Some of the crew from <b>Shag’s Bait & Tackle</b> began to catch 20-some-inch striped bass at the bridges on the tributaries of the Delaware River, Matt said. Swim shads hooked the fish, and incoming tides were best, and the anglers usually fish for them at dusk or late at night like 10 p.m. to 12 midnight. Plenty of white perch could be claimed from the river on bloodworms. Catfish could be clocked in the river on any baits like fresh peanut bunker, shedder crabs, frozen bunker or herring, or nightcrawlers. Anglers stopped by the shop Monday who planned to try for croakers on the bay, sailing from Port Norris. Crabbing was good. Bloodworms, nightcrawlers and fresh peanut bunker are stocked. A few shedder crabs are carried, and the season was becoming late to keep them on hand. Frozen baits are carried including bunker, herring, mackerel, clams and squid.
Not a lot was heard about the bay, and croakers seemed to school along the ocean coast, said Sharon from <b>The Girls Place Bait & Tackle</b>. Kingfish were sometimes beached along the ocean surf. Summer flounder fishing sometimes produced good catches in the ocean at places like the Old Grounds off Delaware. Small weakfish had held in the bay, but the shop’s netter now caught none. If weaks were around, maybe they were in the ocean. Crabbing was good, and that was an option along the creeks and back waters off the bay. September is traditionally a great month for crabbing, because the blueclaws will have shed to grow throughout the season. By September, they’ll be finished shedding, and will feed up to fill out their shells to get ready for winter. The shop carries a full supply of recreational and commercial crabbing traps and all the baits like frozen bunker. Fresh bunker is also on hand, for those who want bait for sharking. Live eels are stocked, and live shedder crabs will be carried for this holiday weekend. The Girls Place is located on Route 47 just after Route 55 ends, and it’s the long, one-story, yellow building on the right. There’s a large parking lot with plenty of room for trailered boats.
Crabbing was definitely picking up again after last week’s full moon slowed the catches, said Paul from <b>Beaver Dam Boat Rentals</b>. Several of the boats returned with a half-bushel or two thirds of a bushel, and some should bushel out on the blueclaws in the next days. Crabs often shed on the moons, as they did last week, refusing to feed when shedding, so the catches drop off. But not all crabs shed at once, so some can always be caught. The keepers were usually 5 ½ inches or larger, and few had to be measured. No customers fished from the boats, but white perch were around. Many consider September one of the best times for crabbing, saying the crabs grow to their largest sizes, after shedding all season, and become most numerous then. But crabbing is often good at Beaver Dam, so Linda doesn’t necessarily believe that. Crabbers in the rental boats are towed up Oranoken Creek, running past the property, to several saltwater ponds teeming with crabs. The staff checks on the boats every hour, but if crabbers want to take a break in the meantime, they cell phone the shop and get picked up. Beaver Dam hosts group tours for functions from office trips to anniversaries to scout trips. The staff is certified for environmental education, and the tours can include half a day of enviro presentations and half a day of crabbing, if the groups would like. Kayak and canoe rentals are available for sightseeing on the creek, full of wildlife. The shop sells live crabs for eating at market price. Annual haunted creek rides are coming up for Halloween. Beaver Dam will be open through Labor Day and from Thursday of next week to that Monday. Afterward the shop will be open Saturdays to Mondays. Crabbing will be available until the first weekend of October. Beaver Dam opens back up during the duck seasons afterward. Visit <a href="http://www.crabulousnj.com/Home_Page.html" target="_blank">Beaver Dam’s Web site</a> for hours and more info about the business.
Eight big summer flounder including 20-, 22- and 26-inchers were bagged Saturday at the Ditch near Miah Maull on the <b>Buccaneer</b>, Capt. Ralph said. So that was a good catch, and the anglers, a dad, mom and three kids, had a good time, Ralph said, and the weather was beautiful. The fish were the first the kids ever caught. The trip also tried flounder fishing on the Delaware side, but only shorts bit. Croakers had swum the bay but disappeared after last week’s storm.
Though croakers had schooled at the Anchorage two weekends ago, a trip returned to the area Thursday after the nor’easter, and the hardheads were gone, said Capt. Howard from the party boat <b>Salt Talk</b>. So trips on Friday through the weekend fished closer to Fortescue at the stakes and shipping channel, rounding up mixed bags of small weakfish, summer flounder, kingfish, spots, sea bass, small blues, and a few 4-foot sharks, probably sandbars, that were released. Three keeper flounder were in the mix Friday, and two were bagged on Saturday, and no keeper flounder showed up on Sunday, though plenty of throwbacks did. The bay in the mornings was 74 degrees, cooler than before, toward the end of the week, but was 78 degrees by Sunday. The clear, hot weather warmed the bay again after the storm. Open-boat trips are sailing daily when no charter is booked, and charters are available.
Small weakfish, spots and bluefish swam right off Fortescue, said Dave from <b>Al’s Bait & Tackle</b>. Anglers fishing from the Fortescue surf hooked blues on mackerel and spots on bloodworms. Summer flounder fishing actually wasn’t bad toward Miah Maull and the 19 buoy. Croakers were located in the southern bay. Plenty of white perch bit in Fortescue Creek and other creeks, and crabbing was good in the creeks and back waters. Minnows will be stocked through the last day of flounder season on Labor Day. Shedder crabs are on hand, but are starting to be difficult to obtain by this time of year. The full selection of frozen baits is in the freezer.
John and Faye Hickman from Port Norris plucked 30 white perch, and James Bentley, Bob Hines and Robbie from Dividing Creek totaled 70 of the perch, said Pat from <b>Longreach Marina</b>. The trips found the slabs in the Maurice River and the creeks. Ray and Emmett Summers from Vineland boated two blues 14 and 26 inches and a 14-inch kingfish on the bay. Other anglers wrangled up a few summer flounder, mostly throwbacks like usual, and some blues from the bay. Minnows, shedder crabs and frozen baits are stocked.
Summer flounder, many of them throwbacks, were banked from the surf at Higbee’s Beach, Sunset Beach and Cape May Point, said Jim from <b>Budd’s Bait & Tackle</b>, located in the Villas, and <b>Budd’s Tackle Charter Services</b>, sailing from Cape May. Most were hooked on minnows, but Gulps in chartreuse and pink worked well. Croakers and kingfish were beached at the same places, and snapper blues schooled the suds mostly at Alexander Avenue. Boaters reeled in flounder, mostly shorts, at the Cape May Rips, Bayshore Channel and 60-Foot Slough. Small weakfish, no keepers, occasionally bit at Bayshore Channel. Back-bay flounder fishing “was holding its own,” Jim said, and flounder and kingfish swam Hereford Inlet. Crabbing was great. Minnows are stocked, and shedder crabs are currently carried, but the supply was slowing down, so whether they are stocked daily can’t be guaranteed. All the frozen baits including bunker, mackerel, clams, whole squid, cleaned squid, boxes of small squid and more are available. The shop sells live crabs for eating. Current prices, depending on the market, are $10 per dozen or $20 for three dozen for No. 2’s and $20 per dozen or $36 for two dozen for No. 1’s. Bushels are available when enough are trapped, and talk with the shop for the market price. The current prices for cooked crabs are $23 per dozen or $42 for two dozen for No. 1’s and $13 per dozen or $29 for three dozen for No. 2’s. Raw steamer clams, called “specials,” a size between little neck and top neck, are $15.95 for 50.