Warm water is a topic for fishers on the beaches, inshore and in the ocean.
Mike O’Neill had a description Friday afternoon that showed just how bathtub-like it is.
He said when they bring up fish, they actually feel warm, and so do the anchor and anchor line when they haul them in to move the Stray Cat charter/open boat.
He said it was “super warm” on the bottom, “well over 70 degrees” last Saturday on his most recent trip offshore.
He also said fishing is “nuts,” and by that he meant super. He said he fished the past two weekends and has caught bluefish, kingfish, porgy, blowfish, croaker, weakfish, triggerfish and little tunny (false albacore), plus “buckets” of sea bass, 80 percent of which are keepers in the 12- to 14-inch category.
Sea bass season is closed right now, but this is a good indication that when the season reopens Oct. 22 they will be waiting.
Mike will the Stray Cat as an open boat Saturday and Sunday from Seaview Harbor Marina.
Bob Cope is fishing, catching and looking forward to the opening of sea bass. On his Full Ahead, he, too, is catching what he described as “pretty” sea bass that go back in the water.
He said he counts a handful of triggerfish and the one allowable tautog on his Cape May-based charter boat that operates from Utsch’s Marina. His biggest tog lately was an 8-pounder.
We have had some other warm-water reports. Red drumfish have been biting, and a pompano was reported recently.
Keegan Rothman, the 11-year-old fishing phenom from Northfield, added another neat catch to his ever-growing list, with a 21.2-pound red drum he caught while ocean fishing with his regular partner, dad Dan, last Saturday morning.
Tautog continue to be thick around the rocks and bridges throughout the area, with triggerfish and sheepshead sometimes surprising tog fishers.
The first week of the Long Beach Island Surf Fishing Classic had four sizable bluefish hit the scales. The tourney began its nine-week stand last Saturday.
Two of the bluefish were 12-pounders, including a 12.52-pounder caught by 12-year-old Quinn Rulan, of Manahawkin and a 12.15-pounder caught and entered into the senior division by Chet Bojarski, of South Plainfield.
Both blues were caught with bunker at Barnegat Light. No striped bass had been registered as of late Friday afternoon.
Here’s one more reminder about the Strathmere Fishing and Environmental Club’s State of the Fisheries meeting 4 p.m. Saturday at the Strathmere firehouse. It is open to the public with a question and answer period.
The panel includes Jason Galanes, chief of staff for Rep. Frank LoBiondo, who is out of the country; state Sen. Jeff Van Drew and Assemblymen Bob Andrzejczac and Bruce Land; Adam Nowalsky, Mid-Atlantic Fisheries Management Council and Recreational Fishing Alliance representative; Jeff Brust, state Department of Environmental Protection biologist; Bill Shillingford, who tags fish for the American Littoral Society and is a member of the host club; and Dick Herb, chairman of the New Jersey Marine Fisheries Council.
Dave Showell had the idea for the recent successful Plug for Puerto Rico fishing tournament. The Absecon Bay Sportsman Center boss made the suggestion to Noel Feliciano at One-Stop and Bait and Tackle.
Dave has another idea he is calling the No Football/Fish for Puerto Rico striped bass contest scheduled for Nov. 10-12 in Atlantic County. He is in the process of lining up bait and tackle shops to participate.
The plan is to have tackle shops and marinas in Atlantic County to have their own signups and weigh-ins and to promote it through a wide variety of resources.
The fishing area will be from the Mullica River-Great Bay area south to the Great Egg Harbor estuary in a boat or from land; and surf-fishing from Brigantine to Absecon Island.
The entry fee for each fisher will be $20, which includes a donation for Puerto Rican relief.
This ambitious and cool effort is just getting started. More details to come. Call Showell at 609-484-0409 or go to his Facebook page.
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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.