Longtime fishing columnist Mike Shepherd tells you what's biting, where to find them and how to catch them. His column appears Saturdays in The Press.

Wintry conditions are combining to slam fishing off South Jersey.

Paul Thompson and the Porgy IV party boat last got out Sunday and Monday. Thompson said he had an off day of fishing Sunday. It happens. So when he bundled 15 anglers on board artin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, he did not know what to expect.

He made a decision to try another spot, so he changed course and went in a different direction.

Latest Video

He anchored up for tautog, and his crew started picking fish.

And then, one after another, anglers on board started to reach their limit of four tog. He said there were "lots" of limits among the patrons. And the heavyweight of the day was a fat, 11.4-pound tog.

And, to add a surprise to the decent day of fishing, one angler pulled up a fish he could not identify. Thompson took a look and saw it was one lonely Boston mackerel. Mackerel have not been seen off South Jersey in any real numbers for many years, and they are noted for cruising in sizeable schools. And they are normally caught on small multiple-hook rigs, not on a bigger tog-size hook

That was one oddball mackerel.

Thompson is running a weekend schedule from 8 a.m. from South Jersey Marina in Cape May. Of course, that is when the weather and ocean condition permit.

And, oh, by the way, the ocean water temperature was 32 degrees off Atlantic City as listed on Friday's weather page in The Press.

Howard Sefton and Donald Bondiskey recently gathered grass shrimp for Captain Howard's Bait and Tackle in Egg Harbor City to be used as bait for white perch. One of the regulars at Captain Howard's is Bruce Gehringer of Egg Harbor City. He gave Mullica River a try in his kayak. It was last week, and he said he did not have a great catch. But he did pick six white perch and six catfish, so it was dinner.

Ryan White is a long-casting pro who runs Hatteras Jack in Rodanthe on North Carolina's Outer Banks. He said it was cold down there too with temps hanging upper 20s to lower 30s. Not much different than here. He said fishing for black drumfish and speckled trout is still good south of Buxton, where the warmer water hangs.

Show time

Some things to do even in cold, winter weather:

The Atlantic City Boat Show is up in a couple of weeks. It runs from Feb. 5-9 at Atlantic City Convention Center. One of the highlights for that big mid-winter happening is an appearance by world striped bass record holder Greg Myerson from Westbrook, Conn. He will be there Saturday, Feb. 8. Many area boating and fishing organizations will help fill the center. The hours are 11 a.m.-8 p.m. that Wednesday through Friday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday.

Tom Daffin captain of the Fishin Fever charter boat berthed at Utsch's Marina in Cape May is still operating, but he has not been fishing lately because of the freeze. But he is active in another way. He provides seminars with Adam Crouthamel, captain of the Adam Bomb. Daffin is scheduled to be at the Salt Water Sportsman seminar today at the Long Branch Middle School in Monmouth County. Steve Purul, who runs the Real Fantasy from the Barnegat Bay area, also was set to appear. That event will run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and the entry fee is $55.

In March, Daffin and Krauthamel will hold three seminars. The first is March 15 at Cedar Creek Sporting Clays in Millville. Daffin said that will be a hands-on demonstration of tying rigs for various species and rigging ballyhoo. On March 22, they will move to Pier 47 Marina in Wildwood and then to Island Marine Center in Ocean View. The last two are lecture-style sessions with question-and-answer periods.

The Southern Ocean County Chapter of the Sunshine Foundation will hold its fishing seminar 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 8 at Red Men's Lodge, 143 W. Main St. in Tuckerton. Well-known charter boat captain Adam Nowalksky of the Karen Ann II based in Atlantic City is among the pros set to appear. Rutgers University professor Olaf Jensen will discus the sea bass tagging study. The seminar costs $20 in advance and $25 at the door. Call Skip Deckman at 609-709-8038.

* * *

Become a fan of Shep on Facebook at:


* * *

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


Recommended for you

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.