Fishing in and around a South Jersey is providing some excitement and enjoyment.

Some excellent reports are coming from just about all regions.

Here’s one insight concerning black sea bass from Mike O’Neill, who runs the Stray Cat open/charter boat from Seaview Harbor Marina in Great Egg Harbor Inlet: He was back at the dock very early Monday.

Mike said they “whacked them.” He said that while they were standing there “whacking them” up at the filet table for the customers to take home.

He had six on board and six limits of 10 fish each. He said 70% of them were jumbos that went 3 pounds or more. They were done at 12:45 p.m. and headed back.

Not a bad way to launch June, is it?

He has a sold-out open boat trip set for Tuesday, a charter Wednesday and another open boat for Thursday.

He starts going for tuna June 14. O’Neill said they had a bluefin tuna hooked up for about 20 minutes before it broke loose on the lighter gear.

That’s not the only cool fishing news.

Judy Shoffler, of Cape May, hauled in a 73-pound black drumfish while fishing with Ron Rookstool on his 20-foot Center console The Journey in Delaware Bay.

Judy, 60, reported it took her a half-hour to reel it in with 16-pound test line. It was certified for the Jersey Cape Board of Freeholders Fishing Tournament at Jim’s Bait and Tackle in Cape May.

It was her first black drum.

Jingle’s Bait and Tackle in North Beach Haven recorded a striped bass that measured 43 inches and was caught by Chris Robertson. It took a chunk of bunker, had its picture taken and went back into the surf alive at Beach Haven. Robertson is 25, according to Carole Anne Palmer at Jingle’s.

We are allowed one striped bass daily possession at a minimum of 28 inches to a maximum of less than 38 inches.

Here are two positive stories about Atlantic City fishing.

Eddie Morgan Jr. is a well-known and respected fisher and musician resident who lives in the city. He picked a summer flounder that weighed close to 4 pounds when registered at One-Stop Bait and Tackle in Atlantic City.

Michael Tabasso, owner and captain of a back-bay pontoon party boat High Roller that rolls from Gardner’s Basin in Atlantic City, said Monday they caught 12 keepers and 90 total fish Friday with son Chris Tabasso running the boat.

They took a photo with the crew of customers, and it was picked up by Dave Showell at Absecon Bay Sportsman Center in Absecon. He posted it on his FishAC Facebook forum with the clever caption: “masks on, fish on”.

Mike said was like “an old-time” trip.

They had what he thought was a notable weekend when they had five keepers on both morning and afternoon trips both days. The High Roller leaves the dock daily at 8 a.m and noon.

Summer flounder fishing is just as strong on the other end of Absecon Island. One of the regulars at Ray Scott’s Dock in Margate is Bill Mendenhall, of Downingtown, Pennsylvania. He has been fishing the back bays of Longport and Margate for decades on a Scott’s Dock rental boat, so he knows the hot spots.

He had two keepers in a catch of 39 on a recent outing. Robin Scott also said some of her dock staff there went out for sea bass and racked up 50.

Noel Feliciano of One-Stop said weakfish and kingfish joined the striper in Atlantic City waters.

So fishing is a slice of good stuff in a tough time.

Remember to be smart and stay apart and wear those masks!

Follow Shep at


Michael Shepherd is the retired sports editor of The Press.

His column appears Mondays online and Tuesdays in print.

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