Striped bass are in the surf at Brigantine. Use bunker, clam or eels.

Striped bass reports continue to come from one end of South Jersey to the other.

Long Beach Island has them. So does Brigantine. Ditto Ocean City and Strathmere, and around to Delaware Bay.

This looks like the run of striper for which surfcasters and those who fish from their boats inshore and in the inlets have been waiting.

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Andy Grossman said it was "fireworks" on Saturday and Sunday in Brigantine. Grossman runs a fall striped bass surf-fishing tournament out of his Riptide Bait and Tackle in Brigantine, and the top three positions got new leaders. Eric Matuzsan took the lead with a 38-pound, 3-ounce catch. Ken Biondi is now second with a 37-14 entry, and Jeff Alaburda is third at 34 pounds. The Riptide contest continues to Dec. 23.

Grossman said "everybody" caught fish, and they were in the 20- to 40-pound range. Surfcasters were saying that the best action was at high water, but Grossman said he weighed fish all day.

He sold out of fresh bunker twice over the weekend - 500 pounds and then 400 - and he got a delivery Monday of 300 pounds. He said frozen bunker are working just fine when the fresh sells out.

A report from Fin-Atics in Ocean City described surf-fishing as "on fire" Monday at Ocean City and the north end of Strathmere. Bass and bluefish had bunker trapped close to the beaches.

Margaret O'Brien weighed a couple of 30-pound striper over the weekend at Jingle's Bait and Tackle in North Beach Haven. Brian Dalton of Tabernacle picked a 31.44-pound bass he caught with bunker at Brant Beach, and Courtland Foos, a regular visitor from Wilmington, Del., had a 31.38 bass at Beach Haven.

The Long Beach Island Surf Fishing Classic also got a 39.06-pound bass from Tim Stumpf of Elkins Park, Pa., and a 14.75-pound bluefish from John Hickey of Fallowfield, Pa. The Classic continues this week and next on Long Beach Island.

O'Brien said bass were taking metal lures with teasers at Spray Beach and Harvey Cedars at low water. Sand eels are hanging along the sand bars attracting bass, so anglers are casting to the bars.

Lower Delaware Bay continues to have the best action and bigger fish, but a report from Matt Slobodjian at Jim's Bait and Tackle said The Rips has them again. Jim's weighed a couple of 40-pound bass caught in Delaware Bay.

The heaviest bass weighed at Jim's recently went 50 pounds and was caught in the surf at Cape May by Alex "Bucky" Toler of Cape May.

Sterling Harbor Marina in Wildwood also weighed heavyweights recently. Rich Weatherby of Millville got a 43.4 bass and Joan Reid of Woodbury Heights caught 27- and 19-pound bass.

Inshore fishing from boats along the beachfront is also outstanding.

Dave Showell heard of great fishing to the north of Absecon Inlet. He got up Monday morning, saw conditions were calm for a ride in the ocean and headed north toward Long Beach Island. He wound up off Brant Beach and said it was definitely worth the ride.

The birds made up with striper and blues under them, and he said the fishing there was excellent. He was back at Absecon Bay Sportsman Center in Absecon by midday with a limit of bass in the 32- to 34-inch class and blues that weighed 8 to 10 pounds.

He said he used live spot for bait until the birds starting working, and then jigged them up with lures. He said there was an "incredible" number of fish there, and it attracted a fleet of boats that had been scattered when he and his crew first arrived. Then all the boats gathered and were hooked up once the birds concentrated.

Trolling also works for bass inshore. The captains use Stretch 25 and 30s, umbrella rigs, spoons and niners.

Showell said Absecon Inlet fishing was "picky" and that was the reason he decided to just take off north. He said Monday after he got back that Billy Lake reported catching two bass in the morning in Absecon Inlet. Great Egg Inlet also has bass, according to a report from Brennan Marine in Somers Point.


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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 Tuesdays and Saturdays in the sports section. Call 609-350-0388 or email:


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