Like many area fishers, Dave Showell had a slow spell that likely was caused by the persistent combination of heat and humidity and rain and wind.
He got itchy, however, and got back to midseason form. He investigated a couple of his favorite fishing locations in the backwaters around Absecon.
The well-known fishing guide operates his popular service out of his Absecon Bay Sportsman Center.
He sneaked out on the latest dreary Thursday morning, and just as he suspected, after a late-summer rain, he tied into striped bass right where he knew they would be gathered.
He counted a dozen bass, mainly in the 22- to 25-inch class. He picked up one that measured 27 inches.
“An awful nice fish,” he said Friday.
He said he was casting Gulp for them. Showell said there was so much peanut bunker in the back bays that when he was casting and retrieving, the small bait fish were constantly clipping his line as he was slowly cranking back in.
He said the striper were just sucking in the Gulp amid the presence of the thick schools of bait. He also said it was hard to see as he headed out later than usual at 7:30 a.m. because it was foggy and dark.
A typical day for Dave often starts with turning softshell crabs in his pens on the back dock there on Absecon Creek and maybe heading out to net some bait — right now peanut bunker for his live wells.
Then he sets up shop in Absecon Bay S.C. or takes a crew of fishers out on his boat.
Dave said it has been a “pretty odd” season because of the weather. The back-bay pro said he thinks it is all coming together. He already has seen mullet, although not since the rain of last Saturday. He said the wind was 10 to 15 mph Thursday.
A couple of reports emphasized blowfish.
One from Fisherman’s Headquarterrs called it awesome around the Route 72 causeway bridges going into Long Beach Island.
Dave DeGennaro, captain of the charter Hi-Flier, also caught some puffers on a recent backwater outing in Barnegat Bay.
Kingfish were increasing in the surf prior to the rough surf conditions recently.
There was at least one double-figures catch of quality keepers at Holgate, but a recent post by Fisherman’s HQ showed the entrance to the beach was chained off to prevent four-wheel drive beach buggy access.
White perch continue to be a consistent presence in the rivers and streams.
It is also the time of the year for the mullet and bunker to start increasing and running through our waters. The cast-netters are showing up, too.
It was just this kind of weather at about this time of the year back in 1982 when Albert McReynolds put Atlantic City fishing in the news when he caught what was then the world-record striped bass.
It weighed 78 pounds, 8 ounces, and measured 53 inches long when weighed, measured and certified by Corky Cambell at the old Campbell Marine then located on the bay in Egg Harbor Township. It was defeated Sept. 21 during a nor’easter and became an International Game Fish Association world record.
Albert’s fish has since been eclipsed by the 81.4 pound, 54-inch fish caught on Aug. 4, 2011, in Long Island Sound by Greg Myerson, of Westbrook. Connecticut. Most fishers in the Atlantic City area still consider Albert’s legend as the surf-fishing world record. It is listed in second on the IGFA records roster.
The 79th World Series of Surf Fishing organized by the Long Beach Island Surf Fishing Club is next Saturday, Sept. 22.
Registration will go from 5:30 to 6:30 a.m. at the club headquarters at 6 E. Cape May Ave. The fee is $100 per six-person team and $25 per individual. Fishing will go from 7 to 9:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on the beaches of North Beach, Surf City, Harvey Cedars, Ship Bottom and Loveladies. It is a sanctioned Association of Surf Angling Club event.
A season-ending summer flounder contest will be held next Thursday through Saturday for the benefit of the ALS Foundation. It is a single-heaviest event with a separate division for youths ages 14 and under.
The headquarters is the Townsends Inlet Yacht Club in Sea Isle City. To register for $30 go to: webpa.alsa.org/site/Calendar.
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Mike Shepherd is the retired sports editor of The Press. His column appears Tuesdays and Saturdays in print and Mondays and Fridays online.