Good fishing continues into the new year. In some ways, the dawn of 2020 does not appear to be much different than the end of 2019.

We had good white perch catches then in the rivers and backwaters, and there are similar good reports from the past few days.

Tautog catches are solid on the inshore wrecks and reefs.

The major difference for the bottom fishers in the inshore and offshore waters is that the black sea bass season is closed. That action was super.

Marissa Spitzer at Bucktails Outfitters in Mays Landing said Friday afternoon it is “insane in here.”

It sounded as though a lot of freshwater fishers were purchasing their freshwater licenses and trout stamps at Bucktails.

But the main excitement is that there is some very good fishing for white perch in the Great Egg Harbor River, most notably at the popular bulkhead in Mays Landing.

Marissa described it as a “ton” of perch in warm water.

She said the perch fishers also are catching perch at the train trestle and dam at Mays Landing.

They are using bloodworm and grass shrimp as bait.

Dave Showell has grass shrimp and received his delivery of bloodworms Friday at Absecon Bay Sportsman Center in Absecon.

Dave named a few fishers who have been fishing for white perch. Bruce Gehringer, of Galloway Township, is one of the most consistent catchers of white perch in Showell’s crew.

Dave said it hasn’t stopped yet.

He reported a water temperature of around 42 degrees on a dreary Friday. He said he spotted some herring in the back bays.

The Full Ahead charter boat with captain Bob Cope is having some very decent action on tautog every trip out of Cape May. They had 15 keepers a day a couple of times and heavyweights of 11 and 11 1/2 pounds.

He said he has seen acres and acres of gannets. The water temp was still a relatively warm 47 degrees. He said tog are close in at Reef Site 11 and at the Cape May and Wildwood reef sites.

Tom Ferrara said the final trip for this season on the Atlantic City based party boat TWrecks was last Saturday. He said he had a handful of customers who recorded a dozen tog keepers. Nice way to wrap it up.

He said he will return in April to Gardner’s Basin in Atlantic City.

The Jamaica II party boat based in Brielle had a variety that included codfish, ling, pollock and haddock on a recent offshore trip, according captain Joe Bogan.

He will be going for tog now.

Dan Spitzer said they handle the freshwater license process at Bucktails. The cash price is $22.50 for the freshwater license and $10.50 for a trout stamp.

There is no charge to sign up for the required 2020 New Jersey Saltwater Registry at This is a good time to take care of that minor chore.

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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