Tue., Aug. 4, 2015
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Delaware Bay Report

Report from Tuesday, August 4.

| Money Island | Newport | Wildwood | Last Week's Report |
Money Island
Croakers and white perch were reeled from the docks, said Bruce from Money Island Marina. That’s on Nantuxent Creek, and sometimes blowfish were nipped from the docks. Sharks also bit there. Summer flounder fishing was slow on the bay in past days. Not even many throwbacks hooked were reported. On Sunday, one keeper flounder was caught, the shop’s Facebook page said. One angler that day landed 40 croakers, it said. That was apparently from the docks. On Monday, no boats headed for the bay, and croakers and perch were nabbed at a slow pace from the docks. Commercial boaters caught bunker and crabs steadily from the bay. “They’ve kept us stocked with plenty of fresh bait,” the page said. The marina features a boat ramp, boat slips, dry-dock boat storage, gas, bait and a few items of tackle. Baits stocked currently usually include minnows, spearing, mackerel and other frozen bait. Live grass shrimp are usually carried on weekends. A bushel of fresh bunker is normally kept on ice on weekends to sell.

At Beaver Dam Boat Rentals, crabbing was improving, not gangbusters, Paul said. The number of keepers trapped per trip varied, depending on the crabbers’ skill, but more than a dozen was probably the average per trip. Many crabbers returned with three dozen, and some of the boats Monday had already totaled a half-bushel apiece, and were still crabbing, when Paul gave this report that afternoon in a phone call. The year’s first bushel was trapped two weekends ago from the shop, covered in the last report here. Those same crabbers picked up three-quarters of a bushel on a trip this weekend. The crabbing wasn’t as good as Paul would expect, but it kept improving recently, and wasn’t declining. Crab sizes were becoming larger. A significant number of 6-inchers were seen, and a few crabs approached 7 inches. The blueclaws shed during last week’s full moon. Crabs shed to grow on full and new moons, and that can slow crabbing, because crabs hesitate to eat while shedding. But not all crabs shed on all those moons. During the moon Friday, squid became almost the only bait that trapped crabs. On one trip that day, a husband fished with squid, and complained that crabs kept grabbing the bait. So the wife began crabbing with squid, instead of chicken she used previously. She ended up with a good catch of crabs, and they told other boaters about the bait, and the others also pasted crabs on squid then. Paul and crew had previously noticed that squid can work during the shed. Crabbers from New York used squid for bait on a trip last year, cleaning up on crabs during a shed, better than other crabbers using other bait. For anglers on the creek, croakers disappeared that bit before, but white perch fishing remained fairly good. Customers crab and fish 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 store to be picked up. Reserve the boats ahead of time, because they do book up. Beaver Dam stocks everything needed for crabbing, from bait, traps and nets to snacks, drinks and suntan lotion. Rental kayaks and canoes are available to paddle the scenic creek, and also reserve them ahead of time. Beaver Dam hosts groups like scouts and family reunions, and can provide an educational day about the environment. Visit Beaver Dam’s website.

Fins & Grins Sportfishing tugged in bluefish, kingfish and occasional summer flounder off Cape May Point, Capt. Jim said. That’s at the confluence of Delaware Bay and the ocean, and one trip took a look near the 2 buoy on the bay, finding acres and acres of small weakfish. So the trip moved back to fish off Cape May Point. Trips depart from the slip on the back bay at Wildwood to fish Delaware Bay aboard. A handful of keeper flounder hugged ocean reefs, and Jim expects that angling to just get better, until flounder season is closed starting September 27. September could be the month for that angling. One of the inshore shark trips sailed aboard, tying into a couple of the big fish. Fins lately fished for the sharks at Cape May Channel off Cape May Point, and on the ocean at Wildwood. But any structure will hold them. The sharks are mostly sand tigers, required to be released. Fins is tagging them for NOAA and letting them go, and the sand tigers averaged 250 pounds. One weighed almost 400 recently. Plenty of bluefish schooled ocean shoals like 5-Fathom Bank, and Fins also fishes for them. Exotics like Spanish mackerel and mahi mahi can be mixed in. Fins fishes for all species available, and trips fish every day. Reservations aren’t required but suggested, and telephone for availability.

Last Week's Report
Port Elizabeth

Customers were heard about who boated summer flounder near 14-Foot Lighthouse, said Sharon from The Girls Place Bait & Tackle. That’s not uncommon to find flounder in deeper water around the shipping channel like that this time of year. But reports were also heard about flounder decked toward Fortescue, farther north in the bay. Kingfish, croakers and a few weakfish seemed to gather in the southern bay. Flounder reports sounded okay, not great, and fishing for them seemed best on the ocean. Sharon joined a flounder trip Friday with friends that landed 10 good-sized keepers, and lots of throwbacks, on the ocean. The trip fished a wreck 19 or 20 miles off Cape May, quite a distance. Not everybody has a boat to sail that distance, but if trips can fish away from crowds like that, that can help. The trip also fished a reef closer to shore, on the way back to port, and the angling wasn’t as good, turning out one flounder, and breaking off one, Sharon thought. The trip’s fishing needed to stay right on the wreck. If the fishing ventured away from the piece, the catches slowed. The friends returned to the wreck the next day, boating six good-sized keepers, not quite as good a catch, and a few sizable sea bass. Sometimes a wreck needs to replenish with fish, or the angling might not be as good on a trip soon after, because of that. Sharon’s trip fished top-and-bottom rigs with short leaders to help avoid snagging. Tackle will be lost when fishing wrecks. But Spro jigs and a variety of tackle was fished. Smelts and Gulp mantis shrimp caught best. Seas were like a lake, and weather was perfect. “You couldn’t beat it,” she said. Weather was great for both fishing and crabbing throughout the weekend. Crabbing seemed to improve for commercial crabbers, and if it improved for them, it usually improves for recreationals. Not much was heard about surf fishing. Kingfish probably held in the surf at some places. They usually do this time of year. Fishing the surf for sharks like browns, required to be released, probably gave up catches, like before. 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.

Money Island

One boat with two anglers docked three summer flounder 20 to 23 inches, said Bruce from Money Island Marina. A couple of 19-inchers were seen, and a few good-sized flounder were around, and throwbacks were released. Nothing tremendous, but flounder fishing was worth the effort. Croakers and blues swam the bay, and so did sharks. White perch and croakers were plucked from Nantuxent Creek, running past the shop. The marina features a boat ramp, boat slips, dry-dock boat storage, gas, bait and a few items of tackle. Bait stocked currently included minnows, spearing, mackerel and other frozen bait. Live grass shrimp are usually stocked on weekends. The shrimp and bloodworms are dunked for the perch and croakers in the creek, including when fishing from the docks.


Crabbing was a lot better, said Paul from Beaver Dam Boat Rentals. The year’s first bushel of crabs was trapped Saturday on one of the rental boats. A customer today, who was still crabbing when Paul gave this report in a phone call, thought he was going to bushel-out, but Paul would see whether that happened. Two to three dozen keepers was the average catch. A few always trap fewer, like eight keepers. A few caught better than average. Crab sizes were becoming larger, and lots of the blueclaws were 5 ½ and 6 inches. The creek seemed in good shape, and jellyfish even showed up, unusually. That meant saltwater from the bay pushed into the creek, and saltwater is good for crabbing. Though crabbing picked up, fishing seemed slower, but Paul was unsure how many hardcore anglers jumped on the rental boats. Hardcores are supposed to climb aboard this weekend, and fishing was surprisingly good on the creek previously. White perch, croakers and schoolie striped bass can roam the creek. Customers crab and fish from rental boats towed up Oranokin Creek, running past the shop. The staff checks on them every hour, and if customers want a break in the meantime, they simply cell-phone the store to be picked up. Rental boats should be reserved ahead of time to ensure they’ll be available, because the boats do book up. This weekend was slamming with customers. Rental kayaks and canoes are available to paddle the scenic creek. Beaver Dam hosts groups like scouts and family reunions, and can offer an educational day about the environment. Everything needed for crabbing is available at the shop, from bait, traps and nets to snacks, drinks and suntan lotion. Visit Beaver Dam’s website.


Five keeper summer flounder 20 inches and larger were bagged on a trip Saturday on the bay with Erica Leigh Charters, Capt. Tom said. Throwbacks were released, and a few croakers and blues were boxed. A throwback cobia was also let go that hit in open water in shallows, not along structure like buoys that cobia sometimes gather around. Most of the flounder came from 16-foot depths, and one was bagged from 24 feet. The end of outgoing tide gave up the most catches. Tom knew about three other boats that fished for flounder from Fortescue that day, and the trip with Erica Leigh seemed to land the most fish.


A trip picked up friends at Rehoboth and fished the bay on the Delaware side Friday, said Capt. Jim from Fins and Feathers Outfitters. Two 19-inch, keeper summer flounder, some throwbacks and a 25-inch striped bass were cranked in. The striper was a keeper in Delaware’s 20- to 25-inch slot limit. The trip fished for flounder at the Ice Breakers, piles of rocks on that side of the bay. Some of the piles rise above water, and some are submerged. Not a lot of flounder bit, but the keeper ratio seemed better than at some places these days. The striper bit along the break wall. Fins and Feathers trailers the boat from Avalon to fish the bay, launching wherever’s nearest the fishing. Fins fishes from the back bay at Avalon to the ocean and Delaware Bay. A variety of outdoor adventures are actually offered, including saltwater fishing, duck and goose hunting along Delaware Bay and in surrounding states, during the waterfowl seasons. Trips also include fly-fishing for trout on Pennsylvania’s streams like the Yellow Breeches, salmon and steelhead fishing on upstate New York’s Salmon River from Jim’s lodge, and snowmobiling from the lodge.


Shark fishing was great on the bay aboard, said Capt. Jim from Fins & Grins Sport Fishing. One of the trips Saturday evening released six sand tiger sharks 200 to 300 pounds. Some of the bay’s sharks, including sand tigers, are required to be released, and Fins is tagging them for NOAA, then letting them go. The trips are a chance to fight big fish without the long sail offshore. Sometimes a shark species might be caught that’s allowed to be kept. Then Fins will steak up the shark, if anglers want. The shark trip nailed bluefish off Cape May Inlet, then anchored at a wreck for the sharks. Shark trips are fishing for a combo like that, and the bluefishing’s been good for 2- to 3-pounders off Cape May Point and the inlet. That’s fun on light, trolling tackle, and the blues are good-eating size. The bluefishing’s also been good at places like 5-Fathom Bank, farther from shore, and sometimes other fish, like bonito and mahi mahi, can be mixed in there. Trips aboard also boated sea bass and summer flounder, including a few keeper flounder, from the ocean. Things are picking up, Jim said. Fins fishes every day, and reservations aren’t required but suggested. Telephone for availablility. Trips fish the back bay near Wildwood, the ocean and Delaware Bay. All trips depart from the slip at Wildwood.

Cape May

Plenty of croakers gathered off Cape May Point, in Cape May Canal and at the Cape May ferry jetty and Higbee’s Beach, said Nick from Hands Too Bait & Tackle. Kingfish swam off the point, and sharks haunted there and the surf. Dusky, sandbar and sand tiger sharks, all required to be released, roamed the waters, and were a blast. A chunk of mackerel on a large hook on a 2-foot, wire leader clocked them. A couple of anglers headed for summer flounder on Delaware Bay, but nothing was heard back yet. Ocean reefs held flounder, and that fishing seemed to improve. Striped bass began to bite in back waters again, like along bridges at night, once the new-moon current slowed. Thin-profiled lures on jigs caught them, and Berkeley sand eels worked well on them and also flounder. Peanut bunker and mullet began to be heard about from back waters more than before. Blackfish and triggerfish loitered along jetties and inshore reefs, and green crabs are stocked for blackfish bait, now that one of the tautog became the bag limit starting July 17. Blackfish season was closed previously.