SOUTHERN OCEAN COUNTY — I hope that everyone had an enjoyable and safe Fourth of July as we celebrated our great county’s Independence Day. Summer’s crowds are now out in force on the roads, beaches, and waters of Southern Ocean County. It is time to look at the local fishing scene.

Recent reports from the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association show the offshore tuna fishing is continuing to provide great action. The “Reel Determined” with Captain Jimmy Zavacky at the helm recently ran south to the Baltimore Canyon where at first light they hooked and landed two yellowfin tuna weighing 30-pounds. Throughout the day they continued to troll, catching and landing many more tuna some in groups and other times singly. Throughout the night they boated a brown and a mako shark. They ended the trip with a total of 14 yellowfin.

Captain Ray Lopez had the” Miss Liane” offshore in search of tuna. They experienced decent action with three 40-pound yellowtails. Hero of the day was Nolan Baum who landed his first ever tuna.

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Closer to shore the “Irish Jig” captained by Gary Dugan continues to shine, fishing structure in the ocean along with some bay action. On one trip Jerry and crew put five fluke in the box with most of the fish 20-23 inches. Now that black sea bass season has come back in, Captain Gary is finding a selection of fluke along with sea bass and even a big lingcod.

Captain Brett Taylor has returned to the water with Reel Reaction Sportfishing following the recent birth of his second son. He put in little pre-charter time one day this week doing some fly fishing. He picked up 6 short stripers using a yellow clouser. He had Mark Odendahl and his 3 boys Patrick, Connor, and Luke out on a bay fluke trip. Working shallow areas, the crew released close to 60 fluke with 7 keepers up to 24 inches in addition to releasing a pair of 18-inchfish. The trip celebrating Patrick’s birthday was a big success.

Jingles Bait and Tackle in Beach Haven reports the surf still has kingfish and fluke in the wash with good reports from Spray Beach down to Holgate. In addition, the bay waters are giving up nice sized fluke and weakfish. They weighed in a 5.12-pound fluke putting him in first place in the Jingles in-store tournament.

Fisherman’s Headquarters in Ship Bottom reports that all local areas-bay, inlet, surf, and ocean-are “fishy.” The bay water action on fluke has dipped a little, but that probably means the fish have started their annual migration back to the ocean. Fisherman’s Headquarters says the ocean has been stellar when you are in the right place, at the right time, and using the right bait. They add the surf has kingfish, fluke, small blues, a few stripers, sharks, and big rays.

Here is another reminder about the Beach Haven marlin and Tuna Club’s annual White Marlin Tournament. It is still not too late to sign up for this great event. There has been one change. The captain’s meeting will now be held on Sunday, July 19. There will be a barbecue at the clubhouse from 11-1 and the meeting will take place at 2pm. Fishing begins on Tuesday, July 21. Go to http://thewmit.com/tournament-info/ for details.

I want to close on a neat event occurring every Sunday this summer in Surf City. Surf City Bait and Tackle is offering a free, yes, I said free, Fishing Class every Sunday from 6-7pm for the entire summer. Reservations are not needed, and the classes take place at the shop at317 Long Beach Boulevard. The son of a longtime friend is teaching the class and I know this guy knows his stuff. Cam Conrad is a college student who has been fishing locally his entire life. He will provide insights on everything you need to know about LBI fishing. If you make it, be sure to say that you got the word from me. He will have to be nice to you or I tell his dad.

Anyone with questions or fishing reports is welcome to contact me at jamesghutch1@aol.com.