a tiny mullet rig, with a spinner that’s meant to cast, for the cocktails. Small flounder swam the back bay, but flounder were migrating to the ocean, and weed in the bay made flounder fishing tough. Striped bass were sometimes popper-plugged from the bay. Sometimes stripers, not a large number, were hooked at night from the bay under lights. But all the peanut bunker attracted them. Lots of peanut bunker and spearing schooled the bay. Many small sea bass roamed the bay, and anglers landed like 40 in a trip. Nothing was reported about offshore fishing in the swell, or nobody sailed for them, practically. Crabbing was okay. ***Update, Friday, 8/29:*** The cobia was boated when the anglers, a father and son, flounder fishing at the reef, saw two huge cobia at a lobster pot flag the vessel drifted past, the shop’s blog said. The anglers were prepared with a rod rigged with a hook on a fluorocarbon leader. The son grabbed the largest minnow in the minnow bucket, and cast the baitfish 5 to 10 feet from the cobia. A cobia immediately swam full-speed and attacked the minnow, jumping out of the water as it grabbed the bait. The fish was landed after 30 minutes. Only a hand gaff was aboard, but they wrestled the fish in. The 86.4-pound fish, 62 inches, weighed just less than the 87-pound even record in New Jersey, according to the record online.
Greg Gillespie and wife pumped in a couple of keeper summer flounder to 4 pounds and a bunch of throwbacks, sea bass and blues from the ocean Tuesday afternoon aboard, said Capt. Joe Hughes from Jersey Cape Guide Service, affiliated with Sea Isle Bait & Tackle. There was a swell that day, and a little heave remained on Wednesday evening. Before that trip, in the morning that day, Richard Nadeau and son aboard reeled in flounder including a 4-pound keeper and a bunch of throwbacks from the ocean. Trips are also popper-plugging and popper-fly-rodding striped bass on the back bay. Fishing for the bass was good when high tides coincided with evenings, always ideal, this past week. The tides will coincide again next week, coming around every other week. That angling’s been good this season, and should only keep improving. Joe’s trips throw Rapala Skitterpops or crease flies to the bass. He ties the flies himself, with an extra-large cup to throw more water. The bass smash the lures and flies along the surface, good sport. Joe poles his flats boats in the shallows, like in a tropical destination, but right here in South Jersey. Trips aboard had been inshore sharking on the ocean, but Jersey Cape wraps up that angling after Labor Day for the season, when the fish begin to migrate away. Jersey Cape is also fishing offshore for tuna and other big game. Joe once again will run trips to the Florida Keys in winter from Christmas to Easter. The annual trips mostly fish on weekends, like a mini vacation. A large variety of fish can be fought, from redfish and speckled sea trout to tarpon and sailfish, from the ocean to the Everglades. Anglers can arrive on a Friday, fish all day Saturday and part of Sunday, return on Sunday, and be back to work on Monday, or can travel and fish on a different schedule. Joe can help arrange flights and accommodations. See Jersey Cape’s traveling charters Web page. Keep up with Joe’s fishing on Jersey Cape’s blog.