It is Labor Day weekend and fishing is active with the wide variety we continue to enjoy here in South Jersey.
We have had some quality catches reported the past couple of days.
Dave Showell and Mike Marino were out striped bass fishing for the second straight Friday. Dave said that it was another early morning safari from Absecon Bay Sportsman Center on Absecon Creek to the Mullica River and Great Bay areas.
Dave said that he and Marino caught them up “better than last week.” He said they racked up 20-plus fish up to 22 inches long, and had a rush to get them off the line and return them to the water alive and lively.
They used live finger mullet and peanut bunker and caught what Dave described as a “big handful” of bluefish, and Marino caught another summer flounder shorter than the 18-inch limit.
Dave said he pulled close to a sod bank in shallow water and caught the biggest fish of the morning by casting a jig with a Gulp artificial.
He said there were a lot of bait fish with birds working.
And he offered what seem to be a surprising fact: the water temps where they fished dropped from 83 degrees to 74 degrees in a week.
Dave also said the shedder crabs are “popping” in his pens at Absecon Bay Sportsman Center, and white perch are everywhere.
Incidentally, the striped bass bonus season that allows for one keeper “slot fish” daily opens Sunday.
Summer flounder are the fan favorite, particularly during the main part of the summer with all the visitors from out of town plus the locals who prize them.
The Insatiable with Capt. John Lewis is part of the Beach Haven Charterboat Fishing Association fleet. The Marquis family that included 9-year-old Ashton and 12-year-old Aliza recorded 10 summer flounder with two keepers and four Black Sea bass in rough seas.
Another BHCFA captain, Brett Taylor on the Reel Reaction, put his two-person crew on 25 summer flounder with two keepers on a four-hour back-bay trip.
Jim Hutchinson Sr., who provided this report, said fishers have recorded blowfish, weakfish, small striped bass, black drumfish, triggerfish and tautog.
That two-fish summer flounder keeper count also cropped up in the back bays of Margate. Robin Scott from Ray Scott’s Dock in Margate said a rental boat returned to the dock with one summer flounder caught by a 4-year-old for the dock staff to filet, and the boat crew had another keeper that was released.
Scott said it was “sand shark week” in the back bays, along with a lot of black sea bass and five lizardfish.
She also said crabbing is excellent with youngsters catching them with hand lines and a net.
Noel Feliciano had the same kind of fishing report from One-Stop Bait and Tackle in Atlantic City that included quite a variety.
He said they had a lot of “schoolie” short striped bass that were caught in the early morning.
Oscar Fuentes of Atlantic City picked off a keeper striped bass in the 34-inch range, while fishing from a bulkhead in Absecon Inlet.
Isidro Valentin of Atlantic City is a regular at One-Stop, and he added to his “rocks-star” status by continuing to catch triggerfish and tautog from the A.C. jetties.
Feliciano added kingfish, 2-3 pound bluefish, blowfish, spot, a “lot” of tog and a Spanish mackerel caught from a dock in the back bay to the mix of fish.
Striped bass meeting
A hearing for public comment is scheduled for Wednesday in Ocean City concerning the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission Striped Bass Management Board approval of draft addendum VI that proposes management options for recreation and commercial sectors. It is 6-8:30 p.m. at the Ocean City Public Library, 1725 Simpson Ave. in Ocean City.
Anyone who can’t attend can submit written comment to Max Appelman, Fishery Management Plan Coordinator, 1050 N. Highland St. suite A-N, Arlington, Va. or fax 703-842-0741 or comments@ASMFC.org (subject line: draft addendum VI).
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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.