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Delaware Bay Report

Report from Tuesday, November 27.

| Attention: | Port Elizabeth | Fortescue | Cape May | Last Week's Report |

Note, Tuesday, 12/4: No news rolled in about the bay, and the report from 11/27 might be the year’s final, unless news pops up.

If news does, it’ll be posted below as an update.

Port Elizabeth
One customer boated striped bass off Money Island, said Sharon from
The Girls Place Bait & Tackle. The angler keeps his boat there, and came to the store to buy bunker for bait for the angling a second time when he reported that. Fresh bunker have been difficult to obtain from the bay, and Sharon’s been driving north to Mantoloking to pick up the menhaden. The supplier there said business increased for striper fishing in the Long Beach Island area on the ocean. More of the southern migration seemed to arrive there in the past week. Sharon heard about no striper catches off South Jersey on the ocean, really. She had customers who were trying for the fish. Customers bought green crabs for blackfishing. The crabs are stocked, and fresh bunker are carried when available if demand is likely. Fresh clams were difficult to find, and frozen clams in pints and quarts were stocked more often than fresh. The store is usually open until mid-December before being closed for a winter break, but Sharon will see. It’ll be open this week, for sure. Local marinas pretty much closed for the season, and they usually close after Thanksgiving weekend. 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. ***Update, Tuesday, 12/11:*** The store was closed beginning yesterday through winter, Sharon said. The shop will probably be reopened in mid-March, like usual. Anglers should be fishing for white perch on brackish rivers by then, and Sharon and crew should be getting the shop ready for the fishing season at that time. Girls Place is usually closed beginning during the week before Christmas. But business screeched to a halt in rough weather, so the doors were closed a week early. Almost every weekend had rough weather, and that ended interest in fishing early.

A trip fished for striped bass Friday on the bay on the Salt Talk, Capt. Howard said. But nothing was hooked, and he hauled the boat from the water for winter on Saturday. The water surface was 44 degrees near Miah Maul on the trip, and stripers are rarely caught in water below 44. Howard told the anglers he preferred not to run the trip, but they wanted to go. He could get no fresh bunker for bait, and the bunker he had were four days old. The trip fished that and the trip also trolled Stretch plugs. 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
Surf-fishing for stripers was a little slow, banking a few throwbacks and a couple of keepers, said Nick from Hands Too Bait & Tackle. Customers fish the surf from the ocean to Delaware Bay, because Cape May is located at the confluence. Nick had nothing to report about boating for stripers on the bay. Most stripers were boated on the ocean at inshore lumps like off Sea Isle City and Avalon. Blackfish still seemed to bite in the inshore ocean at wrecks and at spots like Cape May and Wildwood reefs. When trips could push farther from shore on the ocean, some sailed for sea bass, tying into them well in 120 feet of water. Sea bass were migrating offshore to spend winter. Green crabs, fresh clams in the shell and shucked and eels were stocked. Nick hoped to stock fresh bunker last weekend, he said before then.

Last Week's Report
Port Elizabeth

Big, migrating striped bass began to be heard about from the ocean off South Jersey here and there, said Sharon from The Girls Place Bait & Tackle> A few more seemed to be picked in the Long Beach Island area than before, too. That’s farther north in New Jersey, but was a somewhat better population than before. The migration seemed to be easing southward. Nothing was heard from Delaware Bay about stripers. Weather also continued to be terrible, and that often prevented boating. The cold wasn’t minded. Cold is normal for the time of year. But wind wouldn’t stop blowing, and that roughs up seas and prevents boating. Snow even fell one day this past week. Fresh bunker, favorite bait for stripers in this area, including favorite in the bay, were scarce. Weather kept bunker boats from sailing, but few bunker netters worked Delaware Bay anymore this season, too. Demand drops, so they stop sailing. But Sharon drove north to the Mantoloking area to obtain the baitfish, and will continue to do that. Fresh bunker were supposed to arrive at the shop yesterday, when Sharon gave this report. Things looked like she’d be able to stock fresh bunker for Thanksgiving, and the shop will be open 5 to 11 a.m. that day if so. If no bunker are available, the shop might not be open that day. But she expected the baitfish. Sharon recommends that if anglers want to make sure they have bunker, they should vacuum-pack and freeze some whenever they obtain fresh. Bunker that are kept like that will catch just as many stripers. Quite a few green crabs were sold for blackfishing. Anglers fished for the tautog, because the bag limit was increased to five beginning Friday, from the previous limit of one. Most local marinas will close after this Thanksgiving weekend through winter. 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.


A few bonus-tag striped bass were bagged from the bay on one of Fortescue’s party boats, Capt. Howard from the Salt Talk thought, he said. That’s a smaller striper 24 inches to less than 28 that can be kept if an angler has a bonus tag from New Jersey or the boat has the tags. One per angler can be kept per year with the tag. Howard did no fishing on the Salt Talk, and will probably pull the boat to dry dock soon. The bay’s fishing might be winding down, and the number of anglers fishing the bay certainly was. The bay on Sunday was 47 degrees, and about a week previously was 51. Stripers are seldom caught once the water drops below 44. 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

Not much was heard about fishing for stripers on Delaware Bay or the Cape May Rips, said Nick from Hands Too Bait & Tackle. The rips are at the confluence of the bay and ocean. Surf fishing for stripers was a little tough. But stripers, mostly throwbacks, a few keepers, were angled along inlet rocks on lures. Some anglers eeled them. Blackfish snapped along jetties, and the bag limit increased beginning Friday. The striper migration was a little north. A few seemed to be boated toward Atlantic City on the ocean. Those are big, mature stripers headed south to spend winter in warmer water. The smaller stripers at places like inlets and the back bay are juvenile fish that live in that area, until they grow old enough to migrate. The back bay’s striper fishing became somewhat slower, because baitfish were departing, but still produced.