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New Jersey & Delaware Bay


Posted By Jim Hutchinson, Jr., May 4, 2020
George Hall sent this shot on Saturday of a 35-inch bluefish caught on an SP minnow in the Shrewsbury River; he also reported a few schoolie bass while kayak fishing.

The opening of New Jersey state parks was welcome news in the angling community, from the trout streams in the northwest portion of the Garden State down to the beaches of Island Beach State Park, not to mention the marinas and launch ramps from Liberty to Fortescue. As noted by North Jersey field editor JB Kasper this week, the benefit of having so many new locations to fish and launch was that it redistributed much of the crowding, a key benefit of the region’s “social distancing” guidelines. “A lot of marina owners I spoke with said that even with the nice weather the ramps were not a packed as on previous weekends,” JB said, adding “the opening spread out the launches and made it easier to keep safe distances while launching boats. Most agreed that continued safe distancing and other safe practices will go a long way to keeping things open.” JB reported for our weekly digital edition that striper fishing continues to keep lines bent in the Raritan, with bluefish numbers continuing to build as well. A few weakfish have shown up in the mix, as well black drum along the lower bay.

From Manasquan to Little Egg Inlet, field editor Ashley Viola reported this week how captains are chomping at the bit for a little official relief, especially now that fluke are being caught by some anglers fishing for stripers (and of course the black sea bass season opens up on May 15). “Blues are another species of fish making their appearance known as they seem to be in the Barnegat Bay now according to our reports this week,” Ashley reported this week. She also noted that folks are toying with catch and release stripers out back, but the big bite attracting attention is still up along the Raritan. “Some Central coast anglers are trying for stripers off the surf but not with too much luck. Not yet anyway,” he noted.

A decent weather weekend was what was needed in South Jersey, as field editor Anthony Califano reported plenty of angling activity along the beaches, bridges and jetties, with many boat owners finally getting the opportunity to score in Southern Ocean, Atlantic and Cape May County waters. “Boaters scored drum and stripers in both Great Bay and the Delaware Bay, and with the upcoming full moon, both fisheries should be booming,” Anthony reported in this week’s edition, noting how surfcasters are hitting stripers on the beachfront, in the rivers, in the back bays and also along the jetties. “The largest of these stripers were found when a favorable wind pushed schools of bunker in tight to the beaches and jetties,” he noted, while also passing along South Jersey reports of good-sized weakfish along the jetties and bruising blues in the double-digit size range.

While NJ anglers have May 22 circled on their calendars for the start of summer flounder, folks in Delaware are already into the action. “The first flounder of the year were pulled from the Lewes and Rehoboth Canal,” said field editor Eric Burnley covering the First State action. He also said a few blues and shad were caught at Indian River Inlet, but said the big heave on the ocean kept boats from inshore wrecks and the Outer Wall. “Face coverings are now required at all Delaware State Parks,” Eric reminded folks.

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