Tautog season opens Saturday, and at least one fisher did some spring training or, more precisely, provided a scouting report.
Noel Feliciano from One-Stop Bait and Tackle in Atlantic City vouched for the report. Noel said he was shown action via a video of the fisher with three keeper-size tog from an Atlantic City jetty Thursday.
The unnamed fisher practiced catch-and-release and returned all three knowing the season opener was still a couple of days away.
“I got so excited,” Noel said late Friday afternoon while keeping One-Stop open despite another miserable weather day. Noel had just gotten a delivery of green crab, which is the prime bait for tog, so that kept him busy.
The fisher who caught the preseason tog — “right away,” according to Noel — said he would be out on the jetty at 6 a.m. Saturday hoping the tog were still there.
Feliciano reported earlier this week that laughing gulls had shown up around Atlantic City, which he said signals a change for the better.
“I think this is it,” he said.
Some of his other regulars are reporting those undersize striped bass moving out of the rivers and into Lakes Bay off Pleasantville and West Atlantic City.
He also has gotten reports of those small bass at the T-jetty in Atlantic City.
Noel said he is looking for a good month. Got to be better weather than March’s!
We can catch four tog per day at a minimum of 15 inches to the end of April.
Small striped bass
We seem to be locked into the pattern that has loads of striped bass under the 28-inch minimum sometimes mingled with more-than-decent white perch in our rivers, streams and bays.
It seemed appropriate to check on what was happening off Delaware and maybe get a hint of what fishing was like south down the coast and across Delaware Bay and what might be moving this way as it warms up in April.
Old Inlet Bait and Tackle is a well-known stop for many between Rehobeth Beach and Bethany Beach.
A Friday report said they were catching loads of small striped bass but not many keepers in the Delaware inlets.
Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
Jack Justice at Old Inlet said Friday “a few are trying” for tog off Delaware when weather permits. That weather insight also sounds pretty similar to what has been happening here.
The “six-pack” and party boats have been doing “very well,” he said, and they are working areas about 20 miles off the beach there.
He said there are no signs of bluefish yet. He said they usually arrive in April, so he was expecting them in a couple of weeks.
Trout season opens in New Jersey next Saturday, April 8.
One of the tradtions for the opener is the youth trout season opener at Birch Grove Park in Northfield.
George Foreman is the prime organizer with the city of Northfield. Foreman said registration is free and open to all youth.
There are three age groups: 5-8, 9-12 and 13-15. Sign-ups will start at 7 a.m., and fishing will go from 8 to 11 a.m. All kinds of prizes are part of this super event for area youth.
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Mike Shepherd is the retired sports editor of The Press. His column appears Saturdays.
Contact: 609-350-0388 ShepOnFishing@Yahoo.com