Sun., Aug. 20, 2017
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Delaware Bay Report

Report from Tuesday, August 15.

| Port Elizabeth | Newport | Fortescue | Cape May | Last Week's Report |
THIS REPORT IS UPDATED EVERY TUESDAY
Port Elizabeth
From The Girls Place Bait & Tackle, Tyler fished on a trip from Longreach Marina yesterday on Delaware Bay, he said. The trip boated 2-pound bluefish, a keeper weakfish, lots of small croakers and three or four puffers, a good catch, at stakes off Maurice River Cove. The blues bit along bottom on small croakers fished for bait, not along the surface like blues can show up this season in the bay, chasing bunker. He heard that weaks 15 to 19 inches, croakers and spots were reeled from the Punk Grounds on the bay. So the weaks were sizable. A couple of boaters are limiting out on summer flounder on the ocean at Ocean City and Townsend’s Inlet reefs. A 33-inch flounder was reported banked from the surf at Avalon on bloodworm fished on a kingfish rig. Tyler was unsure about the weight but guessed the fish weighed more than 10 pounds, maybe 11 pounds and change. Many customers crabbed, and a couple of good catches were reported from near Dennisville. The shop’s commercial crabber was landing decent-sized, including No. 1’s. 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 so-so, improving, said Paul from Beaver Dam Boat Rentals. Crabbers seemed to average two to three dozen keepers in a trip. On three rental-boats crabbing Monday morning, two averaged about that number, and one returned with about 80 keepers. Runoff from rain seemed an issue. Strong current from the volume of the rain did. Oranokin Creek, running past the shop, was red with cedar water – freshwater – from upstream because of rain. But the water on the crabbing grounds, farther downstream, wasn’t that color. Not much was heard about fishing on the creek, because customers mostly crabbed. White perch might’ve swum the creek. Small striped bass were seen along the dock. Paul couldn’t tell whether crabs were shedding locally. A commercial crabber trapped 600 shedders on Delaware Bay on Sunday, and never caught that many before. An unbelievable number of 3-inch crabs pushed up the creek to the local area. They should grow to keeper size, 4 ½ inches, later this season. Customers crab and fish on rental boats towed down the creek. Rental kayaks and canoes are available to paddle the scenic water. A celebration of Delaware Bay, named Crabs and All That Jazz, will be held Sept. 16. That will replace the similar Bay Days celebration that used to take place but does no longer. Crabs and All That Jazz will include a crabbing contest, a Crab-Venger Hunt and, at the end of the day, a dinner featuring the crabs caught. Click the link to visit the event’s website for more info. Visit Beaver Dam’s website.

Fortescue
A couple of charters worked Delaware Bay, catching a few of this fish, a few of that, on the Salt Talk this past week, Capt. Howard said. On the outings, small croakers and small weakfish were angled close to shore, and summer flounder were decked at the stakes and near the wreck buoy. Other anglers were heard about who sometimes nabbed kingfish, but Howard’s trips ran into none. One of the trips on the Salt Talk this past week, for instance, hooked the croakers, 11-inch weaks and bluefish close to shore at first, interesting for the anglers. Then the trip flounder fished, landing a few keepers and a few throwbacks. Seemed that wherever somebody fished for flounder at usual spots, they picked up a few. Howard also crabbed on Fortescue Creek on Sunday for fun, totaling 30 keepers in 5 hour, mostly on hand lines. He also set out a couple of traps, catching a few small. But he has more success with hand lines. The Salt Talk used to be a Fortescue party boat. Howard sold that vessel, and the new Salt Talk is a charter boat for 1 to 4 passengers.

Cape May
Delaware Bay’s summer flounder fishing seemed a little spotty last week, and Nick from Hands Too Bait & Tackle guessed that was because of water clarity, he said. Rain dirtied the water. Croakers, kingfish, snapper blues, spike weakfish and flounder swam Cape May Channel off Cape May Point, at the confluence of the bay and the ocean. Kings, croakers, weakfish and a few flounder were slid from the bay’s surf near the concrete ship and from the surf at Cape May Point. Kings also hit in the ocean surf. Blackfish, sheepshead and triggerfish hugged jetties and pilings from the bay to the ocean around Cape May. Much talk was about flounder fishing on the ocean. Some good catches of them were made at Cape May Reef on the ocean. Deeper water in the ocean at Reef 11 and the Old Grounds produced limits and some big flounder. Flounder still bit in the back bay along the Intracoastal Waterway from Sunset Lake to Cape May Harbor. Crabbing was excellent, a great year for crabbing.

Last Week's Report
Port Elizabeth

From The Girls Place Bait & Tackle, Ray heard about summer flounder decked from Delaware Bay near Fortescue, he said. Somebody also mentioned the fish biting a couple of times near the No. 1 buoy on the bay. Michelle from the shop heard about kingfish landed in the Cape May area, she said. No details about location were heard. Crabs trapped were mentioned from the Turkey Point, Dividing Creek and Matt’s Landing areas. One crabber showed photos of coolers full of 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.

Newport

Crabbing had begun to improve last week but slowed since the weekend’s full moon, said Paul from Beaver Dam Boat Rentals. Full moons can cause crabs to shed and mate, and Paul assumed they were doing both. Shells were seen at the boat ramp, suggesting crabs were shedding, at least. Trips returned with as few keepers as six to four dozen. Maybe the outlook is good for this coming weekend during the waning moon. Two weekends ago, tides were exceptionally high, apparently because of a nor’easter. That made crabbing difficult. Then the full moon came. Crabbing can slow during shedding or mating around the moons, because crabs won’t eat while shedding or mating. But that only lasts several days, and not all crabs shed or mate at once. Some can always be trapped. In-between moons or waning and waxing moons can be times for the best crabbing. Crabbing was good this season until the nor’easter and this moon that followed. The hope is that the catches will kick back in. Spots began to swim the creek. They weren’t big but were good-sized for bait to liveline for fish like striped bass. White perch roamed the creek. 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. The shop can host events like family reunions or birthday parties and groups like scouts, including for an educational day on the water. The store stocks everything needed for crabbing, from bait, traps and nets to snacks, drinks and suntan lotion. Visit Beaver Dam’s website.

Fortescue

Eight or so summer flounder including two keepers were boated at the stakes south of Fortescue on Delaware Bay on Sunday on the Salt Talk, Capt. Howard said. The boat’s also been catching flounder at the Wreck Buoy Slough on the bay. On a trip last week, the angler wanted to fish for a variety of small fish that schooled close to shore on the bay. Small croakers, bluefish, a couple of 14- to 16-inch weakfish and some flounder were landed. Weakfish were there, and bait had to be kept moving to hook them. If bait is left still when croakers or other catches like kingfish are in, a croaker or king can be likely to find the bait first and bite. Flounder fishing might’ve been slower than expected on the bay, but Howard heard about some quality catches. A 10-pounder was reportedly heaved in, but that was unconfirmed. The Salt Talk used to be a party boat from Fortescue. Howard sold that vessel, and the new Salt Talk is a charter boat for 1 to 4 passengers.

Cape May

Summer flounder that were boated were sometimes heard about from Delaware Bay, mostly from along the edges of 20-Foot and 60-Foot sloughs, said Nick from Hands Too Bait & Tackle. Sometimes the fish were slid from the bay’s surf in town. Croakers were around in the bay at drop-offs like at the sloughs and elsewhere. Snapper blues schooled along the bay’s shore. Weakfish seemed to hug the Concrete Ship near the shore and surf jetties at Cape May Point. Good kingfishing and croaker fishing was beached from Cape May’s surf. Blackfish, triggerfish and sheepshead gathered along jetties. Flounder fishing at ocean reefs seemed to be turning on. Flounder were still bagged from the back bay or in the harbor and along the Intracoastal Waterway. Crabbing was excellent.