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Delaware Bay Report

Report from Tuesday, December 13.

| Port Elizabeth | Money Island | Last Week's Report |
THIS IS THE YEAR'S FINAL DELAWARE BAY REPORT!
The report kicks back off in April.
Port Elizabeth
The Girls Place Bait & Tackle will probably be closed after this weekend until reopening about March 1, Sharon said. If weather changes, and striped bass fishing sparks greater interest, the doors might be open later. But that’s the plan for now. Not many reports rolled in about fishing for stripers on the bay. Strong westerly or northwesterly winds often blew, and that roughs up the bay on the New Jersey, eastern side, keeping anglers from boating the water. That wasn’t to say no stripers swam the bay. But news and participation was scarce this past week. More than a week ago, customers reported boating a few stripers from the bay. Customers sometimes trolled stripers on the ocean this past week. Land protects the ocean close to shore from westerly wind, keeping seas calmer there than on the bay during that wind direction. The ocean fishing’s been the best. A few stripers seemed banked from the ocean surf at Ocean City. No fresh bunker, favorite bait for the bay’s stripers, were stocked the last several days. There was no demand for the baitfish in the weather, none was available from local suppliers, and Sharon wasn’t going to drive north toward Barnegat, a 120-mile round trip, to pick up the bait where it was available, when there was no demand. Anglers still landed stripers in the northern state, but that seemed to slow, Sharon guessed. Blackfish were still boated from the ocean off South Jersey. 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
At Money Island Marina, Bruce and crew were mostly just hauling boats from the water for the season, and the shop will be closed beginning Thursday and reopened beginning March 15, he said. But the boat ramp and fuel dock will remain open until ice forms on the docks. Reservations are being accepted for boat slips for next year, and that’s first come, first served. From the marina’s Facebook page: “What’s the latest on striped bass? The October 2015 stock assessment concludes that ‘the Atlantic striped bass stock was not overfished or experiencing overfishing.’ The Delaware Bay remains a primary source of young fish stock. Preliminary and anecdotal indications are that the number of young striped bass in the Delaware Bay is higher in 2016. The most concerning observation is that the number of trophy fish has declined. The most recent report says, ‘Abundance of age 8+ fish has declined since 2012 and is expected to drop slightly in 2016.’ That conclusion matches our local observations. My position has long been that the catch-and-release policy for managing smaller striped bass is mostly ineffective because of reported high death rates of released fish (except perhaps with the small minority of anglers who do not remove a hooked fish from the water). Instead, I would support a recreational harvest of a limited number of juvenile striped bass regardless of size. It would be better to harvest a limited number of the abundant younger ‘pan-sized’ striped bass than to focus our attention on trophy fish. The younger fish stock is easier to manage and younger fish are healthier to eat.” 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 striped bass, croakers and more, 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.

Last Week's Report
Port Elizabeth

Customers sailed the bay last week on Monday, boating a few striped bass, said Sharon from The Girls Place Bait & Tackle. One crew docked three of the fish to 43 inches that day. Afterward, wind kept the trips in port, until calming Sunday. On that day, customers, a bunch including that crew, returned to boating for the bass, but results were yet to be heard. This Monday’s weather was also calmer, but rougher than forecast that morning. Nothing was heard about boating for blackfish recently, probably because of weather. Before this past week, anglers hooked blackfish along jetties. Fishing pressure might’ve slowed that fishing, and the tautog will head for deeper water as weather and the water cool. Whether that happened yet was unknown, but it might’ve. Fresh bunker, favorite bait for stripers in the bay this season, are stocked when available and in demand. None were available from suppliers Sunday to stock at the shop Monday, even from boats farther north toward Barnegat Light. They seemed to have difficulty locating bunker that day. The shop is usually open through the weekend before Christmas, before being closed for a winter break. 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

Large striped bass, migrating south for winter, have been arriving later in the bay each year, almost as late as Christmas, Money Island Marina’s Facebook page said. Many boaters get shut out of the fishing because of weather. Peak fishing for the bass and the season’s first ice can be only days apart. Once ice forms, being on the docks is dangerous. Three boats fished from the marina Friday, the first to sail in several days because of rough weather including rain. Weather was cold and breezy that morning, too. An angler also fished from the dock that day, but no results from any of the trips were posted on the page. Wind picked up that afternoon. The marina will be closed beginning Dec. 15 for a winter break and reopened starting March 25. But the boat ramp and fuel dock will remain open until ice forms on the docks. Reservations are being accepted for boat slips for next year. That’s first come, first served, and the marina usually accepts a deposit in fall. Then payments are usually accepted, according to a schedule the boater specifies, so the slip is paid by spring. 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 striped bass, croakers and more, 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.

Cape May

Boaters sometimes trolled striped bass on the ocean off South Jersey, said Nick from Hands Too Bait & Tackle. On Delaware Bay they bunker-chunked resident stripers, a couple of keepers and some throwbacks. Surf fishing was slow. Blackfishing that had produced along jetties became slower. But the tautog seemed to bite at reefs in the ocean.