The Susan Hudson party boat made it five straight decent offshore catches Friday.
John Nigro is spokesman for the Starfish fleet based in Sea Isle City, and he called late Friday afternoon with a report from captain Mike Weigel, who called ahead from the ocean while the boat was headed back to the dock.
They had a couple of fat tautog among a catch that “wasn’t great” mainly because they had a lot of shorts that had to be returned, Nigro said.
But those two big tog were true heavyweights.
Joe Grazio, of Williamstown, caught one that went 15 pounds, 3 ounces. Marcus Jobile, of Prospect Park, Pennsylvania, topped the day’s catch with a 16-pound, 9-ounce tog.
Nigro said the Susan Hudson will operate mainly a weekend schedule to Feb. 28. They leave at 8 a.m.
Noel Felciano has been taking some breaks from the daily grind that all bait and tackle shop owners and managers deal with during the fishing season.
The One-Stop Bait and Tackle Shop proprietor has been enjoying car rides around the region. He continues to check into the Atlantic City shop and still creates those picturesque videos of the area’s beaches, boardwalks and jetties that he posts online.
He does not get totally away from the area’s fishing environs. And he also sometimes turns into a valuable correspondent with live up-to-date fishing reports. His latest was Friday afternoon.
He called the local scribe from the park and bulkhead on the Burlington County side of the Green Bank Bridge with breaking news.
He said four fishers were there fishing for white perch. He said one of them had caught his own live grass shrimp with a net.
Feliciano said that fisher had four white perch. Another was using squid as bait and was, not surprisingly, not catching.
He said the fisher who was catching called it the “hot spot.” That spot is on the Mullica River. Noel said it was tranquil and “awesome” there.
Previously, the on-the-scene reporter sent photos of three people fishing near New Gretna to illustrate the news, and one photo revealed he was walking away with 14 white perch.
Dave Showell at Absecon Bay Sportsman Center in Absecon confirmed Friday that some grass shrimp have emerged from hiding.
Dave said he has been getting phone calls from citizens inquiring about bait and to get a fishing report.
As a result, he ordered and received a box of bloodworms. He said he had some green crab left over, but one local captain collected them, presumably for an offshore ocean trip for tautog.
A check up the coast to Bogan’s Basin in Brielle, Monmouth County, revealed the Jamaica II party boat also has been running weekends.
Captain Joe Bogan said Friday the trips last weekend had a decent catch of codfish weighing up to 30 pounds mixed with some nice pollack and a few blackfish (tautog).
Bogan has been working the wrecks 30 to 40 miles off Brielle. He runs 14-hour trips starting at 3 a.m. Saturdays and 12-hour sorties leaving at 5 a.m. Sundays.
Now is a good time to sign up with the New Jersey Saltwater Recreational Registry for 2018.
It is free but must be completed before fishing. It is easy to do at saltwaterregistry.nj.gov.
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Mike Shepherd is the retired sports editor of The Press.
His column appears during the winter in the Saturday print editions and online.