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.
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.
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.