LONG BEACH ISLAND REGION - I have always been a big proponent in getting kids involved in fishing. It is such a great activity that keeps them active (not glued to a video screen) and teaches them some valuable lessons. They learn hard work pays off, lessons on conservation, how to handle failure, and many times how to handle success.

It is also a wonderful chance for father and child bonding, and now in my case, grandchild bonding.

I want to mention one young lad, Richie Southwick, whose family owns and operates Southwick’s Marina in Beach Haven Gardens on Long Beach Island. As a young boy I used to hang around the docks there when young Richie’s great grandfather, Dick Southwick, was the original owner. Then Richie’s grandfather, Dave, ran it, and now his dad Rich and Uncle Mort bear the responsibility.

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Let me get to the point of the story. Young Richie, I believe he is 12 or 13 years old, has started a live bait business. He catches live minnows on his own and sells them to neighborhood customers. My fishing pal, Joe Hummel, gets his minnows from Richie and tells me they have been bringing him great luck.

It appears the latest in the Southwick clan is another hard working bayman.

Let’s take a look at the local fishing scene. The folks at Jingles Bait and Tackle tell me that the best action on LBI’s beaches is for fluke and kingfish. They gear good news all along the beach down to Holgate.

Greg at Fisherman’s Headquarters in Ship Bottom agrees on the beach action and says they are present in good numbers. Greg says the best way to target fluke is with a cast and slow retrieve using natural bait like squid or spearing or with Gulp. He adds that the kingfish love live bloodworms along with Fish Bites Bag of Worms to. The classic rigging for them is a small hooked high/low rig with small floats to keep the bait away from the crabs.

The latest fishing reports from the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association shows that fluke fishing is hot right now with one captain scoring well on an offshore trip for tuna.

Anglers fishing on the party boat, “Miss Beach Haven” have been getting in on the action with some good catches both in the bay waters and fishing some of the inshore structure in the ocean. Captain Frank Camarda reports a few five and six-pound fluke have been coming over the rails in the past week or so. Besides the fluke action there have been a decent number of keeper black sea bass going into coolers as well along with a handful of medium sized ling cod too. Showing up in the bay trips have been some kingfish on Few Kingfish on the afternoon trips.

The “Starfish” with Captain Carl Shepard along with mates Max and Matt have been fishing many wrecks with good action for their anglers. There has been constant reeling with an assortment of good-sized black sea bass and plenty of sea robins.

Captain Dave Wittenborn fished the inshore tuna grounds this week on the “Benita J’ from Captain Dave’s Charters in an area called the “Lobster Claw.” The ride out was beautiful, and he had lines in the water at 5am. There were dolphins and whales feeding on the surface with tuna underneath. After three hours of steady fishing, they boated five 50-pound class yellowfin tuna and released a white marlin. With the anglers soon tiring they headed home by 9:30am.

Captain Brett Taylor has been busy with his charters and has caught fluke to 9-pounds in the bay. One day he ran 3 charters with a mixed bag. The Art Diebel party had a 3-hour blowfish run and managed close to 30 for the table. Steve Yuknis and his father Gerald on a bay charter caught close to 30 Fluke putting 3 in  

the cooler. The late afternoon trip had Marc Creatore, his wife Erin, son Brady, and daughter Abby on a 4hr bay/inlet charter. They worked the inlet area to catch 3 nice triggerfish and one keeper black sea bass before heading to the fluke grounds. The crew boxed 8 keepers with the biggest being Erin's 9-pound doormat measuring 29.5-inches and caught in 3.5 feet of water

Captain Dave DeGennaro reports he has been busy lately on the “Hi Flier.” Inshore he is catching bluefish, fluke, spinner sharks and one weakfish. He has made trips offshore to the mid-range grounds catching some50-pound bluefin tuna. He made two trips to the southern canyons and picked up yellowfin tuna to 80-pounds and jumped a white marlin.

Captain Steve Purul of “Reel Fantasea” Sportfishing reports there is still lots of light tackle catching going on with rod bending action on bluefish and fluke around Barnegat Inlet.

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