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Delaware Bay Report

Report from Tuesday, April 17.

| Port Elizabeth | Cape May |
WELCOME TO THE YEAR’S FIRST
DELAWARE BAY REPORT!

THE REPORT IS UPDATED EVERY TUESDAY
Port Elizabeth
Throwback striped bass reportedly began to be reeled from the surf at Fortescue on Delaware Bay, said Sharon from The Girls Place Bait & Tackle. Quite a few of the schoolies were supposedly banked from Delaware River at Salem from shore. The river, of course, flows into the head of the bay. One customer said the stripers at Salem were a little bigger than stripers hooked there last year at this time. Another customer bloodwormed two or three keeper stripers from Maurice River far upstream, where a freshwater fishing license is required. The Maurice is a tributary of Delaware Bay. Little was reported about boating on the bay for fish yet, and the season was early for that. Most local marinas were yet to be open for boaters. Migrations of fish were yet to arrive much, but a few bluefish reportedly were fought from the surf at Atlantic City. Few big stripers seemed to move in, so far. Sharon didn’t report this, but the magazine Coastal Fisherman from Ocean City, Md., reported “good-sized” striped bass in the ocean near shore and in the surf at that town last week. That was reported on the magazine’s website last Tuesday. Sharon also didn’t report this, but a weekly report last Thursday on Delaware Fish and Wildlife’s website said a 31-inch striper was caught on Delaware Bay at the Pipes, and three 17- to 20-inch blues were beached from shore at Lewes. Black drum traditionally migrate to Delaware Bay when the dogwoods bloom and gnats begin biting. Dogwoods are blooming, but weather’s too cold for gnats. Still, fishing’s beginning to pick up for the year, and anglers hope for a steady break in the weather. Warm, clear weather developed at the end of the week, but the big storm pounded the area Sunday and Monday. White perch fishing was good on the Maurice. A white perch tournament was held last weekend, and the annual Landisville Gunning Club’s White Perch Tournament will be held Saturday. First prize is $1,000, a big prize. Bloodworms, popular bait for the perch, are stocked. Jumbos are on hand periodically, when available from suppliers, and that’s always hit and miss. When fresh grass shrimp are stocked, they’re usually arriving on Fridays to be carried for the weekend. Anglers like those who plan to compete in the tournament can telephone and reserve the shrimp, also favorite bait for the perch. Customers began to buy a little fresh bunker for fishing, and the baitfish are being carried when demand is likely and the menhaden are available. Fresh clams are being carried when demand is likely and the clams are available. Green crabs are stocked for blackfishing, and anglers bought them, but nobody reported results from blackfishing.

Cape May
The year’s first striped bass was checked-in at Hands Too Bait & Tackle last weekend, the shop’s Facebook page said. The 28-pound 41-incher was beached from the surf on a bunker chunk. The post never said whether that was the ocean surf or Delaware Bay’s surf, but the bay’s surf seemed likely. The ocean was cold. Nick from the store in a phone call Thursday said no catches were reported at the shop so far this season. That striper might’ve been the first.

Trips for black drum will fish Delaware Bay in May on the Heavy Hitter, Capt. George said. Blackfishing on the ocean is available this month aboard. Blackfish season is open in April and closed afterward until reopening beginning in summer, with different bag limits during different times. George knew about no boats that fished this weekend in strong wind, except the party boat Porgy IV from Cape May that blackfished Saturday on the ocean. The Heavy Hitter was in dry dock along Maurice River off the bay during April’s first week for seasonal maintenance like painting. When George sailed the boat to the Maurice from Cape May on March 30 on the bay, including at 20-Foot Slough and Bug Light, he marked no fish or bait and saw none. When he sailed the boat back to the slip in Cape May on April 6, birds, a few hitting the water, others just looking, were seen on the bay at the last cans out of the Maurice. Piles of bait were marked there, but no fish were marked anywhere, and he saw no fish.

May is traditionally the month for black drum fishing on Delaware Bay, and Fishin’ Fever Sportfishing will sail for them immediately, beginning on May 1, Capt. Tom said. Four trips fished for blackfish this past week aboard. Tom wasn’t asked where, but probably on the ocean. The angling was kind of tough in cold water, but some were bagged, and the catches are expected to pick up when the water temp rises a few degrees. In the near future, trips will also sail for bluefish, tilefish and sea bass.