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Month: August 2009

Offshore and Inshore, plus the MA500

The Charter Fleet at South Jersey Marina had some good catches both offshore and inshore. Big Game had 2 Wahoo ,1 Yellowfin and 2 Dolphin early in the week. Common Sense brought in 1 Yellowfin and 4 Dolphin plus released a White Marlin. Slammer had 2 Yellowfin in the 50 pound range and 1 Dolphin. Top Shelf limited out on Bluefish on 8/11.

South Jersey Marina will be hosting their annual MidAtlantic $500,000 tournament out of Cape May and Ocean City, MD from 8/16 to 8/22. The Captains Meeting will be held on Sunday, 8/17.

A Week for Blue Fin

hooked up tuna 8-6hooked up 8-4The story of the week at South Jersey Marina was Capt. John Sowerby and his Charter Boat Hooked Up II. He went offshore to the Lobster Claw for Blue Fin Tuna on 5 separate trips. On every trip he caught one large Blue Fin with an average weight of 150 pounds. The heaviest weighed 159 pounds on 8/6 and they also had 6 Yellowfin that day. On 8/4 they brought in 2 Bluefin and 3 Dolphin. It was quite a week.

On 8/8 George Pollis of Jupiter, FL weighed a 77 pound Wahoo caught on his 30′ Gillikin. Walt Palmer was the Captain.. This fish was caught at the Elephant Trunk.

The inshore fishing has been hot also. Capt. Clint on Common Sense limited out on Bluefish and brought in a Bonito as well. Slammer Capt. Joe Lehner had 75 Bluefish and 10 keeper Flounder on one of his trips this week.

Hot time for offshore fishing

Cape Queen with 6.8lb flounder

Cape Queen with 18 keepers

The offshore fishing for the South Jersey Charter Fleet has been hot this past week.

Cape Queen had a nice catch. A 131.5 lb. Bluefin Tuna and several Dolphin. Slammer had a Bluefin at about the same size. Hooked Up II had one a little larger, 160 lbs.

Flounder fishing has picked up this week also. Cape Queen went to the Old Grounds and brought in 18 keepers. The heaviest was 6.8 lbs. Porgy IV registered a flounder at 9.2 lbs. Plenty of meat on that one.

Summer time and the garden is growing!



Whether you garden in a pot or a plot, it is time to take notice and give the plants one last feeding if you do not already have time-release fertilizer on the plants. Clip or deadhead blooming plants so they will continue to flower. Trim back vegetables if they need it and plant some fall crops. Sprinkle seeds of lettuce, parsley, dill, other greens and even radishes for a cool weather garden this fall. My vegetable garden is my favorite outdoor spot and we all spend hours there each day if possible.

Real gardeners love all types of plants. They appreciate the coolness of shade trees and the winter hues of evergreens. They love the colorful blooms of spring flowering shrubs and the fragrance of lilac, roses, mock orange and swamp magnolia. They plant masses of vibrant annuals each spring as well as tomatoes and other vegetables to feed the family. They love the challenge to choose reliable, colorful perennials that will come up each year with dependable consistency. These best fill in a bed to look like an old-fashion cottage garden with color throughout the spring, summer and fall. A few perennials like Amsonia have golden foliage for a long time in fall. Others, like hellebores – the Christmas and Lenten roses – are evergreen with dark shiny foliage all year long.


Red phlox is an easy to grow perennial for sun or shade

There are perennial wild flowers and ferns that can create a woodland setting in shady or woodsy areas. There are colorful plants that will attract butterflies and hummingbirds and there are some perennials that bloom very early as well as some that bloom very late or even in winter. Although most perennials die back and disappear each winter they come back each spring. The root remains alive.

At the peak of spring there are poppy, iris, peony, anemone, wood phlox, lily-of-the-valley and mountain pinks in bloom. These old favorites are such signs of spring that most people recognize them.

Later in summer the number of blooming perennials is so large that even seasoned gardeners find new ones all the time. There are so many daisies that you can have them in white, red or pink, yellow, orange and many other assorted colors. Try Shasta daisy for white. Painted daisy for pink or red. Black-eyed Susan for gold. Gaillardia for shades of red and yellow and Echinacea for lavender, white, shades of orange, peach and coral. There are the lilies of summer as well as the blooms of many herbs such as lavender, mints, monarda. Don’t forget Yucca or prickly pear cacti for sunny dry spots. I love the dependability of yarrow in many colors, phlox, Cardinal flower and salvia.

Perennials can sometimes take over an area so it is a good idea to thin them every few years if they seem to be spreading too much. Always do this very early in the spring while they are still dormant. Mark where they are and remove clumps of roots. You can plant them in another spot or trade with another gardener.



Perennials need food to bloom. Prepare the soil well when planting. It is always a good idea to mix in some compost if you have it. High organic content in soils is a key to building a great perennial garden. I do not mulch them heavily since I like most to reseed. My black-eyed Susans, sweet Cecily, and even Christmas roses reseed. When there are a lot of plants in a bed it is important to feed them well. My husband usually feeds everything in the yard each spring with a handful of 10-10-10 or 5-10-5 granular ‘brown bag’ generic fertilizers. Then I fine tune by putting a scoop or two of my favorite time-release osmocote 14-14-14 (green cap) so they continue to bloom. Compost works best so be generous with it too. Remember that it is the middle number, the phosphate that increases bloom. Too much nitrogen (first number) makes lots of beautiful leaves but sparse blooms. We let the leaves stay in the beds all winter; this sure seems to protect the plants in a natural way.

Prickly pear cactus bloom - a perennial for dry sunny spot

Prickly pear cactus bloom - a perennial for dry sunny spot

To dead head or not to dead head, that is the question! Some people ask, “What is dead heading?” It is simply cutting off the dead blooms. I usually do this early in the season to encourage more bloom. It is often good to let some go to seed later so that more plants will grow. Seeds drop once they are ripe and fall naturally from the pods. The plants usually come up in mid summer and grow until next season when they bloom. Perennial seedlings grow for a year until they bloom. Ones purchased in a nursery are often one to two years old and ready to bloom.

Almost any time is a good time to prepare a perennial garden or to add a few plants to other plantings. Be sure that you find the right plant for each spot. Find out how much sun your gardens have and find the plant that will do best. A sun plant needs sun between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. for lots of blooms.

Black eyed susan - perennial for dry , sunny spot, but it will also bloom in part shade

Black eyed Susan - perennial for dry , sunny spot, but it will also bloom in part shade

Just like some perennials need sun and well-drained soil for success some need more water or moisture in the soil than others. An example would be the difference between lavender and monarda. Lavender, one of the oldest and favorite perennials of all needs a hot, sunny well-drained site. It does not need a lot of fertilize and even has less fragrance and fewer blooms when over fed. Monarda, with its large red humming bird magnet blooms, can tolerate quite a bit of moisture and will grow in sun or shade. A native cactus prickly pear is a wonderful perennial for a hot, dry spot where few others will grow. It is important to read about each perennial before making a choice. A good nursery should be able to guide you. A perennial book will help and the Internet will do as well, if you choose a good source. Remember too to make sure the writer lives in a similar climate as you do.

The lists of perennials are very, very long. It is often a good idea to look at perennials each month in a local nursery or at a botanical garden. Choose ones you like and plant them near each other so you have something blooming all during the season.

Landscape and herb classes offered throughout the year. Visit

Do you have a gardening question? Ask Lorraine in the comments section below!

Time for Variety

Photo by Jim Gatto

White Marlin. Photo by Jim Gatto

This article originally appeared in Cape May Magazine, August 2007.

August – the month when summer is at its peak. This is none the less true for fishing in Cape May. The month of August brings forth the largest variety of fish species caused by the large numbers of bait fish both inshore and off shore….and as they say “the big fish eats the little fish.” August is a great time for tournament fishing as well, boasting one of the largest and richest tournaments in the world – the Mid-Atlantic $500,000 (MA-500).

The ocean temperature inshore and offshore is at its warmest this time of the year. Offshore, warm bodies of water broken off by the Gulf Stream called “eddys” form a temperature break. Find a temperature break, there you’ll find a number of “pelagic” fish such as Tuna, Marlin, Wahoo and Mahi feeding on bait fish. It’s truly something, this circle of life out in the ocean. Most of the areas that are affected by these temperature breaks are from the 30-fathom line out to the canyons to the 1,000-fathom line.

Boats will fish these areas using a couple of different techniques. The two most popular are trolling and chunking. When trolling boats will fish five or more rods pulling lures and Ballyhoo, Spanish Mackeral and Mullet. The boat will be moving between five and eight knots. When trolling, you want to create what is called a “spread.” Your spread looks like a school of bait fish to the fish below, thus causing them to spark into feeding mode, and the next thing you know: “Fish on!” Expect to catch Longfin Tuna, Yellowfin Tuna, Wahoo, Mahi, Blue and White Marlin.

Photo by Jim Gatto

Dolphin fish (Mahi). Photo by Jim Gatto

The second method is called chunking, which can be done day and night, as opposed to trolling which is done at night. Chunking using bait such as butterfish, peanut bunker and sardines are most popular in our area. Many anglers will also jig, using a technique of jerking the pole up and dropping it down at a certain depth with a lure.

Another great idea when chunking is to fish live bait such as bluefish or spotfish. Most boats will fish four to five fishing rods with baits at different depths and drift or anchor over structures such as lumps, canyons and depressions. On the chunk, you’ll catch yellowfin tuna, longfin tuna, mahi, and, at night, swordfish. Both chunking and trolling involve running out 35 to over 75 miles offshore, and most trips run by charter boats are from 12 to 30 hours.

Fishing inshore is also a great way to spend some time on the water. It’s a great month for Flounder, Sea Bass, Bluefish and Bonita. Flounder can be caught in the back bays, Delaware Bay and in the ocean. In the back bays Grassy Sound and in front of the Coast Guard base are always great spots for Flounder. You’re fishing the bottom using Flounder rigs, live minnows or stripped squid as bait. This holds true for fishing the Delaware Bay as well. Areas such as Brown Shoal, and the light houses such as Brandywine, Fourteen Foot Bank Light, Abandon Lighthouse, aka the Oldhouse or Blockhouse, and Miah Maull Shoal are great spots.

Photo by Stephen Spagnuola

Wahoo. Photo by Stephen Spagnuola

When fishing for Flounder in the ocean, areas like the Cape May Reef and the Old Grounds are two of my favorites, except to catch larger flounder, but make sure you make your baits a bit longer. Do not be surprised to catch a mixed bag of sea bass and bluefish when fishing in the ocean, as well. The last couple of years have been banner years for inshore trolling for bonitas and bluefish at East Lump. FA buoy and Five Fathom Shoal are a few of the more popular spots. Both party boats and charter boats run inshore and offshore trips. Most trips are from four to eight hours long.

If fishing off a boat is not your game, try fishing under the Ocean Drive bridge and the back bay sod banks during the incoming tide. You’ll catch Bluefish and Striper using lures such as “bucktails,” plugs and jig head with artificial worms or sassy shads. On the ocean side fishing Poverty Beach and all the jetties down past The Point will produce just as well, both day and night.

Well, the month comes to the end with the MA-500 August 16th through the 21st. Boats from around the world come to compete in, boat for boat, the richest fishing tournament in the world! This is also one of the biggest White Marlin tournaments. In 2006 over 250 boats competed in the MA-500 with total prize money close to $2 million. Weigh-ins start at around 4 p.m. and are open to the public free of charge. It’s a standing room-only crowd with hundreds of people on the dock during weigh-in hoping to catch a glance at some of the biggest fish in the ocean.

So, if you’re ready to get in on some of the hottest fishing on the east coast the month of August in Cape May is where it’s at. Fishing not only makes great stories, it brings family and friends together for more than just the average everyday at the beach.

steve-spagnuolaStephen Spagnuola, a graduate of Visual Arts, New York City, worked as art director for many ad agencies in New York before leaving advertising to pursue fashion photography, and worked on such magazines as Stuff, Flatiron, and Zink. Stephen is a freelance photographer and marketing director for Sea Tow Cape May.. Visit Steve online