Sat., Dec. 15, 2018
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Delaware Bay Fishing Report 7-31-18

<b>Port Elizabeth</b>

A couple of days of calmer weather happened between wind and thunderstorms or forecasts for the storms, said Sharon from <b>The Girls Place Bait & Tackle</b>. But not a lot was reported about fishing. Forecasts seemed to keep many from heading out. Customers still boated for summer flounder, and she knew they did because they bought minnows for bait. Flounder remained in waters including Delaware Bay, surely. How anglers fared at catching keepers was Sharon’s question. Weakfish were known to swim the bay, because the bunker netter found weaks in the nets. Croakers reportedly swam somewhere in the bay. Crabbing improved, or crabs were growing bigger. Although thunderstorms were often forecast this past week, not much rain fell locally. More seemed to fall farther west in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania got deluged at some locations. All baits are stocked including plenty of minnows. Fresh bunker arrives almost daily. Shedder crabs arrive regularly. The availability of shedders ebbs and flows, depending on when crabs are shedding. They shed about four times a year during the warmth of summer. 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>

Crabs were shedding and mating on the full moon last weekend, said Paul from <b>Beaver Dam Boat Rentals</b>. That slowed crabbing, and rental-boat trips probably averaged one to two dozen keepers. Crabs mostly won’t eat while shedding or mating, and that’s what slows catches. Bait won’t entice them into traps. But not all crabs shed and mate at once, and some can always be caught. Full moons can trigger shedding and mating, and that usually lasts a few days. The shedding and mating should be ending about now. Crabs were becoming bigger, at least, he said. Crabs 5 ½ inches were more common than before, and some 6-inchers were seen. Crabs shed to grow, of course, and grow quickly throughout summer. Chicken was best bait during the weekend, and chicken and bunker caught equally on Monday. Paul and crew have noticed that chicken’s usually best during shedding and mating, and he guesses that’s hormonal. Chicken attracted turtles – diamondback terrapins – though. Chicken also attracted cownosed rays. They fed on the bait, too, and were big. One customer heaved a cownose to the boat that had a 4-foot wingspan. Paul for this report wasn’t asked whether the customer caught the ray while crabbing or fishing. Rays will certainly bite fishing bait. Customers who fished reeled in a few schoolie striped bass, and probably the rays. Customers crab and fish from rental boats towed up Oranokin Creek, running past the shop. Rental kayaks and canoes are also available to paddle the scenic creek. Telephone and reserve any of the rentals ahead of time. They can become booked. The store stocks everything needed for crabbing, from bait, traps and nets to drinks, snacks 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=" http://www.crabulousnj.com/Home_Page.php" target="_blank">Beaver Dam’s website</a>.

<b>Fortescue</b>

A trip Saturday on the <b>Salt Talk</b> bagged a couple of summer flounder on the bay, Gail, whose husband is the captain, said. Presumably, throwbacks were also hooked and released, though she wasn’t asked about that for this report. Bluefish were also reeled in. So was a stargazer, the southern fish, unusually. The Salt Talk used to be a Fortescue party boat. The captain sold that vessel, and the new Salt Talk is a charter boat for up to four passengers.

<b>Avalon</b>

A buddy who fished the bay near Brandywine boated kingfish and croakers, said Capt. Jim from <b>Fins and Feathers Outfitters</b>. The buddy fished bloodworms and was specifically targeting those catches because he heard about them. Although Fins and Feathers is from Avalon that’s along the ocean coast, Jim sometimes fishes Delaware Bay for summer flounder and other catches on charters. For those trips, he trailers the boat and launches it wherever’s nearest the fishing.

<b>Cape May</b>

Boaters fished for summer flounder near buoy 19 on the bay during dirty water from rough weather this past week, said Nick from <b>Hands Too Bait & Tackle</b>. Water seemed clearer near the shipping channel. Runoff from rain dirtied Delaware River and other rivers, streams or creeks that dirtied the bay. A mix of flounder, weakfish and croakers bit near Brandywine in the bay. Kingfish could be boated at spots like Cape May Channel and McCrae’s Shoal. The surf was rough last week, making kingfishing tough there. One blackfish will be able to be kept per angler, per day beginning Wednesday. Anglers targeting sheepshead, like along jetties or bridges, will also be able to shoot for blackfish. Nick expected to stock green crabs for blackfish bait. Lots of small striped bass bit along sod banks in back waters and back bays and at bridges in evenings on soft-plastic and top-water lures, and at marinas on bait.

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