Stormy conditions on a weekend ... so what’s new?
At least this time the worst part of the forecast seems to be for just part of the weekend. Fall fishing seemed to be building before this latest blow.
A few more keeper striped bass were reported, along with some nice tautog from around the rocks and bridges. Those 1- to 3-pound bluefish are still cruising, too.
A few quality kingfish linger in the surf. Black sea bass are a hit in the inshore waters when weather permits captains and crews to get out in the ocean.
Little tunny, commonly called false albacore or albies, are an added attraction, with some bonito.
Chris Fantazzia is a 23-year-old Margate firefighter and a relentless young fisher who often hangs at Ray Scott’s Dock in Margate. He sent a beautiful photo of a nice albie that he caught off Margate after he filed a photo of a bonito.
He was helping Robin Scott of Ray Scott’s pull boats in advance of a forecast wind and rainstorm that traveled all the way from the Pacific Ocean to bug us.
He took a moment Friday to describe how he is catching them, saying you have to kind of anticipate which way they are moving. He said they attack in quick bursts with splashes giving away where they are going.
He said he cast metal lures in front of them. In explaining, he used the example of leading a basketball player with a pass cutting toward the basket.
They were casting Diamond jigs.
Hopkins and other metals probably will work. He suggested to stay some distance away — 20 feet — so they won’t be spooked and to cast right in front of them in the direction they are moving. He was fishing in 40 to 50 feet of water.
He said the little tunny weigh in the 5-pound class. The bonito are smaller but much tastier.
Little tunny are reported inshore off Margate, past Long Beach Island and on up to Sandy Hook.
Many fishers look forward to the striped bass running down from northern stretches. That has not started yet.
John Nigro called late Friday afternoon with a report of “crazy” fishing from the Starfish party boat while he was still at sea on the way back to Sea Isle City.
He said everyone on board “killed them” with catches that included “big, big” sea bass, porgy and triggerfish.
Dave Showell who runs his guide service from his Absecon Bay Sportsman Center said Friday that striped bass fishing is getting better.
He’s fishing just about every day, and this week he has caught at least one 28-inch keeper striper every time out in the backwaters between Absecon and the Mullica River-Great Bay area.
He had been covering ground fishing in various locations with great success. He put his customers on 10 fish Thursday and 20 Wednesday.
Noel Feliciano always seems to have something cooking at One-Stop Bait and Tackle in Atlantic City. Kelly’s Corner Pub in Atlantic City also has been connected with fishing and fishing contests.
They are hooking up for a monthlong Fall Classic Striper Tournament. It starts next Friday, Nov. 2, and wraps Dec. 2.
The entry fee is $20. Half the proceeds will benefit the Knights of Columbus’ St. Joseph Council 10220 charities and half toward the prize money.
It is a heaviest fish contest with no limit on the number of striper fishers can weigh. Sign up at One-Stop or at Kelly’s 24 hours in advance of fishing in the contest.
The contest is for Atlantic County waters from boat, beach, dock or jetty. The entry fee includes an awards buffet at Kelly’s.
Feliciano said he has weighed in a tautog or two and has had reports of schoolie striped bass.
He said one fisher reported catching 30 with two keepers that he returned to the water alive. Catch and release is a growing trend.
He also said two boat fishers reported catching several sea bass, one triggerfish, one tog and two bluefish. And Richard Coles, of Pleasantville, was back at it catching quality kingfish in the Atlantic City surf.
Noel also reported that another of his regulars, Will Martinez, of Atlantic City, posted photos of a seal hanging around the T-jetty in Atlantic City feeding on fish.
The 50th Ocean City Fishing Club surf-fishing tournament scheduled for Saturday was postponed because of the expected nor’easter.
The Association of Surf Angling Club-sanctioned contest is open to teams and individuals. A new tournament date was not immediately announced.
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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.