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Delaware Bay Fishing Report 5-8-18

<b>Port Elizabeth</b>

Surf fishing for striped bass went well at Fortescue during the weekend apparently, said Sharon from <b>The Girls Place Bait & Tackle</b>. Big stripers to 46 inches were in the mix among throwbacks. Quite a few were big, and bloodworms seemed to catch almost all stripers from shore there. Boating for black drum sounded iffy during the weekend on the bay. Not much of the fishing was reported, and the season was a little early. Summer flounder season will open March 25, and the size limit is 17 inches on the bay. The limit is 18 inches in most of the rest of the state. Three fish is the bag limit on the bay and most of the rest of the state. Not much was heard about white perch fishing on brackish rivers. But the perching is generally good on Maurice River throughout the fishing season. That’s a good place for that. Crabbing seemed yet to produce much, and the water was chilly. Few people crabbed yet. Surely a few of the blueclaws could be trapped, but how many and how large was the question. Bloodworms are stocked and have been a big seller. Customers can telephone to reserve them and ensure a supply. The store tries to stock jumbos, but stripers will bite any size. Fresh bunker have been stocked. Fresh clams have been carried when available. The supply’s been scarce, and stores hope that will improve as the fishing season picks up. 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>Newport</b>

From <b>Beaver Dam Boat Rentals</b>, Paul saw signs that advertised crabs for sale on the way to Cape May, he said. Two were from commercial crabbers from Delaware Bay, so surely they caught the crabs in the bay. The other was at a fish market, and there’s a chance a market would sell crabs from Maryland if crabs were unavailable locally. But if the commercials were catching locally, maybe not. The price was three dozen for $25 at all those places. Beaver Dam’s rental boats will become available for crabbing on the weekend of May 19, the weekend before Memorial Day. Then the boats will be available every Saturday and Sunday, until becoming available daily in late June, when schools let out. Customers crab and fish from rental boats towed up Oranokin Creek, running past the shop. A couple of customers who checked-in turkeys said they kept catching 2-inch crabs while netting grass shrimp locally. That seemed a good sign, and by July, those crabs will be keeper-sized, 4 ½ inches. Crabs grow 1 ½ inches each time they shed, about once a month. Paul netted grass shrimp in the creek just to see what was in the water. They were bigger than before but still small. Not a lot of minnows swam yet. Paul checked the creek’s temperature while giving this report at 2 p.m. today in a phone call. The water was 60 degrees. That’s a temperature where crabs can begin to be trapped. The tide was two-thirds into incoming when he checked. Beaver Dam sells everything needed for crabbing, from bait, traps and nets to snacks, drinks and suntan lotion. Rental kayaks and canoes also become available to paddle the scenic creek when the boats become available. Visit <a href=" http://www.crabulousnj.com/Home_Page.php" target="_blank">Beaver Dam’s website</a>.

<b>Fortescue</b>

Capt. Howard from the <b>Salt Talk</b> heard about a few black drum boated from the bay, he said. The fishing should pick up, and he also knew about a 20-incher from the surf at Fortescue. Surf fishing for striped bass was pretty good at Fortescue. Throwbacks bit, and sometimes large stripers did. In the past two weeks, he heard about 20 of the bass larger than 40 inches. A mother and a daughter landed a 46-incher and a 43-incher in a trip Wednesday evening. Anglers who fished the beach Sunday said stripers hit until high water, and none did the rest of the day. Have to be there at the right time. Big stripers were still being clocked currently from that shore, and nobody knows how long that will last. A friend’s been boating good catches of sizable stripers on the northern bay, sailing from Cohansey River. Howard might launch the Salt Talk there and do some of that fishing. Drum charters will sail aboard later this month.  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>

A few black drum were eased from the bay last week, said Capt. George from the <b>Heavy Hitter</b>. He knew about three trips that tried for them Saturday night and were skunked. The season is early, and the drum fishing will probably pick up in another week. The Heavy Hitter will get after them.

Trips will fish for black drum soon on the bay with <b>Fishin’ Fever Sportfishing</b>, Capt. Tom said. A few drum, nothing great, caught were heard about during the weekend. A trip for tilefish on the offshore ocean, the year’s first, sailed Sunday aboard.

Boating for black drum sounded fairly good on the bay last week, said Nick from <b>Hands Too Bait & tackle</b>. On the New Jersey side of the bay? Yes, he said. Surf anglers dragged in drum from the bay. Striped bass fishing in Cape May’s surf was spotty. One or two beached were heard about every day, but too few to say a certain place was producing or any details. Cape May is located at the confluence of Delaware Bay and the ocean, and surf anglers fish both places in town. But fishing for throwback stripers was good on the back bay. A few weakfish were picked along inlets and jetties on bloodworms on a float or soft-plastic lures on a lightweight jighead. The only bluefish heard about were 1- to 3-pound tailors from the back bay sometimes. A few crabs began to be trapped as water warmed. The back bay was best for that.   

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