The shop was busy during the weekend, and a few summer flounder were heard about that were boated from the bay, mostly from deeper waters, said Sharon from <b>The Girls Place Bait & Tackle</b>. Small blues swarmed the bay, and weakfish and kingfish swam in close, but also at the northern Punk Grounds. Flounder were cranked from the ocean. A friend ran a trip to the ocean at Cape May Reef that totaled nine keeper flounder to 4 pounds. Many ocean boaters probably fished the Old Grounds, and another friend sailed on a trip there that bagged nine or ten flounder, tossing back lots of shorts. A keeper striped bass was reported beached from the surf at Ocean City. Kingfish roamed the surf at places like that. For offshore boaters, tuna fishing sounded okay. Lots of customers crabbed, and catches of the blueclaws will go up and down, but were fairly good all season. All the baits including shedder crabs and minnows are stocked. Clams in the shell can be difficult to obtain this time of year, but the shop can probably get a couple of bushels if anglers order them. Fresh, shucked clams are stocked, and more and more are being sold. Sea bass season is open, and clams are a favorite bait. Offshore baits for tuna and big game are on hand, including flats of butterfish and sardines, and can be ordered. The Girls Place, located on Route 47, just after Route 55 ends, stocks a large supply of baits and tackle. It’s the long, one-story, yellow building on the right, with plenty of parking, including for trailered boats.
Crabbing plucked good catches at <b>Beaver Dam Boat Rentals</b>, Paul said. Catches stayed about the same as all season, a productive one. The blueclaws measured up to 5 ½ or 6 inches, and jumbos were mostly caught earlier in the season. They were unusually common because they grew during the warm winter, instead of being dormant in the cold. More and more 6-inchers appeared now, and crabs will keep shedding to grow during the warm season. Full and new moons can trigger them to shed, and the moon will be full in the next day or two. Crabs will stop eating when shedding, making them difficult to catch. But not all crabs shed at once, and not all crabs shed on every moon. Small schools of small striped bass were seen in the creek for the first time this season. Somebody on one of the rental boats landed a small summer flounder today. Customers crab from rental boats towed up Oranokin Creek, running past the shop. The staff checks on them every hour, and if crabbers want a break in the meantime, they simply cell phone the shop to be picked up. Beaver Dam carries everything needed for a day of crabbing, from bait, traps and nets to suntan lotion, bug spray, snacks and drinks. Kayak and canoe rentals are available to paddle the scenic creek. <a href="http://www.crabulousnj.com" target="_blank">Visit Beaver Dam’s Web site</a>.
A trip aboard Monday fought plenty of blues on the <b>Buccaneer</b>, Capt. Ralph said. Other fish including weakfish and small croakers swam closer to shore, and trips could anchor and catch them. But the trip stuck with motoring around, chasing blues, farther from land, fighting them for action. Plenty of blues were around. More trips are set for Saturday and Sunday aboard. Charters on the Buccaneer are only $400, compared with $500 or $600 on other vessels.
Fishing wasn’t bad, said Capt. Howard from the party boat <b>Salt Talk</b>. A few summer flounder, not many, remained in the bay, and when smaller groups of anglers climbed aboard a few times, trips were able to target weakfish inshore. The boat is anchored for weakfishing, limiting the area around the rail that anglers can fish effectively. So that’s why smaller groups, not larger, can weakfish. The anglers caught the weakfish, good-sized. Howard landed a 19-incher. Where the weakfish schooled, anglers also caught spots and small croakers, stripping them out to use for bait. The anglers also fished with bloodworms and shedder crabs. The spots and croakers were also used for chum, and that attracted bluefish that were caught. When larger groups jumped aboard, the boat fished offshore. All the blues anyone could want schooled there and were caught. The fish were small – good eating size. Waters around the Elbow held lots of blues. A few flounder, not a lot, to 3 ½ pounds were tugged aboard from offshore. Any croakers that were known about from the bay were small or 6- to 8-inchers, but plentiful. If anglers wanted, they could catch lots on worms or crabs. Open-boat trips are scheduled daily when no charter is booked. Call to confirm.
For boaters fishing the bay, Nick from <b>Hands Too Bait & Tackle</b> was telling anglers to try for flounder in deep waters around the shoals or for croakers and weakfish along the flats, he said. Cape May Channel served up weaks, blues and small flounder. Surf anglers on the bay beached weakfish and croakers along the jetties. From the ocean surf, kingfish and spots were banked. Quality catches of flounder were scooped from the ocean at reefs like the Old Grounds. Fishing for the flatties became a little slower in the back bay, and the fish seemed to be moving out. Good catches were made in Cape May Canal and in the ocean outside Cold Spring Inlet and at the sea buoy.