This persistent wind continues to hurt but not halt fishing in South Jersey.
There are a few bright spots in the mainly dull and stormy conditions. Find a spot to tuck out of the blasts, and you might find some fish.
That’s what some back-bay fishers did this week, according to what Michael Cunningham from Sea Isle City Bait and Tackle said Friday.
“It has been a great week,” Cunningham reported with great enthusiasm.
He said some of his boat captains have been taking chum pots and finding a haven out of the wind, likely close to a protective sod bank, and anchoring up with clam as the chum.
Cunningham described catches that were remarkable given the conditions.
He said they were, and maybe still are, catching “monster” kingfish, many of which measure 12-14 inches. Kingfish fans know that is a healthy class.
Cunningham said one of his fishers, Fred Payne, showed off with a 15-inch kingfish.
Cunningham said while kingfish were the stars of the current bonanza inside Sea Isle City, they had plenty of company.
He said they had an improvement of tautog over the last five days or so.
He listed porgy, sand perch, croaker, blowfish and short striped bass plus out-of-season summer flounder that must be released. He would not be surprised if lizardfish and small black sea bass were in the mix.
Cunningham said the locals are using small gold hooks with bloodworm as bait in the chum slicks they are putting out.
Wow! Good stuff out of Cape May County.
Up the coast inside Absecon Inlet, another very decent report came from Noel Feliciano at One-Stop Bait and Tackle in Atlantic City.
Black sea bass season opened Tuesday, and Feliciano said Friday that keepers are being caught by fishers casting from the bulkhead right in tight to the rocks at Melrose Avenue and Madison Avenue jetties in Absecon Inlet.
Feliciano said the rocks stars have been catching them with green crab, clam and shrimp while fishing for tautog.
The ocean has been so rough that nobody has dared to venture out inshore in the first few days, so the news of black sea bass is a positive. There were a few preseason efforts for black sea bass that showed there are plenty out on the wrecks and reefs waiting and hungry when the captains can get the chance.
We can keep 10 fish daily at a minimum of 12.5 inches until Nov. 1 when the regulators change it to 15 fish at 13 inches.
Feliciano weighed and photographed a 2.7-pound tautog Thursday for one of his regulars, Isidro Valentin, an Atlantic City resident who is out on the rocks no matter what the weather is like.
Feliciano, like Cunningham, ticked off an impressive roster that included “schoolie” or undersize striped bass in the back waters inside Absecon Inlet plus bluefish and tautog.
Across Absecon Inlet, Andy Grossman said from Riptide Bait and Tackle that Saturday’s New Jersey Beach Buggy Association’s surf fishing tournament, scheduled for the Brigantine beaches, has been postponed due to the high surf.
Grossman said his crew continues to connect with bluefish.
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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.