Windy conditions have not affected area fishing too much. There are always a number of fishers giving it a try in almost any kind of weather, except for the major storms, such as hurricanes.

Don Brown is the director of the Pat Erdman Atlantic County Surf Fishing Derby currently underway on the beaches and from land. He made the rounds Monday to pick up the latest registrations. And he also picked up the first two entries and they were both from the same fisher.

Firth Bowden of Bridgeton is a fixture on the beaches of Brigantine. He broke the ice with a 2-pound, 9-ounce bluefish and a 14.2-ounce, 13 1/4-inch kingfish.

Both entries were registered at Riptide Bait and Tackle in Brigantine.

The derby has been extended two weeks to Dec. 1 from the original game plan of Sept. 23 to Nov. 17. It took two weeks to see the first qualifiers, so it looks like a good call by Brown.

He said the derby now has 128 signed up. Surfcasters can join up for $25 at Ray Scott’s Dock in Margate, Ship Shop in Ventnor, One-Stop Bait and Tackle in Atlantic City, Absecon Bay Sportsman Center in Absecon, Tight Lines and Point Tackle both in Somers Point and Bayside Bait and Tackle in Brigantine, in addition to Riptide.

The derby categories have minimums to be eligible: 32 inches for striped bass, 18 inches for bluefish, 16 inches for tautog and 13 inches for kingfish.

Another example what’s going on in surf fishing is Saturday’s 73rd World Series of Surf Fishing run by the Long Beach Island Surf Fishing Club.

Information on this event came from two sources; Fisherman’s Headquarters in Ship Bottom and Jim Hutchinson Sr. through his Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association weekly report.

They had 303 contestants and 48 teams, and they caught mostly bluefish. Max Goldberg, a junior mate in the BHCFA youth program, was first in the youth division with a sweep of the largest and most fish.

The other big news on Long Beach Island was the famed Chowderfest.

Aside from the thick bluefish, lots of mullet are in the water just about everywhere throughout South Jersey waterways and along the beaches.

There continues to be a remarkable variety that includes resident and mostly short striped bass, weakfish, kingfish, blowfish, lizardfish, spot and a few croaker.

Inshore trolling or bottom fishing can produce dorado, bonito and Spanish mackerel at times.

Many captains will hit the wrecks and inshore shoals for black sea bass when the season reopens Wednesday. We can keep 10 daily with a minimum of 12.5 inches to the end of the month when it changes to a 13-inch minimum and 15-fish daily possession as of Nov. 1.

It looks as though plenty of black sea bass will be there waiting.

Carl Sheppard is captain of the charterboat Star Fish docked at Morrison’s Marina in Beach Haven. He took a family of 12 from Maple Shade on a birthday bash fishing trip. They racked up 20 bluefish off Beach Haven Inlet and Holgate. Then Sheppard took them bottom fishing. According to Hutchinson, they caught 40 black sea bass in little more than an hour. The fish measured as long as 17 inches, and, of course, they were all returned to the water alive in the fun preseason outing.

The New Jersey Beach Buggy Association has its 41st Great Fall Classic this Saturday in Brigantine. The Association of Surf Angling Club-sanctioned contest has registration from 6-7 a.m. Saturday at the American Legion, 3218 W. Brigantine Ave. in Brigantine. The cost is $60 for six-person teams and $10 for individuals. Call Kurt Rennart at 856-457-5532.

Follow Shep at


Michael Shepherd is the retired sports editor of The Press. His column appears Tuesdays and Saturdays in print and Mondays and Fridays online.

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