Schools of quality striped bass have started to migrate along the coast.

Greg Cudnik of Fish Head charters and Fisherman’s Headquarters in Ship Bottom said Friday that “better” fish are showing up in the ocean north of Barnegat Inlet, past Seaside Park.

He said fishing is good with schoolie bass under the 28-inch minimum and some keepers “bayside” inside Long Beach Island, particularly at night when using lures and live eels. Greg said tough weather has had an affect.

A report from Reel Seat Bait and Tackle in Brielle said it started Monday off Belmar and Shrewsbury Rocks and moved to off Manasquan.

Bob Caracozza said there are suddenly a lot of 30- to 40-inch bass. He called it bottom fishing with the “snag and drop” method of snagging bunker and dropping them down to the awaiting striped bass.

He said late Friday afternoon that striped bass were in the Point Pleasant Canal “right now.” He also said tautog are biting in the canal and inlet.

A 31-pound, 40-inch striper was posted by Tony’s Bait and Tackle in Manahawkin. It was caught by Mark Magi with a chartreuse MoJo in the ocean 2 miles off Normandy Beach, which is just north of Toms River.

Grumpy’s Bait and Tackle in Seaside Park reported a “blast” of big bass off Manasquan on Thursday.

Weather has played a role in locating the first wave of quality striped bass.

The powerful storm last weekend may have stirred up the bass, according to one theory. Reports are generally a bit more positive this week but did not sound much different than a week or so ago.

The hope is that when the big bass start moving in big time that they are closer than last year and inside the 3-mile legal limit.

Back-bay action for striper continues to be strong.

Dave Showell extended his hitting streak this week. He was out three days and had decent catches each time on his guide trips out of Absecon Bay Sportsman Center.

He said fishing did slow down a little after last week’s “nor’easter turned nor’wester.”

On Thursday, his crew of customers had six bites and caught all six fish. On Wednesday, another crew caught four or five with “two to eat.”

He said it looks good for Sunday and next week with good tides. He also said the fish have suddenly changed their diet preferences from lures to live spot. Live eels also have a spot on the menu.

LBI Classic

T.J. Loughran Jr., of Manahawkin, got a 10.98-pound striped bass in the surf on Halloween at Ship Bottom. It measured 31.5 inches and took the lead in the 64th Long Beach Island Surf Fishing Classic.

The Classic has divisions for striped bass and bluefish and continues through Dec. 9. There is plenty of time to catch one that could top the 11-pound mark. There has yet to be a bluefish entered.

Noel Feliciano reported from One-Stop Bait and Tackle in Atlantic City that there were a lot of striped bass being caught from the rocks and bulkheads in Absecon Inlet Thursday night into Friday.

They were mostly shorts under the limit, but with a few keepers mixed in. He said the wind was blocked in the inlet and that allowed the rock fans to plug.

He said a few tautog, including some keepers, were caught on green crab.

The Ocean City Fishing Club’s 50th Surf Fishing Tournament has been rescheduled for Nov. 17. It was postponed due to bad weather.

Registration is $80 for six-person teams and $15 for individuals and will be taken from 6-8 a.m. at the Ocean City Intermediate School, 18th Street and Bay Avenue.

Mike Collins and Bob Dever are the tournament directors. The contest wraps with lunch at the trophy presentations back at the school. More details will follow.

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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.

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