The leaves are falling as quickly as the fading Philadelphia Eagles. The beaches are empty and the official start of winter is only a month away. But a fishing party boat is still offering daily trips out of Ocean City that will continue through January as long as the weather holds up.
The trip Sunday and Friday is 12 hours and costs $100; the rest of the week the charge is $65 for an eight-hour trip.
The 70-foot North Star is running daily out of the Ocean City Fishing Center at 300 Bay Avenue. The North Star is the only party boat still operating out of Ocean City at this time of year and one of the few on the New Jersey coast still running trips.
At this time last year Capt. Tim Barrus was heading for Naples, FL, for the winter. But he decided this year to try year-round fishing out of Ocean City.
On Wednesday, the catch limit for tautog, generally called tog, went to six fish, instead of just one. Fish mush be at least 14 inches long. Space on board can be booked at 609-391-8300, according to Mary Barrus.
The North Star can accommodate 65 people, but typical trips this time of year carry 20 or 30. The boat has a heated cabin and rest rooms. Rod rentals and fish cleaning are available.
Mate Ryan Haines said there were several limits taken Friday and almost everyone on board caught at least three fish. One "nice cod" was also boated.
Owen Cook, a teen who came with his father from Lancaster, PA, landed five on his first-ever tog trip.
Capt. Burrus said he's fished all of his life, 15 years aboard the North Star.
"It is wildly satisfying to see people recreationally catching fish" he said.