Fishing for drum was good early last week, said Sharon from The Girls Place Bait & Tackle. The fish were hauled from the New Jersey side of the bay, and probably will continue to be a while. Not a lot was heard about them since, and weather was often rough, including during the tropical storm Friday to Saturday. The bay’s summer flounder fishing seemed to start improving. More of the fish than before, not a lot of keepers, maybe, seemed to be reeled in along the shipping channel, like toward Miah Maull. Sharon fished on a trip in the back bay behind Corson’s Inlet that landed three keeper flounder, a few throwbacks and a bluefish on Thursday. Wind blew against tide, hampering the boat’s drift. Lots of flounder held in the back bay at Avalon, she heard. The shallower, warmer back bays seemed to harbor more flounder than Delaware Bay so far. But Delaware Bay’s flounder population, even if the fish were mostly throwbacks, did seem to increase along the channel. Sizeable weakfish were hooked along Cape May’s jetties. Weaks schooled Delaware Bay toward the turn buoys off Maurice River Cove. Kingfish, including large ones 16, 17 or 18 inches, swam toward the turn buoys. Croakers were tugged from the bay. So, there were fish in the bay. Little was heard about striped bass anymore. A few were caught, and can usually be boated through June at places like Blake’s Channel. Those are fish that spawned in Delaware River and are migrating to the ocean. Crabbing somewhat improved, even if it wasn’t as good as expected this time of year. Shedder crabs, not a lot, have been stocked for bait most days. Minnows have usually been carried, though the baitfish have been scarce. Chilly waters and rains this time of year can keep minnows from potting well. Fresh clams are still stocked, like for drum fishing. Telephone to order ahead to ensure a supply, like a bushel for drum. The Girls Place, located on Route 47, just after Route 55 ends, stocks a large supply of bait and tackle. It’s the long, one-story, yellow building on the right, with plenty of parking, including for trailered boats.
Most rental boats were returned with a half-bushel of crabs through the weekend, said Paul from Beaver Dam Boat Rentals. Inexperienced crabbers nabbed fewer, and catches included good-sized crabs, including lots of 5-1/2-inchers, and a few 6-inchers. Nobody complained about size, and a bunch of the blueclaws were just under keeper-sized. They’ll grow to 5 ½ inches, an inch larger than keeper-size, when they shed on the next full moon. Customers said crabs caught were either definitely keepers or definitely throwbacks. Paul expects good crabbing this weekend, because the moon will be neither full nor new. Crabs shed on full and new moons, and don’t eat while shedding, so they can become difficult to trap then. But not all crabs shed at once, and not all moons trigger shedding. Crabbing was good last weekend on the new moon. Nobody fished during the weekend, though Paul previously talked about schoolie striped bass, good-sized croakers, and spots that swam the waters. Some of the shop’s crew expect to fish this weekend, so more should be known about fishing afterward. Though the tropical storm arrived Friday and was supposed to last into Saturday, weather turned out fine for crabbing Saturday and Sunday. More customers showed up Sunday, but both days drew plenty. Crabbing this year is on schedule. Catches began very early last year because of warmer waters. Customers at Beaver Dam crab and fish on rental boats towed up Oranokin Creek, running past the shop. The staff checks on them each hour, and if customers want a break in the meantime, they simply cell phone the shop to be picked up. Beaver Dam carries everything needed for a day of crabbing, from bait, traps and nets to snacks, drinks and suntan lotion. Look for a special on crabbing to be announced soon, probably something like rent four trips and get the fifth for a good discount. Rental kayaks and canoes are available to paddle the scenic creek. Crabs for eating are sold when available, and none was available yet. Commercial crabbers weren’t catching, though they started to catch earlier this season, a moment. Visit Beaver Dam’s Web site.
Drum fishing was okay on the bay, Capt. Mario from the Down Deep said. Sea bassing was good aboard the ocean for the fish to 4 pounds. Charters are fishing, and sign up for the Short Notice List on Down Deep’s Web site for dates for open-boat trips, including for drum and for marathon sea bass trips. The season’s first open tuna trips are slated for later this month.
With Fins and Feathers Outfitters, a trip Wednesday tried for summer flounder on the bay, Capt. Jim said. The outing first drifted the boat at Miah Maull, eventually working it down to Brown Shoal, but no flounder bit. Flounder seemed yet to fill the bay this season, though they’d usually arrive by now. Plenty of the flatfish seemed to swim the shallower back bays. Jim’s brother landed six keepers on the back bay near Absecon on a party boat. On Jim’s trip, after no flounder bit, he decided to switch to drum fishing, anchoring first between Brown Shoal and Brandywine. A large drum, probably 70 or 80 pounds, was hooked on the light, 17-pound flounder tackle. The fish was fought a long time to try to land it, and almost could’ve been netted, but finally broke off. The trip moved to Tussy’s Slough and anchored, and this time a 40-pound drum was bagged. A bunch of dog sharks, including a couple of 4- or 5-footers, and skates chomped on the trip. Lots of bait, large pods, kept being seen. Whether the bait was bunker or something else couldn’t be seen, but they busted the water surface. Anglers aboard tried throwing bucktails into the bait. But no fish seemed to forage on the bait, and nothing bit. A charter aboard this Saturday will drum fish on the bay, but also might try flounder fishing. Flounder might turn on any moment in the bay by this time of season. Fins and Feathers fishes Delaware Bay in spring and fall, trailering the boat from Avalon to wherever’s closest to the fishing, like Cape May or Reed’s Beach. In summer, trips fish the ocean from Avalon for everything from flounder to tuna. Fins and Feathers offers a variety of outdoor adventures, including duck and goose hunting. Anglers can even enjoy a combo of striped bass fishing and duck hunting over a series of days when the waterfowl season is open. Fins and Feathers also guides for salmon and steelheads on upstate New York’s Salmon River from Jim’s lodge, and guides fly-fishing for trout on Pennsylvania’s streams, like the Yellow Breeches.