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Delaware Bay Fishing Report 6-19-18

<b>Port Elizabeth</b>

Fishing wasn’t bad, and the weekend was the first without rain in a long time, said Sharon from <b>The Girls Place Bait & Tackle</b>. Black drum were still boated from Delaware Bay as of last week, and interest waned since. But drum can usually still be caught a moment longer. Obtaining fresh clams for bait for drum can be challenging. The clams are scarce these days, and suppliers carry fewer by this time of year, when demand drops off. Summer flounder fishing was pretty good on back bays and Delaware Bay. Keepers were hooked, and that’s a factor in these days of a larger size limit than in the past. Seventeen inches is the legal minimum size in Delaware Bay, compared with 18 in most of the rest of New Jersey. Weakfish and bluefish were around in the bay. The weaks showed up in the southern bay a week or so ago, and now spread out more in the bay. Were the blues the usual smaller ones that pop up randomly, chasing bunker schools, in the bay? Sharon was asked. She really didn’t hear much about the blues, she said, or heard no details. Customers talked more about flounder they targeted. The blues are usually a catch by chance during other fishing, like for flounder. One angler said his trip landed 40 striped bass including three keepers in the bay near Ship John. His trip the next day landed 10 including one or two keepers. Stripers apparently swam that area, and Sharon didn’t know what the trips caught on. Customers began buying more bait and supplies for crabbing, and Sharon would think catches of crabs were picking up. Baits stocked currently included minnows, and the availability of minnows improved a little. They had been scarce and difficult to stock, like happens during some springs. Minnows seem to spawn, sometimes making them scarce, that time of year. Sometimes spring’s rains seem to make the baitfish difficult to net, too. Freshwater from the rain seems to chase them away or something. 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.


Crabbing was somewhat spottier on Sunday than on Saturday, for no apparent reason, but most boats returned with two to three dozen keepers, said Paul from <b>Beaver Dam Boat Rentals</b>.  Catches were pretty good, and one of the shop’s best crabbers totaled two-thirds of a bushel, didn’t “bushel out.” So crabbing was good, not great. A bushel is the bag limit per crabber, per day. That crabber said plenty of small crabs skittered around, and was pleased about that, because that should bode well for crabbing later this year. Crabs grow quickly. Most customers’ keepers were 5 ½ inches. A few were just-keeper-sized or 4 ½ inches. Crabs seemed to “size-separate,” like crabs do. A customer reported trapping keepers at first and small after the tide changed. Some good-sized striped bass were seen in the creek. A few white perch, not many, were hooked. Big cownosed rays invaded the water and were stealing bait. One angler put a rod down and apparently a ray grabbed the bait and pulled the rod in the water, and the rod was lost. Another customer showed a fish hook that a ray had straightened out. Some of the rays had 3-foot wing spans. Customers crab and fish on rental boats towed up Oranokin Creek, running past the shop. The boats were available on Saturdays and Sundays until now, and will become available daily beginning Saturday, a usual schedule at the store. Rental kayaks and canoes are available to paddle the scenic creek. Beaver Dams stocks everything needed for crabbing, from bait, traps and nets to snacks, drinks and suntan lotion. The shop can host events like birthday parties and family reunions, and groups like scouts, including for an educational day on the water. Visit <a href="" target="_blank">Beaver Dam’s website</a>.


A few summer flounder were pitched aboard Sunday from the bay on the <b>Salt Talk</b>, Capt. Howard said. That was a short trip, because that was Fathers’ Day. The trip fished at the stakes and at the edge of the rip nearby. The water was 67 or 68 degrees, Howard thought, and weather was beautiful. One 10- or 11-inch bluefish was also hooked, and the bay’s fishing sounded slow on Saturday but better on Sunday. Howard saw another boat’s catch at the dock Sunday: two dozen blues, an 18-inch weakfish and a 20-inch flounder. The fleet seemed finished fishing for black drum for the year. Someone telephoned Howard asking about a drum trip, but that was about a month late. 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>

Black drum were sometimes boated from Delaware Bay last week, said Joe from <b>Hands Too Bait & Tackle</b>. The fishing would probably last through last weekend, before the drum would depart, he thought.  It’s that time of year. Joe did hear something about summer flounder from Delaware Bay. The fish were reportedly bagged at deeper water at usual places. Trips probably infrequently fished Delaware Bay last week because of windy weather. Flounder fishing was good, not bad at all, on back bays. Anglers Joe knows were rumored to nail 18- to 24-inch weakfish that bit like crazy in Delaware Bay somewhere toward Fortescue or Maurice River. Throwback striped bass were sometimes dragged from Cape May’s surf on clams or bunker chunks. Or sometimes anglers plugged to catch them, like along jetties. A few big weakfish bit in the surf along jetties on bloodworms. White perch fishing was good on Maurice River, creeks around Dennisville or brackish waters like these. Crabbing wasn’t so hot yet locally. Customers headed to crab, after buying bait.                            

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