Conditions improve at the shore as high winds die down
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.
ACROSS THE BAY
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.