One of the fishing correspondents described it as "nice fisheries" right now.
Bluefish are more in the mix, there are hopeful reports of a few weakfish showing up and the pre-season flounder action is strong. Striped bass, white perch and tautog continue to be the main pursuit for most anglers. And a black drumfish pops up here and there.
The summer flounder season opens May 5, so there are only a couple of more weeks to wait.
Mike Cunningham at Sea Isle City Bait and Tackle said Friday that good flounder catch-and-release reports are coming from Ludlam Bay and some of the other popular back-bay channels, so that is something to look forward to.
Cunningham did not leak any names of anglers who caught weakfish, but he said the weakfish are biting at night, along with striped bass and bluefish, around the lights of bridges, docks and piers in the Cape May County area. The night riders are using Bass Assassins and other lures.
Debbie Mooers at Grassy Sound Marina in North Wildwood did reveal the name of one angler, Frank Ruczynski of Williamstown, who caught 6 or 7 weakfish recently. But she could not say exactly where Ruczynski was fishing. Mooers said Ruczynski cooked one up and he described it as delicious.
Ruczynski did not spill where he caught weakfish, and apparently also did not share the dinner. Weakfish have been scarce in this area for years, so an early showing holds promise. The state regs on weakfish are a big-whoop one fish daily at 13 inches.
Mooers said striper and tautog are biting on clam around the fishing pier at Grassy Sound Marina, and one customer caught a flounder that way. A tog caught by Ed Hughes of Grassy Sound was 19 inches in length, Mooers reported.
Howard Sefton at Captain Howard's Bait and Tackle in Egg Harbor said bluefish have migrated up Mullica River as far as JRs Ranch. Scott Albertson at Scott's Bait and Tackle in Mystic Islands said they are being caught at Graveling Point and Pebble Beach in Great Bay.
Albertson said these spring blues are in the 3-pound class and are chasing Rapala.
Blues also are biting at the shellpile off the fish factory and at Intracoastal Waterway marker 139 in Great Bay. Rob Barrett at Dolfin Dock in Somers Point said Friday that Jack Sweeder of Ocean City picked a 30-inch blue off the old Beesleys Point bridge.
Striped bass seem to be more spread out than they had been recently. The speculation is that spawning runs might be one cause.
Andy Grossman said he has been weighing two to four striped bass every day at Riptide Bait and Tackle in Brigantine, but it is not yet hot action in the surf. He did start Friday by weighing an 18.5-pound striped bass caught on Brigantine beach by Mike Guntick of Brigantine.
Bob Duckenfield at Jim's Bait and Tackle in Cape May saw a nice 21-pound, 38-inch striper from Mike Dougherty Jr. of Springfield, Pa. Striped bass catches around Cape May can be described as a "pick." Cunningham said one of his customers caught a 30-inch bass from the beach at mid-island Sea Isle.
Some fat tautog also have been caught around the area.
Barrett put a 14.2-pound tog on the scales at Dolfin for Jim Akers of Landisville. It was 28 inches in length and took green crab near the Ocean City toll bridge. Barrett also reported Barry Jacobson of Egg Harbor Township has twice limited out on tog fishing in the same area.
Mike Spinelli of Monroeville added a 12.7-pound tog to the 18.3-pounder he caught last week, according to Duckenfield. Spinelli fishes from the boat Fast Forward near the Coast Guard Jetty in Cape May.
White perch is productive as usual in the area's streams.
Terry Rotellini of Egg Harbor City made it four in a row when he won Captain Howard's white perch tournament, which ended Sunday. He topped 275 competitors with a 2.5-pound entry. Tom McGeary of EHC was second at 2.2 and Bill Janiskewski, also of EHC, third at 2.1.
George Wilson of Somers Point and friends fished the sod bank at Jefferies Landing just off Great Egg Harbor River and loaded up with 100 perch, all with bloodworm as bait according to Barrett.
A reminder: The Ladies Invitational Bluefish Tournament holds a fundraiser from 2-6 p.m. today at St. George's Pub in Brigantine. It benefits the Ruth Newman Shapiro Mobile Mammography Unit. Cost is $25 for adults and $10 for ages 10 and under. The LIBT is June 6.
* * *
Become a fan of Shep's on Facebook and he'll let you know when he files an update. Go to our website at:
Facebook.com/PressofAC, and look under favorite pages, or simply search for Mike Shepherd's Shep on Fishing in the Facebook search field.
* * *
Mike Shepherd is the retired sports editor of The Press. His Shep on Fishing column and Shep's Hot Spot appear Saturday in the sports section. Call 609-350-0388 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org