President’s Day weekend sometimes can be a transition for fishers here in South Jersey. The three days can get us motivated to shake off the malaise of “cabin fever,” that is if weather cooperates.
It looks almost favorable in the near future. White perch are starting to get active, and several of the area fishing pros see a warmer weather trend over the next week and are expecting or maybe hoping for increased fisher participation and improved catches.
Bolli Mam is a well-known fisher who often makes the run from Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, to fish our waters here in South Jersey. One of his favorite stretches is the Mullica River. His latest raid was last Sunday with his girlfriend, Sheila. And they hauled 50 fish out of the Mullica at Hay Road. They caught mostly white perch with a few yellow perch and some catfish in the mix. They were using grass shrimp, which seem to be emerging from their hiding places.
Grass shrimp is a favored bait for white perch, but bloodworm works too.
That report originated with Howard Sefton at Captain Howard’s Bait and Tackle in Egg Harbor City. Howard said it was nonstop phone calls last weekend, but the last couple of days “nothing” was happening.
Dave Showell at Absecon Bay Sportsman Center has been hearing of white perch catches from “all around the area” including Great Egg Harbor River environs. He said he had a fisher coming in from the Maurice River area to get some bait.
Steve Taniguchi at Blackwater Sports Center in Vineland said the Maurice River has been afflicted with high and muddy water because of the recent rains. But he said he is expecting to see warmer and cleaner water in the Maurice soon. And then he is going to give it try.
Willie Davis at Fisherman’s Headquarters in Ship Bottom said he had reports of white perch in what he called the “back” of the Mullica River. Other recent catches of white perch have come from fishers at Sweetwater and Lower Bank areas.
Two partyboats are geared up to sail, and both have Saturday, Sunday and Monday trips on the schedule. John Nigro is the spokesman for the Susan Hudson partyboat that operates mainly weekends in the winter from Sea Isle City. He said Friday that they go if they get enough interest and if the weather cooperates. To the north at Brielle, Capt. Joe Bogan of the Jamaica II said they are definitely sailing the next three days.
Bogan said Friday they had a decent catch last Saturday with mostly 5-8 pound codfish, The pool winner weighed 15 pounds. They will be fishing for ling and pollock in addition to codfish.
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Mike Shepherd is the retired sports editor of The Press.
His column appears during the winter in the Saturday print editions and online.