The April run of striped bass sure seems to be reaching a peak, at least in the Delaware Bay and Great Bay.
Cliff Higbee said from Higbee's Marina in Fortescue that they have a good month knocking the heck out of striped bass from the beach on the south end of the neat bayside community. There on the shores of the Delaware Bay, bloodworms catch 99 percent of the bass. He said he has seen two 40-inch bass but they mostly are 28 to 35 inches.
Higbee said the locals were still busy Monday cleaning up after the recent storm but not only was fishing not much affected but surfcasters wee catching striper during the damaging winds and tides.
He said by late morning Monday, some surfcasters had their limit of two keeper bass and headed home. He said April striped-bass action there has been "fabulous" for three years. Higbee said it will continue until horsehoe crabs start to move in.
Higbee said on occasion fishermen's etiquette is a problem at the beach there because some anglers put out four of five rods and crowd out others. He says two rods should be enough for anybody.
The bite is on around Cape May, too. That is the way Jim Wallace at Jim's Bait and Tackle in Cape May described it Monday. He said that it is really good all over the surf. He caught two striped bass, and he said black drumfish are also cruising the surf.
They had it going on again Saturday at Graveling Point and Pebble Beach off Great Bay. Surfcasters fishing the sod banks there enjoyed decent mixed-bag catches the past couple of weeks, and now bluefish outnumber striped bass and black drumfish.
Scott Albertson said from Scott's Bait and Tackle in Mystic Islands that he had not heard anything as of mid-day Monday. The fog burned off by then, the sun was shining and it was muggy and warm enough for them to turn on the air conditioning at the shop on Radio Road.
It has not been hot on Brigantine beach yet, but it has been steady. Andy Grossman said he weighs in one or two bass a day and gets reports of short bass. One significant recent weigh-in was an 11-pound, 32-inch striped bass caught Saturday by 3-year-old T.J. Santarpio of Brigantine.
Other bass caught in the Brigantine surf were 12 pounds by Joe Ruggeri of Hammonton and 8 pounds by Mark Bachman of Brigantine. Carlos "Homer" Rudoi, a teacher from Philadelphia, had a nice Easter vacation catching a couple of bass and bluefish. Capt. Andy himself caught and released a 20-pound drum.
Grossman said clam seem to take the bigger fish and bloodworm attract the smaller ones.
Ed Bronstein said from Fin-Atics that the south end of Ocean City has a few bass in the surf when the weather calms down. Bronstein said he heard of a couple of drum in the O.C. surf and some blues.
Gene Slaughter reported from Jingle's Bait and Tackle in Beach Haven that bass are being caught from the sod banks on the bay side of Holgate, so the Long Beach Island anglers don't have to make the trip over to Mystic Islands.
Slaughter said one angler got two keeper bass and one drum with clam there.
The old bridge between Somers Point and Beesleys Point has been a very decent spot for bass. Clam has taken over for bloodworm as the bait of choice.
Brennan Marine in Somers Point and Fin-Atics both confirmed bass from there.
The Miss Beach Haven made its first ride of the season into the ocean Good Friday. Sal Rosa of Manahawkin reported 15 hearty anglers on board toughed out "ugly" conditions with 4-to 6-foot waves piled on top of each other to catch 18-20 fish, mostly tautog with 3-4 keeper codfish. Rosa assists Capt. Frank Carmada in the galley, nets fish when it gets hectic and turns into a correspondent. Miss Beach Haven is running Saturday and Sunday at 7 a.m. this weekend.
Carolyn Ann III also sailed Friday to 80 feet of water off Barnegat Light. Small strips or pieces of clam worked better than green crab to catch tog. Rick Ackerman of Maple Shade was the pool-winner with a 3.1-pound tog, according to a report from Carolyn Ann III. Bob Lubberman at the Miss Chris Dock in Cape May said tog turned Sunday and it continued Monday at Cold Spring Inlet jetty. He said they were all keepers and green crab and clam worked as bait. A report from Avalon Hodge-Podge put tog around the 8th Street Jetty in Avalon. Hodge-Podge weighed a 7.23-pound tog. The current tautog season is open only to Saturday.
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Mike Shepherd is the retired sports editor of The Press. His Shep on Fishing column appears Tuesday and Saturday in the sports section. Call 609-350-0388 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org