A school of bigger striped bass has arrived off Atlantic County, and one weighing more than 54 pounds was taken off Long Beach Island on Thanksgiving.
John Palladino took a ride Thursday from his temporary berth in Atlantic City to Long Beach Island.
The Ventnor resident fishes a lot, but this was his first ride to search for striper this season. He saw a school of bait on his scanner while trolling Mojo lures behind his 26-foot Regulator off Beach Haven.
He hooked one up and brought the fish to the boat. He was alone, and netting a fish that big while keeping control can be worrisome.
He got it back to Ray Scott’s Dock in Margate to be weighed, measured and photographed. It weighed 54.5 pounds.
Palladino said he usually docks the boat at Seaview Harbor Marina in Great Egg Inlet but moved to Atlantic City to get closer to the action that had been better for bigger fish north of Barnegat Inlet up to Brielle.
Palladino said Friday he “slammed them” last year, and he has now racked up his personal-best bass.
The bigger fish had been “parked,” as one report described it, above Barnegat Inlet, and it looks as though there are still plenty of bass up the coast and poised to move down this way.
Andy Grossman said Friday afternoon his phone at Riptide Bait and Tackle in Brigantine has been blowing up with reports from excited captains trolling off there.
Two examples: Andy said Don Landry, of Brigantine, had his “over-under” of one 41-inch bass and one 431/2-incher weighing 30 and 33 pounds, respectively. Jim Gregory on GregMar charters out of Brigantine got into 40- to 43-inch bass that Andy estimated likely weighed in the 20s.
Mike O’Neill, captain of the Stray Cat charter boat out of Seaview Harbor Marina, said they showed up Friday and that they “crushed” them off Great Egg Inlet.
He said there had been nothing for three days, into Friday morning.
He saw some bird play, and suddenly bass were there under bunker that arrived. He said it was all snag and drop or jigging. He said they were inside the 3-mile limit, 150 degrees off the Great Egg Bell. He estimated the biggest one went 30-plus.
Jay LeVance was back manning the shop Friday afternoon at Absecon Bay Sportsman Center in Absecon for owner Dave Showell after another successful foray off Seaside Park above Barnegat Inlet.
Jay said they had a dozen on a morning swing to the north out of Barnegat Inlet. He and his cousin and fishing partner Dave Pharo had six “bang, bang, bang” and then two each hour after that. One of the bass was more than 30 pounds. The Tuckerton residents trolled spoons.
Jay also said fishing was a little crazed off Seaside. He estimated 150 to 200 boats were working that area.
He said when they got to the ramp at Barnegat Inlet to launch, 13 boats were ahead of them.
Noel Feliciano said Friday from One-Stop Bait and Tackle in Atlantic City he estimated 25 to 30 boats trying for striper in the ocean 1 to 1 1/2 miles off the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City.
It was more like Blackfish Friday on some of the jetties in South Jersey, with super weather for the day after Thanksgiving.
Tog fans were not thinking about the early discount Christmas shopping sprees because they are hooking up some “nice-size” tog, according to Feliciano.
One of his fishers reported catching 50 tog in two days from the rocks in A.C.
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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.