There is not a whole lot of fishing going on around here in South Jersey.

The weather has been changing from rain and wind to sunshine and wind, with some chilling temps thrown in.

We have had a couple of nice days, and when that happens we sometimes have some decent white perch fishing in the rivers and streams. Some intrepid ocean fishers have picked off some more than decent tautog, too.

Dave Showell at Absecon Bay Sportsman Center said he had some bloodworm sold for bait but he did not have any reports of catches as of Friday afternoon.

The Jamaica II party boat rules the waves off North Jersey out of Brielle during the winter. Captain Joe Bogan is taking his customers well offshore into 100-plus feet of water for two journeys on the weekends.

They last sailed Sunday, and the captain said the fishing was good for codfish, ling and tautog. The pool winner on Sunday was a 12-pound tog. They have caught cod in the 12- to 15- pound range, but last weekend’s catch was in the not-too-shabby 5- to 7-pound range.

And then there was a report from Joe Hughes, captain of the Jersey Cape Guide Service.

He operates out of Islamorada in the Florida Keys for much of the winter.

Joe charters weekends in the Keys. He was out last weekend with a father-son combo from Pennsylvania. Joe put Mike Spaeder and son Mike on fish for two days. They had two tarpon releases, plus a classic Florida Keys assortment that included snappers, jacks and sharks, plus speckled trout and barracuda.

He knows how to hurt a guy, doesn’t he?

Hughes, who runs out of Sea Isle City most of the main South Jersey season, will operate from his Islamorada base from now into April. Fishers can hook up with him at 609-827-3442 or at

Mike O’Neill, captain of the Stray Cat open/partyboat docked at Seaview Harbor Marina in Great Egg Inlet, said he has packed it up for this season and will spend some time in Florida.

Likewise, Bob Rush wrapped up the Starfish fleet season, according to dock master John Nigro. They will be back in April.

James Petersen is leaving his Atlantic City location at the Sen. Frank S. Farley State Marina, after Saturday’s wrap-up with the Osprey V and will head back to New York at Port Jefferson on Long Island.

Ryan White, who is a long-casting champ, rodmaker and owner-operator of Hatteras Jack in Rodanthe on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, is at a fishing show in New Jersey.

He was nonetheless tuned in to the beaches back home. He texted Friday afternoon that the water temps were in the 60s at Avon, and surf-casters were catching a few flounder and puppy drumfish on the south beaches. But he had not heard much about tuna.


The Ocean City Intermediate School Fishing Club runs its popular fundraiser fishing flea market next Saturday, Feb. 2, at the school at 1801 Bay Ave.

It runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and the admission is $4 for adults, $1 for kids 6 to 10 and free for under 6.

Nick Verducci is the faculty adviser for the club of seventh- and eighth-grade students. They have organized 90 tables of saltwater and freshwater gear and equipment for sale. Money raised will fund the club’s many outings.

Finally, the slowed-down winter season is a good time to apply for the mandatory but free state saltwater fishing registry.

To access the form online, go to the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife’s homepage. Click on Fishing from the menu on the left and then on Saltwater Registry.

Follow Shep at

Michael Shepherd is the retired sports editor of The Press. His column appears Saturdays in print and Mondays and Fridays online.

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