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Fishing Line: July 10

Fishing Line: July 10

By Mark Robbins

Jonathan Brady and his 24-inch, 5-pound flounder.
Photo Credit: Boulevard Bait and Tackle
Jonathan Brady and his 24-inch, 5-pound flounder.

The past week was a challenge for local anglers as the water temperatures remain low. The southerly winds, cool water, then even gustier winds made for tough conditions. The party boats that were close enough to the Delaware Bay fished there instead of the ocean, but we see signs that things are starting to turn around as the water warms again. Another good thing is that sea bass are again in season. The bag limit is one, but one is better than none. Let’s see how those who were able to fish recently fared. 

The Starfish is currently fishing the local reef structures for fluke and other summer fish, but are looking ahead. In September they will be fishing for tilefish. You can book a trip by going on Facebook and using the link or by calling 609-263-3800. You can use this number for other fishing trips, summer camps for kids, or for private cruises.

The two daily, four-hour trips have been providing plenty of action for anglers of all ages. Fluke, sea bass, and weakfish can be caught with a nice mix of keepers and throwbacks filling both trips.

A nice weakfish for this angler. Photo Credit: Miss Avalon

The Miss Avalon is now sailing their summer schedule, which means Monday through Saturday trips from 8 a.m. through 1 p.m. and Monday through Friday from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. There are no Saturday afternoon trips. The Sunday trip is from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. It’s a five-hour trip for the same cost as the weekly four-hour trip. All trips are on a first-come, first-served basis. Bait, and a rod and tackle, is included in the price of the trip. It is recommended to call ahead to confirm the boat will be sailing since the weather could be a deciding factor.

The Monday trip showed us that the ocean water has warmed some, and the fish are responding. Keeper flounder, sea bass, and weakfish were caught. The weakfish were very thick, with multiple catches, including some double headers, being made. Hopefully, they’ll stay around and add another possibility that can be added to the cooler.

Tuesday and Thursday evenings are for nature cruises, which sail from 6:30 p.m. until 8 p.m. Call 609-967-7455 for pricing and other information.

The new Avalon Lady has now received all her required paperwork and Capt. Brandon and the crew are happily fishing for flounder, weakfish, bluefish and whatever may be swimming through our back bays. They leave the dock daily at 8:30 a.m. Call 609-967-7455 for their full schedule.

Sea Isle Bait and Tackle reported that some anglers sent in word and pictures to confirm that kingfish were being caught in the surf. These fish are fun to catch, good eating, and a favorite of mine when used to make fish tacos.

Boulevard Bait and Tackle reported a nice catch for an angler named Jim who weighed in a 4.96-pound, 23.5-inch fluke. He caught it during an early evening trip while offering a minnow and mackerel combo.

Another nice catch to note was that made by young angler Jonathan Brady. During a recent outing he landed a 24-inch, 5-pound fluke. Nice effort, Jonathan.  

The patrons of the Sailor’s Delight continue to catch fluke. Keepers and shorts have been providing plenty of action and the occasional skate or shark only serves to amp up the fight. Also, Spot, Eels, and even a Silver Perch have come over the rails recently. The warmer water in the shallower back bays, and creeks, has served to keep these fish more active than those that have moved out to the reefs.

Micro-trips are offered, which allow young, and new anglers, to catch Croakers, Spot, Sea Bass and Grunts. It’s a good way for anglers to work on their skills, and enjoy a day on the water.

The Sailor’s Delight has also had some success on their crabbing trips. And if you can’t decide, well, they do offer a combo fish and crabbing outing. You can get the best of both in one trip.

The Cape May Lady, where walk-ups are always welcome, is now sailing daily at 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. They have had good action recently as they have been catching a mix of keeper weakfish and fluke, as well as some nice kingfish.

Two happy anglers with their weakfish. Photo Credit: Cape May Lady

The Starlight, sailing from Wildwood Crest, have seen their patrons do well by catching kingfish, croakers, and weakfish.

The Starlight offers a variety of trips ranging from inshore, offshore, and deep sea fishing, to dolphin watching trips, to special occasion trips such as those focused on watching fireworks around the Cape. Check out their Facebook page for additional information.

Grassy Sound Marina reported that the Moore’s had a good family day of fishing. Their recent trip to Turtle Creek produced four nice keepers. Gulp and minnows on the outgoing tide was their ticket to success. 

Capt. Chuck, from the Sea Star III, reported a slower than desired week due to the weather conditions. Cool water and high winds from the south made fluke fishing tougher than normal. The Sea Star III fished a couple days in the bay where they caught Croakers and Kingfish.

Pool winners for the week were Tom Collins (Croaker), Frank Servocky ( a 1-pound kingfish), and three anglers with fluke. They were Fred Nelson (2.95 pounds), Mike Jung (2.7) and Ray DiMaio with a 3.95-pounder.

The Miss Chris is sailing daily at 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. They are catching fluke, kingfish, sea bass and weakfish. You would figure that Croakers can’t be far away so they’ll also be an option to put in your cooler. The Miss Chris has been fishing at the mouth of the Delaware Bay, so catching some other species of fish is always a possibility.

Fishin’ Fever Sportfishing Charters has been fishing most of their trips offshore, while targeting tuna. They have had some good results on those trips. Capt. Tom is also running fluke trips. Check out his schedule for any remaining trips that are available.

Capt. Skip, at Stalker Fishing Charters, Cape May, is currently fishing for stripers in the back waters while he waits for the weather to allow him to head offshore.

A recent morning outing provided stripers up to 33 inches during a topwater bite. Fifteen fish were brought aboard, while many more were missed.

Capt. Skip is booked for the month with tuna trips, but you can give him a call and get on the list to be notified in the case of any cancellations. You can also set up your September through November backwater trips. He can be reached at 609-972-5218.

Off the Hook Bait and Tackle is the site of the Second Annual Doormat Derby on July 13. It’s a 1-Day Fluke Tournament being hosted by the Wildwood Fishing and Boating Expo. Check out the information packet at the Facebook page of Off the Hook Bait and Tackle. You can call Off the Hook at 609-884-7289 or the tournament director at 609-377-1617 for more information.

The recent influx of cold water put a damper on fluke fishing at the reefs but, just as quickly, the situation has started to turn back to a more seasonal scenario. It’s not impossible to catch fish there, but at the same time it’s not quite like it should be. The back waters are still active, which is good if you want to fish closer to home. Think of the fuel you’ll save and you’ll still be able to catch keeper fluke. That’s a win-win. Good luck if you get out, take care, and I’ll see you around.

Submit fishing news and photos to mrobbins@cmcherald.com.

Columnist

Author of The Fishing Line, a regular column published in the Cape May County Herald covering the local fishing scene.

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