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Delaware Bay Fishing Report 4-12-16

Welcome to the year's first Delaware Bay Report!

<b>Port Elizabeth</b>

<b>The Girls Place Bait & Tackle</b> was opened for the season March 18, and weather had been beautiful, but wind blew, temperatures dropped, rain fell and even some snow fell lately, Sharon said. Not much was reported in the weather, except that boats occasionally sailed from Fortescue to fish the bay for striped bass. Surf anglers at Fortescue had been picking throwback stripers. One or two keepers were heard about from the surf, and the fishing was no great shakes. White perch fishing had been great on brackish rivers like the Maurice. Some big slabs had been reeled in. Drum will probably begin to be hooked from the bay late this month. Summer flounder season is likely to be May 21 through September 25, and Delaware Bay’s bag limit in New Jersey is likely to be a minimum size of 17 inches and four fish. That’s compared with 18 inches and five flounder in the rest of the state, except at Island Beach State Park, where surf anglers are likely to have a limit of two flounder at 16 inches, like they did previously. The New Jersey Marine Fisheries Council approved these regulations, and the federal government needs to approve them to make them final for the year, and usually does. The 17-inch, four-fish limit is only in New Jersey waters on the bay, and Delaware’s regs on the bay are 16 inches and four flounder with a season open year-round. The shipping channel, roughly in the middle of the bay, is the border between New Jersey and Delaware. All usual baits are stocked, including bloodworms. The worms are popular in the early season for stripers and perch. Some anglers asked about grass shrimp for perch, but the bloods seemed to catch better. A few fresh clams have been stocked, and demand wasn’t strong for them yet. Fresh bunker have been on hand, except in the past week, because wind kept bunker boats docked. Sharon fished for bluefin tuna from Oregon Inlet, N.C., on a make-up trip during the final week of March. The trip landed one bluefin 200-and-some pounds. A boat from the Wicked Tuna television show docked a 669-pounder while she visited. Sharon had sailed for bluefins from the area previously, and in the past, the trips could usually also boat some yellowfin tuna. But yellowfins were scarce during this year’s visit. The Girls Place, located on Route 47, just after Route 55 ends, carries a large supply of bait and tackle, and is the long, one-story, yellow building on the right. It’s on the way to the bay.

<b>Money Island</b>

<b>Money Island Marina</b> is open, and anglers were yet to launch sport-fishing boats from the docks this season, Bruce said. A couple of oyster boats began to sail, and one crabber began to set out pots near Fortescue in the past three or four days. How the crabber fared was yet to be heard, but the crabber had said crabbers mugged the blueclaws on the Delaware side of the bay. Crabbing seemed to begin early after the warm winter. The marina features a bait and tackle shop, a boat ramp, boat slips, dry-dock boat storage, a fishing dock and gas. The fishing dock on Nantuxent Creek, running past the marina, is open. Anglers from the dock reel in fish including white perch, small stripers and croakers during the year. The rate is $5 for adults and is free for children. Bruce hadn’t charged anglers to fish from the dock yet this year, because the season was early. Bait stocked, once demand picks up, usually includes fresh bunker, minnows and all the frozen bait, like spearing and squid. Bait then also usually includes live grass shrimp on weekends. Sometimes the shrimp can be available on other days, when in demand or someone wants. A 12-foot aluminum boat with a 2.5 h.p. outboard is available to rent to fish the creek.  

<b>Cape May</b>

A couple of keeper striped bass were tackled from Cape May’s surf, said Nick from <b>Hands Too Bait & Tackle</b>. “So, starting to get some fish,” he said. That was mostly from Delaware Bay’s surf in the town. Cape May is located at the confluence of the bay and the ocean, and the town’s beaches are located both on the ocean and the bay. Bloodworms and lures like Bombers hooked the fish. The bay’s jetty near the Cape May ferry is a popular place for the angling on foot this season. Not much was heard about boating for stripers on the bay, but some big were boated far up the bay, like at Ship John, he thought. In the back bay, resident stripers were fought. No bluefish were heard to migrate to local waters yet. Blackfish season opened beginning on April 1, and a couple of boats seemed to tie into them on the ocean, when they could sail between rough weather. Baits stocked include bloodworms, fresh clams and green crabs.

Black drum usually begin to bite in the bay when the water reaches the mid-50 degrees, said Capt. George from the <b>Heavy Hitter</b>. He splashed the boat and sailed it through the bay to the slip at Utsch’s Marina in Cape May on Saturday for the fishing season. He sailed from Maurice River, where the vessel had been dry-docked, and the bay was 46 degrees on the trip. That was a stormy, cold day, and seas weren’t bad, just 3-foot rollers, at first on the bay. But when he reached the bay near Cape May ferry, wind probably blew 25 or 30 m.p.h., and seas were white water. He ducked the boat into Cape May Canal there, though, motoring it to the marina. No snow fell in Cape May when he was there. But lots of snow fell when he reached Ocean City, when driving home that day. Snow plows worked the snow there. Blackfishing on the ocean will kick off the boat’s fishing this weekend for the year. Drum trips always work the bay in May aboard, and the trips are booking. Telephone if interested or to lock in preferred dates. George heard nothing about striped bass, except about stripers landed from Delaware River from shore. Surf angling for stripers usually lights up near the Cape May ferry on the bay and at Poverty Beach along the ocean in May for some weeks.

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