Shep on Fishing: 38-pound striped bass caught in Brigantine

The unofficial start of the summer is here and fishing already is starting to look as if it is nearing peak season.

Charles LaPollo has surf-fished a lot of beaches since he started in “1952 or ’53.”

His tour of strands includes South America, Mexico, the Florida Keys and “every state coming up the coast” to Massachusetts. He said Thursday that he once had a close encounter with a saltwater crocodile in Belize.

The 67-year-old from Sicklerville, Camden County, had another moment to remember Wednesday afternoon when he picked a 38-pound striped bass from the beach at Brigantine. That fish claimed the $210 bounty offered by Andy Grossman for the first 45-inch bass to be caught in the Brigantine suds and weighed at Riptide Bait and Tackle in Brigantine.

LaPollo said he caught a 48-pound bass earlier this year at Cape May. His biggest ever went 51-4 and was caught in 1961.

The 38-pound bass also topped the latest entries for The Press Fishing Contest, which is off to a great start for quality and quantity. It was entered into the Senior Division.

That catch was part of a strong run of striper in the surf at Brigantine that started Wednesday, continued Thursday and into Friday.

Linda Davoli of Brigantine caught two 33-inch bass Thursday and had another fish that shrugged off the hook and kept right on going. Davoli said she overslept Friday and by the time she got down to her favorite spot on the Brigantine front beach, Karl Stock was there. Stock picked a 40-inch bass that he released.

Bruce LeBlanc of Broomall, Pa., caught three striper Friday morning at the south end of Brigantine. Ken Biondi got a 29½-pound bass Thursday. Most of the bass caught in Brigantine surf were from the seawall or the north beach.

Striper are still cruising the beaches around Cape May. Matt Slobodjian said from Jim’s Bait and Tackle in Cape that the bite was good Thursday from Second Street around Poverty Beach. Gary Hill hooked a 30-pounder at Reading Avenue.

Eric Aubrey of Mays Landing kept his streak going with 38- and 34-pound bass he caught along a sod bank behind Margate. “Scott” Scott said from Ray Scott’s Dock in Margate that Aubrey used a Bomber.

New causeway

Solid flounder catches should make the area’s newest fishing hot spot a busy place.

The fishing piers at the new Ocean City-Somers Point Causeway bridge are unique. There does not seem to be anything like it anywhere in the state. One of the piers extends out to Rainbow Channel, long known as one of the area’s top channels for flounder, striped bass and bluefish, and another to Elbow Channel across from Somers Point.

The nearby tackle shops and marinas are excited about it and already have weighed some flounder caught by anglers who have given it a try.

Bill Wiggins said Fin-Atics in Ocean City saw a few from there: “It’s a great place. The end of the pier is right in Rainbow.”

A lot of flounder have been caught recently around Somers Point. Dolfin Dock reported Jack Sweeder of Ocean City had 13 keepers in three days, including two days of limits. The heaviest weighed 5 pounds. Sam Flynn of Egg Harbor Township got five keepers and Al Rocks, also of EHT, got one that weighed 5.4 pounds.

Rob and Joan Barrett took Thursday off to vacation at Crisfield, Md., where they purchased green crab to be distributed as bait at Dolfin. They cruised Delaware Bay, going to and from on the Cape May-Lewes Ferry, and got back in time to provide a fishing report Friday that emphasized flounder and surprising weakfish catches in the back bays around Somers Point.

Skip Compton of Galloway Township picked off a weakfish Monday that weighed 7.81 pounds while fishing behind Margate with a yellow and white bucktail. Other weakfish have been reported throughout the area’s back bays.

Access to the Brigantine front beach has been extended to June 15 between 5-9 a.m. Davoli led the movement that Brigantine City Council approved last week. Davoli said Brigantine four-wheel access permit holders must be “actively engaged” in fishing to take advantage – no surfing, bird-watching or anything other than fishing.

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Mike Shepherd is the retired sports editor of The Press. His Shep on Fishing column and Shep’s Hot Spot appear Tuesdays and Saturdays in the sports section. Call 609-350-0388 or email

You can also hear Shep’s on-air fishing reports Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 6:05 a.m., 9:45 a.m. and 7:05 p.m. on WOND 1400 AM and on our website:

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