We are really getting into some great fishing.
We have tautog expanding to six fish daily possession. We had sea bass open a couple of weeks back. Striped bass are getting bigger and better with every passing day. An occasional triggerfish pops up while wreck and reef fishing for tog and sea bass.
We could say that this is one of the best fishing stretches certainly of the fall, and not be too far wrong.
Irv Hurd guides the partyboat Miss Avalon off the beach out of Townsends Inlet. He was returning from the ocean Friday afternoon and was about to head under the bridge that just opened for him when the local scribe called for an up-to-date report.
He focused on driving the boat under the bridge, and then provided a quick report.
“Limits of tog all around,” he said. He estimated 40 keepers with the heaviest weighing 6 pounds, 11 ounces. He stayed close Friday because the wind was strong and the closer to the beach he kept the Miss Avalon, the better it was to fish. He started one mile off and never went farther than four miles.
“No complaints” about the fishing both Friday and with similar results on opening day. He said the keeper ratio was better Thursday for the opener at 1 for 2, while Friday it was more like 1 for 5. They also had six keeper sea bass in 54-degree water.
Irv also said it was an exciting day with whales and gannets providing a marine life scene in close.
Point Tackle in Somers Point weighed a nice opening-day tog for Tyler Engle of Absecon. It was a 5.91-pound, 20-inch beauty caught in Ocean City on green crab while fishing on his uncle Tom Engle’s First Light Charters.
Mike O’Neill reported opening day for the expanded tautog season was “great” on the Stray Cat charter/open boat out of Seaview Harbor Marina in Great Egg Inlet. They had tog, sea bass and triggerfish. Paul Thompson, captain of the Porgy IV out of South Jersey Marina in Cape May, said he had a lot of tog but a lot of throwbacks with a couple of triggerfish in the mix. They “did good” Thursday with tog but no sea bass on the partyboat Susan Hudson of the Starfish fleet out of Sea Isle City.
The keeper ratio was better Thursday than in the stiff wind of Friday on the Atlantic City jetties. Noel Feliciano said Friday from One-Stop Bait and Tackle in Atlantic City that one of his crew claimed to have hooked up with 50 tog so far.
Switching over to striped bass, we have similar success stories.
Dave Showell, who runs guide trips out of his Absecon Bay Sportsman Center, said: “It is getting better every day.”
He fished more out toward Absecon Inlet from the back bays he had been working and catching a lot of 28-32 inch stripers, and he had an “amazing” number of 27.75-inch fish that are a tad under the 28-inch minimum.
He was leaving to pick up some bonus tags that allow for 24-28 inch “slot” fish.
Dave said the reports are great from around the area, partcularly at high water in the morning. Dave likes to use live spot or bucktails and Gulp.
Dave has been working it hard with consistent success mainly in the back bays around Absecon Bay to Great Bay.
“Ain’t missed yet,” Dave said Friday.
Middleweight to heavyweight striped bass are thick all the way up to Long Branch and even Long Island, New York, so it looks as though we still have plenty that should migrate down our way.
Paul Hanley, a chef at Borgata, had his personal best day Tuesday on the Fish Trap with Capt. Bob Biedeman out of Viking Village in Barnegat.
He not only had his two personal-best bass of 41 and 38 inches, he hooked them up and reeled them on the same line in an amazing doubleheader.
Bill Lacovara of Ventnor took Greg Gregory, son Paul and 8-year-old grandson Jack on the Lac Attack off Belmar on Tuesday and they limited out by 9 a.m., according to a report from Greg. Jack weighs 62 pounds, and his contribution to the haul was a 28-pound bass, according to Greg.
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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.
Contact: 609-350-0388 ShepOnFishing@yahoo.com