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Delaware Bay Fishing Report 7-17-18

<b>Port Elizabeth</b>

Summer flounder were boated including from Delaware Bay, said Sharon from <b>The Girls Place Bait & Tackle</b>. Keepers seemed scarcer than before, and could even be difficult to find, in back waters like this and back bays, the bays between barrier islands and the mainland along the ocean coast. That seemed because, at this time of year, some of the bigger flounder migrate to the cooler ocean, but also because many of the keepers are caught by this time of season. Sharon had been hearing about more kingfish nabbed than before at places like Wildwood’s surf. If kings were piling into that water, they could be expected to school Delaware Bay. But news about the kings quieted recently, for unknown reasons. Little was heard about weakfish, but some should be around in Delaware Bay and elsewhere. Sharon’s hoping to hear about croakers showing up in the bay soon. August and September used to be the best months to find them. News about fishing was somewhat scarcer than before, and that seemed usual for mid-July or by this time in summer. Weather’s been hot for some time, and fish – and maybe even anglers! – might be somewhat lethargic, compared with when weather was cooler. The store was busy with customers, though. Weather wasn’t bad recently, after a long stretch of rough weather previously. Some breeze blew, but that could be good. Crabbing was okay in ditches and some of the back bays. All baits have been stocked regularly, including minnows, shedder crabs, bloodworms and fresh clams. 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.


The new moon last week triggered crabs to shed and mate, said Paul from <b>Beaver Dam Boat Rentals</b>. Shedding and mating can slow crabbing, because the blueclaws won’t eat when they shed or mate. But not all crabs shed or mate at once, so some can always be trapped. That did cause slower catches, but crabbing seemed to be picking back up yesterday. Two trips that morning headed out, trapped a couple of dozen keepers apiece, and quickly returned. The new moon was last Wednesday, and shedding and mating usually last three to five days, or that’s how long crabbing is usually affected. Full moons can also trigger shedding and mating. The sizes of keepers, about 5 inches, was pretty good. Plenty of small crabs, throwbacks, skittered around, like usual. Chicken was best bait during the weekend, and the crew has noticed that chicken often catches during shedding or mating. That’s hormonal, they think. Otherwise, bunker often works best. By yesterday, chicken and bunker seemed to catch equally. Many customers caught best on squid on handlines recently. They seemed to use whole squid, and the squid seemed to work because lots of small fish pecked at other baits like bunker. They’d devour the bait eventually, but the squid held up better. A couple of anglers on the rental boats reeled 23- or 24-inch striped bass from the creek. They seemed to catch best on a chunk of bunker or pieces of squid floated under a bobber, like three feet below, instead of fishing along bottom. Stripers are usually thought to feed along bottom, but they bit higher up in the water column recently. Customers fish and crab from rental boats towed up Oranokin Creek, running past the shop. Rental kayaks and canoes are available to paddle the scenic creek. Call ahead to reserve any rentals to ensure they’ll be available. They can book up. Beaver Dam 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>.


Two trips fished for summer flounder on the bay in past days on the <b>Salt Talk</b>, Capt. Howard said. A few were bagged, and throwbacks were released. Big sharks were sometimes reeled in. The trips fished near the wreck buoy, and the bay’s fishing seems not as good as years ago. Nobody seems to know the reason. But a few flounder seem around. Howard was seeing other boats dock a few, too. The water’s been clear, and Howard didn’t know the temperature, but it felt warm. Last week’s new moon caused strong tides. That drifted the boat too fast for the best flounder fishing on one trip aboard. Howard heard about few other fish from the bay. A couple of small cobia and a couple of weakfish were hooked on one of Fortescue’s party boats, he heard. 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>

Fishing for summer flounder sounded decent on the bay toward Fortescue, said Joe from <b>Hands Too Bait & Tackle</b>. Seventeen inches is the legal minimum size on the bay, compared with 18 in most of the state. That probably helps. No weakfish were heard about, including from Delaware Bay. Nothing much seemed to school Cape May Channel, off Cape May Point, at the confluence of the bay and ocean, that can hold a variety of fish in summer. A few bluefish, small flounder and baby sea bass probably roamed there. Baby sea bass were everywhere. Kingfish were reported hooked around Cape May Inlet, so they should be in the surf, though none was heard about from the surf. Triggerfish were rumored to hug jetties. Back bays served up flounder, and ocean reefs began to give them up. Crabbing seemed good. Lots of crabs were trapped in spring but were small. Good-sized were trapped pretty well now. A customer who frequently crabs trapped 1 ½ dozen keeper jimmies in 1 ½ hours. He only keeps jimmies.

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