Friday, December 1, 2023

Fishing Line: Nov. 15

Fishing Line: Nov. 15

By Mark Robbins

Vince with his 23.5-inch, 8.18-pound Tog.
Courtesy Sea Isle Bait and Tackle
Vince with his 23.5-inch, 8.18-pound Tog.

It’s been a pattern of hurry up and wait. Fall fishing isn’t bad, but the inconsistent weather has created a feeling that when we get a nice stretch things will break out.

Sea bass are here, porgies have been fairly consistent, and some bluefish and tog are being caught from time to time. Stripers are also being caught, with the backwater being more lively than the beachfront. Hopefully, the action along the sand will increase as stripers head south. We’ll also need the bait that they chase to stay tight to the shore, which will draw them into casting range. Let’s see what happened recently and check out what is on the horizon for Thursday.  

Tomorrow is the day many anglers circle on the fishing calendars. It’s Nov. 16, or as anglers know it the opening of blackfish season. Yes, technically the season reopened Aug. 1, but tomorrow is recognized as the opening since the bag limit increases to five five, from one, and it becomes more feasible to target these five. As anyone who has fished for blackfish, aka tog, knows you may get a keeper on your first drop. If the bag limit is one, well, your day is over pretty quick. Five fish means more time is needed to fill your bag, and one more conducive for captains and anglers to put in the effort for longer trips. Simply put, no one wants to run out to the reefs and wrecks for one fish per person. 

The Starfish has been experiencing some nice trips recently, which included a nice mixed bag caught during an outing early in the week.

That trip included a healthy portion of sea bass, bluefish, porgies and Bonita. In addition to the good action, the anglers enjoyed a beautiful fall day on the water.

In addition to eight and 10-hour sea bass trips, the Starfish is adding 16-hour trips that will also focus on sea bass. These trips are planned for various dates in November and December, with the first scheduled for Nov. 19. Also, eight-hour blackfish trips will start tomorrow, Nov. 16.  

Capt. Chuck reported that the Sea Star III didn’t have as many trips this week as desired. The weather, and the resulting low turnout, created a situation where some trips didn’t occur.

Susan Humpherys and her pool-winning sea bass. Courtesy Sea Star III

The good news is that some trips did happen. The action was “still good” and resulted in nice catches of sea bass and triggerfish.

Pool winners this week were Susan Humpherys, with a 2.2-pound sea bass, and Tom Collins, with a 2.25-pound triggerfish.

The Sea Star III sails daily at 9 a.m. and returns to the dock at 3 p.m.

The Miss Chris has ended their season. I would like to send a thank you to Capt. Mike who sent in weekly reports and pictures that contribute to each weekly column. The information and pictures also help fill Mark’s Fishing Line, my Facebook page, that looks at fishing in Cape May County, and occasionally beyond. Check it out if you haven’t already.

Capt. Tom, from Fishin’ Fever Sportsfishing Charters, reported good sea bass fishing over a recent weekend. The fishing over those days was not only quality, but quantity. Some bluefish were also tossed into the mix, which kept things interesting.

Cape May Bait and Tackle reported on a sea bass trip they got to take recently. The fishing was “pretty good” with most aboard the boat getting four to five keepers each. The reefs are still holding fish, but the action was a little slower than when the season opened in October.

Sea bass, in the two- to three-pound range and some even larger, are being caught farther offshore by the boats that are taking the longer trip. In addition to the sea bass, porgies, pollock and bluefish are also being caught.     

The Miss Avalon continues to sail for sea bass, porgies, triggerfish and one Tog, while looking ahead to Nov. 16 when the bag limit for Tog increases.

They have done good on recent trips, with sea bass and porgies the most likely to be caught.

Sea Isle Bait and Tackle reported that an angler named Vince stopped in with a nice tog that he caught. After the measurables were completed, the fish was 23.5-inches long and weighed in at 8.18 pounds. It’s nice to see fish of this quality being caught when the weather allows anglers to get out.

Christian Maldonado reported on a good fishing trip he and a friend, Patrick, had on the Miss Avalon on a recent nice Saturday. They had plenty of action and loaded up on keeper sea bass and porgies.

Christian Maldonado, right, and Patrick Macaulay with some of their catch from their trip on the Miss Avalon.

Well, fall fishing is kicking into full gear, with Tog joining the parade. It’s time to get out and enjoy the November fishing bounty that we enjoy here. Good luck if you get out, take care and I’ll see you around.

Submit fishing news and photos to


Author of The Fishing Line, a regular column published in the Cape May County Herald covering the local fishing scene.

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