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Delaware Bay Report

Report from Tuesday, October 17.

| Port Elizabeth | Fortescue | Cape May | Last Week's Report |
Port Elizabeth
Not a lot happened with fishing, said Sharon from The Girls Place Bait & Tackle. Weather was rough most of the past week. Striped bass catches were reported here and there, from creeks and back bays. Those seemed to be resident stripers, not migrators. Water was warm for the fall migration of stripers to swim south to most of the state, except maybe North Jersey. But weather was turning cooler this week. White perch were reeled from brackish rivers and creeks. Customers still crabbed, and caught. One crabber reported a good catch. A few shedder crabs were still stocked for bait. Bloodworms and shedders were popular bait. Customers bought more eels than before, usually a sign that more are trying for stripers than before. Eels are popular for stripers and catfish. 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 trip sailed Sunday aboard the Salt Talk, fishing Delaware Bay inshore, but seas were rough, and fewer fish bit than before, Capt. Howard said. A few bluefish, croakers and spots were hooked. Previously, more of those fish and also weakfish were reeled aboard from that area. The angling previously was good, and Howard couldn’t know whether Sunday’s seas caused the slower catches. He heard about no striped bass recently. Any stripers locally would be resident fish, because the water was too warm for the season’s migrating stripers to arrive. The ocean was 68 degrees, and when the migration is in, water is usually 55 or 57 degrees. 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
Bluefish 10 to 12 inches and sometimes striped bass were eased from the surf from the ocean to Delaware Bay, said Nick from Hands Too Bait & Tackle. Cape May is at the confluence of the two, and the stripers included an occasional 30-inch keeper. Lures or mullet were fished. Rough weather often kept anglers from fishing last week. But blackfish also chomped along jetties. Sometimes sheepshead and triggerfish did, because water was warm. Cooler weather this week might begin to drop the water temperature.

Last Week's Report
Port Elizabeth

A couple of customers who stopped in said a couple of keeper striped bass 28 and 33 inches were angled in the Bidwell Creek area, said Sharon from The Girls Bait & Tackle. She took them to mean that the fish came from the creek itself, not Delaware Bay near the creek. Stripers like that aren’t unusual in creeks this time of year. The fish would seem to be resident stripers, not migrators. The fall migration of stripers that anglers are awaiting seemed yet to begin anywhere in New Jersey. Another customer reported a 29-inch striper bagged, but never said where, or the crew at the shop forgot. White perch fishing was good on brackish rivers like the Maurice. People still crabbed, still seemed to trap some. A few shedder crabs for bait, no large numbers, are still being stocked, and some frozen – some – are still being carried. Shedders are becoming scarcer, because crabs stop shedding sometime in fall 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.


Was a decent week, said Capt. Howard from the Salt Talk. Caught some fish. Trips aboard fished inshore on Delaware Bay, boating catches including weakfish, bluefish, a few kingfish and small croakers and spots. The croakers and spots were used for bait. Trips first fished for them with bloodworms and shedder crabs. Then the spots and croakers were cut in strips for bait. One of the trips Saturday with three anglers landed those first. Then the anglers reeled in probably eight weaks, keeping no more than a limit of one apiece, three kingfish, some blues and two 14-inch, out-of-season summer flounder that were released. The weaks were probably up to 17 or 18 inches. They weren’t 5 pounds or anything, but when compared to weaks like 13 inches, they looked large. The kings were good-sized and were the first that Howard’s trips hooked since spring, though other anglers found kings in the bay in summer or fall. The blues weighed 2 ½ or 3 pounds. The flounder would’ve been throwbacks if the season were open, but some flounder seemed to remain in the bay, though the season might seem late for that. The party boat Bonanza fished nearby, and Howard thought the captain said a couple of keeper-sized flounder were released aboard the trip. A trip Wednesday on the Salt Talk caught about the same as Saturday’s trip on the boat. Was decent. Howard was asked if he heard about any striped bass. A 32-incher that a white perch angler nailed in Fortescue Creek was the only keeper striper Howard heard about, he said. The season was early for stripers.

Cape May

Small bluefish, lots, tumbled around the surf, pouncing on mullet for bait, small lures and spoons, said Nick from Hands Too Bait & Tackle. A couple of striped bass were slid from the surf, either biting around bluefish schools or on their own on mullet or clams. This was all from the ocean to Delaware Bay, and Cape May is at the confluence of the two. A few kingfish chewed in the same area on bloodworms on smaller hooks. A few croakers nibbled in the surf at Higbee’s Beach on the bay. At Higbee’s, kings, croakers, weakfish and stripers sometimes appeared. Blackfish were cranked in from along jetties on green crabs. A few sheepshead were still heard about from along jetties. The water was warm enough. Striper fishing was good along the Cape May Inlet jetties and in the back bay. A couple of decent-sized were picked up during low-light hours.