Fishing has been very good so far this fall when weather permits. It is poised to get better.
Those middleweight to heavyweight striped bass have crossed the border into South Jersey, tautog season just opened up to a five-fish daily possession limit, and black sea bass are biting on the inshore and offshore wrecks and reefs. And a few more bluefish have joined the crowd.
Some of the area’s best-known fishers popped up with entries into a couple of the popular fall fishing contests.
Joey “Jigs” McMenamin has been a fixture on the Atlantic City fishing scene for decades. He just put his third tautog into the latest promotion being run by Noel Feliciano at One-Stop Bait and Tackle in Atlantic City. It weighed 4.9 pounds to go with two others that weighed 3.3 pounds he caught in the past couple of weeks from an Atlantic City jetty.
It also went into the Pat Erdman Atlantic County Surf Fishing Derby.
Another consistent rock stars performer has been Isidro Valentin, of Atlantic City. His photo appears on a regular basis on the One-Stop’s Facebook account showing off a fat tog.
Linda Davoli is a well-known fisher from Brigantine.
Bluefish have been difficult to locate, but she took the lead in the Riptide Bait and Tackle Fall Surf Fishing Derby with a 2-pound, 12-ounce bluefish. And who did she surpass? Herself. She now holds first and second places.
The Riptide Derby also got a new striped bass leader with a 13.10-pounder caught by Jim Scnapp, of Franklinville. Second in that division is another well-known local fisher, Paul Lavigna, of Brigantine, with a 13-pound entry.
There are a lot of reports of CPR striped bass. The regulations for striped bass require the release of any we catch of more than 38 inches. The minimum is 28 inches.
That’s Catch-Photo-Release (CPR). Good idea.
A report from Fisherman’s Headquarters in Ship Bottom included several 40-inch-plus striped bass.
It described surf-caster Jay Shayne catching and releasing a 47-inch striped bass on his first cast Friday in Ship Bottom. A little later, he pulled in a 44-inch striper.
Rob Vallone reported to Fish Heads that bass are in the troughs in the surf close to the beach on Long Beach Island chasing metal lutes with teaser tails.
A report from Jim Hutchinson Sr. for the Beach Haven Charterboat Association said captain Carl Sheppard and mate Max Goldman on the Star Fish out of Beach Haven had a local Boys Scouts troop on board and recorded nearly 150 fish including keeper black seas bass and a 14-inch porgy.
And captain Ray Lopez on the Miss Liane had Joe Nadine and family from Forked River out on an all-day charter and racked up a 46-inch bass that was released, plus many keeper-size and dozens of shorts.
The Brigantine Elks Lodge 2428 will run its Fishing Around The Clock striped bass fishing contest this weekend.
It is a heaviest combined weight of two fish format with cash prizes for first, second and third places. It starts 12:01 a.m. Friday and continues to 11 a.m. Sunday. Sign up for $30 for individual surf fishers or $60 per boat at Riptide or at the Elks Lodge, 400 W. Shore Drive in Brigantine. The boundaries are Barnegat Inlet to Great Egg Harbor Inlet.
Money raised benefits the Elks’ veterans programs.
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Michael Shepherd is the retired sports editor of The Press. His column appears Mondays online and Tuesdays in print.