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Delaware Bay Fishing Report 10-24-17

<b>Port Elizabeth</b>

Several keeper striped bass were reported caught, but mostly from Maurice River, not Delaware Bay, said Sharon from <b>The Girls Place Bait & Tackle</b>. More fresh bunker were sold during the weekend than previously, so she was sure some tried for stripers on the bay with the bait. Stripers reported included two keepers and four throwbacks that one angler popper-plugged on the lower Maurice near Port Norris or the marine police. Another angler took a keeper on the river farther upstream. Someone said a bunch of throwback stripers bit in the bay’s surf at Fortescue one day. All of these stripers seemed to be resident, non-migrating fish that live in local waters year-round. A few older, migrating stripers seemed to begin showing up farther north in the state, like four keepers heard about from Long Beach Island’s surf. Anglers hope the striper migration will swim to South Jersey later this season, when water cools, including within 3 miles of shore on the ocean, and up the bay. Striper fishing is closed beyond 3 miles from shore on the ocean. Weakfish were heard about from the bay lately through last week. Whether news became scarce about them only because fewer anglers fished was unknown. Many anglers fished for sea bass at ocean wrecks, once sea bass season opened Sunday. Fresh clams, bait for sea bass, were almost impossible to obtain throughout the state. Pints of salted clams were expected to be stocked this week at the shop. But squid will catch sea bass. So will bloodworms and hard crabs. Sea bass can also be jigged. The supply of shedder crabs ended for the year. The supplier dropped off shedders last weekend and said those would be the final ones. Crabbing was slowing down or not much was reported about crabbing. 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.


No trips fished this past week on the <b>Salt Talk</b>, Capt. Howard said. One of Fortescue’s party boats fished Delaware Bay on Saturday, but he was unsure what the trip hooked. A photo on the head boat’s Facebook page yesterday showed weakfish, blues and a blackfish bagged. White perch and a few small kingfish were beached from Fortescue’s surf, Howard knew. He’d think a few throwback stripers were eased from the surf. White perch nibbled in Fortescue Creek, he knew. If trips boat for striped bass on the bay this season, that will be some time from now. The southern migration seemed to begin reaching North Jersey. Water is cooler than a week or two ago. Ocean temperature as low as 64 degrees was heard about now, after the ocean was 70 degrees recently. Stripers thrive in water in the 50s. Water along the shore of the bay today was 66.9 degrees at Cape May and 66.7 at Ship John, according to the National Data Buoy Center online. The striper migration hasn’t always entered the bay strongly in recent years. But one never knows what the fish will do or how the season’s weather might affect them. When they have shown up in the bay, that’s been late in the year recently. Current water temperatures might suggest that would be the case this year. Resident, non-migrating stripers always stack up or school the bay when water becomes colder. They seem to come from rivers and creeks, and are smaller than migrating stripers, but abundant. Migrating stripers are older, larger fish. The Salt Talk used to be a Fortescue party boat. Howard sold that vessel, and the new Salt Talk is a charter boat for up to four passengers.

<b>Cape May</b>

Small bluefish tumbled the surf from the ocean to Delaware Bay, said Nick from <b>Hands Too Bait & Tackle</b>. Blackfish bit along jetties and structure like that. So did sheepshead, the southern species, because water was warm enough. Triggerfish, another southern fish, remained along wrecks. Striped bass were beaned from the back bay in mornings and evenings on top-water and soft-plastic lures and during daytime on bunker in bunker chum. Fresh clams are more popular to fish and chum for the back bay’s bass, but the clams became difficult to obtain.

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