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Delaware Bay Report

Report from Tuesday, August 14.

| Port Elizabeth | Newport | Fortescue | Cape May | Last Week's Report |
THIS REPORT IS UPDATED EVERY TUESDAY
Port Elizabeth
Summer flounder probably still swam the bay, said Sharon from The Girls Place Bait & Tackle. Weather or weather forecasts became spotty again, with frequent storms or forecasts for storms. That kept news scarce about fishing, including for flounder. Weakfish were probably picked here and there in the bay. The bunker netter found weaks in catches, so the trout must’ve been available for anglers. The netter usually nets off East Point, but also works elsewhere on the bay. A few croakers seemed to be reported more and more including from the bay. No details were heard. Again, news was scarce in the weather. Many customers bought crabbing supplies. When crabbing business is busy like that, that usually means some good crab catches were made locally, like in the Matts Landing area. 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
Most trips landed 1 ½ to 2 dozen keeper crabs at Beaver Dam Boat Rentals, Paul said. That wasn’t bad, and catches were a little better than he expected, considering that the moon was new. New and full moons can cause crabs to shed and mate, and they won’t eat while doing that. That can slow crabbing, but not all crabs shed and mate at once. Crabs caught were almost either very small or good-sized. Most keepers were 5 1/2 inches or larger. Customers during the weekend began reporting lots of small crabs. A new generation moved in, and commercial crabbers on the bay had reported that previously. Apparently that generation made its way up creeks. Customers crab and fish on rental boats towed up Oranokin Creek, a tributary of Delaware Bay that runs past the shop. White perch suddenly appeared in the creek. A customer Sunday angled 50, and the perch were sizable. Two bit at a time. Customers hooked two or three large striped bass in the creek that were too big for them to land. The stripers broke off. Big stripers have been swimming the creek for weeks. Crabbers seemed to catch best with bunker for bait. Sometimes chicken catches best on the moons when crabs are shedding or mating. The crew thinks the reason is hormonal. Chicken can attract turtles – diamondback terrapins – that have been abundant in the creek this year. Fewer of the turtles seemed around recently. Maybe they were mating or something. Beaver Dam stocks everything needed for crabbing, from bait, traps and nets to snacks, drinks and suntan lotion. Rental kayaks and canoes are available to paddle the scenic creek. 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
A trip Thursday met rough seas but did bag a few summer flounder and some bluefish from the bay on the Salt Talk, Capt. Howard said. Seas were calmer, a little chop but not bad, on a trip Sunday that caught about the same aboard. The trips fished at the ditch between Egg Island Point and the 19 buoy. Trips aboard had been fishing at the wreck buoy, but Howard heard about catches at the ditch, so moved there. He heard nothing about other catches like weakfish, croakers or kingfish from the bay. Bait stealers like sea robins and baby sea bass pecked at baits on the trips. A 15-inch cobia landed was talked about on the radio. Some red water was around, and Howard didn’t know the cause, like maybe one of the creeks or rivers was a cause. 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
Catches of summer flounder were heard about from near Fortescue on the bay, said Joe from Hands Too Bait & Tackle. Customers were unlikely to sail that far north, and some tried for flounder close to Cape May on the bay. But none reported success. Rumors said croakers began to be around. No details were heard. Kingfishing was good in the surf. Sometimes small bluefish schooled the surf and back bay. Sharks chomped in the surf at dusk and at night. Lots of throwback fluke scurried around the surf, and maybe you’d hook a keeper, but most were shorts. The surf in Cape May is fished on both Delaware Bay and the ocean, because the town is located at the confluence of the two. Sheepshead bit more than usual at places like bridges or jetties. Good white perch fishing was had on Maurice and Tuckahoe rivers.

Last Week's Report
Port Elizabeth

Keeper summer flounder that were boated were sometimes heard about from near Fortescue on the bay, said Sharon from The Girls Place Bait & Tackle. Lots of throwbacks and a few keepers were talked about from back bays near Sea Isle City and Avalon. The ocean’s flounder fishing seemed not great. A friend hit the ocean including at the Old Grounds, off the state of Delaware, and only reeled up throwbacks. The water was warm at 81 degrees, and unusually, the trip ran into schooling king mackerel. The friend was surprised, and had no wire leaders necessary to land the toothy mackerel. The friend tried trolling for the mackerel but caught none. King mackerel are a southern species that does show up locally in summer, but usually sparsely, and not in a school. The water did seem warm enough for kings. Back on Delaware Bay, Sharon heard about a few croakers that were picked scattered around the bay. She heard about no kingfish that could be expected in the bay this time of year. Crabbing was okay. All baits are stocked including minnows and shedder 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

The shop was closed Saturday because of a couple of thunderstorms and strong wind afterward, said Paul from Beaver Dam Boat Rentals. On Sunday, most rental-boaters trapped two to three dozen keeper crabs per trip. The sizes of crabs was improving. Many of the keepers were 5 ½ inches. Sizes mostly were either keepers that big or throwbacks 3 ½ to 4 inches. Four-and-a-half is the legal minimum size. Bunker for bait trapped most crabs. Big striped bass reappeared in the creek. They came in a couple of weeks ago, disappeared and then came back. No customers landed any in past days. A customer yesterday hooked one that broke off at the boat. These were sizable stripers. Stripers that large are uncommon in the creek, but very occasionally appear. The shop’s crew last remembered seeing them six or seven years ago. Small stripers are not uncommon in the creek. Big rays, some with 4-foot wing spans, swam the creek. Crabbers sometimes had to deal with stripers or rays grabbing crab bait. Turtles, diamondback terrapins, also chewed on baits. Handlines usually caught crabs best. But a customer yesterday caught well with traps. Customers crab and fish from rental boats towed up Oranokin Creek, running past the shop. Rental kayaks and canoes are available to paddle the scenic creek. Reserve any rentals ahead, because they can book up. Beaver Dam stocks everything needed for crabbing, and can host events like birthday parties or family reunions, and groups like scouts. Visit Beaver Dam’s website.

Fortescue

Trips for summer flounder fished twice in past days on the Salt Talk, Capt. Howard said. The trips caught like flounder trips did previously aboard: nothing great, but a few. The two trips fished near the wreck buoy, and that’s where the Salt Talk’s been flounder fishing in past weeks. On one of the trips, a school of small bluefish must’ve swum through, because the anglers felt tapping on the baits. One blue was hooked and landed. That trip also reeled in and kept 15 big crabs, when the blueclaws began nibbling baits on the change of tide. The water was clear by Sunday and was churned up and dirty on Thursday, apparently because of rainstorms. Howard heard little about other fish from the bay. One of the Fortescue party boats landed a couple of puppy black drum and a couple of weakfish at the lighthouses along the shipping channel, he thought. Howard heard about no kingfish or croakers from the bay. 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.

Avalon

Fins and Feathers Outfitters was next supposed to fish yesterday, today and Thursday, Capt. Jim said before the trips. The trips were potentially going to fish for summer flounder at Wildwood and Cape May reefs on the ocean. But some of the fishing was possibly going to work Delaware Bay, near Brandywine Lighthouse, for kingfish. A friend there recently boated kings. The same friend previously boated kings and croakers at that location, but mentioned none of the croakers lately. Fins also fishes for flounder on Delaware Bay sometimes. When trips fish the bay, the boat is trailered and launched wherever’s nearest the angling.

Cape May

Summer flounder, decent catches, were reported from near the 9, 10 and 19 buoys in the bay, said Nick from Hands Too Bait & Tackle. Flounder catches were also reported from near Brandywine Lighthouse. Weakfish and blackfish were also reeled up from that area. Rocks that surround the lighthouse can attract the blackfish, and one blackfish per angler, per day could be bagged beginning Wednesday. The season was closed for the tautog previously. Blackfish and triggerfish chomped along surf jetties in Cape May. An occasional weakfish came from Delaware Bay’s surf in town on pink Gulp swim baits, floated bloodworms or, on a rig, strips of squid. Kingfishing was decent in the surf on the ocean and at Cape May Point at the confluence of the ocean and Delaware Bay in Cape May. Sharking was good in the surf in evenings. Schoolie striped bass were played along bridges and sod banks. Under lights fished best, but along sod banks also gave them up. Bait like clams or bunker and soft-plastic lures tied into the stripers. When fishing the plastics, slim profiles worked best, because most baitfish were skinny. Baitfish that schooled included minnows, spearing, small mullet and small peanut bunker.