It sounds as though the local fishing variety has expanded, probably very much on schedule for mid-April.
Small “schoolie” striped bass from 10 to 28 inches are dominant.
Two similar reports sounded very cool. They both described porpoise pinning bait fish and striped bass up against two of area’s best-producing and popular jetties.
Tammy Carbohn at Avalon Hodge-Podge said Friday in her first report of the season that one of their staffers, Brandon Schmale, was fishing on the Eighth Street jetty there Wednesday and watched as small striped bass were attacked and even tossed into the air. Tammy speculated that adult porpoise were teaching their offspring how to hunt.
Noel Feliciano at One-Stop Bait and Tackle in Atlantic City said porpoise had bait fish cornered at the well-worked T-jetty rockpile in Absecon Inlet with striped bass gathered under them. The rock stars there also are picking off short striper, less than the 28-inch minimum.
They both said there are big pods of those “schoolie” striped bass, but with a few keeper-size popping up.
Dave Showell said Friday from Absecon Bay Sportsman Center “lots of fish seem to be everywhere” in the back bays and inlets. Herring in the back waters might be an attraction for them.
Tammy said it looks as though the spring run of 1- to 3-pound bluefish has begun in the back bays of Avalon with some solid reports. Plus, Feliciano confirmed the first black drumfish with photos he posted online of one of his anglers displaying two black drum, both of which went back in the water alive.
Two of his regulars were shown in a video unhooking and releasing keeper-size striped bass they caught in the darkness Thursday night around one of the Atlantic City jetties.
Tautog and white perch are also in the mix.
There apparently has been a lot of action from white perch fishers, some probably in anticipation of Saturday’s Landisville Gunning Club’s statewide white perch contest.
They likely were looking for the hot spots with lunkers to bring to the weigh-in at 2 p.m. Saturady at the clubhouse in Estelle Manor.
White perch have been consistent. They seem to move around a lot, but when they are found, they are plentiful. And there have been some 1-pound- plus fish in the schools. Grass shrimp and bloodworm are the favored baits, but grass shrimp have sometimes been scarce.
Tautog season opened April 1, and this segment continues until the end of the month. Two of the area’s popular party boats — Miss Avalon out of Avalon Sports Fishing Center and Porgy IV ouf of Cape May at South Jersey Marina — planned to launch their seasons Saturday. And they will be concentrating on tautog to get started.
Tog also have been very decent.
The wind and ocean conditions have too often chilled the inshore trips. Tog fishing has been described as a slow pick.
One 7-pound-plus tog was reported by captain Mike O’Neill caught by a customer on the charter/open boat Stray Cat out of Seaview Harbor Marina in Great Egg Inlet. The Atlantic City jetties have produced tog with a combination of clam and crab as bait.
Jeff Shaw at Blackwater Sports Center in Vineland said trout season has been good, with a lot of big fish caught. He also said striped bass have been improving in the Delaware Bay, and they have had reports of bigger fish moving down the Delaware River toward the Maurice River and Fortescue.
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.