Tautog seem to be the bigger deal with more consistent results, while striped bass are still around but are scattered or way out of bounds.
Bob Cope, captain of the charter boat Full Ahead out of Cape May, was headed back to the dock Friday afternoon and reported that “you have to work at it,” but tautog continue to be plentiful.
Cope said it was a grind, but they have had fish up to 10 pounds. He was fishing 15 miles out in 80 feet of water, Cope said.
The Full Ahead is berthed at Utsch’s Marina in Cape May.
He also has been fishing for striped bass, but that sounds as though it is getting a little tougher within the 3-mile legal zone.
James Petersen runs the Osprey V party boat out of Gardner’s Basin in Atlantic City. He fished for tog three days this week and recorded successful trips Tuesday and Thursday with plenty of limits all around.
It was slower Wednesday. He said they have been catching tog generally in the 5- to 6-pound class but with some 7- to 8-pounders winning the pools. Petersen said Friday there are a lot of fish and a lot of limits.
A report from Sea Isle City Bait and Tackle said striped bass are close off Sea Isle. And recently, trolling umbrella rigs has come back into the forefront rather than the Mojos, which were the hot lure this fall.
A report from Hook Up Bait and Tackle in Egg Harbor Township focused on the super white perch fishing in the backwaters. Hook Up is on Patcong Creek, and those streams connected with the Great Egg Harbor River are prime white perch country.
That report also included a mention about striped bass inshore off Sea Isle City.
One recent cool success story about striped bass is the first striped bass ever for 14-year-old Patrick Conlin, who was fishing last Saturday with his dad, Patrick, and uncle Joe Conlin, who lives in Sea Isle.
Patrick and his dad live in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania. They were fishing in what Joe described Friday as a fleet of 200 boats off Sea Isle. They caught four bass, and the first one was fought by Patrick.
Uncle Joe said it took him 15 minutes. It was hooked up with an umbrella rig and measured 37 inches long.
Uncle Joe said that when they got back to the dock, other fishers there learned of the first-time catch, and it was high-fives all around.
One of the captains interviewed Friday said striped bass are way offshore and way out of bounds, and captains would have to dodge the cutters, meaning the U.S. Coast Guard checking on the boats fishing beyond the 3-mile state zone.
Noel Feliciano was out on one of the Atlantic City jetties taking his usual morning video of conditions and activity around Absecon Inlet. He said there were eight or nine rocks fans out on the jetties and a number of boats headed out probably for striped bass.
He said the ocean was a beautiful blue-green, and the morning air temps were near 50 degrees.
* * *
Follow Shep at
* * *
Michael Shepherd is the retired sports editor of The Press.
His column appears Tuesdays and Saturdays in print and Mondays and Fridays online.