Story by Tom Pagliaroli


Northern kingfish, known as “royals” by the legions of surf anglers from Cape May through Seaside, have been appearing in numbers that have not been seen since the Nineties, and although being caught in increasing numbers since early late June, it appears as if the invasion has reached full-blown status.

It used to be that the royals didn’t start showing until mid-August and provided great fishing into October. Topping at 15 or so inches and maybe one pound or an ounce or two more, they are not about wild hits and strong fights. Rather, it’s more of a tentative nibble at a tap-tap take that is indicated by a slight bouncing of the rod tip. Two and even three hook rigs baited with segments of blood worms, Fishbites (blood worm, clam or sand flea formulas), or bits of clam and lobbed into the cuts and sloughs or just beyond the breakers oftentimes result in double or triple headers.

Tons of simple surf fishing fun and, save for perhaps the triggerfish, you’re not going to find sweeter, more scrumptious fillets.

Exclaims Noel Feliciano of the long-standing One Stop Bait & Tackle in Atlantic City where the royals have been waging suds wars on baits since the Father’s Day weekend, “It’s (the kingfish run) like I’ve never seen before! More and more fish and good sizes. You can’t help but catch them!”

In the 105.7 The Hawk listening area, the entire length of Long Beach Island surf is currently a royals kingdom. Ditto Island Beach State Park.

There is no minimum length or daily bag limit.

Photo by Tom P
Photo by Tom P

Tick Watch: It seems that no matter one is, there are ticks...and plenty of them. Wood ticks, dog ticks, and deer ticks are beyond abundant in all stages, especially the poppy seed-size nymph form, and these are especially dangerous as they are extremely difficult to detect. Case in point: I recently pulled one off my right thigh and another off the top of my right butt cheek. Still, another was discovered crawling on my neck and promptly removed and mashed. This despite having sprayed exposed skin thoroughly (or so I thought) with a heavy percentage Deet repellent and having sprayed the clothing I was wearing with a Permetherin-based repellent/tick killer.

Must have missed a few spots, because somehow two of the disease-bearing bloodsuckers made it far enough to dig in. They were detected after showering, the puzzlement of the two tiny “scabs” cause for a closer look. A much closer look. After removal, the areas were doused with rubbing alcohol, but that did not prevent two marble-size swellings from forming soon after and itching like all get out for a couple of days before eventually disappearing.

By all means, take extra care, and then some, when out in the woods, hiking beach trails with high grasses, paddling tight creeks with overhanging leaf-laden branches...anywhere where there is vegetation there will be ticks. Life-altering diseases (Lymes, babesiosis among them) can occur if an embedded tick is not discovered and gorges, transmitting the bacterium into your bloodstream.

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