Is the minnow shortage reaching the crisis stage? Not just yet.. for now. Tackle shops from southern Ocean down through Cape May counties are having a very difficult time procuring killies, and the "minnie guys" are putting in countless hours trying to trap enough to even come close to meeting demand.

Prices are up, and supply looks somewhat stable, but it may not be for long. Sandy's total scouring and gouging of the marsh creeks where the killies spawn is the most plausible explanation for the sever shortage.

For many a flounder pounder, turning to the Gulp! Swimming Mullet in the three inch and four inch sizes, is an easy and very effective switch. Ditto the 3-1/2 inch Fishbites Paddletail in white or pink. The Gulp! Mantis Shrimp is also a hottie for a limit of flatfish..

 

The clam stakes at the end of Radio Road in Mystic and the area around the Fish Factory in Great Bay are yielding solid catches of flounder to four pounds on the Tuckerton Sandwich and the three inch chartreuse and white Gulp! Swimming Mullet and also the ghost three inch Gulp! Shrimp. Blowfish are thick at Graveling Point and Litle Sheepshead Creek, so get a chum log or two, a hi-lo rig and bait with squid, clam or Fishbites to fill a bucket. Grass shrimp and also bloodworms are catching big numbers of 1/2 to 1-1/2 pound white perch in Nacote and Ballanger's "criks" and also at Hog Island in the Mullica.

 

From Black Point to Main Marsh in the ICW (between markers 150 to 165) it's a good bite with weakfish to four pounds on the pink Gulp! Swimming Mullet and a small chunk of shedder. (BTW, the crab shed is full bore, and if you love softshells like this FatMan does, get your bluecalw luvin' ass down to Absecon Bay Sportsmen's Center where Capt. Dave has them ready to go.) Srtipers to 31 inches, fluke to 21 inches and blues between two and three pounds are also being nailed in this stretch. For the bass it's fresh clam, for the flounder it's the Gulp! Jerk Shad in chartreuse pepper neon with a shedder shooter, and for the yellow eyes, it's a small metal or fresh bunker chunk blinding.

 

Around Ocean City, fluke to three pounds are on the minnow/squid and the Gulp! Mantis Shrimp bites in the bowl at Kennedy Park at Somers Point. Landmarks are Pier 4 and the Crab Trap. Rainbow and Ship's channels are also surrendering keeper flatfish on these baits. After dark, weakfish between 16 and 22 inches are waxing the pink five inch Zoom Salty Fluke on a 3/8 ounce plain or white Kalin's jighead.

 

Grassy Sound at North Wildwood is still offering decent shots at legal flounder, and it's the Buddy's Bay Blaster and three inch Gulp! Swimming Mullet (white, glow or chartreuse) as a teaser.

 

Black drum are on the hard run in Delaware Bay. Freddy at Utsch's Marina tells of incredible catches of drum to 75 pounds being made at the Pin Top, Tussy's and the Punk Grounds, to name a few. It seems that more drum are moving in to the bay and also coming over from Slaughter Beach.