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April 3, 2004

Bad weather equals short trips for anglers
Enjoying this classic southern New Jersey spring weather, aren't you?

There was a one-hour run of striped bass at Graveling Point at the mouth of the Mullica River on Thursday. The bite lasted from 3-4 p.m., and that was it. Scott Albertson at Scott's Tackle in Mystic Islands said bloodworms and clam picked off several striped bass.

The Rips off Cape May turned off this week after a few shots of bass on bucktails got the locals interested. The weather no doubt caused the stoppage.

Bass are cruising in 5-10 feet of water around the creeks of Delaware Bay in the Cape May area. Tim Hand at Cold Spring Tackle in Cape May reported water temps hitting 52 degrees around the creek mouths. Hand said top-water plugs with orange bellies are working in the shallow stretches of water.

Bass are biting off Reeds Beach in Delaware Bay, according to Gary Gibson at Gibson's Bait and Tackle in Sea Isle City. George Andrews of Pleasantville got an 11-pound keeper and returned three other stripers while fishing with clam at Beesleys Point.

It looks like the spring mack attack is moving closer. Mackerel are 20-25 miles south of Cape May according to a couple of reports.

Fred Ascoli, captain of the Miss Chris, has an offshore wreck trip scheduled for today, but he starts chasing mackerel Sunday. The partyboat sails 8 a.m. daily from the Miss Chris dock in Cape May. The Lady Chris partyboat is running daily striped bass trips to The Rips at 8 a.m.

In his taped broadcast, Ascoli reported mackerel 25 miles off Cape May. Hand confirmed that he has had reports of the macks moving within range of the Cape May boats.

The Porgy III partyboat that operates out of South Jersey Marina in Cape May makes spring-training runs this weekend before starting daily operations. Capt. Paul Thompson has bottom trips planned for today and tomorrow. The Porgy III starts sailing daily on Good Friday, April 9.

The Fiesta and Miss Cape May also are sailing daily from South Jersey Marina. The Miss Cape May has 8-hour trips beginning 8 a.m. and the Fiesta sorties on 6-hour trips starting 9 a.m. Both boats will be striper fishing.

The Miss Avalon partyboat targets April 16 as opening day.

White perch are hanging in the deep holes of the area's rivers. Tip from Gibson: Look for drop-offs of 20 feet at the bends of the rivers. Yellow perch have been caught at the bulkhead in Mays Landing, according to Howard Sefton at Captain Howard's Bait and Tackle in Egg Harbor.

Herring have been spotty, but there have been reports of them in the Great Egg Harbor River.

There might be a weather window for fishing this weekend. But if it's not happening Sunday, anglers could give the Cape May Fishing Flea Market a try. It will be at Cape May Convention Hall from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Sunday). Admission is $3 for adults, no charge for children under 12.

Mike Shepherd is sports editor of The Press. His Shep on Fishing column appears Saturday.
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