Speak of the devil, article in Press today.
August 6, 2003
Old O.C.-Longport Bridge cast in new role
By MICHAEL MILLER Staff Writer, (609) 463-6712, E-Mail
EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP - Richard Lorz nearly caught the biggest fish of his life Tuesday, but his line got snagged with another angler's and the lunker wriggled off his hook.
When you're 10 years old, missing a fish like that is a disappointment not easily forgotten.
"It was a big one, too," he said, still talking about it hours later.
"It was even bigger than the sea bass you caught last year," his father added.
Dramas such as Richard's play out every day at the new fishing pier next to the Ocean City-Longport Bridge.
Federal and county politicians cut the ribbon on the pier Tuesday to promote the harbor's latest attraction, which opened last summer. But the fishing pier is hardly a well-kept secret on either side of the Great Egg Harbor Bay.
Despite the blustery weather, dozens of people fished off it Tuesday. There was room for five times as many people on either side of the 490-foot-long concrete span.
The dark skies were no deterrent to the fishermen.
"We don't worry about the weather," Clarence Carter said, putting another chunk of mackerel on his hook before plunking it into the inlet.
He and his friend Ralph Gross left their homes in Philadelphia at 5 a.m. to beat traffic to Ocean City. A local bait shop directed them to the pier on the north end of the Ocean City-Longport Bridge.
The fishing was slow Tuesday afternoon with few keepers among the skate, flounder and sea bass the anglers pulled over the wooden rails.
Carter's makeshift poncho - a clear-plastic bag with the holes cut out - flapped in the wind. The strong breeze was to blame for the poor fishing, he said.
"It creates a strong undercurrent. The fish don't like that," he said.
Still, nobody was complaining.
"They've got a good setup here," angler Al Kavalkovich, of Gloucester County, said.
"I always thought they should build a pier here and charge people to fish," Gross said. "This was always a good place to fish."
The fishing pier was part of the $55 million bridge that opened in July 2002. The county unveiled an exhibit Tuesday that described the old drawbridge the new span replaced. The county saved the lockspring mechanism from the old drawbridge for display at the fishing pier.
The pier has its own parking lot, picnic tables and portable restrooms. Antique-style gaslights allow anglers to catch the high tides in the middle of the night. And the fish-cleaning stations provided a convenient place to filet the catch of the day - if only it would bite.
West Cape May Mayor Robert Jackson said Cape May County does not take full advantage of recreational fishing.
"I think we'd all be surprised how many people come here just to fish," he said. "Anywhere there is open water, you'll find fishermen. But you need more public access."
He brought some surf rods with him to Tuesday's ribbon-cutting. His truck boasts a 'Take Kids Fishing' window sticker and surf-rod holders.
Several politicians tried their luck, casting the long surf poles in their suits and ties. Rep. Frank LoBiondo, R-2nd, turned some heads when the tip of his rod bent over in a question mark.
But it wasn't a keeper - just a snagged bridge support.
To e-mail Michael Miller at The Press:MMiller@pressofac.com
If you go to the press web site today, there's a picture of the pier.