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Delaware Bay Report

Report from Tuesday, July 10.

| Port Elizabeth | Newport | Fortescue | Cape May | Last Week's Report |
THIS REPORT IS UPDATED EVERY TUESDAY
Port Elizabeth
Kingfishing improved along the ocean surf, so kings might begin to be reported boated from southern Delaware Bay, said Sharon from Girls Place Bait & Tackle. The fish would likely be found in the southern bay before spreading north in the bay. She knew about trips that were going to try for kings in the bay because the population grew in the surf. Kingfish are late, and arrived earlier last year. They usually turn up in late May or in June. But weather was different this year, and water seemed cooler this spring. Not many reports were heard about fishing for summer flounder on the bay. Weather was fiercely hot last week, maybe causing fewer anglers to fish for them. Weather became cooler by the weekend, but few reports rolled in yet from those days. Surely flounder swam the bay, and how many were keeper-sized was the question. Keepers at other areas might’ve become less abundant because anglers bagged a number of them already. Some of the best flounder fishing was reported from the back bay near Avalon. Crabbing kept improving all the time. Shedder crabs were no problem to stock for bait, and that seemed a good sign for crabbing. Minnows, a favorite flounder bait, were stocked steadily, after the baitfish were scarce earlier this year. Bloodworms were carried regularly. The worms and clams are baits for kings. So are shedder crabs. If surf-fishing for kings, the bloods and clams might stand up better to being cast than shedders. The crabs can fall apart a bit. But shedders are still good bait in the surf. Sharon often places a piece of bloodworm over top a piece of shedder, both because that can help keep the crab on the hook, but also because that’s a good combo to attract kings and nearly any fish. 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.

Newport
Crabbers averaged probably two to three dozen keepers per trip at Beaver Dam Boat Rentals, Linda said. The blueclaws included healthy-sized – “no real busters,” she said, but 6- and 6-1/2-inchers. Hand-lining caught much better than traps, and the store’s crew is happy to teach hand-lining. Good catches of white perch were made from the creek at the beginning of last week, but that slowed recently. The reasons couldn’t be known, but maybe that was because of extremely low tides. The new moon is coming in the next day or so, and that can cause extreme tides. Wear light-colored clothing, because dark clothing attracts greenheads. Greenheads weren’t “swarming,” but were there, and Linda expects most to disappear within the next couple of weeks. Customers crab and fish from rental boats towed up Oranokin Creek, running past the shop. Beaver Dam stocks everything needed for crabbing, from bait, traps and nets to snacks, drinks and suntan lotion. Customers can rent or buy supplies like traps and nets, or can bring their own. Rental kayaks and canoes are available to paddle the scenic creek. Call ahead to reserve the boat, kayak or canoe rentals, not necessarily because they’ll be booked otherwise, but so the crew can “pamper” you, Linda said. The rentals do become booked sometimes, though. Visit Beaver Dam’s website.

Fortescue
A few summer flounder are showing up in the bay, said Capt. Howard from the Salt Talk. A trip Sunday aboard bagged four among throwbacks landed and small bluefish reeled in. “Not a bad day at all,” he said. Quite a few flounder were docked Saturday at Fortescue. Howard saw catches including nine, seven and four per boat. His trip fished near the wreck buoy, where flounder were hooked throughout last week. The bluefish on the trip were hooked along bottom on the flounder rigs when schools swam through. Sometimes pods of fish were seen splashing along the surface, but Howard couldn’t tell whether they were bunker alone or blues chasing bunker. Seas were choppy that day, making splashes difficult to see. Howard saw and heard about no other fish like weakfish and kingfish from the bay. The Salt Talk used to be a Fortescue party boat. Howard sold that vessel, and the new Salt Talk is a charter boat for up to four passengers.

Cape May
A couple of trips reported better summer flounder fishing on the southern bay than before, said Nick from Hands Too Bait & Tackle. That’s closer to Cape May, and previously he heard about most of the catches from the northern bay. The usual summertime mix of kingfish, croakers, small weakfish and flounder should be swimming Cape May Channel, off Cape May Lighthouse at the confluence of Delaware Bay and the ocean. Sharks usually haunt those waters, too. Sharks were beached from Cape May’s surf. The surf in town is located both along the bay and the ocean. Most shark species in these areas are required to be released. Anglers fish for them with fresh bunker or frozen mackerel on a big hook on steel leaders. Circle hooks are required. The surf-fishing for sharks is best during low light or early morning, evening and nighttime. But sometimes the sharks along the beach bite during daytime. Kingfishing was slow in the surf. A couple of reports mentioned kings and croakers from the beach, but too few to say that was fishing to do. A good number of triggerfish began to hover along Cape May Inlet’s jetties. Any cut bait including clams, squid or shrimp on small hooks can attract them.

Last Week's Report
Port Elizabeth

Summer flounder were still reeled from Delaware Bay and back bays, said Sharon from The Girls Place Bait & Tackle. Keepers might’ve become somewhat scarcer at some spots, but that’ll happen after flounder season’s been open a month. Some of the keepers become caught. Weakfish were around in the bay, and not a lot was reported about fishing in this heat wave. High temperatures are supposed to break beginning Friday. Considerably more customers bought crabbing supplies this past week than before. That seemed to mean crabbing was improving. Crab prices dropped, too. Pretty much all baits are stocked, including plenty of minnows. Minnows, a favorite flounder bait, had been scarce but now seemed in good supply. Shedder crabs were stocked pretty regularly. 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.

Newport

Crabbing wasn’t bad at all during the weekend at Beaver Dam Boat Rentals, Paul said. Experienced crabbers averaged a little more than three dozen keepers per trip, and newbies averaged 1 ½ dozen. The year’s first crabber busheled out. A bushel is the legal limit per day. Someone trapped seven-eighths of a bushel Friday. The number of 5-1/2-inch crabs wasn’t abundant but definitely increased. Bunker caught best through Friday morning. Chicken out-produced later that day. Bunker and chicken caught equally on Saturday. By Monday, bunker worked best. The shop’s crew has noticed that chicken can catch best around full and new moons, when crabs sometimes shed and mate. The theory is that has to do with hormones. Bunker is usually best the rest of the time. The moon was full last Wednesday to Thursday. A couple of customers boated more than 30 white perch apiece from the creek. The perch were sizable. Customers crab and fish from rental boats towed up Oranokin Creek, running past the shop. Telephone and reserve the boats ahead, because they can become booked. Rental kayaks and canoes are available to paddle the scenic creek. Visit Beaver Dam’s website.

Fortescue

A charter was going to fish for summer flounder on the bay Sunday but felt under the weather, said Capt. Howard from the Salt Talk. So that trip didn’t sail, and another fished in the days previously, catching a few, not a lot. The bay’s flounder fishing might’ve been improving, but that was difficult to say. Anglers would think the angling could keep picking up in warming water and weather. One local boat that’s been limiting out on flounder on every trip scored a limit of the fish 17 to 24 inches for three anglers Sunday. Seventeen is the legal minimum length for flounder from Delaware Bay in New Jersey. Eighteen is the minimum in most of the rest of the state. Quite a few small bluefish were known to be angled on a flounder trip on one of Fortescue’s party boats this weekend. Little was heard about any other fish from the bay, except a few weakfish that one of the Fortescue party boats caught. That boat fishes along lighthouses with regular customers who bucktail the trout. The Salt Talk used to be a Fortescue party boat. Howard sold that vessel, and the new Salt Talk is a charter boat for up to four passengers.

Cape May

Good catches of summer flounder were made on Delaware Bay last week, said Nick from Hands Too Bait & Tackle. The good reports came from farther up the bay, like from Miah Maul to Cross Ledge along the shipping channel. The fish probably also bit closer to shore. He expected flounder in back bays to begin to migrate to the ocean after this week. That’s because back bays were warming, and the fish annually seek the ocean’s cooler water. Delaware Bay is deeper and cooler than back bays. In the surf, sometimes kingfish were banked. So were small bluefish. Flounder and weakfish were sometimes nabbed from the surf. Big sharks like sandbars and sand tigers chewed in the surf in evenings. Those two species are required to be released. Sharks like that are probably swimming Delaware Bay. Cape May is located at the confluence of Delaware Bay and the ocean. Surf anglers fish both in the town.