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Delaware Bay Report

Report from Tuesday, November 25.

| Port Elizabeth | Fortescue | Last Week's Report |
Port Elizabeth
One angler reported bagging two striped bass 36 and 42 inches from shore at Thompson’s Beach during the weekend, said Sharon from The Girls Place Bait & Tackle. Another reported grabbing a couple of keepers while fishing on foot at the Cape May Ferry jetty on the bay during the weekend. What the first angler’s fish were hooked on was unknown, but the second landed the fish on bunker. Not much was heard about stripers boated from the bay, maybe because weather was relentless. Strong west wind blew almost every day. Wind from that direction roughs up seas on the bay, though the ocean close to shore can be protected from that wind direction. Land shields the ocean then. The bay must’ve been dirty because of the wind and seas. Those catches from land seemed surprising. Maybe boaters want to try fishing for stripers close to shore, because of that, instead of traditional places fished farther from shore for stripers on the bay, like 60-Foot Slough. A friend boated lots of throwback stripers and two keepers, none big, at Brandywine Lighthouse on the bay, on bunker. Customers sometimes reported boating stripers here and there on the bay last week. Rumors said stripers were trolled on the ocean toward Sea Isle City. Customers bought green crabs for blackfish bait, but no results were heard about the angling. The shop’s been stocking fresh bunker, the most popular bait for stripers on the bay in autumn. The weather could hamper the supply, because when the wind blows, bunker boats can’t always sail. 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.

Throwback striped bass, throwback blackfish and some keeper blackfish, not large, bit in the bay, said Capt. Mike from the party boat Bonanza. Some of the Cape May boats traveled the ocean to Atlantic City for big striped bass to 40 pounds that gathered there during the weekend. The migration of large stripers this season reached as far south as Wildwood and Cape May. Then warmer weather seemed to draw them back north a little. The Bonanza will keep fishing, and anglers will see whether the migration of big stripers heads up the bay this autumn. Even if they arrive late, the boat will sail for them. If the bass by-pass the bay or keep migrating south in the ocean, without entering the bay, trips will be stopped for the year. But Mike will see what happens, and stripers could show up any moment. Open-boat trips are fishing every Monday and Friday, and charters are sailing.

A few throwback striped bass to 25 inches were angled Saturday on the party boat Salt Talk, Capt. Howard said. No keepers were hooked this season aboard yet. Trips on the boat moved around to fish for stripers. Spots fished included off False Egg Island Point and at the rips a little north and inshore of Miah Maul. Bunker chunks were fished for bait, and eels were tried on three or four drifts on Sunday aboard. One angler thought he hooked a striper on one of the eels, but might’ve been hooked on bottom. No bunker were seen in the bay, probably because seas were rough. The baitfish are difficult to see then. Marks were read on the fish finder that looked like bunker. Relentless west wind that always roughs up the bay probably didn’t help fishing. The bay was 44 degrees on Sunday, and Fortescue Creek was 39, according to the boat’s gauge. A charter was slated for today, but weather might be too rough to sail. Howard plans to fish open-boat on Thanksgiving, if enough anglers want to go. Open-boat trips are fishing when no charter is booked, and might be most likely to sail on weekends this time of year, because of demand. Anglers can telephone the boat to confirm.

Last Week's Report
Port Elizabeth

A few striped bass were cranked from the bay, were reported off and on, said Sharon from The Girls Place Bait & Tackle. Weather was difficult for boaters to sail for them, and though boaters were able to fish the ocean close to shore, strong west wind, including sometimes this weekend, roughed up seas on the bay at times. The ocean close to shore can be sheltered from west wind, but wind from that direction builds seas on the bay along the eastern, New Jersey shore. Still, sometimes stripers were reported boated from the bay, including from 60-Foot Slough, off Thompson’s Beach and near Miah Maul. At Miah Maul, a few, not big, were reported bagged. But sometimes big stripers did come from the bay. A catch of four keepers to 49 inches was reported. That was early last week, but weather wasn’t always conducive afterward. The bay’s stripers, sometimes even good numbers, were around, but seemed spread out, not thick at any one place that was reported. Sometimes the bass might’ve shown up at one place for a moment, and then not afterward. One customer’s trip landed nine, sailed on another trip to the same location the next day, and found none. If boaters get the weather to sail, they can probably go find stripers, Sharon thinks. Migrating stripers continued to be boated farther north, including toward Barnegat Light, along the coast, so the run was still coming. Large stripers, like a 50-some-pounder boated off Sea Isle City, were sometimes heard about from the ocean off South Jersey recently, too. The bass were apparently trolled there. Though boaters fought weather, that’s how striper fishing is during fall. Wind and cold are not unusual. Plenty of fresh bunker, the popular bait for stripers on the bay in autumn, were stocked this weekend. The supply might’ve been more plentiful from farther north in the state, at Manahawkin, than from the bay, because of weather. But the shop drives north for the menhaden when necessary, and the bay’s bunker boats supplied plenty of the baitfish when they sailed. The shop suggests that anglers call ahead to reserve bait like fresh bunker to ensure a supply. That goes for green crabs, too, if anglers want any number of the blackfish bait. Customers began to buy the crabs more frequently, because the blackfish bag limit was increased to six starting on Sunday, from the previous limit of one. In other news, white perch were reeled from the brackish Maurice River. Sounded like that angling could be good or decent. 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.


The party boat Salt Talk sailed for striped bass on the bay near Fortescue on four trips last week and weekend, Capt. Howard said. Not many of the fish seemed to migrate that far up the bay yet. A couple of throwbacks and some skates bit, and the trips fished off False Egg Island Point and at the rips inshore and a little north of Miah Maul. Bunker chunks were dunked for bait, and Saturday’s trip also livelined eels an hour, and nothing hit the eels. The bunker is mostly fished for the bass aboard in autumn, but Howard likes to swim eels, when stripers are willing to jump on eels. They aren’t always. The bay was 53 degrees, and Fortescue Creek was 48, according to the boat’s gauge. Open-boat trips are fishing for stripers when no charter is booked. The trips might mostly fish around weekends, because of demand, this time of year, and anglers can telephone for the schedule. A charter is booked for this Saturday.

Cape May

Boaters, including friends, trolled striped bass along the ocean Saturday and Sunday, said Capt. George from the Heavy Hitter. A couple of charter boats caught them well, and stripers were also chunked on bunker on Delaware Bay. Wind against tide made seas brutal Saturday on the bay. So a few stripers seemed to be moving in, and some trips struggled to catch them, but some scored well. Was a matter of right place, right time. One boat from the dock limited out on nine stripers, with bonus tags, by 9 a.m. on the ocean. No bluefish mixed in were heard about from anywhere. Anglers had wanted to sea bass fish on the ocean on Saturday on the Heavy Hitter, but weather was too windy. Sea bassing’s been good, when trips have sailed 30 miles from shore. A buddy nailed a good catch in past days. Howard Bly and crew blackfished at Wildwood Reef on the ocean on the Heavy Hitter on Sunday, when the bag limit was increased to six of the tautog, from the previous limit of one. On the way back to port, so much bait, apparently bunker, schooled close to shore.

Trolling for striped bass was good on the ocean during the weekend, said Capt. Frank from Melanie Anne Sport Fishing Charters. Trips limited out on the fish, big ones 20 to 30 pounds, close to shore. Melanie Anne trolled them from Avalon to Wildwood, and striper fishing was okay, not great, on Delaware Bay toward the mouth, not farther up, on bunker chunks. Boating for blackfish and sea bass both were good on the ocean. A buddy loaded up on sea bass and blackfish, and then caught stripers close to shore on the way home, a terrific trip.

Sounded like Delaware Bay’s striped bass fishing was pretty good, like at 60-Foot Slough, on chunked bunker, said Nick from Hands Too Bait & Tackle on Thursday. The fish seemed to be quality-sized, and one customer bagged two that morning. Stripers were also decked at the Cape May Rips on the troll and on livelined spots or eels. Also sounded like surf fishing began to turn on a little for throwback stripers. A few anglers beached them on clams or bunker at Cape May.