Rise in wa­ter tem­per­a­tures means drop in pro­duc­tion

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

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.

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