Holy mackerel! The year and the decade wrap up Tuesday night.
Excuse the groaner.
The local fishing scene has some fireworks left in the tank as we head into 2020.
There are some surprisingly super reports from fishers who are celebrating some late-season success on tautog and black sea bass in the ocean.
Two captains recently used the term “chewing” to describe the black sea bass action.
Dan Ponzio, who runs the charter boat War Dance out of Atlantic City, reported it that way about his Saturday sojourn.
He followed it Sunday by describing that outing as another “great bite.” The report was accompanied by a photo that showed a cooler with black sea bass.
And Ponz added a report from two friends who were out on the ocean fishing an offshore reef for tog and doing decent with white-legger crabs as bait.
The Jessie James charter boat made its last sea bass run of the year with the Kelly family party of Mary Ann, Bob and Robbie.
Captain Mark Schrenk reported they had great weather and great fishing with limits of jumbo sea bass, plus some porgy and bluefish.
The Jessie James rolls from Brigantine. The current version of the black sea bass season concludes at the end of the year.
Schrenk and many of the still-working captains and boats are switching tactics to target tog, pollack, haddock and porgy. Maybe some cod will venture down this way.
Fisherman’s Headquarters in Ship Bottom posted a report that stated tog fishing is “arguably” the best of the year, with a lot of doubleheaders.
The Fish Heads report advised that those popular MagicTail tog jigs are the hot item for tog.
That correspondence from Fish Heads included the fact that store regular Chris O’Brien hauled up a 16-pound tog while fishing with captain Steve Moran on White Crab Charters. It also said Mike Kelly of On-Point Charters recorded four 10-pound-plus “white chins,” or older tog, and countless 4- to 8- pounders on recent trips.
There have been reports of weakfish and bluefish among the catches recently.
We leave the ocean and move into the back bays, rivers and streams for white perch. That fishery has been super lately, too.
Dave Showell from Absecon Bay Sportsman Center in Absecon has been staying on top of that action in the Mullica River and Great Bay areas, while Melissa Spitzer at Bucktails Outfitters in Mays Landing keeps posted about the happenings in Great Egg Harbor River and the bulkhead in Mays Landing.
Grass shrimp and bloodworm is the combo for white perch.
As one of my peoples says when the fishing is good: It’s a wow!
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Michael Shepherd is the retired sports editor of The Press. His column appears Tuesdays and Saturdays in print and Mondays and Fridays online.