There is life left the fishing season, but the weather is sometimes frightful.
A decent weekend gave some fishers a shot before another stretch of rough conditions started blowing through.
Two very good reports from over the weekend show we have plenty of striped bass and tautog to keep the fishing spirit alive and active.
Dan Ponzio had crews out on his charter boat War Dance in the inshore waters off Atlantic City and Brigantine on Saturday and Sunday.
Dan said Monday the striped bass “wore them out!”
He said they caught upwards of 30 striper each day. One group had enough and opted to head back early.
Ponzio quoted them as having said, “We’re done!”
He said they had two keepers each trip. Sunday’s included one that weighed 19.6 pounds and measured 38 inches when registered at One-Stop Bait and Tackle in Atlantic City.
The previous day, he hauled in a 24-pound, 37-inch fattie.
He said he was fishing from off Little Beach to off Sen. Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City trolling green sand eel lures on umbrella rigs and pitching small MagicTails.
He said there are not a lot of big ones, but, obviously, there was plenty of action inside the 3-mile state waters legal zone.
Ponzio said he scored a 50-pounder and a couple of 40-pounders this year.
Mike O’Neill is another consistent player on his Stray Cat charter/open boat that rolls from Seaview Harbor Marina in Great Egg Harbor Inlet.
Mike is concentrating his efforts offshore for wreck and reef denizens such as tautog and black sea bass.
Mike said Monday it is all tog right now. He is working in 70 to 80 feet of water.
“It’s pretty good fishing!” he said.
MIke said they are all nice-sized, 5- to 8-pound fish. They are hitting on green crab and white-legger crab.
He said they are biting despite water that looks a little dirty. He speculated it must be clean on the bottom. He said the water temperature was 48 degrees, plenty warm for tog to hang in here.
He also repeated a fact he first relayed a week or so back: The plague of sand sharks has eased.
He will be running open boat trips except for Christmas Eve day and Christmas.
Noel Feliciano said Monday his rocks stars reported tog are still collected around the Atlantic City jetties.
Here is another reminder with just a week to go before the Dec. 15 weigh-in deadline about the Fish for Toys striped bass contest that Feliciano is running out of One-Stop. Enter by dropping off a new, unwrapped gift to be donated to the Atlantic City Police Athletic League for distribution to needy children in time for Christmas. He said the prizes are piling up at the shop.
Feliciano has $1,400 in prizes for the contest.
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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.