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Delaware Bay Report

Report from Tuesday, December 12.

| Port Elizabeth | Cape May | Last Week's Report |

Port Elizabeth
A few striped bass were trolled from the ocean, Sharon from The Girls Place Bait & Tackle guessed, she said. Nothing was reported about fishing on Delaware Bay, and the shop will be open through Sunday and closed afterward for a break through winter. Anglers had hoped the fall migration of stripers would swim into the bay, and the migration did arrive in the ocean off South Jersey in past weeks. But nothing or little was ever reported about fishing the migration in the bay. A snowstorm Saturday and strong wind forecast for Sunday didn’t help produce news. People at a tackle show that Sharon visited last week said stripers were still hooked off Long Island, N.Y. Those might’ve been smaller stripers, the ones that make up the tail end of the migration. But not a small number of stripers seemed to remain farther north, including better-sized off Long Beach Island, N.J. That suggests that the southerly migration could continue off South Jersey for a time. Business was now winding down at the store for the season. Whatever bait that’s in demand will be stocked through Sunday, and the store is also accepting orders for bait. The store usually reopens in March sometime. 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.

Cape May
Striped bass seemed to keep schooling the ocean from Atlantic City to Cape May, said Nick from Hands Too Bait & Tackle. They were mostly trolled on Mojos and bunker spoons. Nobody mentioned stripers from the Cape May Rips, but the striper migration surely reached south of Cape May, so stripers were probably at the rips. Boaters at the rips fish eels or trolled Mojos for stripers, and the rips are at the confluence of the ocean and Delaware Bay. Nothing was heard about stripers from Delaware Bay. From the surf, 4-pound bluefish caught began to be reported. Lures or fresh bunker were fished for them. A few anglers blackfished along surf jetties, still catching. Eventually, water will become too cold for blackfish there. Blackfishing sounded good at ocean wrecks.

Last Week's Report
Port Elizabeth

The striped bass migration arrived in the ocean off South Jersey last week, said Sharon from The Girls Place Bait & Tackle. Fairly good-sized schools of them were reported off Atlantic City. Catches of the bass were also reported off Ocean City and Sea Isle City. Most of the fish were trolled in all those places. The migration was late and seemed to arrive later and later in recent years. Customers bought fresh bunker, popular bait to fish for the bass in Delaware Bay. None reported results, so whether they fished the bay was uncertain, but was likely. Eels were often bought at the shop, and those were probably fished at the Cape May Rips for stripers. The rips are at the confluence of the bay and ocean. Customers also bought green crabs from the store to fish for tautog. Weather was beautiful with calm wind during the weekend, uncommon this time of year. 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.


Capt. Howard and friends trolled for striped bass on Delaware Bay with Stretch plugs on Thursday and Saturday on Howard’s Salt Talk from the Elbow and Old House to Miah Maull, he said. The first trip landed three, and the second reeled in 10. The stripers measured up to 25 inches, and when the trip fished near Miah Maull, the anglers tried bucktailing for the fish, but none bit. Howard had no functioning water-temperature gauge aboard, but a dock neighbor said the bay was 47 degrees. That was probably inshore, because the neighbor never ventures farther out. A couple of boats from Fortescue sailed to the Cape May Rips, because striper catches were heard about from there. But they ran into none. Salt Talk’s trips were the year’s final on the boat. Howard will haul the vessel from the water for winter now. Salt Talk used to be a party boat from Fortescue. Howard sold that vessel, and the new Salt Talk is a charter boat for up to four passengers.

Cape May

“Sounds like they’re here!” said Nick from Hand Too Bait & Tackle. Striped bass were boated near Cape May on the ocean. They were reportedly trolled off Stone Harbor and Wildwood on Mojos, too. Were any caught at the Cape May Rips and Delaware Bay? A couple were eeled at the rips, he said. Middle Shoal fished alright for them at the beginning of incoming tides at the rips. He did hear about a couple of 36- and 30-inch stripers boated from Delaware Bay on bunker chunks. Lots of dogfish had to be dealt with in the bay. Surf fishing was slow in Cape May. Sometimes a throwback striper was banked from the surf on lures. Surf casters who fished bait got covered up by dogfish. Stripers were still angled in the back bay like before. A couple of kids pasted a couple of keepers along bridges. Plastics like swim shads are fished there. A few blackfish seemed caught along jetties. Blackfishing was good at Wildwood and Cape May reefs and other pieces in the ocean. The fishing was a pick but steady at least, he said. Closer to shore seemed to fish better for them than farther off. Sea bass seemed mostly boated farther from shore on the ocean. Nick knew anglers who tried for them at Reef 11 but got covered up by dogfish. But farther out, numbers of sea bass were piled up.