Archives for October 2014


Another windy morning that got stronger as the tide got higher. I picked up 2 bass quickly than nothing but a few bluefish harrassing me Was about to call it a morning as I had to get ready for a trip but made one more stop and quickly picked up 3 more bass including one 30″er
Calledl it a morning. No more reports until at least Monday
I left them to all you guys the migration appears to be starting


LOUSY DAY, maybe old age is catching up to me and I’m losing my touch. 7 hours on water and all I had to show for it was 2 short bass. Drag a spot and it never was touched,trolled a plug it was never touched. My trolled bucktail prevented a SHUTOUT with 2 short bass
I am not in the best of moods for sure .
Only have one more morning before I will be shutdown for 4 days
this has been the worse October I have ever experienced
Time to check out my VO bottle


Little cool this morning at 44 but out i went looking for bass. Went to where I left them yesterday and picked up 2 than nothing. search around with no success .started home and made one more stop and picked up another .all were 21″
wind came up when sun came up ,guess the wind will never lay down
Heard of one 29″er being caught
Maybe tomorrow


The Fishing Line

Fishing and Boating | Fri, 10/17/2014 – 4:22 pm | Updated 4 days 9 hours ago | Read 727 | Commented 0 | Emailed 4

By Bill (Bucktail Willie) Shillingford


Willie and a nice striper

1 of 2

Special thanks to Bill Shillingford for providing a guest column this week. Check out his web site

Today’s recreational fishing regulations find most of us throwing back a large percentage of what we catch. Have you ever wondered what happens to those fish or where these fish go?

One way of gathering that information and helping scientists understand what is going on with our fish populations is by tagging. I tag for American Littoral Society (ALS) and have tagged over 18,500 fish and 31 species. My main tagging efforts have been summer flounder (7,700), striped bass (6,100), bluefish (1,700), weakfish (900), and sea bass (1,500). My tag return rate is 7 percent which is little above average.

Tagging has been an amazing hobby and I have learned quite a bit about fish migration. Let me share some of the more interesting returns. I have had several striped bass out over five years before being re-caught and they have been re-caught in New York and Massachusetts. Just this year I had a bass I tagged in July 2011 at 22 inches and it was re-caught above Easton, Pa., in the Delaware River and had grown to 26 inches. I have had several re-caught in Delaware but none as far up river as Easton.

Over the years, I have re-caught several of my own tagged bass which had been out between 24 and 67 months. One interesting point is all 13 were re-caught within 500 yards of where they were originally being tagged and all but one the same month of the year originally tagged, regardless of how long they were out. I have return tags on striped bass from every coastal state, Maine to North Carolina and inland Pennsylvania side of the Delaware River.

Summer flounder is probably the most abundant and attracts the most recreational fishermen in South Jersey. I have return tags from every state from Rhode Island to North Carolina and 60 miles offshore in the canyons from observers on winter commercial boats. I recently reviewed my data for a more detail breakdown and found some interesting trends: 88 percent of the returned tags “that were out over 12 months” were re-caught 30 miles or more further north of originally being caught; 4 percent were re-caught on the continental shelf in winter; 3 percent were re-caught south of Delaware Bay; 5 percent in Cape May County waters. The longest a fluke was out before being re-caught was little over four years and it grew seven inches.

The other interesting piece of data I found was in the past 10 years the average size of fluke I caught only varied three quarters of an inch up or down; smallest yearly average was 14.34 inches in 2007 and largest 15.05 inches in 2013. April and early May always produced the largest fish with July producing the smallest. I think this demonstrates a good reason for splitting our state and giving South Jersey an earlier opening which in turn would also benefit the industry in South Jersey.

I have 33 returned tags from bluefish but cannot see any pattern as they have been returned from North Carolina to Connecticut and all at different times of the year. One thing is clear, they travel fast. I had one I tagged of 33 inches that was re-caught off Cape Cod 27 days later.

Several years ago ALS asked if I was interested in tagging black sea bass and I have been tagging about 100 per year. After three years and no returns, I began to wonder about effectiveness; then I got three returns off Nantuckett and Martha’s Vineyard. Three sea bass tagged behind Strathmere at eight to nine inches were re-caught in deep water off those islands and were between 14-16 inches when re-caught. Since then, every year there’s been at least one return from a state other than New Jersey.

Weakfish, as most know, have been down and tough to get in recent years. However, I have several returns from 90s of fish out over year in Delaware Bay. I tagged two 13-inch weakfish off Corson’s Inlet in September, 1995 and they were re-caught consecutively off Ocean City, Md., one month later. Based on 2014 weakfish tagging, it appears they may be rebounding.

You can see that tagging fish is rewarding and interesting and clearly the regulators need the data. If you are interested in learning more about tagging, contact Jeff DeMint at www.AmericanLittortalSociety.organd scroll down to Fish Tagging. Lots of good information there.

I would also encourage anyone interested in the future of recreational fishing in the Cape May County area to get involved, attend the meetings and voice your opinion. I’ve been told ‘they don’t listen’ but when enough of us offer opinions, I have seen the regulators opinion change. You have to be involved to make a difference.


Maybe the bite has started. Left dock before sunrise with bass on my mind. spent an hour last night going over old logs and had a different plan this morning as a result. After searching around a little I found a bass on last on incoming tide right where they were last year but 2 weeks earlier. Worked that area through the top of the tide and first hour out and ended up with 6 bass 23-24″ .
Once tide started gushing out I could not find another bass. One thing I notice that may help is all the bass were caught on my drop back letting it hit the bottom.they would pick it up as I lifted off the bottom
Maybe they have started .Will not fish tomorrow but hope to get 3 days in next week


After 2 days of wind and rain I headed out looking for bass and I looked and I looked and never had a touch. Tide is way up and I could have floated my boat to Parkway there was so much water. Tried for Fluke but could only find one
Wind came up making life miserable so headed home and called it a day


A beautiful  morning pulling out of dock in flat calm conditions and a high tide. I threw my popper over 500 times and could only raise one bass, this bass probably 26-28″ put on a helleva show in 3 ft of water with 2 great jumps and a 3rd jump that she spit the popper out and fish was gone..I did appreciate the show however. Disgusted after 500 cast I went looking for Fluke and they are still here.Picked up 13 before quiting and going back to bass but no bass. I have no idea where the bass are and this is turning out to be my worst October in 60 years of fishing October for bass. MAYBE November will be better


After taking 2 days off to play with my new granddaughter I went out this morning looking for bass. 37 degrees but no wind . I looked for 2 hours without a touch, switched to Fluke and tagged 13 and started home.Made one stop on way in my creek and picked up 3 bass 19-22″ on bottom of the tide
water temp 60 degrees with some spots down to 58
Next couple of days look UGLY maybe couple of hours in morning than doesn’t look good


Tough morning for bass, Dick Omrod was up from Florida and we spent 3 hours looking for bass without a touch. I needed to get a fix with a bent rod or I was going to start talking to myself so we switched to Fluke .Fluke were a lot more cooperative and before calling it  a morning we had 22 Fluke 15-17″ and 2 bluefish. All caught of bottom of the tide. If interested , trick is to find water dropping off the flats into deeper water and lightly up and down jigging with Berkley Gulp…..Not exactly what I would want to find in October but they did keep us entertained …Bass not being here in my area is starting to worry me ,we should be catching bass right now Maybe next week they will show ,it will be colder next week ,don’t mind cold if wind gives us a break


Another beautiful sunrise,left dock optimisitc looking for bass BUT none were found.I have no idea what is going on around here,bass are being caught south and north but not in this area. 3 other boats out this morning and no one had bass
I did troll up a couple of nice Sea Bass of 13″ but season doesn’t open until Sat…. Couple Bluefish and one 4 ft shark
I stopped for fluke before calling it a day and picked 8 so fluke are still here. I bought some new plugs and will try again tomorrow. Looks like a dry cold front moving in