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Delaware Bay Report

Report from Tuesday, November 13.

| Port Elizabeth | Fortescue | Cape May | Last Week's Report |
THIS REPORT IS UPDATED EVERY TUESDAY
Port Elizabeth
No real reports rolled in about striped bass boated on the bay, said Sharon from The Girls Bait & Tackle. Not a lot of days had the weather for boaters to sail for them. One angler who was looking for fresh bunker to buy was going to boat for the bass Sunday with the bait. But results were yet to be heard. Sharon texted him. The bunker were difficult to obtain lately, because weather kept bunker boats from sailing, and because demand for the bait was low. When demand is low, the bunker boats sail for the baitfish less frequently. But if Sharon needed a bunch of bunker, she could probably get it. Bloodworms were the bait that customers most frequently bought from the shop. The worms were probably fished mostly for white perch on brackish streams. Bloods are also fished for stripers, but usually for smaller ones. The shop had business last week from a few anglers who were going to sail for sea bass on the ocean. Not many days had the weather to do that, either. The blackfish bag limit will be increased to five beginning Friday from the current limit of one. Green crabs are stocked for bait for the tautog. 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.

Fortescue
A trip on the Salt Talk was supposed to compete in an annual striped bass tournament Saturday on the bay from Money Island but was weathered out, Capt. Howard said. Strong wind screamed that day, but the tournament was held anyway. Howard visited the event and saw no stripers entered yet, when he left at 3 p.m. That was the deadline to enter fish, and white perch were the only fish he saw entered. The contest had a category for them. Seas were rough, and some of the boaters who competed returned early because of that. The two party boats from Fortescue sailed for the event. Howard fished the bay Sunday for stripers but hooked none. A bunker netter saw stripers, a good number, schooling under birds working the water at the 1 buoy on Wednesday and Thursday, so Howard fished there. But the fish seemed to depart because of stormy weather in the next days. Weather was a little rough Sunday in the morning but ended up calm. The morning was supposed to be 26 degrees, forecasts said. Did Howard hear about any catches from Fortescue’s surf? White perch were nabbed there, he thought. The Salt Talk used to be a Fortescue party boat. Howard sold that vessel, and the new Salt Talk is a charter boat for up to four passengers.

Cape May
Customers did try boating for striped bass with bunker-chunks on the bay and with eels at the Cape May Rips, said Nick from Hands Too Bait & Tackle. Some keepers 29 or 30 inches did seem around in the bay to chunk. Local anglers last week waited for the striper migration. Some of the fish might’ve begun to arrive yesterday, but Nick gave this report late last week. Stores yesterday along South Jersey’s coast were reporting some of the season’s first large, migrating stripers boated on the ocean locally. Last week, fishing for stripers slowed somewhat in Cape May’s surf, Nick said. Customers fish the surf from the ocean to Delaware Bay in town, because Cape May is located at the confluence. Blackfishing was pretty good along local inlets, and 50 percent of the tog seemed keepers. In the back bay, plenty of smaller stripers bit popper plugs and soft-plastic lures. Anglers fished the poppers and plastics along the surf jetties for stripers, too. When trips caught the weather to sail for sea bass on the ocean, good catches seemed made in 100-foot depths or so. Fresh bunker began being stocked when available. Eels, green crabs and jumbo bloodworms are on hand.

Last Week's Report
Port Elizabeth

Customers began asking for fresh bunker for bait more frequently, said Sharon from The Girls Place Bait & Tackle. That’s popular for striped bass fishing this season, including on the bay. But really no news rolled in about fishing in difficult weather including storms and wind. Autumn’s weather is always rough, but this fall’s feels exceptional. A calmer day happens occasionally, followed by three or four rough days again. Sharon heard about a couple of striped bass, apparently keepers, caught around Ocean City, but no details, including whether the fish came from back waters or the ocean. She talked with a friend who’s a fishing business owner farther north in Mantoloking, and the friend reported little business selling supplies for striper fishing yet. The striper migration was apparently still farther north in New Jersey. Sea bass fishing on the ocean is one of the only other types of fishing available this time of season in saltwater. But windy weather seemed to keep those trips from sailing. Green crabs are stocked for blackfishing like along jetties. Fresh bunker are carried when available but are difficult to obtain from suppliers in the weather. Bunker boats don’t sail in stiff weather. Sharon obtained a couple of local suppliers but will drive a distance to get the baitfish if necessary. Bloodworms have been carried all the time. The store’s been stocking sandworms that are similar and popular farther north in the state but gaining interest locally. Sands can grow larger than bloods. Clams have been coming in, but mostly frozen, salted. Fresh clams were scarce apparently for the same reason as fresh bunker were: the clam boats often didn’t sail in the weather. Anglers hope this stretch of rough weather calms. 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.

Fortescue

Capt. Howard from the Salt Talk was going to boat for striped bass on the bay Sunday with a neighbor, he said. That was the only day with calmer weather recently. But the neighbor showed up too late for the trip to sail. Howard had planned to troll with Stretch lures but also drift livelined spots that are available from a bunker netter he knows. Salt Talk is supposed to compete Saturday on the bay in an annual striper tournament from Money Island. If Howard gets the weather to sail, he should have news about the fishing afterward. Howard thought that one of the Higbee’s from Fortescue was going to fish for stripers last weekend or last week on the bay but never heard results. The Salt Talk used to be a Fortescue party boat. Howard sold that vessel, and the new Salt Talk is a charter boat for up to four passengers.

Cape May

Sounds like things are starting to happen, and the southern migration of striped bass began arriving in the northern state, said Nick from Hands Too Bait & Tackle. At Cape May, small bluefish were nabbed from the surf last week. A few throwback stripers and a couple of keepers were banked along surf jetties locally. If fishing bait for the blues or stripers, Nick would still recommend mullet. The mullet migration was gone or thinning out – he wasn’t asked for this report whether any remained, but the baitfish seemed gone or thinned out at some places last week in New Jersey – but the bait still caught. Fresh bunker that were going to be stocked last weekend would also work. Frozen, salted clams will always bean the throwback stripers, too. Fresh bunker should be stocked the rest of the season at the shop whenever available from suppliers. Fresh, shucked clams were also going to be carried last weekend. If fishing lures for the blues, metal was productive. Top-water lures hit them at first light or when the fish were feeding heavily. For the stripers along the jetties, Daiwa SP Minnows and Yo-Zuri Mag Darters were top lures. Tsunami swim shads also caught. These lures replicated the baitfish. The back bay was on fire with baitfish and 18- to 24-inch stripers, a few bigger that were keepers. Lures to hook them were slimmer, like Bass Assassins or others that weren’t paddle-tails, because spearing schooled. Getting reports about sea bass fishing on the ocean was tough, because weather kept canceling trips. But ocean wrecks should be prime for sea bass.