The bass are in.
Chris Balaban operates three tackle shops in the area: 24-7 Bait and Tackle in Marmora and Egg Harbor Township and Tight Lines in Somers Point. He said Friday they had weighed 100 this week.
He said the bass have moved to off Great Egg Harbor Inlet. The biggest, caught Wednesday by Andrew Rohrer on the Fish N Tonic, went 52.7 pounds (photo on B4).
And when Dave Showell says he had his best ocean fishing morning ever for striped bass, you can be assured the main body of quality striped bass are here.
Dave runs his popular charter guide service out of his Absecon Bay Sportsman Center in Absecon. He had a couple of customers from Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, on Friday, and Dave said he tired them out.
They were out at “Showell’s Shoal,” which is just inside the 3-mile limit off Atlantic City. They started catching at 8 a.m. and were back at the dock by 11 a.m. They brought back three keepers 23- to 30-plus pounds.
Dave said they hooked into more than 20 bass and never got a chance to sit because as soon as they got one in the boat, another one hooked up. They were troling MoJos.
Dave said he sold out of a wall of MoJos twice at the shop and is expecting another delivery Saturday for what he said should be a memorable weekend. The first weekend of December is expected to have more excellent weather and ocean conditions, with probably a sizable fleet of striper hounds in the hunt.
He also said his favorite spot, off the under-construction Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City, site of the former Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort, is inside the 3-mile legal zone for bass, but he said he saw a lot of boats over the line.
He said this is probably a good time to remind over-eager boat captains and crews that striper are out of bounds beyond 3 miles.
First of all, he said, there is no reason for it because there surely are plenty inside the legal zone. And another report indicated the U.S. Coast Guard is out there riding the line to enforce the regulation.
Dave is tuned in to what’s going on elsewhere, and he said he has good reports from farther up the coast, yet another indication bass could maintain well into December.
Andy Grossman said from Riptide Bait and Tackle in Brigantine he had at least two reports from crews that had an unusual problem. They caught their “over” 43-inch but not their “under” — from the 28-inch minimum to less than 43 inches.
Paul Zgalich on the Oh Well reported 44- and 40-pound bass, and John Boguszewski on another boat had a 37-pounder.
Noel Feliciano said all the catches and weigh-ins have been “crazy” for business at One-Stop Bait and Tackle in Atlantic City.
He said it went “ballistic” out front, meaning in the ocean for striped bass.
And tautog are still thick around the Atlantic City rockpiles in Absecon Inlet. And just to add variety, ling are biting around the William “Bill” Demones Jr. Atlantic City Seawall Fishing Complex.
Jackson Phon was the winner of the Tog Master contest at One-Stop that ended Thursday with an 8.7-pounder.
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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.