More and more middleweight to light-heavyweight striped bass are arriving and moving into Atlantic County waters, while still spread up north to Island Beach State Park and beyond.

They are putting on some muscle without a doubt.

The latest reports show the movement is building big time. A couple of 40-pound striper and several 30-weights hit the scales over the past few days.

Riptide Bait and Tackle in Brigantine weighed and measured a 46.5-pound, 47-inch striper. Joe Rossetti, of Pleasantville, caught it Monday about 2 miles off the beach between Wreck Inlet and the red towers on the southern end of Long Beach Island.

Andy Grossman of Riptide reported Rossetti was trolling a Magictail Mojo. Rossetti said he was fishing alone and had quite a maneuver fighting the fish, handling the boat and scooping it up in the net.

A short time later Monday afternoon, Andy called back to report a 49.3-pound bass caught by Shane Lacey with brother Tom handling the net. It went 48 inches in length. They live in Brigantine, according to Grossman. They also were trolling those Magictails Mojos.

Here is a vignette about a different kind of mojo reported by Noel Feliciano at One-Stop Bait and Tackle in Atlantic City.

A father and son who fish together a lot went out for striped bass separately and in different directions out of Absecon Inlet on Monday.

They are both named Mike, and both live in Galloway Township. And they were both trolling those Magictails.

Mike Keepings, 54, brought a 30.6-pound, 44 1/2-inch bass to be weighed at One-Stop hours after the younger Mike sent Noel a photo of a bass he caught.

Another son, Doug, was bow hunting. His dad said Monday that Doug was eyeing a big buck from a tree stand.

Surf-casting for striped bass also has improved, contributing to the theme of getting the fall striped bass season charged up.

The Long Beach Island Surf Fishing Classic, now in its 65th season, registered three 30-pound bass over the weekend.

Courtland Foos lists his hometown as Wilmington, Delaware, but he spends time on Long Beach Island. Foos was fishng with bunker in the surf at Spray Beach and pulled a 36.82-pound bass up on the beach.

That puts him in second place in the Classic behind Chris Masino, of Beach Haven, who caught a 43.06-pound bass Friday in Beach Haven.

Two other Classic 30-weights were caught Saturday: John McHenry, of Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania, got a 34.04-pounder, and Brian McAllister, of Middletown, caught a 32.40-pounder at Brant Beach.

The Classic had nine striped bass registered over the weekend, bringing the total to 21. The Classic continues to Dec. 9 with a ton of prizes in striped bass and bluefish. So far, no bluefish.

Grossman said he has a new leader in his Riptide Fall Striper Derby. Surf-caster Dave McGee brought a bass in the door Monday “flopping” Andy said. It weighed 25 pounds and was 40 inches in length. Grossman said it was caught by clam as bait.

Needless to say, both Grossman and Feliciano were fired up about the outbreak of quality bass into South Jersey.

Noel was also excited about the tautog season that will expand Friday to a five-fish daily possession limit. Tog have been consistent for months, really, particularly around the rocks and bridges.

A few triggerfish have been caught, but kingfish and bluefish have scattered. There are reports of weakfish being caught mainly at night inside some of the inlets.

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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