Shep on Fishing: Warm weather gets anglers off their perch

The unbelievable weather of this week brought some anglers
outdoors, and a few of them reported catching some white perch in
Mullica River.

Cody Meyer, a 20-year-old captain who operates
from the family-owned Chestnut Neck Boat Yard in Port Republic,
said Friday that he and fishing buddy Josh Welsh
went out on the Mullica on Thursday and caught perch. He said it
wasn’t a lot, but those they caught were “really big”.

He said he saw one other person there, and Meyer had reports
from a couple of others around the dock that indicated white perch
fishing is pretty decent.

Meyer has been fishing the Mullica River-Great Bay area since he
was 14 or 15, he estimated, so he has that all-important local
knowledge of the area. He said perch school up in deeper channels
in the winter, slow up during the spawning season usually in
mid-March and then spread out in spring.

Meyer expects to have a good flounder season when he starts
taking customers as the fishing seasons develop. He said from
things he has read, fluke are recovering.

“I’m thinking it’s going to be pretty good,” Meyer said.

He also will be fishing for weakfish and striped bass when they
show up.

Howard Sefton at Captain Howard’s Bait and
Tackle in Egg Harbor City said Friday that one angler he knows took
his boat out on the river in the Collins Cove area down by Chestnut
Neck. He told Sefton that he caught white perch and saw other guys
catching perch from their boats and others from the bank there.

Sefton said the angler he knows as “Gator” was using grass
shrimp, while Meyer said he and Welsh had bloodworm for bait.
Sefton said the fish “Gator” caught were in 23 feet of water, but
just seven feet under the surface. That angler also reported
hooking up a fish that broke his line.

Sefton said he has a lot of grass shrimp in the shop, and he has
some anglers coming down from Philly this weekend to pick some up
and then go for perch.

The Southern Regional Fishing Club will holds its fund-raising
fishing flea market Saturday, Feb. 18. It runs from 8 a.m.-1 p.m.
at Southern Regional Middle School on Cedar Bridge Road in
Manahawkin. Admission is $4. The money raised will benefit the club
and its numerous activities.

Reminder: The season for striped bass in the back waters inside
the inlets is closed until March 1.

Personal note: Took my uncle Joe Connor for a
ride to get him out of the house Tuesday. We went down to Cape May
from Ventnor. When we went over the Townsends Inlet bridge, I was
surprised to see that there was a guy with a fishing rod in his
hands likely going for tautog.

I had driven past before I realized it, but I should have parked
and gone back to see what he was up to. I missed a story there (bad

Paul Thompson also was taking the Porgy IV
partyboat out today and Sunday from South Jersey Marina in Cape
May. He told his customers last weekend that if they caught, he
would go again this weekend. They did, so he is keeping his
promise. One fish caught on the Porgy IV last weekend topped 9
pounds. Thompson said he has been getting nice crowds with this
mild weather.

While fulfilling his promise, Thompson said Friday he will be
missing out on taking his grandchildren to the Atlantic City Boat
Show. He said that last year, they not only got to enjoy the show
but also a train ride because they took the New Jersey Transit
right into the Atlantic City Convention Center from Absecon, where
parking is free.

Mike O’Neill, captain of the Stray Cat
open/charterboat at Seaview Harbor Marina in Great Egg Inlet, went
to the boat show on Friday and was impressed with the scope of
displays of the mid-winter classic. Boat show hours are 10 a.m.-8
p.m. today and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $14, youth 15
and under free with a paying adult.

O’Neill has not been out for a couple of weeks, but he has an
offshore run scheduled for today. He is heading out toward the
28-Mile Wreck as the first stop on a codfish and tautog trip.

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Mike Shepherd is the retired sports editor of The Press. His
Shep on Fishing column appears in the sports section Saturdays
during the winter. Call 609-350-9388 or email:

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