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Delaware Bay Fishing Report 8-28-18

<b>Port Elizabeth</b>

Friends who fished the bay on a trip landed four summer flounder, including one keeper, and quite a few weakfish, said Sharon from <b>The Girls Place Bait & Tackle</b>. The outing sailed from Cape May, so the trip probably fished the southern bay, but that was unconfirmed. Sharon joined a trip that fished Wildwood and Cape May reefs on the ocean Saturday, catching a surprising variety of fish, mostly flounder but also small bluefish, small croakers and small sea bass. Most of the flounder were undersized, and those ranged a variety of sizes from very small to very close to keeper-sized. The flounder size limit really is too small. But the trip was fun, including because there was action. Weather was beautiful, after strong wind earlier in the week. Lots of boats fished the reefs, and the Coast Guard was boarding many. Sharon didn’t know what the Coast Guard was checking. But be sure to have required equipment and paperwork and to abide by fishing bag limits. White perch fishing was okay on brackish rivers, producing good numbers and good-sized. The South Jersey Sportsmen’s Association will hold a white perch tournament on Saturday, Sept. 8, with a grand prize of $1,000. That’s a large prize. Crabbing was fairly good, and many customers stopped by for crabbing supplies. Crabs were trapped farther upstream than usual on Maurice River or its tributaries. That seemed because saltwater pushed farther upstream because of less rain or dry weather. Although some areas have had lots of rain, like in some parts of Pennsylvania or along the I-95 corridor there and some parts of New Jersey farther north, this area of South Jersey has been dry. All baits are stocked including plenty of minnows, and shedder crabs. 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 better than Paul expected from <b>Beaver Dam Boat Rentals</b>, he said. The moon was full Sunday, triggering crabs to shed and mate. That can slow crabbing, because crabs don’t eat while shedding and mating. But not all crabs shed or mate at once, and customers “who could crab” trapped more than three dozen keepers per trip. Some nabbed four dozen, and a couple of trips brought in a half-bushel apiece. Crab sizes were definitely increasing, and lots more were 6 inches than before. Crabs were coupling and mating on every piling. Mating and shedding usually last a few days. Many pregnant crabs were also in. Thirty to 40 percent of crabs were females. Crabbers usually release pregnant crabs, and many prefer to keep males instead of females. They think that’s better for breeding. Chicken was best bait yesterday, definitely. Paul and crew have noticed that chicken can work best during shedding and mating, and they guess that’s hormonal. Bunker for bait usually catches best when no shedding or mating is happening, and bunker attracts fewer turtles. Turtles, diamondback terrapins, were abundant. A couple of customers pasted good catches of white perch from the creek. One hooked respectable-sized spots. Baby black drum swam the water. Large striped bass and big rays that swam the creek seemed to disappear that were in recently. 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. Reserve rentals ahead, because they can book up. Beaver Dam can host events like birthday parties and family reunions, and groups like scouts, including for an educational day about the environment. Beaver Dam stocks everything needed for crabbing, from bait, traps and nets to snacks, drinks and suntan lotion. The store is open at 6 a.m. through Labor Day and at 6:30 a.m. afterward, because the sun is rising later. Visit <a href="" target="_blank">Beaver Dam’s website</a>. 


A trip Friday bagged seven summer flounder from the bay on the <b>Salt Talk</b>, Capt. Howard said. Five were really good-sized, and two just made the legal size. Throwbacks and a couple of bluefish were also reeled in. The trip fished first at the Elbow, where four or five of the fish were tugged in, and near the wreck buoy afterward, where the rest of the catches came in. Seas were dead calm on that trip, but on a trip Sunday, wind blew against tide, roughing up the bay. One keeper flounder, probably a dozen throwbacks, a half-dozen blues and a throwback cobia were totaled. That trip fished at the stakes near the Old House, in 15 to 30 feet of water, where bottom is really up and down. That seems to attract fish. The water had somewhat of a red tint at the end of the day, but that failed to keep fish from biting. 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 was a little tough last week in wind, said Nick from <b>Hands Too Bait & Tackle</b> on Thursday. But the weekend was supposed to be beautiful, and was. Many summer flounder trips fished the back bay while wind prevented fishing elsewhere. Lots of throwbacks but a keeper here and there were winged. But there was action. The last reports from Delaware Bay talked about catches near the 9 and 10 buoys. Near the 19 buoy or the Miah Maul area was another spot on the bay. Croakers seemed around in the bay. Someone at the shop while Nick gave this report said croakers schooled Cape May Channel. Cobia hugged buoys from the bay to Cape May Rips and the ocean. In the surf, kingfish and a few pompanos swam. Shark fishing was good in the surf, mostly in evenings. Triggerfish held along ocean jetties. Jetties along Delaware Bay held sheepshead and blackfish. Cape May is at the confluence of the ocean and bay, so customers fish the surf from both places.

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