More black drumfish are joining the club each day.
Delaware Bay is a prime black drumfish stretch of water, but not the only one.
Mark Schrenk on the Jessie James charter boat was out bouncing around off Alantic City on Friday morning with regular customer George Conroy, of Warminster, Pennsylvania, and they hauled in a pair of black drum.
One was 30 pounds, which they released, and the other was a 20-pounder they kept. It was a short but successful four-hour effort.
Paul Thompson changed tactics when the tautog season wrapped at the end of April.
He switched from inshore bottom wreck fishing to drifting for black drumfish in Delaware Bay. He said they have been getting six to nine black drum each trip.
He is running reservation-required trips from 2 to 10 p.m. out of his home port at South Jersey Marina in Cape May, but that program will end when he goes back to his regular inshore/wreck fishing schedule, leaving the dock at 8 a.m, for black sea bass when that season opens Wednesday.
Steve Bent is running the Free Spirit out of Utsch’s Marina in Cape May for the black drumfish season. He said black drumfish in Delaware Bay is “pretty good” and “coming on.”
Steve will move the Free Spirit to Margate for the summer.
John Santoro had a quality first report this week from Ship Shop in Ventnor. They weighed a 10.9-pound, 261/2-inch black drum caught by Dennis Lott in Lakes Bay on Wednesday.
Joe Fumo is off and running with his party boat and two charter boat fleet from Fish Finder Marina in Brigantine. He said Friday all three boats are loaded for Saturday.
“They heard of the bluefish,” he said.
Last Saturday was the first day he could get out, and they caught “slamming” 2- to 5-pound bluefish. He is running six-hour trips on the Fish Finder starting at 8 a.m.
And in what could be described as a preseason or spring training warmup, Joe said they caught seven keeper summer flounder that went back in the water.
The highly anticipated summer flounder season opens May 24. We can keep three fish at 18 inches in marine waters and three fish at 17 inches in the Delaware Bay and its tributaries.
The bluefish run continues to be awesome.
Noel Feliciano had another remarkable report Friday from One-Stop Bait and Tackle in Atlantic City about the T-jetty in Atlantic City loaded with rock stars pulling in those medium-size bluefish.
His latest contest/promotion is called Fish to Feed in which fishers can donate bluefish to be dropped off at the Atlantic City Rescue Mission. The numbers here are super.
He said he had 70 pounds of bluefish in his refrigerator just from Friday by mid-afternoon. He said “as we speak” the contest has collected 470 pounds of fish for the A.C. Rescue Mission. That will no doubt top 500 pounds this weekend.
There is no charge to enter. He is offering $150, $100 and $75 for the most total poundage of bluefish weighed and donated at One-Stop.
Howard Sefton said from Captain Howard’s Bait and Tackle in Egg Harbor City he is hearing reports of striped bass in the Mullica River, but they are not biting. He said the best fishing in that stretch of water is for white perch. He said white perch are biting on night crawlers and small minnows along with bloodworm and grass shrimp.
A couple of noteworthy events involving young fishers are coming up.
The 38th Ann and Nuncio Bruno Kids Bluefish Tournament is May 18 with headquarters at Chestnut Neck Boat Yard in Port Republic. It is for fishers ages 16 and under. A T-shirt and goodie bag goes with the $10 entry fee, along with food and soda.
The contest will run from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Call 609-652-1119 for details.
The Junior Mates program established by the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association is taking on a campaign to refresh local artificial fishing reefs. The closest artificial reefs to Beach Haven Inlet are Little Egg Habor Reef and Garden State South Reef.
According to information from James Hutchinson Sr., some of the structure on the reefs has been sinking into the sand.
A presentation will take place at 7 p.m. Monday at the Beach Haven Borough Council meeting. John Lewis, captain of the charter boat Insatiable and president of the BHCFA, and Bill Figley, a retired state biologist who was a key figure in the original reefs planning, will make the presentations.
Go to BHCFA.org for details.
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Michael Shepherd is the retired sports editor of The Press. His column appears Tuesdays and Saturdays in print and Mondays and Fridays online.