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CORSONS INLET

Splitting the towns of Strathmere and Ocean City at its southern tip, Corson’s Inlet’s inflow and outflow attracts all possible saltwater gamefish to run through its sometimes rippy, other times, placid waters.
By Nick Honachefsky
CORSONS INLET

Pedestrian and boat launch ability is accessed on the Ocean City side of Route 619, (Bay Avenue), and beach buggy permits can be purchased to drive onto the Corson’s Inlet park sands. Corson’s Inlet is fed by the Corson Sound and the ICW outflow from ditch creeks like Weakfish Creek on the northwest side of the bridge. Corson’s main inlet at the delta is defined by shifting shoals that can come up to bone dry and reach down to 30 plus feet.
The springtime secret in Corson’s starts around mid-April when tiderunner weakfish begin to infiltrate the backwaters. Foot soldiers hit the mud and sand-packed shores from the bridge to the inlet, especially during night hours, predawn and dusk when big weakies are on the prowl. Submerged shell beds that line that particular stretch from the bridge to the end of the sod banks attracts the weakies, and a plain 1/4- to 1/2-ounce leadhead fixed with a 5-inch pink Zoom or Fin-S fish reeled back at a simple slow pace may garner hits from wandering spiketooths that can range from 3 to 14 pounds.

In early May, water temperatures usually hit the 50-degree mark, which sparks the weakies as well as schoolie bass to bite, but be wary as the outgoing full moon and new moon tides in spring will usher out all the brown snot algae and make fishing tough to do. Plenty of bass in the 20- to 30-inch range will be taking those leadheaded plastics, as well as small swimming plugs like Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnows during the month of May, but two other species make an appearance as well – fluke and bluefish. If you find that your rubber baits are being cut in half on every cast by scores of 1- to 8-pound bluefish that run through in May, switch up to a small plug or even a 007 Ava jig to hang the choppers.

You won’t believe how many fluke lay in that stretch as well during the early part of the season, as serious caliber flatfish of 3 to 8 pounds will easily pounce on a lightweight, white bucktails tipped with a white 4-inch Gulp! Swimmin’ Mullet grub tail. I’ve had my limit of fluke simply casting from the shoreline there in May, and all truth be told, without a doubt, May is the month to target a grand slam of bass, weakies, blues and fluke.

Walking out to the sandy point of Corson’s, the water gets more rippy and drops off deep quickly. Many boaters drift this area with bucktails to target weakfish and fluke, especially during the summer months through June, July and August. Once fall rolls into town, anglers then drift live eels and bunker chunks through the rip lines to tangle with bass in the 10- to 20-pound class, with an occasional 25-pounder showing up. Surfcasters wrap around the point and hit the Atlantic shores with fresh clam baits and bunker chunks to target incoming bass and bluefish.

According to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, “Corson’s Inlet State Park was established in 1969 to help protect and preserve one of the last undeveloped tracts of land along the state’s oceanfront.” It is a ‘carry in/carry out’ state park and bags are provided throughout the site to help keep the park clean.

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