Stifling heat seemed to keep some from fishing, said Sharon from The Girls Place Bait & Tackle. Not a lot of reports rolled in, but weakfish and blues were supposedly boated near Fortescue. One angler reported getting into them, and the shop’s bait supplier netted weaks from the bay, saying they were scattered and kind of had to be looked for. He also said bunker were scattered, a little scarce, in the bay, maybe because of the heat. The netter struggled to catch them daily. Summer flounder fishing was okay in the bay, Sharon thought. Again, they needed to be hunted. New Jersey’s 17-inch minimum size limit for the bay’s flounder probably helped, compared with 18 inches in most of the rest of the state. Flounder were supposedly reeled from ocean reefs, when boaters had the weather to sail there. Despite the heat, strong wind sometimes blew that could be difficult for boating. The eighth annual Mauricetown Gunning Club’s perch tournament and barbecue will be held Saturday. See info on The Girls Place’s Facebook page. Perch fishing was good in Maurice River, the last Sharon heard. Nothing was heard in the heat in past days. Fish were around to be caught, if anglers could take the weather. Crabbing was okay, and again, fewer crabbed in the heat. Baits stocked included shedder crabs that arrived regularly. Keeping shedders alive could be challenging. They become stunned when taken from the heat outside to refrigeration inside. If they died, they were kept fresh in refrigeration and frozen afterward. They’ll work great for bait that way anyway, and Sharon prefers fresh or frozen when fishing. No green crabs are stocked, and customers sometimes asked. Green crabs are carried once the blackfish bag limit is increased to six beginning November 16, from the current limit of one. Large squid, like for trolling, seemed to be scarce world-wide. The reason was unknown. 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.
Few fished in the heat, said Bruce from Money Island Marina. Even dock anglers were scarce. Strong wind kept most boaters from fishing Saturday, too, and the wind also kept the docks bobbing that day, the shop’s Facebook page said. Summer flounder reports were widely mixed, it said: “some limiting out, others with no keepers.” When anglers last fished from the docks, on Nantuxent Creek, they nabbed white perch, croakers and small striped bass. The marina features a bait and tackle shop, a boat ramp, boat slips, dry-dock boat storage, fishing docks and gas. The fishing docks, $5 per adult and free for kids, can offer angling for white perch, small stripers, and croakers, at different times of year. A 12-foot aluminum boat with a 2.5 h.p. outboard is available to rent to fish the creek. Baits stocked included plenty of minnows.
Newport Crabbing remained good at Beaver Dam Boat Rentals, Paul said. “It’s been holding,” he said, and catches ranged from about two dozen keepers to a bushel per trip. A couple of trips trapped a bushel apiece, and quite a few trapped three-quarters of a bushel. The number caught seemed to depend on skill or experience. Some of the crabs trapped were still good-sized, and lots of 3-1/2- to 4-inchers were around. Four-and-a-half inches is the legal minimum size. The 3-1/2- to 4-inchers seemed a good sign that crabbing will continue a while. Those crabs will grow. The moon is full, and crabs are mating and shedding. Full and new moons can trigger mating and shedding, and crabs won’t eat then, and that can slow crabbing. That lasts three to five days on average. But not all crabs shed or mate on each moon. No customers fished in past days. Customers fished two weekends ago, catching white perch well, covered in the last report here. Baby black drum showed up in crab traps currently, seeming to suggest fish were active. Customers fish and crab on rental boats towed up Oranokin Creek, running past the shop. Rental kayaks and canoes are available to paddle the scenic creek. Reserve rentals ahead, because they can book up. Beaver Dam stocks everything needed for crabbing, from traps, bait and nets to drinks, snacks and suntan lotion. Beaver Dam can host groups from scouts and 4H to birthdays and family reunions, including for an educational day on the water, if groups want. Visit Beaver Dam’s website.
Not much was heard about summer flounder from the bay locally, said Nick from Hands Too Bait & Tackle. Fishing for croakers was good at Brandywine in the bay. Weakfish also schooled there, and croakers and kingfish schooled Cape May Channel off Cape May Point. That’s at the confluence of the bay and the ocean. Cocktail blues sometimes gave up good catches in the surf from the bay to the ocean. Kingfish were beaned from the ocean surf. Large sharks were fought from the surf in evenings. On the ocean, flounder fishing improved at Wildwood Reef, Cape May Reef, Reef 11 and the Old Grounds this past week. Crabbing was excellent, a great year for crabbing.