Con­di­tions im­prove at the shore as high winds die down

The Kutztown Area Patriot - - SPORTS - By Jim Loe For Dig­i­tal First Me­dia

Fi­nally, the strong winds that have marked the late spring and early sum­mer at the Jer­sey shore have abated. When it is blow­ing 25 to 35 MPH it is very dif­fi­cult even to fish in the back bays, let alone the ocean.

Pottstown’s Don Mace emailed me that he has been spend­ing most of his fish­ing time in the wa­ter­way be­hind Cor­son’s In­let be­tween Ocean City and Strath­mere. He noted that large schools of spear­ing and peanut bunker have started turn­ing up in those back waters so it in­volved a change in tac­tics. In­stead of us­ing min­nows, Don now is rec­om­mend­ing Gulp! curly tails or Spro squid tails. New Jer­sey has a rather un­re­al­is­tic min­i­mum size re­quire­ment so there tends to be a rather high throw­back to keeper ra­tio, al­though one day last week Don had three in the box with five throw­backs.

Else­where in the bays, there is a night­time bite on gen­er­ally small stripers that are fall­ing for pop­per plugs. But, the bulk of the blue­fish ac­tiv­ity of ear­lier has faded.

There is one more fish that is keep­ing an­glers busy in the back and on the beaches. That is the king­fish. Kin­gies long had been re­garded as one of those “if noth­ing else is bit­ing” sort of fish, but over the past cou­ple of sea­son their pop­u­lar­ity is in­creas­ing rapidly. There is not much in­volved in catch­ing king­fish for if they are around they will take your bait. That bait usu­ally is blood­worms, but those are ex­pen­sive and some­times are hard to find. Never fear be­cause king­fish also strike read­ily at shrimp and clam pieces as well as small ar­ti­fi­cials. A 12-to-14 inch king­fish is con­sid­ered good size but they make up for that in vol­ume and they are ex­cel­lent eat­ing. Kids love catch­ing them, too.

Some­thing else that has been good lately is se­abass. Smaller one still are be­ing found in the back bays and in­lets but for the big hump­backs you will re­quire a trip to the ar­ti­fi­cial reefs or be­yond. It ap­pears the largest are be­ing found in 120 feet of wa­ter or more. Fish­ing that deep gen­er­ally re­quires use of a braided line be­cause it does not stretch line monofil­a­ment so set­ting the hook is eas­ier.

Now that the wind has ceased be­ing an is­sue, the big boats are able to head off­shore in rea­son­able com­fort. The Bal­ti­more and Poor Man’s Canyons con­tinue to be a mecca for the var­i­ous tuna fam­ily mem­bers but things have been pick­ing up in the Wilm­ing­ton, Lindy and other pop­u­lar spots such as the Hot Dog and Lob­ster Claw. Some bill­fish and good num­bers of mahi are also now be­ing hooked.

Shark­ing re­mains quite good. One of my dock mates made a shark trip last week and while his crew didn’t get any of the de­sir­able makos or thresh­ers, they did do bat­tle with sev­eral large browns and a ham­mer­head, all of which were re­leased.

Sur­f­cast­ers con­tinue to tie into skates, rays and var­i­ous smaller shark fam­ily mem­bers but ev­ery once in a while a door­mat floun­der will join the ac­tion.


Floun­der busi­ness in Delaware is go­ing well. The folks at Bill’s Sport Shop in Re­hoboth say some nice flat­ties are be­ing caught in the Lewes Canal, pri­mar­ily by those us­ing squid and Gulp! com­bos. Some tai­lor sized blue­fish re­main in the Broad­kill, along with a few un­der­sized stripers.

It ap­pears that blue claw crabs have moved in in great num­bers in Re­hoboth Bay and Her­ring Creek, so much so that they are mak­ing it dif­fi­cult for floun­der an­glers ply­ing those waters. Oh, a big plat­ter of gar­lic crabs spin­ning around in my head is mak­ing me hun­gry!

Surf an­glers on Delaware’s beaches have been boxing king­fish and snap­per blues with some sharks and skates to keep it in­ter­est­ing. Just a re­minder when un­hook­ing a skate. They gen­er­ally are harm­less but they do have some nee­dle-like teeth that will grab onto any­thing with reach.

Canyon ac­tiv­ity tends to be the same as what is writ­ten in the New Jer­sey sec­tion of this week’s col­umn. I must add that the Washington Canyon also is hot.

This has ab­so­lutely noth­ing to do with fish­ing, ex­cept that it has kept me away from my boat for a while. At the risk of preach­ing, I was on one of my bike rides in ru­ral Up­per Town­ship, N.J., when I got dumped on the bike by some un­seen rut in the road. I re­ceived enough road rash for the Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion to is­sue me a route num­ber des­ig­na­tion and I tore up some rib car­ti­lage, which is what’s keep­ing me off the wa­ter. How­ever, the point of this whole story is that my hel­met was cracked by my head hit­ting the road­way, and yet I did not feel the im­pact. With­out that hel­met I still might be be­side that lonely road. So, take my ad­vice and even on a ride around the block strap on the head­gear.

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