Trying to find something exciting happening on the local fishing scene was a tough assignment over the weekend and Monday.

Not a lot of fishers were toughing it out in the lousy weather and stormy ocean conditions.

There were a few shining reports, such as this one from Dave Showell at Absecon Bay Sportsman Center in Absecon.

Dave had his season-opening safari Saturday with a family of four from Ohio. Dave said they caught a bunch of mostly small white perch. He took them into the Mullica River and found a spot in a cove out of the wind. He said it was a beautiful day, and they were happy with the catch.

Dave said the streets around the marina on Absecon Creek were flooded at high water Monday morning and the air temp early Monday was 60 degrees.

Steve Purul on the charter boat Fantasea out of Barnegat reported he picked up his first weakfish. Steve practices catch and release on these early tiderunner weakfish. That is a praiseworthy policy to protect spawners. He also has been picking off short striper in the back bays of Long Beach Island.

Greg Cudnik posted on the Fisherman’s Headquarters website that short striper have been “very good” bayside. The report from the Ship Bottom shop described no surf action on Long Beach Island.

Fisherman’s Headquarters, Surf City Bait and Tackle, Jingle’s Bait and Tackle in Beach Haven and Captain’s Quarters in Long Beach Township are sign-up locations for the Spring Derby surf fishing contest on LBI. The contest has been revamped this year. It was the Simply Bassin contest for 16 years, and as a result of requests from contestants it has been expanded to include bluefish.

The Spring Derby will run from Saturday to June 24. It is a shore-based contest on the beaches, jetties and back bays. The cost to register is $20. The prizes based on 100 entries are $500 for first, $300 for second and $200 for the third- heaviest striped bass and bluefish. It is a “low kill” contest with no daily, weekly or segment prizes, and entrants are allowed one prize.

Some captains and tackle shop operators have mentioned thick schools of bait fish in the backwaters. Sounds like loads of bunker and herring beat it into area rivers, maybe to escape the recent turmoil.

Those same people expressed optimism that the presence of baitfish means fishing should get good again, like it was for the couple of awesome almost-summer days we enjoyed at the end of last week.

Bunker are not just upriver. Noel Feliciano at One-Stop Bait and Tackle in Atlantic City said the William “Bill” Demones Jr. Atlantic City Seawall Fishing Complex in Gardner’s Basin had bunker gathered around it in Absecon Inlet.

He said it was one place fishers could enjoy some fishing by tossing out a line with Sabiki rigs or small rigs with bloodworm as bait and then jumping back into the car to get out of the wind.

More events

The New Jersey White Perch contest is scheduled for Saturday with headquarters at Landisville Gunning Club.

Registration for the general public is $30. It is $15 for ages 10 and under and $10 for active and disabled veterans. Sign-ups will be taken from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday at the club at Fourth and Cape May avenues in Estell Manor.

Prizes are $1,000 for first, $500 for second and $250 for the third- heaviest, based on the number of entries.

You can fish anywhere in the state starting 6 p.m. Weigh-ins are set for 2 p.m. at the club. You also can sign up on the club’s Facebook page or by email:

The Strathmere Fishing and Environmental Club will hold a free fishing seminar at 3 p.m. April 28 at the Strathmere Volunteer Fire House.

Randy Roash and Bud Lyons will have surf-fishing tips from 3 to 3:30 p.m. Herb Hollinger and Bill Shillingford will describe two methods of catching summer flounder, and Brian Riordan will discus inshore and ocean fishing.

After each session, a $100 gift certificate door prize will be delivered. Local bait-and-tackle vendors will talk about the upcoming season.

Mike 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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