Archives for April 2013


Beautiful morning here in paradise . Left dock little before sunrise on dead low tide Looked around for bass a little but nothing showing up. Switched to fluke and found them right away and decent fish .Managed to get 11 and all but one would have been legal if season was open up to 22″. Also picked up 3 18″ Bluefish
Headed back to dock around 9am as my dock was repaired and I could move back home. . Once back,removed lines from temp dock and tied bucktail willie up to his home dock ,looking good and I feel much more comfortable in my own dock
Tomorrow could be interesting ,I hoping to get a couple of hours in morning before the rain comes that is forecasted but we shall see


As mentioned yesterday I went right for fluke this morning,tide was in over 2 hours and running hard on this full moon. First couple of stops nothing but on 3rd move I found some fluke and managed to get a hook in 13 with 8 of 13 over the legal limit up to 22″. Of course legel IF season was open which won’t open until 18th
I also got into the first Angry Bluefish of the year and it was 25″
So as April is about to close I have at least one of the 4 normal fish in this area for April swimming around with a yellow tag.
Water temp was 53 on top of the tide ,still a little cool

Spent top of the tide looking for Bass and Weakfish with no success. Giuys chasing fluke were rewarded on outgoing tide. I will probably chase fluke tomorrow. Water is still cold

Columns | Thu, 04/25/2013 – 10:47 am | Updated 1 day 8 hours ago | Read 15 | Commented 0 | Emailed 0
By Rosemarie Whelan

“I caught my first striped bass in 1950 on the day the Phillies clinched the pennant,” said local legend Bill Shillingford (Bucktail Willie), noting that the size of the fish was “19 inches.” Shillingford was the guest speaker at the April meeting of the Strathmere Fishing and Environmental Club, and he was certainly a wealth of information as he spoke about “fishing in this area for over 60 years.”

Remembering the ’62 storm, Shillingford said that “there were a lot of changes in Fish Stocks after the storm.” He remarked that “winter flounder picked up a disease and were wiped out, summer flounder started a rapid decline, striped bass were declining, and finally there was a moratorium on striped bass until the late 90’s.

” Shillingford added that “weakfish were abundant from the early 60’s to the early 90’s,” and that “the sizes were huge – 15 to 17 lb. weakfish were common up and down the coast before they experienced a rapid decline.” He continued, saying that “in the mid 90’s weakfish disappeared,” but “there are signs in the past couple of years that they may be returning.”

Shillingford spoke about becoming involved with the “American Littoral Society Tagging Program in 1989, after seeing the decline of my favorite fish,” and he has been tagging ever since. He has tagged over 17,000 fish, and discussed interesting fluke recaptures. One fluke was tagged in Strathmere on Sept, 27, 1998 at a size of 11 inches, and the tag was returned noting that it was recaptured on May 25, 2000 at 16 inches in Baldwin, NY.

Another was tagged on June 24, 2008 at 14 inches on the Intracoastal Waterway in Ocean City and caught on June 13, 2010 at 19-1/4 inches in Merrick Bay, NY. If you catch a fish with a yellow tag and return the tag, along with information about the fish’s recapture, both you and the person who tagged the fish will receive a “fish tagger’s jacket patch.”

For more information about the American Littoral Society, including downloading the form to return a tag, or if you are interested in becoming a tagger, visit

Fluke-catching techniques were also discussed by Shillingford. He said that “every year I come up with new ideas,” and that he is “always experimenting.” He described what to look for to find flounder, what he uses to catch summer flounder, and he spoke about bait options.

Shillingford brought copies of fluke biology and migration patterns for distribution, and then took questions from Club members.

I asked Bucktail how his name came about, and he said, “I started making my own bucktail jigs back in the late 60’s,” and “came up with a torpedo style bucktail that I began using for striped bass.” He added that “I gave some of my bucktail jigs to a long-time Strathmere resident,” also named Bill, “who was the best striped bass fisherman I ever knew,” and “he caught fish on them that very day and began calling me Bucktail Willie.” As “time went on, the name just stuck and stayed with me over the years, and friends and others picked up on it.”

Bill Shillingford (Bucktail Willie) is a New Jersey Representative on the Summer Flounder Advisory Board for the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Council.

For further information about the Strathmere Fishing and Environmental Club, including becoming a member, visit


Managed to get a couple of hours as wind was switching from NE to S and found the water temp had dropped over 10 degrees since my ;last time out 58-to 47 . Never saw a fish nor did I have anything pick up my bait. Looked like I was on the Dead Sea
South wind should warm air and water up a little assuming it doesn’t blow all that hard
A Sea Tow boat apparently went down yesterday morning in the high winds and they still haven’t found boat or skipper of the boat. Lots of debris reported in water but no sign of skipper or boat… Sad for sure


Winter is still here,cold and HARD NE wind pushing a lot of water into the bay . I went to boat to work on my fishfinder and couldn’t stand up and there was a 3ft chop in my creek.FISH are WINNING
. Suppose to get a wind change to S and I will see what it looks like in morning,usually there is a 2-4 hour gap between wind changes maybe I’ll get lucky.
Fish are here but may also have to deal with dirty water


A cold night and morning but biggest problem was wind, blowing 20-25 at 7am so I had a second cup of coffee. Headed to boat around 9 and found wind blowing 25-40. Not a pretty picture so Fish won today


Winter returned to South Jersey this morning,left dock with 35 air temp and stiff wind.Plan was to find a Bass as I wasn’t about to go very far given the wind which was forecasted to go higher
Managed to find one bass of 20″ before wind chased me off the water. Water temp dropped 5 degrees over night and while I saw some other fish getting them to take the bait wasn’t happening
Hopefully a warming trend will begin ,HELL it is APRIL !!


Little late getting this out. Got to dock this morning and still raining but decided to go anyway because my weather map indicated weather was quickly moving off shore
Started out looking for bass but nothing so switched to fluke and found 5 including 2 over 20″ . Wind coming up as tide got down and I decided to see if any weakfish were around on botttom of tide.After hitting 3 s pots with nothing and thinking about going home I got into one angry 20″ weakfish. Made 3 more passes but tide is completely out so called in a morning
Looks like it will be a little cool tomorrow ,IF wind lays down I’ll be out there


I got released from doctor to go fishing this morning as long as the fish were not too big. Not a Problem
A very ugly morning with stiff south wind and dense fog, I went searching for bass and after a little searching found a school of bass moving down the creek on outgoing tide. I managed to get 5 short bass as I worked my way down the creek . I was able to stay with the school all the way to mouth anbd than lost them
I went back to try again but the school was gone.Tried a couple of other spots but no fish so as tide was reaching the bottom I decided to call it a day


Beautiful morning ,little cool at 46 but very nice.Decided to look for weakfish as a report from 2 days ago had some weaks being caught BUT I found none. did pick up one winter flounder and 2 summer flounder ,all 3 over the legal size. Tide started in wind picking up from SE I switch to bass but could not find any
I will be off tomorrow for catarct surgery and hopefully back out Thrusday