Rise in water temperatures means drop in production
This year of unusual weather and water conditions here at the Jersey shore continues.
The wind finally has relented, and we have had several mid-July type days recently. But all is not bliss for fall anglers because the water temperature is more like July than October.
Early this past week, that temp was registering at an amazing 75 degrees. On that same day a year ago, the water was a much more seasonable 63 degrees.
What that means is, the prized striped bass are much more lethargic, and the striper reports are few and far between. We do have to commend Mark Palarmo, of King of Prussia, who made his very first striper expedition ever pay off when he pulled in a legal 29-inch bass.
That fish fell for an offered live spot. Mark was fishing up in the Great Egg Harbor River at the time.
Not all fish are deterred from biting by the warm water. In fact, some southern fish are being pulled from the surf and Delaware Bay.
Anglers are reporting red drum and pompano. As far as I know there are no limits on pompano but in New Jersey red drum must be at least 18-inches long but not greater than 27-inches and you can keep just one.
And speaking of Delaware Bay, the Fortescue boats are turning up some pretty good weakfish catches.
Don’t get me wrong. This Fortescue weakie bite is nothing like the “old days” when you could bail giant weakfish all day long. But, it is good to see that perhaps they are beginning to make a rebound in the big bay.
While there are several theories on why that big weakfish run disappeared almost overnight in Delaware Bay, I personally believe the beginning of the end came when the big commercial draggers would join up and pull a massive net that scooped up everything in its path. This socalled “pair trawling” took place at the height of the breeding season, and it all but wiped out the popular fish in the bay.
In a normal season, we should be catching stripers in the area of Delaware Bay known as The Rips. But probably, because of the warm water, I have yet to hear any reports of fish being there.
Elsewhere in the back waters, anglers continue to catch the now out-of-season summer flounder and some of these are almost doormat size. Of course, they must be returned to the water unharmed.
Along with the flatties, there are hordes of small bluefish, and the various jetties seem to be awash with tautog and triggerfish.
Several nice bluefish have been weighed-in during the Long Beach Island Surf Fishing Classic. The largest came in at just under 13-pounds.
Action in the Atlantic City Surf Tournament has not been as good.
In Delaware, where there is no closed season on summer flounder, the bite on them remains very steady. Some are reporting the flatties slowly are making their way into the surf, joining the small blues and kingfish in the wash.
Some of the kingies are of nice size, up to about 13 inches.
The Wall is being hit hard by anglers who are enjoying a great taug season there. Most are not giants, but there have been some weighing up to six pounds.
There also are some small stripers hooking up; but like Jersey, there probably will not be any steady action on them until the water chills.
One thing not being deterred by the bathtub water is blue claw crabs. It sounds like some of the prolific crabbers will have enough meat in the freezer to allow them to enjoy crab cakes at least once a week until the start of next year’s run.
A few boats have left the inlet and headed into the ocean and they have been finding false albacore or little tunny. They have little or no food value but they are certainly a workout to catch.