Ocean fishing seems to be more active with water temps approaching the mid-50s, some decent weather days arriving and May a week away.
Irv Hurd was steering the Miss Avalon party boat back to the dock at Avalon Sport Fshing Center on Monday afternoon and reported he had his first good day fishing for tautog.
He said is was a treat. He did not have to go far because the fish were inshore, 15 miles out, and they caught “all day.”
Irv said the water temps are up to 55 and that the water was beautiful. He said he changed his location a few times because the wind shifted around. He said the heaviest fish caught Monday was a 61/2-pound tog.
Irv said he caught 16 or 17 tog himself. The captain is known to sometimes stay longer on a wreck than scheduled when he is catching fish.
Hurd said he will run the boat Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday this week.
Down the road a few miles, Bob Cope steers the charter boat Full Ahead from Utsch’s Marina in Cape May. His customers were also enjoying good fishing while he was off Cape May midday Monday. He said they had 10 keepers in the 71/- to 10-pound range when the local scribe called.
Bob also fishes for black drumfish, and he has been catching them up on the Jersey side of Delaware Bay. He had two trips over the weekend and counted four each day.
Paul Thompson had a few limits and a lot of undersized fish Monday on the Porgy IV party boat that operates out of South Jersey Marina. He said he had guys who had one or two where he was fishing in 60 feet of water.
Mike O’Neill on the Stray Cat charter/open that runs out of Great Harbor Inlet from Seaview Harbor Marina said his crew averaged two or three keepers each, and there were a lot of tog smaller than the 15-inch minumim.
Tog also are populating the rockpiles in some of the inlets. Isidro Valentin, of Atlantic City, got back into action with a 3.2-pound keeper caught on one of the Atlantic City jetties. He is a regular at One-Stop Bait and Tackle in Atlantic City.
Bob Duckenfield reported from Jim’s Bait and Tackle in Cape May he started to hear of some more keeper-sized striped bass around Cape May. And he also said black drum are moving in.
Bluefish and weakfish have been recorded recently scattered around the area. White perch continue to be consistent in area rivers and streams.
Bob Rush owns the Starfish fleet centered in Sea Isle City and is on the New Jersey State Marine Fisheries Council. He said he was the only dissenter on the vote that established the summer flounder regulations for the state that is almost status quo from last year. The season opens May 24 with a daily possession limit of three fish at a minimum of 18 inches in most state waters and 17 inches in Delaware Bay and tributaries.
A nice crowd of fishers gathered on the Atlantic City Boardwalk in Absecon Inlet on Monday morning hoping to reinvigorate the project to provide access to the rockpiles in Absecon Inlet for fishing. U.S. Rep Jeff Van Drew (D-2nd) was the main speaker. Among the other politicians attending were Atlantic City Councilmen Aaron “Sporty” Randolph and Kaleem Shabbazz and Assemblymen Vince Mazzeo and John Armato. Noel Feliciano, owner of One-Stop Bait and Tackle, has been a catalyst for the project. Van Drew aide Durwood Pinkett did a super job organizing the event.
Two quality fishing events are Saturday.
The third Nicole Born Memorial launches the Association of Surf Angling Clubs tour of South Jersey beaches.
The Long Beach Island contest is based at the Surf City Volunteer Fire Company headquarters. The registration fee is $100 for teams of up to six players and $25 for individuals.
Signups will be held 5:30 to 7 a.m. at the fire company at 713 N. Long Beach Boulevard in Surf City. Prizes will be awarded to the top three finishers based on the total length of fish caught for both the team and individual divisions and for the heaviest fish for youth 17 and under.
Call Rich Hedenberg of the sponsoring RH Custom Rods at 609-705-8500.
The annual Hooked on Fishing Not Drugs tournament for youths 5 to 15 is scheduled for Birch Grove Park in Northfield.
Free registration is from 7:30 to 8 a.m., with fishing from 8 to 11. The Northfield Alliance for the Prevention of Drug and Alcohol Abuse sponors the event. Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times, according to information supplied by organizer George Foreman.
The program includes the awards presentation with hot dogs and drinks, and classes on safety and more.
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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.