There are signs of some significant movement of more quality striped bass beginning to develop.
We have had a couple recent weigh-ins here in South Jersey that are in the teens to 20-plus weights.
A canvas of several tackle shops revealed at least one striper busted 30 pounds, and another topped 25. Both were caught in the surf at Island Beach, above Barnegat Inlet.
Tom Ocasio, of Howell, caught a 31-pounder with clam as bait, according to Harry Agin at Betty and Nick’s Bait and Tackle in Seaside Park.
Agin got things started himself Sunday with a 30-inch keeper and two shorts.
He said there a lot of 24- to 26-inch striped bass “clones.”
That size is not atypical in South Jersey waters.
He said they have a lot of bait fish, such as bunker and rain fish, to keep some of these stripers fat and happy.
Ray Kerico reported from Grumpy’s Bait and Tackle, also in Seaside Park, that Tony Ciasca brought in a striped bass that weighed 26.75 pounds and measured 47 inches.
Kerico said they are starting to see quality fish every day. He said there are shorts (less than the 28-inch minimum) to keepers. And, he said, they are being caught on lures and bait.
Moving down the beach, the Long Beach Island Surf Fishing Classic got a new striped bass division leader when Brandon Pomykacz, of Williams- town, picked off a 19.96-pounder Tuesday. The popular contest also got a 10.12-pound entry from Joe Bolanzo, of the Manahawkin section of Stafford Township, on Monday.
And going farther down beach to Avalon, two nice striped bass became the first entries in a new contest that covers Cape May and Atlantic counties.
The Advanced Fishing Surf Fishing Tournament that runs to Dec. 7 for surfcasters and land-based fishers received two striped bass entries, according to organizer Tim Davis.
Well-known local fishers Mike Loughran, of Avalon, with a 13.18 entry caught despite brisk winds Thursday, and John Kadany with an 11.2-pounder are 1-2 in the early stages.
Sign up at Century Rods, 4101 Dune Drive in Avalon. The basic registration is $50, or $75 including the awards ceremony.
Century custom surf rods go to winners in striped bass, bluefish and weakfish with custom Rainshadow rod blanks for second and Diawa reels for third in each division.
Weigh stations are Offshore Bait and Tackle in Atlantic City, Fin-Atics in Ocean City, Sea Isle City Bait and Tackle and Hands Too Bait and Tackle in Cape May.
Call Davis at 609-368-6453 for details.
Black sea bass
Paul Thompson got in on the ongoing black sea bass bountiful harvest. He took the Cape May-based party boat Porgy IV and returned with limits all around Tuesday, the most recent day he went out. That put him in the same company as many others fishing for black sea bass.
Paul said Friday he will run “every day that’s fit” from South Jersey Marina.
Noel Feliciano had just measured an 18-inch keeper tautog at One-Stop Bait and Tackle in Atlantic City when the local scribe called late Friday afternoon. He said they were catching lots of tog “as we speak!”
It is a “low tide coming in action,” he said, with green crab the main bait.
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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.