"You can't stop them!" That is a quote from angler Chris Sylvestro after coming off the sod bank at Graveling Point and stopping at Scott's Bait and Tackle in Mystic Islands on Friday.

He was talking about bluefish, striped bass and black drumfish.

That combination of inshore game fish is no longer confined to Great Bay. Matt Slobodjian was back at his post at Jim's Bait and Tackle in Cape May and reported striped bass up to 50 inches in length, drumfish and bluefish in the surf all around the point of Cape May from Poverty Beach to the ferry jetties.

He said the last of the incoming is the best tide there and clam is the bait.

The Brigantine surf also has that triple play going. Andy Grossman at Riptide Bait and Tackle said the blues are the spring variety that weigh 3-4 pounds. They are biting on everything, including past-prime clam.

But back to Great Bay, where fishing has been a steady action not only at Graveling Point but out in Great Bay and over to Grassy Channel.

Scott Albertson said anglers were out fishing the sod bank on Thursday night's full moon, and the great action continued.

Here's a neat story that originated at Chestnut Neck Boat Yard in Port Republic.

Joseph and Joanne Coniglio and their 3-year-old son, Salvatore, were fishing in their new 25-foot Hydrosport from 3 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday off Graveling Point. It was non-stop action, Joseph said Friday.

He said it was all blues, except for the first bass ever for Joanne. It was just under keeper size. The blues were 6 to 15 pounds, and they stopped counting at 18 and there were a lot more after that. He had clam as bait.

The neatest part was that Salvatore caught his first-ever fish. They did not have the line in the water for two minutes when it went out.

When they got the 12-pound fish flopping in the boat, Salvatore wanted no parts of it, and later did not want to take a photo with it. They are from Ambler, Pa.

"I'm a proud dad and proud husband," Coniglio said.

That kind of says it all.

Tautog season has just a few days to go to Tuesday. It is closed until July after that.

Mike O'Neill provided an on-the-water report Friday from the Stray Cat at Ocean City Reef. He had a charter that enjoyed solid non-stop action all day, O'Neill said.

Fishing was good for keepers and a lot of 15-inch class undersized tog. They also had a shot of bluefish on the way out.

O'Neill has an open boat scheduled for Sunday and Monday to end the tog season.

He docks at Seaview Harbor Marina in Great Egg Inlet. Call 609-391-9630.

Solid catches of tog also have been reported at the T-Jetty and other rockpiles in Atlantic City, along the sod banks inside Great Egg, the 8th Street Jetty in Avalon and the Cape May Inlet jetties. Plus, Bob Cope on the charterboat Full Ahead out of Utsch's Marina in Cape May had a limit on Wednesday. He fishes Cape May Reef a lot.

Rob Barrett said Friday afternoon that tog, along with 3-pound blues and not-yet-in-season flounder, are also around the Route 52 Causeway piers between Somers Point and Ocean City.

Plus, he weighed a 5.38-pound weakfish at Dolfin Dock in Somers Point caught with a bucktail at high water at Beesleys Point Bridge by Stamatis Stamoulis of Egg Harbor Township.


The Press Fishing Contest launches its 60th season May 5. The contest offers $100 gift certificates at participating bait and tackle shops and marinas throughout South Jersey.

In addition, a best catch of the week will receive a bragging-rights certificate and appear on The Press Fishing Contest website.

Plus, we'll have a monthly leaderboard that posts the leaders in various species in the paper and on the website. And the entries will get regular mentions in Shep on Fishing.

The Press Fishing Contest is easy. Catch a fish, take it to a weigh station for verification and enter it online at Presscontests.com or fill out an entry form and mail it in. No signups, no entry fees.

The categories are Youth Saltwater, Youth Freshwater (under 15), Women, Seniors (65 and older), Striped Bass, Bluefish, Flounder, Offshore (beyond 3 miles), Inshore (inside 3 miles and back bays), Most Unusual.

The Press Fishing Contest continues to Oct. 31.


The first Association of Surf Angling Club tournaments is next Saturday (May 4) in Brigantine with the H.W. Shaner 51st annual event. Sign up 6-8 a.m. at the Presbyterian Church, 1501 Brigantine Blvd.

The cost is $50 or six-person teams and $10 for individuals. A daily Brigantine four-wheel drive beach access fee is $10.

The 5th Strictly Boaters Boat Show is May 3-5 at South Jersey Marina in Cape May. It is billed as a show for serious boating enthusiasts. Sea trials are part of the deal for buyers. Call Mark Allen at 609-884-2400.

One of five Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council public hearings to collect information for the "draft omnibus recreational accountability measure" is 7 p.m. May 1 at the Holiday Inn in Manahawkin, Stafford Township.

According to the MAFMC website, regulations require that a recreational overage (when the catch exceeds the annual catch limit) be paid back in a subsequent year for summer flounder, scup, black sea bass, bluefish and Atlantic mackerel. The amendment will consider alternatives to a pound-for-pound payback.

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Mike Shepherd is the retired sports editor of The Press. His column appears Saturdays in the sports section. Call 609-350-0388 or email:

You also can hear Shep on 1400 AM from 7-8 a.m. Saturdays, plus reports Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 6:05 a.m., 9:45 a.m. and 7 p.m. on 1400 AM and on our website: