Striped bass were heard about a couple of times that were beached from shore at Fortescue, said Sharon from The Girls Place Bait & Tackle. Many of the fish were throwbacks, and some anglers said they got no bites there. One angler talked about scoring well on stripers on Delaware River while fishing from shore with friends on trips. Many of the fish were throwbacks but some were sizable. Be aware about regulations for fishing the river. Striper fishing is closed on much of the river this time of year for spawning. Anglers release the fish, and certain types of circle hooks are required to be fished. No black drum were heard to be boated on the bay yet, but they could be in less than two weeks. Drum fishing is usually best in May, and sometimes begins in late April. White perch fishing caught okay on brackish rivers, and perch tournaments were held lately. Crabbing was improving already, probably because of the mild winter. One crabber talked about trapping a couple of hundred including 30 or 40 keepers. The shop was fairly busy with customers during the weekend. Bloodworms were popular sellers for bait, and the worms have been scarce, because weather’s been cold to the north, where the worms are from. The worm population didn’t seem low, but low temperatures kept the worms buried in mud, difficult for harvesters. Fresh bunker were available pretty much daily, when the shop wanted the bait. Bunker became scarce a moment during the weekend, because weather blew a gale Saturday, keeping bunker boats from sailing. Fresh, shucked clams but no clams in the shell were stocked during the weekend. Clams have been scarce in recent years, apparently because of over-harvesting. 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 couple of boaters fished during the weekend, said Bruce from Money Island Marina. But most customers were launching boats into slips for the first time this year, getting ready to fish. One of the boaters who fished sailed toward the Salem power plant for stripers, meeting rough seas from stiff wind, catching nothing. Weather was often windy and sometimes cold and damp in past days. The shop stocks bait like fresh bunker when demand begins. Currently frozen bunker was on hand, and the bunker supplier pulled the boat from the water for maintenance, but now splashed the vessel back in. 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, and croakers, 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. Ask the marina when the boat will be available for the fishing season. A couple of aluminum boats like that will be available this year, Bruce noted.
The rental boats will become available for crabbing on the weekend of May 20 at Beaver Dam Boat Rentals, Paul said. They’ll be available on weekends until becoming available daily in late June, the usual schedule. This might be a banner year for crabbing, because mild winters usually cause that. Cold winters can kill many crabs. Lots of crabs already skittered around the dock, and many were undersized. But crabs grow quickly, and many should be keepers by the time the rental boats become available. Rental kayaks are also available in-season. Customers crab, fish and kayak on scenic Oranokin Creek, running past the shop. The store carries everything needed for crabbing, from bait, traps and nets to suntan lotion, drinks and snacks. It also hosts events like birthday parties and family reunions, and also events that teach about the environment for groups like scouts. Visit Beaver Dam’s website.
The Heavy Hitter was splashed Friday at the marina in Cape May for the fishing season, Capt. George said. Black drum charters will fish the bay in May. The boat had been in dry dock along Maurice River for seasonal maintenance. On the trip to Cape May that day, the river was 60 degrees, and Cape May Canal was 54, where the canal meets the bay.
Trips for striped bass will begin May 1 with Fishin’ Fever Sportfishing, chunking bunker on the bay, Capt. Tom said. Those are big, mature stripers headed for the ocean, after spawning in Delaware River. Trips for black drum on the bay will start May 10. That angling’s usually good off the bat when the trips begin.