Shep's Hot Spot

Find a ledge or a drop-off in Delaware Bay and anchor up with bunker as bait to catch small to teens striped bass.

There is some small amount of good news coming out of Long Beach Island a month after Hurricane Sandy slammed it.

Rob Vallone and Greg Cudnik reported from Fisherman's Headquarters in Ship Bottom that fishing is more than decent.

"The action is good," Vallone said. "It's a lot of fun."

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A little fun is much-needed on Long Beach Island as home and business owners dig out, clean up and try to get back to normal.

"Fishing isn't as good as last year," Cudnik said. But there are "lots of short" striped bass.

Surfcasters are out on the beaches, mainly from Long Beach Township to Barnegat Inlet, and boat fishing in Barnegat Inlet, the back bays there and in the ocean off Island Beach, Cudnik reported.

Vallone said surf fishing changed greatly mid-week. On Tuesday they had bluefish that weighed from 7 to 15 pounds. On Wednesday, they had a lot of keeper striped bass and on Thursday it was mostly short bass.

Surf fishing seems to be the best on the incoming tide casting Ava jigs or with bunker and clam as bait. Generally, they agreed, the keeper ratio leaves something to be desired.

That seems to be true for tautog fishing from Barnegat Inlet jetty. Vallone said that when anglers are picking up green crab for bait they are reporting a 1-for-7 keeper rate.

Boat skippers are doing better on striped bass in and around Barnegat Inlet than the shore-based anglers, both Cudnik and Vallone said Friday.

Live spot and chunks of bunker from drifting or anchored boats in and inside the inlet; and Diamond jigs, swimming plugs and bucktails in the ocean seem to be working.

There are a lot of bass in the "mid-teens" in the ocean, Cudnik said. And, there are pods of bunker still around.

Vallone said that as far as he can tell, it looks as though Fisherman's Head-quarters is the only tackle shop open right now on Long Beach Beach Island. Margaret O'Brien took a break and a day off Wednesday from refurbishing Jingle's Bait and Tackle Shop in North Beach Haven to attend a trade show in Atlantic City. She expects to reopen soon, however.

It has been difficult getting up-to-date fishing reports out of Long Beach Island, but there is obviously something good happening there.

As we head into December (hard to believe), good fishing continues in Delaware Bay, but it seems to have shifted more to Tussey Slough and the Horseshoe from 60-Foot Slough and 20-Foot Slough.

Just like Long Beach Island, there are still a lot of short bass.

Fred Klug at Utsch's Marina in Cape May said he had a report from one skipper who was out fishing Friday morning who had seven short bass and one keeper by mid-day. Klug said a previous recent report described eight keepers in a total catch of 18 bass.

He said "they are all out" in the good weather Friday, so he expected to hear about more good action when they returned.

It looks like a decent weather weekend, so there likely will be a lot of captains heading into Delaware Bay today and Sunday, and into the coming week.

Great Egg Inlet is holding some striped bass on both the north and south bars. Bunker is working better as bait than eels right now, according to Rob Barrett at Dolphin Dock in Somers Point.

Don Stauffer of Egg Harbor Township caught his first-ever striper on the south bar Tuesday night. Barrett said it weighed 28 pounds. The next night at the same spot, it was Brian Cummings of EHT taking a 34-inch bass.

Bruce Gehringer of Egg Harbor City was out in Mullica River and called from his kayak Friday afternoon to report he was catching white perch and had hooked two short stripers with grass shrimp. A couple of days back, Gehringer caught a dozen perch and eight short stripers.

Mike O'Neill called when he got back to the dock late Friday afternoon at Seaview Harbor Marina on the Stray Cat with a nice catch of tautog while fishing inshore off Great Egg Inlet. O'Neill said his charter had 20 keeper tog. Plus they were picking sea bass, which they returned because they are out of season. He said green crab was the bait. He said to try the lumps between Ocean City and Wildwood. O'Neill has a charter this morning and an open boat Sunday.

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Mike Shepherd is the retired sports editor of The Press. His Shep on Fishing column and Shep's Hot Spot appear Saturdays in the sports section. Call 609-350-0388 or email:

You also can hear Shep on 1400 AM from 7-8 a.m. Saturdays, plus reports Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 6:05 a.m., 9:45 a.m. and 7 p.m. on 1400 AM and on our website:

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