Starting Thursday, tog will join striped bass, white perch among spring offerings – Press of Atlantic City

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Starting Thursday, tog will join striped bass, white perch among spring offerings

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Fishing columnist Michael Shepherd

Vuth Choub, of Philadelphia, caught a 28.5-inch striper this past week in Fortescue.

AJ Elmore, 19, of Egg Harbor City, caught and released a 23- to 24-inch striper Monday, which is opening day of the season in New Jersey. Elmore made the catch in the Jeffries Landing area of the Great Egg Harbor River watershed.

Long Lee shows the 9-pound tautog he caught on Starfish party boat Saturday.

Scott Cannon caught this 44.5-inch striped bass over Thanksgiving weekend while competing in the Strathmere Fishing and Environmental Club's catch-and-release contest.

Steve Roderick, of Long Beach Township, caught a 22.9-pound striper on bunker in Holgate on Sunday. This fish was measured at 37 7/8 inches at Jingle’s Bait and Tackle in Beach Haven. Roderick entered his catch in the Long Beach Island Surf Fishing Classic.

Mike Noresbey caught a 38-pound, 45-inch striped bass Saturday in the back bays while fishing with Dave Showell of Absecon Bay Sportsman Center in Absecon.

Tony Pano caught a 5.3-pound summer flounder Friday. It was 241/2 inches long.

Lynn Simon, center, holds up a 7-pound summer flounder she caught Friday in Margate.

Wil Martinez, of Atlantic City, recently caught this flounder and weakfish.

MICHAEL SHEPHERD
For The Press
Striped bass and white perch continue unabated throughout South Jersey waters.Reports have not varied much from inside Barnegat Inlet to Fortescue on Delaware Bay, including the Mullica River environs, Great Egg Harbor watershed and Maurice River region.A lot of short striped bass, under the 28-inch minimum, with occasional keepers are biting mainly on bloodworm. The possession limit for striper is one daily measuring from that 28-inch minimum to less than 38 inches.And we are required to employ in-line circle hooks when fishing for bass with natural baits, such as bloodworm, bunker, clam or eels.Bloodworm on No. 2 hooks is a popular rig combo for white perch, but some fishers prefer grass shrimp. Minnows, which have emerged in the warmer temps, are also in the arsenal.Fishing from boats has been producing somewhat better recently.With the water warming up a little, it seems as though white perch and striper are spreading out more in the local estuaries.Noel Feliciano provided a good report about Todd Schoenstein collecting a nice combo catch. Schoenstein, of Mullica Township, said he was fishing with his dog as his companion Friday when he caught three lunker white perch and a striped bass on bloodworm. He hauled them into One-Stop Bait and Tackle in Atlantic City and entered them into Feliciano’s latest contest.The three white perch went 1.7, 1.6 and 1.2 pounds for a total weight of 4.5 pounds to take the lead. The striped bass was 28 inches and weighed 7 pounds.Schoenstein said he kept 12 quality perch and had some other striper strikes, too.Last week, Dave Showell had one of his fishing safaris from his Absecon Bay Sportsman Center in Absecon rack up 25 striped bass in the Mullica River with one fisher on board and himself.He said they used jigs with paddle tail artificials.A report posted by Fisherman’s Headquarters in Ship Bottom said striped bass are moving around more and feeding along the sod banks of the back bays and streams inside Long Beach Island.“In the water, waiting to go!”That’s the way Bob Cope, captain of the Cape May charter boat Full Ahead put it Monday.Captain Cope said he was prepared to start his daily schedule Thursday from Utsch’s Marina when the tautog season opens Thursday for the month of April.That “ready to go” description likely fits for a number of captains and craft throughout South Jersey.Irv Hurd has the Miss Avalon party boat rigged and ready to roll for tog. He will start Friday from Avalon Sport Fishing Center.Mike O’Neill said Monday he is going to crank up the engines Tuesday on the charter boat Stray Cat and is getting a supply of crab for bait so he is ready to get started Thursday. He will run this weekend from Seaview Harbor Marina in Great Egg Harbor Inlet.We can catch keep four tog daily at a minimum of 15 inches.Feliciano will wrap his striped bass-white perch contest at the end of this month and launch a tautog event for April.This one also is a three-heaviest fish combined weight format. There is no entry fee. Sign up at One-Stop. First place takes $150, second is worth $100, and third earns $50.We also can fish for winter flounder. State regulations allow for two fish daily at a 12-inch minimum.And a hopeful posting on the Fish Heads page suggested it is getting to be time for black drumfish to arrive.We are getting there!Follow Shep atShepOnFishingMichael Shepherd is the retired sports editor of The Press. His column appears Mondays online and Tuesdays in print.Contact Mike Shepherd: [email protected]

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