Reports of recent action from Barnegat Bay to Cumberland County sounded very similar and familiar: sometimes excellent white perch catches with many jumbos and a lot of undersized but active striped bass.
Michael Cunningham said Friday from Sea Isle City Bait and Tackle one of his kayak fishers was casting a small plug in South River and racked up a double-digit catch of striped bass, including one that was 1 inch short, an almost keeper, at 27 inches.
Cunningham said the South River and Tuckahoe River also produced what he described as good white perch.
Howard Sefton said the Mullica River environs also had some very decent white perch action. He said the Green Bank bulkhead was one of the spots for land-based fishers to try for white perch.
Here is a happening that was somewhat of a surprise: Grumpy’s Bait and Tackle in Seaside Park, Ocean County, reported it had a pre-spring run of small bluefish. They were caught this week in Barnegat Bay. The store staffer who wanted to be known only as Sheldon also said they had one keeper, and guess who caught it? Sheldon.
He also said Friday that other posted photos showed bunker off the beach.
He said a lot of “schoolie-size” striped bass under the 28-inch minimum were active in that Barnegat Bay area, which sounded very similar to what is happening just about everywhere.
The 28-inch qualifier caught on the March 1 striped bass opening day and certified by Dave Showell at Absecon Bay Sportsman Center still seems to be the only other keeper registered so far.
Noel Feliciano at One-Stop Bait and Tackle in Atlantic City reminded those avid crabbers the blueclaw crab season opened Friday. The recreational blue crab regulations are one bushel at a minimum of 4 1/2 inches or better.
Noel said much the same thing about recent fishing as other tackle shop operators: There are a lot of undersized striper and some jumbo white perch.
A report from Blackwater Sports Center in Vineland sounded similar to the rest: White perch are “heating up,” and the fishers in that area are “fired up.” But Blackwater also had no keeper bass weighed.
They have had some freshwater fans out casting around Cumberland County. Steve Taniguchi said Friday they are casting jerk baits and chatter baits for largemouth bass. He also said the locals try to keep it quiet about their fishing spots. Parvin Lake is one of the better-known spots for largemouth and pickerel.
Rutgers University has another of its educational seminars open to the public coming up.
The subject of this one is tagging fish, with main speaker Jeff Dement, director of the American Littoral Society’s fish-tagging program. It will be held April 3 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Ocean County, 1623 Whitesville Road in Toms River.
The public can participate in person or tune into the webinar. The program is organized by Doug Zemeckis, the Rutgers marine extension agent for Ocean, Atlantic and Monmouth counties.
Contact Kelly Jurgensen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 732-349-1152 by March 29 to register.
Local fish-tagging leader Bill Shillingford of Cape May Court House will also be there.
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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.