STAFFORD and LONG BEACH ISLAND - Although the inshore striped bass season opened on March 1, I have heard very little regarding any true action in our area. Things are always slow early in the year, but usually there are some smaller ones being caught. I see a couple of reasons for this One is the low water temperatures we are experiencing that do little to stimulate the stripers’ appetites.
A second reason is the permanent shutdown of the nuclear power plant in Waretown. The warm outflow waters from the plant have been favored over the years for some early season bass action turned on by the warm water. Now that the water there is just as cold as the rest of the area, there is no action.
The folks at Scott’s Bait and Tackle in Mystic Island report things have been slow at Graveling Point. Since they award a gift certificate for the first striper and first bluefish of the season caught at the Point, they have a good handle on what is going on.
They tell me the water temperature there is still around 40-degrees and the weather has not been cooperative. As spring arrives, the best bet is to fish on sunny days on the outgoing tide when the water is a little warmer.
I have been getting word from our many captains and fishing guides as they get ready for the fishing season. Gina Lawrenson dropped me a note to tell me that the “Carolyn Ann III is getting its final touches to be ready for the season and plans to sail the first weekend in April on the 6th and 7th. They hope to get in on some blackfish and cod action.
Captain Gary Dugan plans to put his boat, the “Irish Jig” in the water this weekend. He has finished up the work on the boat including a new motor. He will be right in the middle of the early season Mullica River striper action.
Captain Carl Sheppard has the Star Fish” in the water and moored at her customary berthing spot at Morrison’s Marina in Beach Haven. He is the first captain of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association to splash this year.
Captain Brett Taylor of Reel Reaction Fishing has his boat ready to go after some extensive work including new electronics. He plans to be in the water this weekend hoping to target some back-bay stripers and winter flounder followed by blackfish action in April.
Surf City Bait and Tackle will be opening for business on April 5. Their air compressor has been fixed and is up and running. This is one of the very few places that I know of where you can get free air. It is a service for the anglers who take their vehicles onto the beach. I think it is a great thing and my hat is off to Sue and Jerry for this service. I am old enough to remember when all gas stations provided free air. It can now cost as much as $2 to put air in your tires.
In addition to their regular shop hours, they offer a type of “24-hour” service. I am not real sure how this works, but you might want to stop by once they open and learn the details of this.
I recently learned that the beach buggy access to the beaches of Holgate have been closed as of March 15. They will not be reopened to vehicle traffic until sometime in the fall. This seems to be much earlier than in the past.