Sat., June 23, 2018
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Delaware Bay Report

Report from Tuesday, June 19.

| Port Elizabeth | Newport | Fortescue | Cape May | Last Week's Report |
THIS REPORT IS UPDATED EVERY TUESDAY
Port Elizabeth
Fishing wasn’t bad, and the weekend was the first without rain in a long time, said Sharon from The Girls Place Bait & Tackle. 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.

Newport
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 Beaver Dam Boat Rentals. 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 Beaver Dam’s website.

Fortescue
A few summer flounder were pitched aboard Sunday from the bay on the
Salt Talk, 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.

Cape May
Black drum were sometimes boated from Delaware Bay last week, said Joe from Hands Too Bait & Tackle. 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.

Last Week's Report
Port Elizabeth

Black drum were heaved from Delaware Bay in the past week, and the fishing seemed to be slowing, said Sharon from The Girls Place Bait & Tackle. The catches had slowed a moment, and then a few more drum were boated. The fish were probably about to depart the bay for the year, and anglers will see. Weakfish and bluefish were hooked from the bay. Good fishing for summer flounder was reported from back bays – and usually is this time of year – but also Delaware Bay. In Delaware Bay, the Money Island area fished well for the fluke. Was unusual for flounder to gather that far up the bay this early in the year. So fish were being caught, and that was good news. Minnows, a favorite flounder bait, were scarce. They weren’t potting, maybe because of freshwater runoff from rain, but the reason was unknown. Weather’s been rough. More and more customers crabbed, and crabbing seemed slow or not as good as expected for the time of year. Whether that was because of weather was unknown. Crabbing wasn’t great for commercial crabbers. 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.

Newport

Weather kept some from crabbing this weekend at Beaver Dam Boat Rentals, but those who crabbed, caught, Paul said. They probably averaged two to three dozen keepers per trip. The customers weren’t the most experienced crabbers. They trapped fewer throwbacks than customers did previously, for some reason. That seemed unusual, because lots of throwbacks were reported previously. A couple of the crabs were 6 ½ inches, and most keepers were just-keeper-sized or slightly larger. Each year, the rental-boater who traps the largest crab wins a free boat rental for the next year. Schoolie striped bass 20-some inches swam the water. They kept stealing crab bait, customers complained. Customers crab and fish from rental boats towed up Oranokin Creek, running past the shop. The rentals are available on Saturdays and Sundays until becoming available daily beginning June 23, when schools let out. Rental kayaks and canoes are available to paddle the scenic creek. Beaver Dam stocks everything needed for crabbing, from bait, traps and nets to drinks, snacks and suntan lotion. The shop hosts events like birthday parties and family reunions, and groups like scouts, including for an educational day on the water. Visit Beaver Dam’s website.

Fortescue

Capt. Howard from the Salt Talk did engine work on the boat that needed to be done, and so didn’t fish in past days until Sunday, he said. On that day, he took a trip for a while, and made sure the engine was straightened out, and it was, and also fished a little on the bay. Four throwback summer flounder and some bluefish were reeled in at the rips at the slough between the Old House and Egg Island Point. Maybe flounder fishing will kick in, in another week, he thinks. Four keepers were taken on a Fortescue party boat the previous day, he heard. Howard didn’t know the water temperature, but the water felt relatively warm and was probably in the mid-60 degrees, he guessed. The water was clear, despite recent rain, and weather was overcast and a little windy, but not bad. The blues bit bait along bottom on the flounder rigs, weren’t swimming along the surface like they do to chase bunker sometimes. Did Howard hear about any weakfish from the bay? A few were found in commercial crab traps close to shore, so some should be around. One of the party boats that likes to mix-in fishing for weaks at the lighthouses grabbed some. Fortescue’s party boats might be finished fishing for black drum for the year, Howard thought. 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.

Cape May

Black drum still swam the bay, Capt. Tom from Fishin’ Fever Sportfishing said late last week, and was sure they’d bite around this week’s new moon. Room was available for that fishing aboard.

Anglers were all fishing for summer flounder, said Nick from Hands Too Bait & Tackle. The back bay along the Intracoastal Waterway and the inlets fished well for the flatfish. Nick did hear about flounder boated from Delaware Bay. A trip reeled in four keepers there. The anglers said that was along hard bottom, so Nick figured that was at the sloughs. Reports were still heard about black drum caught from Delaware Bay last week. The fish then seemed to push farther from shore, and Tussy’s Slough was fished for them. A few striped bass were still angled from Cape May’s surf. Dunk fresh bunker or fresh clams for them. Weakfish and flounder were also dragged from the surf. The weakfishing was decent along jetties on bloodworms on floats or soft-plastic lures on bucktails. Not much was heard about bluefish from the surf or anywhere. The surf at Cape May includes Delaware Bay and the ocean, because the town is located at the confluence of the two.