Con­di­tions set­tling back down on Jer­sey coast

The Community Connection - - SPORTS - By Jim Loe For Dig­i­tal First Me­dia

It seems like it has been at least a month since the ocean off south Jer­sey was ac­ces­si­ble to an­glers. That train of off­shore hur­ri­canes and a steady sup­ply of high winds kept all but the very largest boats se­curely tied to their docks.

But, in the past week con­di­tions have slowly re­turned to nor­mal and last week­end some boats did head off in the di­rec­tion of the deep.

Prob­a­bly the big­gest news com­ing back from out there was an ex­tremely im­pres­sive 106-pound wa­hoo that was caught from a Cape May based boat named Com­mon Sense. The cap­tain steered the ves­sel south and put out lines at the 30-Fathom Line a bit inside the Bal­ti­more Canyon. Things had to be pretty good be­cause in ad­di­tion to the wa­hoo the Com­mon Sense cooler also con­tained a yel­lowfin tuna and a dozen and a half mahi.

Much closer to shore the par­ty­boats have been an­chor­ing up on the ar­ti­fi­cial reefs and some cap­tain’s knowl­edge snags and their pas­sen­gers have been get­ting some re­spectable num­bers of trig­ger­fish and por­gies. They also are con­tin­u­ing to pull up sum­mer floun­der and seabass but those are now out of sea­son and they have to be re­turned to the wa­ter.

The back bay and river an­glers still are wait­ing for the fall striped bass run to hit its stride. Quite a few shorts have been caught but keep­ers are a rar­ity. The wa­ter tem­per­a­ture now has dropped into the up­per 60s and that could be a sign the big bass might be ready, es­pe­cially in the up­per reaches of the Mul­lica and Egg Har­bor Rivers. Live bait would be rec­om­mended but that should be no prob­lem be­cause there con­tinue to be huge schools of peanut bunker and spot around.

Around the var­i­ous jet­ties and bridges there has been pretty good ac­tion on sheepshead and taug. I would rec­om­mend crab for bait and keep in mind that you can keep just one taug. You also can ex­pect to be pestered by hun­gry, and small, blue­fish. It might not be a bad idea to have a sec­ond rod and reel with you and if you get one of those tiny blues use that combo to live­line the blue. Per­haps a large striper, blue or weak­fish might de­cide it would make a good din­ner. That has worked for me many times over the years.

In the surf there has not been very much going on. The big­gest news would be some red drum be­ing re­ported at Long Beach Is­land and the Wild­woods. A good ex­am­ple of the slow surf fish­ing would be the re­sult of The Women’s Surf Fish­ing Club of New Jer­sey’s tour­na­ment at Bri­g­an­tine about a week ago or so. Small blue­fish were the norm. Just one king­fish was reg­is­tered and the big­gest fish of the event was a 15inch her­ring.

If you fish the back wa­ters of At­lantic City, es­pe­cially in the Chelsea sec­tion of town, you may have heard that area was closed to all wa­ter ac­tiv­i­ties be­cause of a bad sewage leak around the old Bader Field. That leak has been re­paired and the wa­ters in that area have been re­opened.

The Delaware striper story is just about the same as the New Jer­sey story. There are plenty around but find­ing one of le­gal size is dif­fi­cult. There are many in the Canal but they are of the catch and re­lease size.

Sum­mer floun­der are le­gal in Delaware, un­like Jer­sey, but they are start­ing to make their fall mi­gra­tion out into the ocean. You still can find some in the back wa­ters but we can ex­pect the Old Grounds and Sites 10 and 11 to start com­ing alive with them. On the Cape Hen­lopen State Park Pier there is a mixed bag catch of floun­der, spot and king­fish.

Then, there are the blue claw crabs. They have been plen­ti­ful all sum­mer and into the fall and they con­tinue to show no signs of slow­ing down. Some of the more ex­pert crab­bers are bringing home up­wards of 5 dozen big crabs per trip. I wish one of them would in­vite me down for some crab cakes or gar­lic crabs!

The big boats seem to be head­ing south to­ward the Bal­ti­more and Nor­folk Canyons where there are abun­dant mahi and tuna swim­ming around.

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