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Delaware Bay Report

Report from Tuesday, October 9.

| Port Elizabeth | Fortescue | Cape May | Last Week's Report |
THIS REPORT IS UPDATED EVERY TUESDAY
Port Elizabeth
Kingfish and weakfish were known about from inshore in the bay, like just offshore of the turn buoys or the 2 and 3 buoys off the Maurice River, said Sharon from The Girls Place Bait & Tackle. Not many striped bass except throwbacks were heard about. Some of the stripers, mostly throwbacks, were banked from shore at East Point. Out-of-season summer flounder seemed to remain in the bay. A customer boated and released a couple of throwbacks. Bloodworms were the most popular bait for customers currently. A few shedder crabs were still stocked. Crabbing was pretty good, and this was becoming late in the year for that. Warm weather seemed to keep crabbing and some types of fishing going. Customers bought bait to fish for sheepshead they said bit along jetties. Sheepshead are a southern, warm-water species that seemed to linger in New Jersey later in the year than usual because of warmth. Even kingfish are usually gone already. Green crabs are preferred bait for sheepshead, but none was stocked yet. They’ll be stocked for blackfish when the blackfish bag limit increases later this fall. But shedder crabs will catch sheepshead just as well. Sea bass season opened beginning Monday, and anglers will boat for them on the ocean. Fresh clams are favorite bait for sea bass, but the clams are scarce from suppliers. None of the clams is stocked, but frozen, salted are. Sea bass will also bite squid, jigs, teasers and other things. 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.

Fortescue
Capt. Howard from the Salt Talk and a neighbor boated bluefish, a decent catch, and a few kingfish aboard Saturday off Egg Island Point, he said. Wasn’t bad, actually, and the blues weighed less than 3 pounds. On Sunday, he and a friend boated a few of the blues and kingfish and some weakfish and blowfish in the area. The water was 75 degrees, Howard heard on the radio. 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 to 25 inches, decent-sized, showed up in inlets and the back bay, said Nick from Hands Too Bait & Tackle. Fishing went well for them on mullet or lures. Blues mostly to 18 inches and throwback striped bass bit in the surf on mullet or lures. That was from the ocean to Delaware Bay, and Cape May is at the confluence. On the Delaware Bay side, spots, kingfish, a few croakers and maybe still pompano probably continued to be around like before in the surf. A few weakfish loitered the bay’s surf. Fishing for blackfish and triggerfish along surf jetties was a little slow, but a few gathered there. Blackfish and triggers swam fairly abundant at inshore wrecks in the ocean. Sea bass season opened Monday, and trips will fish for them often at small inshore wrecks on the ocean and at spots like Cape May Reef. Crabbing was excellent on the back bay.

Last Week's Report
Port Elizabeth

Weakfish likely swam the bay – weather’s been warm enough, said Sharon from The Girls Place Bait & Tackle. Not a lot of anglers target the trout in the one-weakfish bag limit. No reports about kingfish or other catches rolled in from the bay. Weather was rough most of the past week, and this was an in-between time of year, when summer flounder season is closed, and striped bass fishing is yet to pick up. But a few reports about stripers were almost the only news. Sharon in last week’s report mentioned a couple of keepers banked from Fortescue’s surf. She recently heard about another, a 37-inch striper, caught and released on Dividing Creek. Stripers were reported angled from Atlantic City’s waters like creeks. Striper fishing was yet to pick up as much as it will, but catches of them were more frequent than in the heat of summer. White perch fishing was good in brackish rivers or creeks. The perch should be bigger this time of year, because now and in early spring, they usually are, compared with smaller that are usually more common in summer. Most business was for crabbing. Crabbing was good, and crabs this time of year are meatier or full of meat, because most are finished shedding. Shedder crabs are still stocked for bait. Baits carried also include minnows and bloodworms. Some fresh bunker are coming in. 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

This was the year’s final weekend of crabbing from the rental boats at Beaver Dam Boat Rentals, and the catches were good, Paul said. But the store will remain open including for crabbing bait and supplies, duck hunting and turkey check-ins. Duck-season passes are available for the boat ramp. The crabbing was probably some of the best of the year. So was the weather. A couple of the boats almost busheled-out on crabs. Most keepers were 5 inches or larger. Paul did some trapping and caught a bunch of 6-inchers. A good population of large like that can bode well for spring crabbing, if no severe freeze kills them in winter. Bunker was best bait during the weekend, catching more crabs than chicken did. Those are the two main baits, and which catches best always changes. Plenty of customers arrived prepared to crab with chicken. But the shop quickly saw bunker work best. The crew switched customers to bunker, and catches immediately improved. A 7-1/16-inch crab was biggest this year for customers, and the customer with the biggest each year wins a free boat rental the next year. Customers reeled a bunch of 23- to 28-inch striped bass from the creek this weekend. One boat with customers who frequently fish also hooked 12-inch weakfish, 12-inch snapper bluefish, a few white perch and a few large spots, a smorgasbord, during the weekend. Customers fish and crab from rental boats towed up Oranokin Creek, running past the shop. The boats become available again each year usually during the weekend before Memorial Day or, at the latest, the holiday weekend itself. Rental kayaks and canoes are also available to paddle the scenic creek during the same schedule that the rental boats are. Beaver Dam carries everything needed for crabbing, from bait, traps and nets to drinks, snacks 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

Capt. Howard from the Salt Talk did no fishing in past days but heard about someone who boated kingfish and maybe weakfish to the south in the bay, he said. Howard was unsure how far south. Near Fortescue, bluefish were plucked from the bay, and kingfish were nabbed “off the beach.” One of the Fortescue party boats fished Wednesday or so, and another fished Sunday, he thought, but didn’t know what they caught. A good population of white perch swam Fortescue Creek. Howard saw an angler cleaning a mess of them. The Salt Talk used to be a Fortescue party boat. He sold that vessel, and the new Salt Talk is a charter boat for up to four passengers.

Cape May

Lots of baitfish including mullet schooled the surf, said Nick from Hands Too Bait & Tackle. A good number of bluefish and a few striped bass, including sometimes a keeper, chased them. Fish mullet or, if birds are working, metal like a Kastmaster or a Krocodile, matching the mullet. This was from the ocean to Delaware Bay, and Cape May is at the confluence. On the Delaware Bay side, spots, kings and croakers were plucked from the surf near the concrete ship. For them, fish bloodworms or cut bait like squid or clams. Boaters could probably also find the spots, kings and croakers at Cape May Channel. Summer flounder season closed, so fishing for flounder at ocean reefs was finished. But triggerfish could still be hit at the reefs. Blackfish probably also swam the reefs. Blackfish bit along jetties. The back bay held pretty good fishing for small striped bass, including because peanut bunker, not so many mullet, schooled. For the stripers, chuck top-water or soft-plastic lures or chum and fish with small pieces of bait, like at creek mouths.