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Delaware Bay Fishing Report 5-24-16

<b>Port Elizabeth</b>

Some drum were boated on the lower bay, on the New Jersey side, said Sharon from <b>The Girls Place Bait & Tackle</b>. “I don’t know that anyone loaded up,” she said, and most reports talked about a trip catching one or two. One crew reported five or six taken on an outing. Weather was often windy or rough around the weekend, and not a lot of anglers sailed. Summer flounder season opened beginning Saturday, and feedback was scarce in the weather. A few customers headed for flounder fishing, and results were yet to be heard. This year’s <a href="" target="_blank">flounder regulations</a> include a smaller, 17-inch, minimum size and a four-fish limit on Delaware Bay, compared with an 18-inch minimum size and five-fish limit in most of the rest of the state. Click the link for details, including regs about legally transporting flounder smaller than 18 inches aboard Cape May Canal. Good striped bass fishing was sometimes boated near Bug Light and off Reed’s Beach and Pierce’s Point.  Chunks of fresh bunker are popular bait for that, but clams and bloodworms were also fished for stripers, depending on location. Several reports said large striped bass, like 40 pounds, were sometimes beached from the ocean surf at Avalon. Puppy drum were heaved from the surf at times. One angler landed some in the surf near Corson’s Inlet. Big blues were sometimes fought from back bays. Weather was tough, but a variety of fish were around, and forecasts look like weather might improve. Weakfish were also around, Sharon knew, though few anglers target them in the one-weakfish bag limit. This weekend, Memorial Day weekend, is traditionally when recreationally crabbing becomes popular for the season. Not a lot was reported about crabbing yet, but a few people reported decent crabbing from waters near the ocean coast. Commercial crabbers caught but said catches dropped off compared with crabs they trapped at first this season a moment. Commercial crabbers saw signs that the blueclaws might’ve been about to shed for the first time this year, saying shedder crabs might be available for bait this weekend. When shedders are available, the shop will stock them. Fresh clams have been stocked every other day or so. Fresh bunker have been stocked every day. Baits carried also include minnows, popular for flounder, and bloodworms. 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>

From <b>Money Island Marina</b>, a couple of trips sailed for summer flounder Saturday, opening day of flounder season, but no results were heard, Bruce said. Weather was stiff that day and throughout the weekend, and on previous days, for that matter. Customers will be all about flounder now, but they need better weather for getting after the fish. Forecasts look like that might be coming. Trips will still fish for striped bass from the marina this season, but news about the angling was unavailable in the weather, too. Customers had been boating large striped bass near Salem nuclear plant on bunker chunks. Those fish might’ve migrated south in the bay, headed for the ocean, by now, but anglers will see. No trips usually run for drum on the bay this far north. Drum usually bite in the southern bay, a long trip from the local bay. Nobody fished from the fishing docks in the weather. That’ll probably change this Memorial Day weekend. The shop will offer barbecues with talks about the bay this fishing season, beginning on Sunday.  A Marina Barbecue and Lecture will be held 2 to 5 p.m. that day at the marina on Money Island’s conversion to aquaculture. Steamed crabs, barbecued chicken, corn on the cob and salads will be served. The event is open to the public, but a donation is requested to help future food costs. Click the link for more info. The marina features a bait and tackle shop, a boat ramp, boat slips, dry-dock boat storage, fishing docks and gas. The fishing docks, $5 per adult and free for kids, are located on Nantuxent Creek, running passed the marina. Angling can be good from the docks, including for white perch, small striped bass, and croakers, at different times of year. A 12-foot aluminum boat with a 2.5 h.p. outboard is available to rent to fish the creek. Additional fishing docks and rental boats are expected to be launched this year. Bait stocked can include fresh bunker, live grass shrimp and minnows when in demand. Minnows are popular flounder bait, and the minnow tank was just being set up.


Crabbing will become available beginning this weekend for the year at <b>Beaver Dam Boat Rentals</b>, Paul said. It’ll be available Friday through Monday this weekend, Memorial Day weekend, and Saturdays and Sundays afterward, until it’s available daily beginning in late June. Paul dropped a trap into the creek at the shop, and crabs definitely began to be seen. About half were keepers, usual for the time of year. His brother said crabs were nabbed well at Cape May. Those waters are different from near Beaver Dam, but signs were seen that customers might trap crabs this weekend. Crabbing at the shop usually begins either before crabbing on Delaware Bay does, because water can be warmer in the shop’s back waters, or after the bay’s crabbing, if colder weather attracts crabs to deep water. Crabs had retreated to deep water in the bay earlier this season, apparent because the bay’s commercial crabbers set pots deeper. That could be different now, and the only way to know is for crabbers to hit the shop’s waters. Nobody fished the creek at the store, but anglers at the bridge hooked small white perch. So Paul would assume perch swam the creek at the shop. Some of the boats that customers reserved for the weekend were for experienced anglers Paul knew, so more should be known about the creek’s fishing after the trips. Customers crab and fish from rental boats towed up Oranokin Creek, running passed the store.  Reserve the boats ahead, because they book up. Beaver Dam carries everything needed for crabbing, from bait, traps and nets to snacks, drinks and suntan lotion. Rental kayaks and canoes are available to paddle the scenic creek, on the days the rental boats are available. Visit <a href="" target="_blank">Beaver Dam’s website</a>.


“Drum are biting,” Capt. Jim from <b>Fins & Grins Sport Fishing</b> wrote in a text during a trip Sunday evening aboard, and included several photos of the fish. He telephoned minutes afterward, saying the trip was fishing Delaware Bay, and catching. Two of the fish in the photos were from that day, and one was from the previous day, aboard. He couldn’t speak long, but trips are drumming on the bay. Summer flounder fishing was a little slow on the back bay on this opening weekend of flounder fishing, in cool water. Sea bass season opened Monday, and Fins fishes for all species available. Trips are slated to fish daily, and reservations aren’t required but suggested. Telephone for availability.

<b>Cape May</b>

Two drum were boated already, and another was landed, when Capt. George from the <b>Heavy Hitter</b> gave this report on a trip Sunday evening in a phone call on the bay, he said. The third was hooked, fought and gaffed aboard, as he spoke. The first two weighed 20 and 40 pounds, and the third weighed 40. That was with Ray DeCrane’s charter, and lots of sharks and skates bit. The angling was mostly slow for the fleet, fishing on the New Jersey side of the bay, 1 ½ miles north of Cape May Canal. On boats that fished for them Friday, some trips heaved in a good catch, like seven or eight, and the rest caught one or two. George wasn’t asked whether a trip fished Saturday aboard, and he didn’t mention Saturday. Weather was rough that day, and maybe no trip sailed because of that. On Sunday’s trip, a light breeze blew, but seas were a 1-foot roll, calm, not bad. A little drizzle fell. A couple of boats during the trip heard the fish drumming, and George heard none so far on the outing. Whenever he hears drumming, he seems not to catch. Sea bass season opened today, and trips for them are available on the ocean.

Not much was doing with drum fishing on the bay on the party boat <b>Porgy IV</b>, Capt. Paul said Wednesday, in his most recent report for this website. Trips aboard had been catching the fish on the Delaware side of the bay. Then the catches began to be reported from the New Jersey side, and the boat fished there. But now the vessel was back on the Delaware side, when Paul gave this report that evening. He was on a trip fishing the Delaware side then at 6:30. No drum were landed on the trip, running 2 to 10 p.m., so far. But drum fishing can be up and down and change in an instant, depending on when the fish want to bite. Another captain on the water Sunday said he was fishing among a fleet on the Jersey side, just north of Cape May Canal, and said the Porgy IV was there. The boat had returned to that side. The Porgy IV was slated to switch to sea bass fishing daily on the ocean beginning Monday, opening day of sea bass season. The vessel is a bottom-fishing boat for catches like that, and fished for drum between blackfish and sea bass seasons. 

Good striped bass catches were still had, said Nick from <b>Hands Too Bait & Tackle</b> on Thursday. Both boaters and surf anglers pasted them, and boaters hooked them on Delaware Bay in shallows near shore on chunks of bunker. Or they trolled the bass on the ocean. Surf casters banked the fish on the bay on bunker or on the ocean on bunker or clams. Lures connected well at both places for shore anglers. When the boaters and surf anglers found the stripers, the fish often seemed big, in the mid-30 inches to mid-40s. Photos were posted on <a href="" target="_blank">Hands’ Facebook page</a>. Boating for drum seemed a little slow the past couple of days on Delaware Bay, he said that day. But the fishing might amp up during last weekend’s full moon, he said at the time. May’s moon is often a time for drum. Bluefish were sometimes around, like blues that popped up at Poverty Beach the other day. Anglers began to report weakfish taken at times at jetties on bloodworms under a float or soft-plastic lures on bucktail jigs. A couple of trips scouted for summer flounder on the back bay, before last weekend’s opening of flounder season. They picked the fish and released them and also some on Delaware Bay.

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