The Heavy Hitter was supposed to fish for striped bass on Thanksgiving and today and probably on Saturday and Sunday, Capt. George said before the trips. Someone who fished for them on the ocean Wednesday said the angling was mediocre and then suddenly blew up and was great off Sea Isle City. The angling in the previous days seemed sluggish and then would suddenly erupt or become good. The stripers were mostly trolled but were bucktailed or jigged when blitzes blew up. Another angler knew about a trip that beat the bass, a bunch, on bunker snagged for bait and then livelined on a trip. That’s a common way to catch them farther north in the state but not popular off South Jersey. Most trips locally sailed for stripers, but a friend’s been blackfishing, scoring well at Wildwood Reef.
On the blackfish trips on the party boat Porgy IV, some anglers lit into the fish well, but some didn’t, Capt. Paul said. Not a lot of the fish were around, but enough were around to get by. A small crowd joined Wednesday’s trip, and some nice fish, Paul said, were hung. But, again, some anglers on trips would connect well, and some wouldn’t. No trip was slated for Thanksgiving, and the fishing would resume today aboard. Some anglers limited out on trips, and some landed one keeper or none. Alex Levantovsky from Philly on Wednesday bagged no blackfish until 1 p.m., and then limited out on the tautog to a 7-pounder. No especially large tog were taken on trips. Anglers who limited aboard recently also included Mark Grimm from Swainton, Bob Key from Pennsylvania and John Riccardi from Williamstown. The Porgy IV is blackfishing at 8 a.m. daily.
Striped bass, good catches, were boated on the ocean on the troll and on jigs or bunker snagged and then livelined, said Nick from Hands Too Bait & Tackle. They seemed to be located from Atlantic City to all the way south off the state in 35-foot depths or deeper. Stripers, good-sized to 40 pounds and heavier, that boaters bunker-chunked on Delaware Bay began to be heard about. One boater reported eeling a good catch of stripers at Cape May Rips. Not much was heard about stripers from the surf, except a couple of throwbacks and keepers landed here and there. The fish stubbornly remained out of range from the beach, chasing bunker schools. But stripers from the surf began to be heard about from Brigantine, farther north, today, so they could arrive in the local surf any day, it seemed. Blackfish were tugged from Cape May Reef and other local reefs and were still hooked “inside,” including along jetties. Sea bass catches sounded good from the ocean in 120-foot depths.