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Fishing columnist Michael Shepherd tells you what’s biting and where to catch them.

Bruce Gehringer, of Egg Harbor City, is a local fisher with that all-important local knowledge.

He fishes often in the Mullica River and its connecting streams. His recent outings typify what’s been happening, particularly since the striped bass season opened March 1 in the inlets, bays, rivers and streams.

From six weeks back up to about three weeks ago, white perch were plentiful and often sizable. Then striped bass began to be targeted by the local worthies. Gehringer said Friday he last fished Monday — another typical trend because of the brisk breezes just about every other day, not to mention snowstorms and nor’easters, chilling off the fishing.

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Gehringer is a dedicated veteran who spends a lot of time and puts his long experience to work into finding the good fishing holes in his kayak.

He said it was all white perch and it was “very good” every day he went out.

Then, about two weeks ago, it turned into all striped bass, and all shorts under the 28-inch minimum. He said he caught 100 short bass before he caught his first keeper-size, and then he got 18 more short striper.

Good, fun fishing, but not much for the table.

Some of the white perch were very decent size, even up to 12 or 14 inches.

Bloodworm is Gehringer’s preferred bait now because the striper go for them, but he was and is using minnows and grass shrimp.

Gehringer does not have a particular spot he works. He paddles up and down the Mullica and inspects many of the holes and channels he has discovered over the years.

Dave Showell at Absecon Bay Sportsman Center suggested white perch have collected in the deeper holes of the rivers and streams because the recent winds have caused blow-out low tides. Dave said he almost went back to hibernation mode but is keeping busy by getting his boat ready for his guide-service debut for this year. He said he had three layers of clothes keeping him maybe too warm in the welcome sun and not-so-strong wind Friday.

He will be fishing a lot in the Mullica and Great Bay areas.

Chestnut Neck Boat Yard in Port Republic has the shops in the trailer open with bait and equipment for the early fishers. Violet Schutz said Friday they have not weighed any bass yet, but the locals are trying Bass River, Nacote Creek and Collins Cove on the Mullica. Violet said they had a couple of fishers going out Friday with bloodworm, but no word on how they are doing as of late afternoon.

Howard Sefton directs white perch fishers to some of the other good spots on the Mullica at sod banks at Hay Road, JRs Ranch and Clarks Landing. Howard said Friday was like a heat wave compared to recent days.

There is not much to report from the other side of Atlantic County in the Great Egg Harbor River environs. There was the same kind of pattern there: a lot of small bass and some white perch that seem to be hiding. The striper started to bite on bloodworm out in front of the bulkhead at Fortescue, but that seems to have chilled off there, too.

Fencing in Brigantine

The New Jersey Beach Buggy Association is one of the most active fishing and outdoor organizations in the state.

The NJBBA always seems to have something cooking. Often, it is the hot dogs and baked beans at one of its community projects. The NJBBA has one Sunday with the Brigantine String Fence outing. It starts at 8:30 a.m. on the north beach. Anyone interested in participating with NJBBA members can meet then at the north beach entrance.

And here’s another reminder about Sunday’s new fishing and boating expo at the Wildwoods Convention Center. The show starts at 9 a.m. and continues until 3 p.m. Admission is $4 with no charge for military, law enforcement, firefighters and children under 12.

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Contact: 609-350-0388 ShepOnFishing@yahoo.com

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