The reports of striped bass are virtually identical from Barnegat Bay to Delaware Bay and in between.
Lots of undersized striped bass are active, with a rare keeper. And more than one reporting station correspondent said, “It’s all bloodworm” for bait.
Cliff Higbee opened Higbee’s Marina in Fortescue last weekend and said Friday surf-casters were getting a lot of short striped bass, from 18 to 23 inches, off the beach there. The minimum for striped bass is 28 inches.
And, he said, just like elsewhere, they have white perch mixed in.
“Plenty of action,” he said.
Steve Taniguchi said very much the same thing from Blackwater Sports Center in Vineland.
He said they have a lot of smaller fish in the Maurice and Cohansey rivers, and up in the Delaware River to Pennsville.
Two of the other main rivers have those undersized striped bass throughout.
They are sometimes “stacked up,” according to Dave Showell at Absecon Bay Sportsman Center in Absecon. He said fishers are catching striped bass all the way up to Sweetwater in the Mullica.
Noel Feliciano at One-Stop Bait and Tackle in Atlantic City said Friday the “stripers are here.”
And he pointed out the well-known and popular locations in the Great Egg Harbor River at Jeffers Landing and off the bulkhead in Mays Landing.
Maryanne Shutz from Chestnut Neck Boat Yard said the locals are getting bass around Hog Island in the Mullica. She said they have not had a keeper weighed in yet but had a solid report of one caught.
Showell said he had a report from a fisher who found striped bass in what he described as a back eddy in Great Egg Harbor River, and he was catching as fast as he could cast. Dave previously suggested that boat, kayak or canoe fishers pitch 4-inch Rabel and Rapala lures and retrieve them slowly.
Showell said he thinks striped bass sometimes gather in coves out of the strong currents created by what he described as a “big tide” from the ocean around a full moon.
Finding the right spot to fish is a key factor for those wily striper hounds.
Other locations mentioned recently include the Mullica at the end of Hay Road, Wading River, Tuckahoe River and South River. Another good report was provided by Fisherman’s Headquarters about the same kind of action in Barnegat Bay.
White perch are maybe just as active in those same waters. Almost every reporting station mentioned white perch.
Robin Sefton said Friday they weighed a genuine jumbo 1½-pound white perch at Captain Howard’s Bait and Tackle in Egg Harbor City. It was caught by Donovan Vasquez on Wednesday at Lower Bank, one of the best-known spots along the Mullica.
There have been a number of jumbos in the steady and quality white perch catches. Striped bass have lots devoted fishers who chase after them, but white perch have their own legion of dedicated fishers. White perch move around a lot, and sometimes they bite on grass shrimp and sometimes on bloodworm.
Taniguchi said the freshwater fishing is starting to improve. He said largemouth bass are starting to “chomp” while chasing Rattletraps and other lures. And a few crappy have been caught.
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Michael Shepherd is the retired sports editor of The Press. His column appears Saturdays in print and Mondays and Fridays online.