There certainly is a lot of very good fishing going on when weather cuts us a break and gives fishers a chance.

A middleweight striped bass was hauled out of the surf Thursday by Doug Brown. It weighed 27 pounds and measured 42.75 inches when certified at Riptide Bait and Tackle in Brigantine (photo on B4).

It was caught on a bunker chunk soaked in clam juice on the north end of Brigantine. On the first cast Thursday, he caught a sand shark, then hooked into the striped bass on his second cast.

It took the lead in Andy Grossman’s Riptide Fall Surf Fishing Derby.

Brown is 57 and a longtime now-retired pro crabber.

He just got back from the Outer Banks and said some of the areas there “took a beating” in recent storms, but it sounded like the fishing was good in North Carolina. He said he caught red drumfish.

Striped bass fishing has been plenty active with a lot of fish just under the 28-inch minimum. That lineup of 24- to 28-inch fish is consistent just about everywhere along the coast, but occasional keepers pop up.

There is a report of 30-pound-plus heavyweights in the ocean off Manasquan.

Fishing in the ocean down this way has been ruled by weather.

Mike O’Neill is running open-boat trips on the Stray Cat out of Seaview Harbor Marina in Great Egg Harbor Inlet.

He said he has only been able to take customers fishing eight times in October. Usually, he said Friday, he averages 15 to 16 days out on the ocean by this time of the month.

He said black sea bass remain excellent. He said they have limits all around every time out with fish that average 2 1/2 pounds.

“Limits before lunch,” he said.

When the limits of 12 fish at 12 1/2 inches are reached, they turn to other species with bluefish, bonito, triggerfish, pufferfish and kingfish on the menu in 85 feet of water.

He also sees bluefin tuna, false albacore and turtles in a cool combo of species.

The tautog season that the area’s dedicated jetty, bridge, bulkhead and sod bank fishers are enjoying is remarkable. We are allowed only one fish daily at a minimum of 15 inches, so it is limits all around for the tog fans, too.

Noel Feliciano weighed in a 5-pound tog at One-Stop Bait and Tackle in Atlantic City. It was caught by one of his rocks stars, Isidro Valentin, of Atlantic City.

He said the occasional kingfish is caught out front from the Vermont Avenue jetty in A.C.

Robin Scott from Ray Scott’s Dock in Margate said Friday that tog also are hugging the sod banks in the back bays of Margate and Longport.

Green crab is the most popular bait for tog.

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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