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Delaware Bay Report

Report from Tuesday, June 20.

| Port Elizabeth | Fortescue | Avalon | Cape May | Last Week's Report |
Port Elizabeth
One of the crew from the shop nabbed 18 kingfish from Delaware Bay on a trip, said Sharon from The Girls Place Bait & Tackle. The angler on the trip, last week, also landed a 50-pound black drum from the bay. But the bay’s drum fishing seemed mostly finished for the year. A few drum probably remained in the water, but anglers were finished targeting them, pretty much. Weakfish were picked from the bay, and the bigger seemed inshore. Summer flounder were boated at ocean reefs. One customer decked at 6-pounder, and Sharon was unsure at which reef but thought Cape May Reef. Crabbing’s been okay, and the shop had customers buying supplies like shedder crabs for bait for fishing. People were going fishing, and there were fish to be caught. 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.

A few summer flounder to 17 ½ inches were boated at the slough at the stakes south of Fortescue on Saturday on Delaware Bay on the Salt Talk, Capt. Howard said. Seventeen inches is the minimum size limit on the bay, compared with 18 in most of the rest of the state. Flounder began to appear in the bay in June’s last week in recent years, and fishing for them usually improved in July. Howard didn’t know the bay’s temperature currently but guessed the water was in the 60s. The trip fished with shedder crabs, and shedders have been in good supply. Commercial crabbers have been scoring well on the bay. Howard fished the bay solo Wednesday when a charter canceled, and landed bluefish inshore. A 10-inch weakfish and big stingrays were also hooked. Weakfish and kingfish, okay catches, apparently bit along the shipping channel. Howard spoke with an angler from the docks who put together a good catch of kings close to shore, north of False Egg Island Point. The angler frequently fishes the bay. Croakers seemed yet to arrive in the bay. Howard heard nothing about black drum fishing on the bay in past days. He thought one of Fortescue’s party boats’ most recent trip for drum was on Friday night, but didn’t know results. The Salt Talk used to be a party boat from Fortescue. Howard sold that vessel, and the new Salt Talk is a charter boat for up to four passengers.

Fins and Feathers Outfitters will next fish Saturday and Sunday, maybe for summer flounder on Delaware Bay toward Miah Maull, Capt. Jim said. Black drum fishing was probably winding down on the bay. But a buddy totaled three of the drum last week on a trip. Another friend boated flounder including two keepers on the back bay at Sea Isle City in only a couple of hours Wednesday or Thursday. When Fins fishes Delaware Bay, the boat is trailered and launched wherever’s closest to the fishing. Otherwise the boat sails from the slip at Avalon.

Cape May
Black drum were hauled from Delaware Bay last week, said Capt. Steve from the Prime Time II. He knew that a few trips sailed for them this weekend, but was yet to hear results. Summer flounder trips will begin on the Prime Time soon on the ocean. Steve hadn’t really spoken with anybody who fished for them there yet. Flounder bit in the back bay. Nothing was heard about flounder from Delaware Bay. Wind kept a shark trip from sailing Sunday on the ocean on the Prime Time. Steve knew about actually some sizable mako sharks caught lately. A few thresher sharks were landed, but threshers seemed scarcer than usual so far. A boat from the docks trolled a bluefin tuna, three yellowfin tuna and two bigeye tuna at Poorman’s Canyon at night on an overnight trip.

A 5-pound weakfish was weighed from the surf at Cape May Point at Hands Too Bait & Tackle, Nick said. The angler beached the fish on a soft-plastic lure. On the trip, he also banked six throwback weaks, a couple of throwback summer flounder and a tailor bluefish. Some good catches of weaks like these were made in the surf at jetties from the ocean to Cape May Point to Higbee’s Beach on Delaware Bay. Cape May Point is at the confluence of the ocean and the bay. Kingfish and croakers were nipped from the ocean surf on bloodworms, Fishbites artificial worms or clams. Brown sharks began to be heard about that were fought from the surf. Browns must be released, and they stalk the surf as the water warms. The back bay’s summer flounder fishing was pretty productive along the Intracoastal Waterway. Flounder seemed to begin to be boated from Cape May Reef on the ocean. Nothing was heard about flounder from Delaware Bay. Brown sharks bit in the bay. Black drum were marked and were heard drumming on the bay but wouldn’t bite last week. The fishing seemed to be dropping off for the year, but a couple of boaters still tried for them that week. Fresh clams in the shell were still stocked that were bait for drum. Fresh, shucked clams, plenty of minnows and bloodworms were also carried. Mako sharks could be located in the ocean. Blue sharks and brown sharks were cracked from the ocean, but not many thresher sharks seemed to be. Farther offshore, all the way out, small bluefin tuna and small yellowfin tuna roamed local canyons, and so did sizable bigeye tuna. The Common Sense returned with three bigeyes.

Last Week's Report
Port Elizabeth

A few black drum were heard about that were boated from Delaware Bay, said Sharon from The Girls Place Bait & Tackle. But the fish were boated on one day and not on another, and reports about fishing were generally slow in past days. Even fishing for kingfish sounded slow lately on the bay and was better before. Reasons for any slow fishing couldn’t be known. The bay’s drum fishing usually begins winding down by this time of year, after June’s full moon. Some people said the kingfish were full of horseshoe crab eggs so were reluctant to bite a bait. Even Maurice River’s white perch fishing seemed slow, and when the perch were caught, they were full of the eggs. Maybe that had something to do with it, Sharon guessed. Few summer flounder seemed to swim the bay. That could pick up, or a larger population of the flatfish could arrive. They used to arrive earlier, years ago, but in recent years showed up later. Crabs were shedding, and that slows crabbing, because shedding blueclaws won’t feed. Bait won’t attract them to a trap. But shedding only lasts days, and crabbing’s been great this year. Plenty of customers milled around the shop in great weather this past weekend. Lots of anglers seemed to fish. 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.


Crabs were shedding last weekend, and were also mating, though the season was early for mating, said Paul from Beaver Dam Boat Rentals. All of that can slow crabbing, because crabs won’t eat while shedding or mating. Bait won’t attract them in a trap. But not all crabs shed and mate at once, and the weekend’s catches were just okay, not phenomenal like the previous weekend. Crabbing’s been very good this year at the shop so far, and shedding and mating only lasts for days. Full and new moons often trigger that activity. The sizes of crabs was increasing, and 50 or 60 percent were probably 5 ½ inches. The creek was also alive with 3-inchers, boding well for the year. They’re too small to bag but will grow large enough this summer. Customers who fished hooked catches including a few baby striped bass, a 14-inch, undersized summer flounder and a 1-1/2-pound bluefish. Customers crab and fish on rental boats towed up Oranokin Creek, running past the shop. Rental canoes and kayaks are also available to paddle the scenic creek. The rentals have been available on weekends so far this year, and will become available daily beginning June 24. However, the store will be closed this Fathers’ Day weekend, because the crew will attend a family event. Beaver Dam stocks everything needed for crabbing, from traps, nets and bait to snacks, drinks and suntan lotion. The shop also hosts events like birthday parties and family reunions, and groups like scouts, including for an educational day about the environment. Visit Beaver Dam’s website.


Capt. Howard from the Salt Talk did maintenance on the boat and no fishing during the weekend, he said. He heard about black drum heaved from the bay Wednesday evening but nothing about drum since. Weakfish and kingfish were hooked along the shipping channel. A couple of keeper summer flounder were docked from the bay the past couple of days. Maybe flounder fishing was improving. In recent years, flounder fishing picked up after Fathers’ Day or during the final week of June on the bay. Then the angling was on for some time.

Cape May

Delaware Bay’s black drum fishing was nothing to talk about recently and was no good Saturday night, said Capt. Tom from Fishin’ Fever Sportfishing. Tom thinks they were spawning. Friends from private boats began to give a couple of decent reports about summer flounder fishing on the ocean the past few days. Fishin’ Fever’s been sea bass fishing on the ocean and ran one shark trip on the ocean so far this year. The sea bassing limited out early on every trip, and sea bass season will be closed beginning Monday. The shark trip bagged a 125-pound mako and released a 160-pounder and several other shark species.

Black drum were boated from Delaware Bay last week, said Joe from Hands Too Bait & Tackle. No summer flounder fishing was heard about from the bay. A customer said he was going to give the flounder fishing a shot, because he usually catches them this time of year. Flounder fishing seemed productive on the back bay. Pretty good weakfishing was tied into from along jetties in the surf on the bay to rocks, bridges or other structure in the back bay, on shedder crabs and bloodworms. Sea bass fishing went well on the ocean. Many anglers headed for shark fishing toward the end of last week because the South Jersey Shark Tournament was underway in town.