Striped bass season opened Friday, and it sounded from various reports that the snowy weather played a role ... again.
The local scribe’s luck struck again: not by catching a fish but by making a phone call to one of the tackle shops just as a fish was being weighed.
Dave Showell answered the phone with excitement in his voice about the first legal striped bass about to be certified at Absecon Bay Sportsman Center on the first day we are allowed to keep them in the state’s back bays, rivers and streams.
The bass made the legal limit of 28 inches and was a winner for first-fish in the season-opening contest Dave runs every year. He has other prizes on deck.
It was caught by regular customer Beau Bosley, a Stratford, Camden County, resident. Bosley said he was using bloodworm while fishing in the Mullica River. He said it was the only striper he caught and he also picked up some white perch.
Dave previously said he saw signs indicating we could have a decent early March for striper. While this leadoff sriper was a lightweight, it is typical of what has been reported from around the area.
It sounds as though a lot of undersized striped bass and some jumbo white perch are a highlight that even lousy weather can’t totally affect.
White perch fishers have been enjoying some good days and enduring some slow days.
When they have been located, super catches with a lot of lunkers have been reported. Some of those fishers were often catching mostly small striped bass mixed with white perch.
Bloodworm is the main bait that can attract both striped bass and white perch.
Dan Spitzer at Bucktails Outfitters in Mays Landing said Friday he knows of a lot of people who have caught “almost keeper” striped bass in the Great Egg Harbor River environs, including the popular stretch of sod bank around Jeffers Landing. He also mentioned Hay Road, which leads to a well-known sod bank location on the Mullica River.
He said white perch fishing can be spotty. He said they can be plentiful and decent size when located, but they move around a lot and have to be relocated.
Spitzer also promoted bloodworm as a prime bait.
Noel Feliciano at One-Stop Bait and Tackle in Atlantic City, Andy Grossman at Riptide Bait and Tackle in Brigantine and Michael Cunningham at Sea Isle City Bait and Tackle are also running striped bass contests.
Feliciano’s is for the weekend, but he also added a weeklong white perch division. Sign up for free at One-Stop in Atlantic City.
Cunningham’s is also a weekend striper event with no preregistration or entry fee.
Grossman’s contest started Friday and runs to May 19. Sign up at Riptide for $30. He is offering prizes for the first-, second- and third- heaviest striped bass, bluefish and black drumfish.
John Phister opened Hook Up Bait and Tackle on Patcong Creek for the season and reported a river run of schoolie striped bass, some just undersize at 27 inches, caught with bloodworm.
He, too, mentioned Jeffers Landing as a stretch of river with some action. He also has an in-store striped bass contest. Hook Up is located on Ocean Heights Avenue in Egg Harbor Township.
Regulations for striped bass are one fish daily at 28 inches to less than 43 inches and one fish 43 inches or longer.
The Atlantic City Boat Show continues Saturday and Sunday at the Atlantic City Convention Center.
The spacious hall is filled with boats large and small and booths featuring equipment, services and fishing and boating organizations. It also offers several seminars on fishing.
The show hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $16. Children under 12 are admitted free when accompanied by a paying adult.
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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.