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Delaware Bay Fishing Report 5-9-17

<b>Port Elizabeth</b>

Wind blew and rain fell last weekend, and striped bass and black drum seemed to swim Delaware Bay, but the weather kept most from boating for them, said Sharon from <b>The Girls Place Bait & Tackle</b>. News was scarce, and maybe better weather this week was going to let them sail for the catches. Fishing from shore was almost the only option around the weekend, and striped bass were slid from the bay’s surf sometimes at places including Fortescue. The week’s full moon should’ve been a time for boating drum. The fishing seems to pick up then, and some were cranked in during the previous week or two. Fresh bait was difficult to obtain, because the weather kept bunker and clam boats from sailing. The shop managed to carry a little during the weekend. Even commercial crabbers couldn’t check their pots. 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.


Loads of crabs skittered around the creek, said Paul from <b>Beaver Dam Boat Rentals</b>. Crabbing will become available on Saturday and Sunday, May 20 and 21, at the shop for the season. That’s the weekend before Memorial Day. Eighty-percent of the crabs looked just undersized. Many should grow to keeper-sized when crabs undergo the year’s first shedding. Crabs mostly shed during full and new moons, and the moon was full this week, but the water was cool for shedding to begin. The water needs to be at least 60 degrees, and was probably 55. The temperature’s getting close. The huge population of crabs seemed to bode well for crabbing this year. The population is because of the mild winter, and Paul saw no numbers like this since 2011. He thinks crabbing will be phenomenal this year. Customers crab and fish from rental boats towed up Oranokin Creek, running past the store. Not a lot of fish seemed to swim the creek yet this season, except 4-inch white perch an angler kept catching. Larger perch and other fish probably swam farther down the creek to deeper water for warmth. Once the creek reaches 60 degrees, fish should also become more abundant. Catches including the perch, small striped bass and croakers can run the creek during different times of year. Crabbing will be available on weekends until becoming available daily in late June at the shop. Crabbing will also be available on Memorial Day. Beaver Dam also rents kayaks and canoes to paddle the scenic creek. The store stocks everything needed for crabbing, from bait, traps and nets to snacks, drinks and suntan lotion. Events like birthdays and family reunions can be hosted. So can groups like scouts, including for an educational day about the environment. Visit <a href="" target="_blank">Beaver Dam’s website</a>.


The <b>Salt Talk</b> did no fishing in the wind, Capt. Howard said. He’s been sailing for the big striped bass that bite in upper Delaware Bay and lower Delaware River this time of year. The boat’s been docked on Cohansey River for that. He’ll see whether the fish still hit this week, and if they do, he’ll keep chartering for them. If they don’t, he’ll return the boat to Fortescue, the vessel’s home port, to begin fishing for black drum on the bay. One of Fortescue’s party boats began fishing for the drum on a trip last weekend. None was hooked, he thought, but drum should be starting to bite. Maybe the mild winter that failed to drastically chill the bay will help. Howard’s previous boat, also named Salt Talk, was a well-known party boat at Fortescue. He sold that vessel and now runs the new Salt Talk, a charter boat for up to four passengers.

Delaware Bay’s black drum fishing usually kicks in by the second or third week of May, said Capt. Tom from <b>Eric Leigh Charters</b>. So the fishing should become good any moment, and he’ll charter for drum then. Shore anglers at Fortescue are sometimes banking big striped bass. Fishing from shore was often better than boating for fish on the bay. But that’ll change, including probably when drum really turn on.

<b>Cape May</b>

Capt. George from the <b>Heavy Hitter</b> jumped on a friend’s boat that fished for black drum Saturday on Delaware Bay a few hours, George said. Charters on the Heavy Hitter will fish for the drum soon. The friend, a captain, had a charter cancel, and had already bought fresh clams for bait, so the trip headed out at 1:30 p.m. Only sharks and skates bit, and the trip was back at port at 6:30 p.m. Five or six boats fished the area during the outing in wind and somewhat bumpy seas. Drum are beginning to be picked from the bay, and maybe the fishing will amp up this weekend. Wind’s been blowing strongly about 1 ½ weeks. It blew hard all day at Cape May on Sunday, the day George gave this report. Striped bass had sometimes been boated on the bay, but no news was heard recently in the weather.

Fresh bunker were unavailable, forcing a striped bass charter to be canceled Sunday on Delaware Bay with <b>Fishin’ Fever Sportfishing</b>, Capt. Tom said. Weather kept bunker boats from sailing, and he wasn’t going to fish with two-day-old bunker. Some stripers are swimming the bay, and more are arriving, after spawning in Delaware River. They swim the bay on the way to the ocean to migrate north for summer. The year’s first black drum charter will fish the bay Thursday aboard. Drum are biting “pretty darn good.”

Seemed that a couple of 37- to 40-inch striped bass were slid from the surf every day, said Nick from <b>Hands Too Bait & Tackle</b>. They were hooked on swimming lures and bunker, and the lures were mostly Daiwa SP Minnows, Bombers and Yo-Zuri Mag Darters. Bluefish were also beaten from the surf. He took a 12-pound 34-incher on an S&S bucktail with an Ottertail, and anglers hit a bunch of blues that day on the beach. Wind kept boaters from fishing in recent days. Previously, they bunker-chunked stripers on Delaware Bay. Joe’s Tip is usually an early-season spot. That’s inshore of 20-Foot Slough off Del Haven and Pierces Point. Drum 30- and 40-pounds were boated on the bay before the wind, off Coxhall Creek, at Bug Light and, Nick thought, off Delaware’s Slaughter Beach. Weakfish, not big, mostly 4 pounds, began to be heard about that were nabbed along surf jetties on bloodworms under a float and on bucktails. Those are older, mature weaks that show up in spring to spawn in back bays. They’re so-called “tiderunners,” because they’re said to move in with the tide. Lots of big stripers slammed the back bay the other day. All anglers there locked into them, sometimes losing them because of the size. One angler landed a 33-incher. Fresh clams, fresh bunker and bloodworms are stocked when available.

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