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Delaware Bay Report

Report from Tuesday, April 14.

| Port Elizabeth | Avalon | Wildwood | Cape May | Last Week's Report |
Port Elizabeth
Larger striped bass than before were reported caught from Delaware River, like toward Elsinboro and the Salem nuclear plant, said Sharon from
The Girls Place Bait & Tackle. One customer saw a 40-plus-incher and a striper in the high 30 inches bloodwormed from the river, the day before he stopped at the shop. No reports really came from the bay or ocean, though the store was busier Sunday than probably all year. More anglers fished than previously. A few throwback striped bass were known angled from Maurice River. The river’s fishing for white perch, lots of sizable, was good. A club will hold a perch tournament Saturday, and Sharon thought the event awards substantial cash prizes. Anglers can telephone the store for info. Bloodworms are stocked, and became scarce, ran out a moment, this weekend, apparently because demand surprised suppliers. But plenty of the worms are stocked now. Fresh clams weren’t easy to obtain, and Sharon was fortunate to get some Saturday. Weather often kept clam boats from sailing. They sailed Friday but struggled in seas that remained from previous wind. Green crabs for blackfish bait were difficult to obtain. The crabs apparently hadn’t been potting much, to the north, where most come from. The shop was opened daily for the season last weekend. The hours are 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 5 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays. When drum arrive in the bay, the doors sometimes remain open later on Sundays, when demand for clams for bait for the boomers increases, usually in May. Many drum anglers like to pick up the clams before sailing for the fish that afternoon to evening. 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.

From Fins and Feathers Outfitters, Capt. Jim saw a fly-rodder drag in a throwback striped bass from the bay’s surf at Sunset Beach in Cape May on Sunday, he said. Anglers fished the surf there while he visited, and he knew about another angler who clammed a throwback from the bay’s shore at the Villas that day. Jim saw no boats on the water from Sunset while there. The bay was 48 degrees, he heard, but that was unconfirmed. Wind blew like crazy on Saturday. Wind also blew on Sunday, he thought, but from east, and Delaware Bay is protected from that wind direction, and seas were calm on the bay. Jim’s saltwater trips will begin as early as late this month. They’ll fish for striped bass on the bay or nearby ocean, if stripers can be boated then, and will fish for drum on the bay in May. When trips aboard fish the bay, the boat is trailered to be launched wherever’s nearest the fishing. When Fins fishes the ocean, the boat is either trailered liked that, or departs from a slip in Avalon. Jim is tentatively booked to fish for steelheads on upstate New York’s Salmon River from his lodge this coming week. April is the best month for the angling. Fins and Feathers offers a variety of outdoor adventures, including saltwater fishing from the ocean to Delaware Bay, duck and goose hunting on the bay and in nearby states, steelhead and salmon fishing from the lodge, and fly-fishing for trout on Pennsylvania’s streams like the Yellow Breeches. Anglers can even enjoy a combo of duck or goose hunting and striper fishing, over a series of days, on the bay, during the waterfowl seasons.

Fins & Grins Sport Fishing will sail for striped bass on the bay now, Capt. Jim said. Stripers caught were heard about from the flats off Egg Island Point in the bay, and the trips aboard will anchor and clam at places like edges and sloughs along the flats, also looking for relatively warm water. Air temperatures are supposed to reach the 60 and 70 degrees this week, and that will warm the water at the flats, and should keep attracting the stripers. Whole surf clams are the best to fish for stripers in the bay this season. But if bird play pops up, the striper trips could troll plugs or cast bucktails. The trips will do whatever’s necessary to catch, and could even explore other places, like along Miah Maul in the bay. One never knows if stripers will be run into at other places. Jim worked on someone else’s boat this weekend that blackfished on the ocean. But blackfishing was slow in the chilly ocean, so Fins & Grins will home in on stripers. Southerly wind seemed to have cooled the ocean during the blackfishing. That wind direction cools the ocean near the coast, because of upwelling. Fins & Grins fishes daily, departing from Wildwood, and telephone for availability.

Cape May
The Heavy Hitter is in the water, and the year’s first charter is supposed to fish this weekend aboard, Capt. George said. That trip will probably bottom-fish on the ocean, and the Heavy Hitter will fish for striped bass on the bay or ocean if the angling takes off near Cape May later this season. Drum charters are being booked that will fish the bay, usually in May. One of the mates on the Heavy Hitter has been fishing for striped bass from shore at Elsinboro on Delaware River. He’d been catching good numbers of throwbacks, but now reeled in a 44-incher. Some big began to be caught there. On the Heavy Hitter, bottom-fish that could be targeted currently included blackfish or cod in the ocean. A friend who sometimes mates on the boat, a different angler than the one who fished Delaware River, fished on a trip that bagged nine cod and released plenty of shorts this weekend. That was 20 or 25 miles from shore, and the trip also stopped at Wildwood Reef, closer to shore, hooking a couple of throwback blackfish and one out-of-season sea bass that were released. George was surprised more sea bass didn’t bite, because sea bass usually swim inshore by now. The water was 48 degrees, both where the trip cod fished, and at the reef. Water was 50 or 51 degrees at the dock on the Heavy Hitter, though someone told George the water was warmer at the dock at that person’s boat in the marina. A friend read 54-degree water in Cape May Canal on a trip. George also knew about a Cape May charter boat that docked cod this weekend.

A few small striped bass began to be eased from the bay’s surf, said Nick from Hands Too Bait & Tackle. They were resident fish, not ones that migrated to local waters, and none was a keeper, but a few anglers clammed some. Customer Brian landed a 17-incher, his first-ever striper, in North Cape May. Larger stripers than before, sometimes keepers, began to be reeled from Delaware River from shore. Back at Cape May, birds began to work bait along the ocean off the surf, and in Cape May Inlet. A few anglers tried blackfishing along jetties, since blackfish season was opened this month. But they caught none.

Last Week's Report
Welcome to the year’s first Delaware Bay Report!

Port Elizabeth

Some really nice white perch were clobbered from Maurice River, said Sharon from The Girls Place Bait & Tackle. The fish were beautiful, and no saltwater fishing reports came in yet this season. The entire weekend blew a gale, anyway. Catches of small striped bass were heard about from Delaware River from places like Elsinboro, from shore, near the Salem nuclear plant. Warm water discharged from the plant apparently attracted the fish. Sharon traveled to North Carolina this past week. Oregon Inlet there was closed to boat traffic, because of dredging. Farther south in North Carolina, boats from Hatteras returned with a few bluefin tuna and a few yellowfin tuna, not a lot of either, but some. No catches of red drum were heard about from the surf at Hatteras during the trip, though the drum fishing can turn on at this time of year. The surf was cold or 45 degrees. Bloodworms and fresh clams are stocked. Fresh bunker is on hand on occasion. Bunker were somewhat scarce this early in the season. Not many of the baitfish migrated to local waters yet, and weather often kept boats from sailing for the menhaden. Sometimes the shop’s netter only landed a bushel or 1 ½ bushels in a day, when the netter had the weather to sail. Starting this weekend, The Girls Place will be open 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays, 5 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays and 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. The store’s been open fewer hours until now, but has been open. 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.


Crabbing is usually opened during the weekend before Memorial Day weekend for the season at Beaver Dam Boat Rentals, Linda said. That would be the weekend of May 16 this year. However, the shop might participate in the Horseshoe Crab Festival in Fortescue on that date this season, renting kayaks, and so on. If so, crabbing will be opened starting on Memorial Day weekend at the shop this year. The water was cold around the shop, and the crew hadn’t even fished yet. Linda didn’t know whether white perch swam Oranokin Creek yet. Customers crab and fish on the creek on the shop’s rental boats, once the boats are made available for crabbing for the season. The boats are towed up the creek, and the staff checks on them every hour. If customers need a break in the meantime, they simply cell phone the shop to be picked up. The store is open for supplies, including jumbo minnows, big ones. The minnows grow large, because the crew raises them throughout winter. Beaver Dam’s minnows are often considerably larger than elsewhere, throughout the year, because the crew raises them. Other stores buy minnows from suppliers who net them in the wild. Minnows can also be on hand at Beaver Dam when other shops can’t supply them, like when minnows are often scarce in the wild in spring, because the baitfish don’t pot in cold water. The big minnows are currently great for chain pickerel bait for freshwater fishing. When summer flounder season is opened later this spring, the bait will be super for flounder in saltwater. Visit Beaver Dam’s website.

Cape May

Drum fishing usually sails the bay in May on the Heavy Hitter, Capt. George said. Those trips are being booked, and blackfish could be targeted aboard the ocean, and blackfish season is open this month. The ocean warmed to 45 degrees, according to the news. Trips aboard will striped bass fish on the bay or ocean, if stripers can be boated this spring from Cape May. One of the mates from the boat tied into striped bass, none keepers, but plenty, on Delaware River, from shore at Elsinboro, on bloodworms recently. The fish were up to 24 or 26 inches, and many were small, like 18 or 22 inches. The angler thinks the migration of large stripers will arrive soon, George guessed. George did seasonal maintenance on the boat this weekend in dry dock, and hopes to splash the vessel in the next week for the fishing season.

Striped bass will eventually be slid from the bay’s surf, at places like Reed’s Beach, in Cape May this spring, said Nick from Hands Too Bait & Tackle. That’s some of the best surf angling in the town. Stripers can pop into the ocean surf in spring in the town, but the bay’s surf angling is usually consistent for a time during the season. An occasional drum is usually in the mix. The water was 44 degrees recently at the Cape May ferry, near the bay, at the mouth of Cape May Canal. A few anglers currently landed throwback stripers from the back bay along the sod banks on warmer days. That was on soft-plastic lures, worked slowly along bottom. Throwback stripers were pulled in from rivers and creeks at warm water near power plants, like Delaware River near the Salem nuclear plant, and, farther north, Oyster Creek, the warm-water discharge from Forked River nuclear plant. Blackfish season was opened Wednesday for the month. The tautog might bite in deep, warmer water in the ocean. Whether they’d bite closer to shore yet was unknown.