“The fish are here” seems to be the mantra despite the latest blast of weekend weather. Fish were caught BTB (before the blow) and even some during the maelstrom and seemed to be making a comeback by Monday.
BTB fish included a 26-pound, 42-inch striped bass caught Saturday by Bob Dever, of Philadelphia, on the Ocean City Fishing Club Pier. It was his first keeper after catching lots of shorts in the local rivers, He caught it with cut bait an hour before high tide in a northeast wind. He described it as “awesome” conditions, according to a report from Greg Borak at OCFC.
Alex Santiago hauled a 24½-pound, 41-inch striped bass off an Atlantic City jetty during the rain Sunday. It was certified at One-Stop Bait and Tackle in Atlantic City. Noel Feliciano at One-Stop said he also caught six bluefish. Feliciano said he counted 10 bluefish total Sunday.
Andy Grossman at Riptide Bait and Tackle in Brigantine said he had two guys put their backs to the wind Sunday at the Brigantine south jetty and reported catching six-pound bluefish.
Robin Scott of Ray Scott’s Dock in Margate said Adrian Casiana, Crystal Cassella and Reina and Jose Rodriguez of Hammonton caught bluefish in the 5- to 6-pound class with surface plugs in the back bays of Margate, also BTB on Saturday. It was their first-time fishing, acording to Robin. And the day before, Jerry Lerner of Margate got into bluefish.
Fisherman’s Headquarters in Ship Bottom reported that 61-year-old Ken Perry recorded his first keeper striped bass with a 22.12-pounder caught at mid-island Long Beach Island, plus a 30-inch bluefish The Fish Heads correspondence also reported striper and bluefish caught from Barnegat Inlet jetty and by boat captains and crews trolling off Island Beach State Park down to Beach Haven. Some are going with the traditional bunker spoons on the troll.
It is not much different in the back bays of Wildwood. Jim Mooers filed the season’s first report from Grassy Sound Marina. Joe Scott of Cherry Hill was the initial star by catching seven bluefish in the 5-6 pound class and four summer flounder, including two that measured more than 20 inches in length, from the Grassy Sound Marina pier. The summer flounder went back, alive of course. Mooers reported they were all caught on the outgoing tide with mackerel as bait.
Mooers said other fishers recorded 45 catch-and-release summer flounder in the back bays, three of which were between 5 and 6 pounds and 24 were 4 to 5 pounds also all on the outgoing tide.
The 13th Grassy Sound Marina opening-day summer flounder contest is May 24 from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Two $100 gift certificates for fuel are the prizes — one for the general public and the other for slip tenants that will go to the single-heaviest summer flounder.
Contestants can fish from boat, kayak or pier. Go to grassysoundmarina.com.
Dave Showell has his popular customer appreciation contest lined up at Absecon Bay Sportsman Center in Absecon. It runs from 12:01 a.m. Friday, May 24 — the opening time and date for summer flounder season — to the final weigh-in 6 p.m. Saturday, May 25.
Registration is free on the Absecon Bay Sportsman Center facebook page. He is offering shop gift certificates of $100, $50 and $25 for first, second and third heaviest summer flounder, striped bass, bluefish, weakfish and black drumfish.
Plus, he added a category he’s calling “mini” species for young fishers age 14 and younger with a $25 gift for single heaviest blowfish, sea bass, white perch and sea robin.
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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.