Noel Feliciano said Friday he had a few weigh-ins by late afternoon.
And just after he got off the phone with the local scribe, a couple of young fishers from Franklinville came through the door of One-Stop Bait and Tackle Shop in Atlantic City toting the first genuine heavyweight striped bass of the season.
Anthony D’Andrea, 23, hung a bass on the scale that weighed 46.9 pounds and measured 47 inches (photo on B8).
They bled the bass on the way in, so it could have been a 50-pounder when hauled over the side of the 19-foot boat belonging to cousin Ben Tartaglia that they trailered down.
D’Andrea said they caught the bass trolling SP Minnows right off the tip of the T-jetty in Atlantic City. He said the water was “pretty muddy” because of the beach replenishment pumping project right off that stretch of beach.
D’Andrea said they come to Atlantic City attracted by the videos Feliciano posts on his website.
A “shocking” coincidence, Noel said, after calling back all excited about the happening.
D’Andrea planned to enter the striper in The Press Fishing Contest.
Jay LeVance, of Little Egg Harbor Township, is a successful fisher who helps out at Absecon Bay Sportsman Center in Absecon. Dave Showell said Friday from the center LeVance weighed a 36.25-pound bass he caught while trolling off Holgate on Long Beach Island.
And here is a freaky twist: Showell said Le-Vance caught one the same weight on the same date last year trolling the same area.
Denise Mulholland, of Cape May Court House, shared the heaviest striper honors in The Press Fishing Contest last year with a 51.2 pound heavyweight.
She and husband Joe went fishing off Reeds Beach in Delaware Bay. He hooked up two 40-inch-plus bass on the first two bites.
And, of course, Denise put in the dig: “I finally taught him how to get the big ones.”
Surf-casters got their shot at bigger bass, too. Paul LaVigna, a well-known Brigantine fisher, caught a 25-pound, 43-inch bass on the Brigantine north beach with bunker.
It was weighed at Riptide Bait and Tackle in Brigantine. It took the lead in the shop’s spring striper derby with less than a week to go.
One day after presiding over the state Marine Fisheries Council meeting Wednesday that finalized our summer flounder regulations, Dick Herb took a charter crew fishing on his Escapade out of Avalon.
He got into those prevalent bluefish inside Townsends Inlet.
Herb was just as effective Wednesday when he chaired the meeting at the Avalon Community Hall. He had an hour-and-a-half to get the emergency meeting completed and kept it going at a rapid pace with a number of comments from a decent crowd of flounder fans.
Board member Bob Rush, captain and owner of the Starfish fleet out of Sea Isle City, made all of the motions that were seconded and unanimously passed.
The summer flounder season will start next Thursday, May 25, and continue to Sept. 6 with a three-fish daily possession limit and an 18-inch minimum.
Hoagies and bluefish are the potent combination at Moran’s Dockside in Avalon. They are making their popular lunches again at Moran’s Dockside in Avalon, and the fishers are catching plenty of bluefish in the back bays.
Tim Davis at Moran’s said the Avalon Lady, which is the new back-bay pontoon party boat addition to the Miss Avalon fleet there, was out Friday catching blues.
Showell said he was trolling up “cocktail,” meaning smaller blues in the Great Bay area, and Feliciano said they are in the back bays of Atlantic near the Vagabond restaurant.
Showell also said he also trolled up two nice preseason flounder he measured at 23 and 21 inches before returning them. Howard Sefton said from Captain Howard’s in Egg Harbor City that minnows are plentiful so there should be no shortage of bait to start the season.
Mike O’Neill said he made a spring-training sea bass trip off Great Egg Inlet on his charter/open Stray Cat based at Seaview Harbor Marina.
He said he caught plenty of sea bass, and when the season gets going May 26 with a 10-fish daily limit and a 12½-inch minimum, it should be good. He planned to make another scouting trip Saturday.
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Mike Shepherd is the retired sports editor of The Press. His column appears in the Tuesday and Saturday print editions and online.