It was kind of a wipeout Monday, but the weekend saw great fishing.
Carl Sheppard of the charter boat Star Fish that he launches from Beach Haven on Long Beach Island described recent fishing as superb.
His Sunday jog resulted in 14 keeper black sea bass.
He said he was fishing in 50 to 56 feet of water and ended up with blowfish, which was unusual. He had never caught blowfish in water that deep.
They also have been catching small bluefish plus occasional bonito and Spanish mackerel.
A few miles south out of Avalon, Irv Hurd also mentioned catching blowfish offshore, but black sea bass surely have been the star attraction.
Irv said the catch went from limits to an average of five fish over the weekend. He canceled out Monday, losing a holiday.
He said fishing was “still good” because they also have been catching big triggerfish (more than 5 pounds), weakfish, bluefish and a couple of ling, plus 15 of those misguided blowfish.
Blowfish are more commonly caught in the surf and back bays.
John Nigro is the dockmaster for the Starfish party boat that sails from Sea Isle City. He said Monday that they went out Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and everybody on board got off at the dock with a limit of 10 black sea bass keepers. And he said they were all “nice size,” at least 13 inches long. He said they had fishers from Delaware who came over for the fishing.
John said they are working it 20 miles or so out. He has fishers signed up for Thursday, a charter Saturday and 15 lined up for Saturday.
A report from Jim Hutchinson Sr. for the Beach Haven Charter Boat Association added weight to the descriptions of strong inshore fishing.
Brett Taylor on the charter boat Reel Reaction had a half-day trip that racked up a sea bass limit for two fishers in an hour and a half. They switched to tautog for quick limits and then caught small weakfish and bluefish. Brett and son Luke combined for limits on sea bass and tog and wrapped up with some triggerfish on another run.
The Long Beach Island Surf Fishing Classic launched its 66th annual edition Saturday. It continues through Dec. 13.
That highly anticipated and popular LBI attraction got off to an equally great start. Fish were registered on the morning of the first day.
Nine fish were entered over the weekend, including two striped bass and seven kingfish.
The early leader is Duncan Turner, of Barnegat, with an 11.12-pound striped bass caught at 7:01 a.m., Saturday according to the contest daily update.
Peg Bucci, of the Manahawkin section of Stafford Township, put a 9.12-pound striper on the leaderboard to take the early lead in the women’s division.
Kingfish are an addition to the tournament lineup this year. Patrick Gallen, of Bensalem, Pennsylvania, recorded a 1.16-pound kingfish. Derek Mason Jr., of Palmyra, entered a 1.08 kingfish into the senior division.
There is obviously a long way to go. Sign up for $30 adults and $15 for youth 17 and under at Fisherman’s Headquarters in Ship Bottom, Jingle’s Bait and Tackle in Beach Haven and Surf City Bait.
Numerous prizes have been collected, including for three-week segments, weekly and daily, plus grand prizes for bluefish and kingfish with red drumfish. There is no grand prize for striped bass this year.
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Michael Shepherd is the retired sports editor of The Press. His column appears Mondays online and Tuesdays in print.