Striped bass are moving down the beach toward Cape May, and tautog continue to be quality, providing some superior late-fall fishing off South Jersey.
Captain Bob Cope of the charter boat Full Ahead out of Utsch’s Marina in Cape May said he fished for striped bass three days recently and wound up with nine twice and six on the other trip.
He said Monday that “togging” was pretty good, too.
John Nigro said the Susan Hudson of the Starfish fleet out of Sea Isle had another solid tog haul Sunday. He said just about everyone on board had their limit of fish in the 4- to 5-pound class. They planned to go out again Tuesday morning.
Noel Feliciano at One-Stop Bait and Tackle in Atlantic City said Monday a lot striped bass are “too far out,” meaning well beyond the 3-mile legal. Striper are off limits outside of state waters.
Two of South Jersey’s top surf-fishing contests are a wrap for this year.
The 64th Long Beach Island Surf Fishing Classic concluded Saturday. One of the neat features of this year’s event that started Oct. 6 was that the heaviest fish were caught over a two-day period, Nov. 9-10.
It was a “crazy, exciting,” Carole Ann Palmer of Jingles Bait and Tackle said Monday. Jingles is one of the long-time weigh stations for the Classic. Carole Ann said they had a 10-fish run of heavyweights over those two days.
Chris Masino, of Beach Haven, caught the first one, and it held up to be the winner. It weighed 43.06 pounds and was 49 inches long. It was caught in Beach Haven.
Courtland Foos, of Wilmington, Delaware, took second with a 36.82-pounder also caught in Beach Haven.
John McHenry, of Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania, was third and also the Senior Division champ with a 34.04-pound entry caught in Beach Haven Terrace. Brian McAllister, of Middletown, was fourth with a 32.40-pound bass caught in Brant Beach.
Wendy Eisenger, of Manahawkin, was the Women’s Division winner with an 8.12-pounder caught Nov. 4 at Surf City.
A total of 40 striper were registered, but no bluefish.
The Atlantic County Surf Fishing Derby ended Dec. 2.
Joey “Jigs” McMenamin, of Atlantic City, was the winner of the striped bass title with a 20-pound fish he caught from an Atlantic City jetty.
Another well-known and respected surf-caster, Gary Rzemyk, of Fort Meyers, Florida, picked up second-place with a 103/4-pound bass.
Richard Coles, of Pleasantville, was the winner of the kingfish division with a 1-pound, 11-ounce, 16 1/2-inch kingfish.
Coles caught several other big kingfish. Richard Coyle, of Linwood, was second with a 1-pound, 8-ounce entry, and the local scribe lucked out with a 1-pound kingfish for third place.
Derby organizer Don Brown, reported no entries for bluefish or tautog, the other two contest categories.
The signups and donations have started for this weekend’s Fishing for Toys striped bass fishing contest organized by Feliciano, out of One-Stop in Atlantic City.
The Christmas holiday event begins midnight Friday and continues to 4 p.m. Sunday for final weigh-ins.
To enter, bring an unwrapped toy or donation to One-Stop at 416 Atlantic Avenue in Atlantic City. There is no entry fee. It is a single heaviest-fish contest. The first-place prize is $200, with $100 for second and $50 for third.
Last year’s contest was a cool holiday emerging classic that resulted in a boatload of toys and raised some money for the Atlantic City Police Athletic League. Atlantic City Police Sgt. Will Santiago is in charge for the A.C. PAL.
Striped bass have to be caught within the state’s 3-mile legal zone, but fish caught from boat or land within that range are eligible.
Interested contestants or donors can contact Feliciano at 609-348-9450.
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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.