We have some good signs of improving fall fishing.
Air temps chilled into the 40s and even upper 30s Thursday night and water temps dropped off somewhat to a still warm upper 60s. We have very decent fishing just about everywhere.
Richard Coles is creating an outstanding streak catching kingfish from the Atlantic City jetties and beach. That’s nothing unusual for the Pleasantville resident. His latest success was documented by Noel Feliciano at One-Stop Bait and Tackle in Atlantic City. Coles brought in 1.1-pound kingfish three times recently. He topped that with 1.7- and 1.6-pound kingfish he caught Friday.
“Quality,” Coles said in an understatement Friday.
Coles was fishing at the T-Jetty and Vermont Avenue in Atlantic City, He said there were three other surfcasters in the same stretch of beach and they were catching, too.
Quality kingfish were also caught in Ventnor and Longport this week. Rich Doyle, of Linwood, caught one at Longport on Thursday that weighed 1.8 pounds at Ray Scott’s Dock in Margate. The local scribe weighed a 1-pound, 14-inch kingfish at Ray Scott’s that was caught Tuesday in Ventnor.
Harold De Lon was fishing from the Ventnor City Fishing Pier on Friday, and described the ocean as quiet, which he said was quite a change from the day before when bait fish were all over inshore waters and surf, with birds diving and dolphin feeding. Those ever-present small bluefish were on the attack everywhere.
De Lon also had super kingfish action Tuesday and Wednesday from the pier. He measured one kingfish at 16 inches with a girth of 8 inches among the 15 he caught. He said one surfcaster fishing from the beach reported catching 40 kingfish.
Small bluefish rule local waters. Coles said he thinks kingfish scattered somewhat Thursday because the 1-to-3- pound bluefish were very active.
Blues are all over in the inlets, surf and inshore waters. Just about every reporting station mentions blues and bait, from mullet to bunker to bay anchovies. Blues chase anchovies in schools that look like dark clouds in the water right up to and onto the beach where citizens taking a walk wonder what’s happening.
The attacking blues create a lot of splashing under flocks of birds that dive into the fray. When blues are collected in the surf, fishers can cast small metal lures and hook-up just about every toss. They are fun to catch on light-action gear and they are tasty table fare.
Tautog are also active and seem to be getting bigger. Feliciano said local jetty fishers estimate they get one keeper in every 10 they catch. The T-Jetty in Atlantic City and Barnegat Inlet north jetty are two productive rockpiles for tog.
Black sea bass were big news with all of the excellent catches reported last week when the season opened.
Feliciano certified a 28 1/2-inch keeper striped bass for Eric Gilchrist of Atlantic City that he caught plugging at Caspian Avenue in Atlantic City. The much anticipated movement down this way of schools of bigger striped bass has not started yet.
Oh, by the way, Coles also caught blowfish with those kingfish he registered at One-Stop.
Robin Scott reported that Chris Fantazzia of Margate sent her a photo of a bonito caught Thursday off Great Egg Inlet. Bonito and little tunny are combined in the in-close inshore waters off Long Beach Island.
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Mike Shepherd is the retired sports editor of The Press. His column appears in the Tuesday and Saturday print editions and online.