Well, Oct. 8 is in the rearview mirror, and sea bass season has officially arrived, unfortunately, bringing less than pleasant conditions with it. Rain, which was scarce at best during the last month or so, was predicted to some degree for the first week of the fall sea bass season. Regardless, the captains and anglers in the area forged ahead.

Other fish were also caught, so we’ll check that out. The state trout stocking program is starting, and a surf-fishing tournament is planned for Oct. 26. Let’s check things out.   

Capt. Chuck had a challenging week as the factors of weather, and less people being around, came to the forefront. It seems some anglers used the days before sea bass season opened to get their gear ready, manage various pressing chores, or took a few days off to rest before the fall season kicks into high gear.

Regardless, he was able to fish, and reported “good” action on bluefish.

“Several” anglers were able to achieve their 15-fish limits. The top pool-winning angler of the week was Gary Agness, who won with his 3-pound bluefish.

Chuck is keeping an eye towards season-opening trips for sea bass, while hoping the weather is fishing-friendly. Call him at (609) 884-3421 to confirm his schedule.

Recently, Robin Jung from Peace Token Fishing Tackle was out on a morning excursion looking for blackfish, as well as any triggerfish, willing to bite. Robin was fishing from the rocks in the Avalon area, and was rewarded with a nice 22-inch, 6.74-pound blackfish. As Robin said, that’s a “great way to start the morning."

Tight Lines NJ, in Somers Point, reported that two impressive sheepsheads were recently weighed-in on consecutive days. The first was caught by Jesse Stanislaw, and registered on the scales at 15-pounds. The second, which was bigger, was brought in by Eric Sturgis.

After visiting the scales, the weight was determined to be 16.9 pounds. Congratulations to both anglers on awesome catches.

Capt. Skip, from Stalker Fishing Charters, has the back bay skiff out, and is catching plenty of stripers. He has been doing well in the low-light time of early morning and late afternoon. Call him at (609) 972-5218 to check on trip availability.

The action-filled weekend of fishing, when many of the reported catches were made, continued as a nice report came in from Grassy Sound Marina. While fishing from the pier, an angler, Carmen from Court House, hooked-up with a nice 30-inch striper. The fish hit a piece of bunker on the incoming tide. Carmen made a sportsman-like gesture by releasing the fish, so it can fight another day.

Grab your calendar and circle Oct. 19. Why? Because it’s a Free Fishing Day, the states' second offering this year. Residents, as well as non-residents, can fish freshwaters without a license or trout stamp. Regulations, such as size and daily bag (catch) limits, will remain in effect.

The Division of Fish and Wildlife kicked off the fall trout season Oct. 8 when they began stocking many on the states rivers, lakes, streams, and ponds with thousands of large rainbow trout. The plan calls for more than 21,000 2-year-old rainbow trout, ranging between 14 and 18 inches and weighing about 1.5 pounds.

Plus, 3-year-old broodstock, averaging 4 pounds each, will be released throughout the state. The stocking program will end Oct. 16.

If you would like stocking information, it is available by calling the Trout Stocking Hotline at (609) 633-6765. Stocking updates will be posted as needed.

If you enjoy surf-fishing, you'll be interested in this. The Ocean City Fishing Club will host its 51st Invitational Surf Fishing Tournament Oct. 26. This tournament, held in coordination with the Association of Surf Angling Clubs, welcomes six-member teams from local fishing clubs, as well as individual anglers. Individuals who don’t belong to a fishing club can register the morning of the tournament, and will be teamed together by the tournament organizers.

Registration begins at 5:30 a.m. and runs until 7 a.m. at the Ocean City Primary School, located at 550 West Avenue. This is a new location this year. The fee is $65 for a six-member team, while individuals pay an entrance fee of $15.

Anglers will be assigned to a different beach for each of the two sessions. Anglers fish from 7-9:30 a.m. at their first beach, and then have a half-hour to move to their second designated beach. They’ll fish there from 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and then return to the primary school for a free lunch, door prizes, and trophy presentations.

The tournament fishing beaches are from 23rd to 40th streets. Anglers will be issued free one-day beach driving permits and may use the vehicle access points at 23rd and 34th streets.

Registration and payments may be completed and mailed to P.O.  Box 1215, Ocean City, 08226.

Contact Ed Parkinson at (215) 680-6652 or eparkinson718@gmail.com for more information.  

Well, as you can see, the weather had a huge effect on our latest report. The nor’ easter, while kicking up the wind and waves, conversely shut down the boats primed to take advantage of sea bass season opening. Hopefully, as the weekend arrives, the conditions will allow the boats to leave their berths.

If not, Monday will be the best chance for fishing to resume, from what I'm hearing.

On the other hand, a nor’easter is a great time to visit local beaches or rock piles for striped bass. The old world record of a 78.8-pound striper was caught in similar conditions by Al McReynolds in 1982, in Atlantic City. That record has since been battered by an 81.88-pounder, caught in 2011. I’ll have to see if anyone tried that option while the boats were tied at the docks.

Good luck, be careful if you go out, and let me know how you did.

Submit your fishing news and photos to mrobbins@cmcherald.com