The new moon in May can be a prime time to catch tide runner weakfish, here in Cape May County, NJ. If, The water temperature and the barometer are within the comfort zone for weakfish. Definitely not the case this year. The majority of the weakfish that have been caught this year were caught around the full moon in April. The weather has been rainy, chilly and gray since. Hopefully, blue skies and calm weather return for the full moon in May. Last week I took a road trip to florida. Hoping the weather would straiten out by the time I returned, it didn’t. The weather was sunny and warm in FL, but the fishing was tough. We managed a few keeper specks and red fish, but hard earned. I see some blue sky peeking through ! Once the water temperature returns to 58 degrees and holds for 3 days, I will be out hunting for tide runners again. I ll keep you posted.
Yes,confirmed Weakfish catches from: Corson’s inlet, Ludlum bay, Forked river and Townsend’s inlet. It is encouraging to see weakfish caught from their early season haunts. A reliable bite in my core area historically never starts before early May.The earliest I have caught them is April 20. I am going to check out a couple of spots over the next few days.Stay tuned.
For those of you that haven’t heard.
The NJ Marine fisheries council passed the 2016 summer flounder regulations at their March meeting. This year’s bag limit, 5 summer flounder , with an 18″minimum size requirement. The Delaware Bay has a separate regulations set. A 4 fish bag limit , with a 17″ minimum size, on the New Jersey side of the Delaware Bay. It is legal to have a 17″ summer flounder aboard in the intercostal waters as far north as the George Reading bridge (Rt.47 Wildwood).However, you must be underway, with your fishing gear rapped up. The season begins May 21, 2016 and runs through September 25.
New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife recently released the results of their annual study of New Jersey’s largest estuary, the Delaware Bay. The study is funded by the sport fishing restoration act, a federal excise tax return. http://www.njfishandwildlife.com/artdelbaystudy15.htm
Unfortunately, New Jersey residents do not get their fair share of the fund , reason, NJ does not have a saltwater fishing license.
Endless views of beautiful horse pastures and cattle ranches, as we twisted our way to the old Florida bayou .We were headed to a cold weather fishing spot, located deep in red-neck country. The weather could have been a little warmer, it was chilly running the boat. However, it wasn’t long before the red hot fishing warmed things up. A 26″ speckled sea trout on the second cast turned on the adrenalin rush. Speckled trout and snook filled the day. Coupled with the semi-tropical back country scenery, so refreshing ! Gotta love cheap tickets and a Captain that pushes the throttles down. (1hr 30 minutes) from AC airport.
The Fishermen magazine published a story recently about what happened to the weakfish in the Delaware Bay. The story was missing a couple of very important facts. Maybe” they were cut by the editor , explain later. The most glaring fact, is the warning issued by the Atlantic Marine fishery biologist prior to the collapse of the weakfish stock. The 2005 Weakfish technical committee report : ” In the scenario without management action, weakfish became near extinct after 2010. The weakfish board had 4 management plan options in 2005 , ranging from a moratorium to statuesque. They decided on statuesque.
This was a continuance of years of poor weakfish management decisions. That included unlimited harvest quotas by commercial and recreational fishermen until 2010. There is not a fish stock on planet earth that could withstand that level of pressure. In 2009 a grass-roots letter writing campaign was started by Cape May NJ sport fishermen, tackle shops, marina owners and charter boats, demanding a moratorium on weakfish. The effort quickly spread along the entire east coast. Thanks to the effort , the most conservative weakfish regulations in history were implemented in 2010. This has resulted in the return of a fishable weakfish population in Cape May NJ, for skill sharp” anglers. However, they fell short of a moratorium. This allowed the market for weakfish to remain open today. A 1000 pound per trip commercial take in NC and a 300 pound per trip coast-wide. Coupled with a recreational 1 fish limit. This is the reason the weakfish haven’t fully recovered in the Delaware Bay and elsewhere. A 2015 weakfish stock assessment will be available in the next few weeks. Management options and public comment will follow.
I turned onto the Country road, heading toward the sportsmen’s club, when I noticed the unmarked NJ State Police vehicle. At that point, I knew the Governor would be attending our meeting. I was impressed, usually a politico will send a proxy to a small meeting, or a letter beginning with I am sorry. Governor Christie showed up in person! He spoke in detail about our issues and concerns. He has also found time to personally” take phone calls from our club Presidents and chairmen. He has been a friend of the outdoor sportsmen of New Jersey. His decisions concerning saltwater fishing and hunting have been based on science and sound reasoning. Unlike Governor Corzine, that made wildlife management decisions based on emotion, or how much money was donated to his campaign. Outdoor Sportsmen, in the live free or die State , all things considered, Governor Chris Christie would be a good choice for you this Tuesday.
Cape May, New Jersey’s residents and tourist will benefit from a resent approval by the Atlantic States Fisheries Commission . New Jersey will now be in a separate region for summer flounder management. This will allow NJMFC to change the summer flounder size limit in the Delaware bay from 18″ to 17″ with a 4 fish bag limit. . This will put NJ closer to the Delaware size limit of 16″. However, the rest of the NJ will remain at 18″ and a 5 fish bag limit . This was a hard fought for accomplishment, credits, the NJ Federation of sportsmen , Jersey coast anglers association, coupled with a good push from our local Assemblyman Bob Anj and Senator Van Drew.
How did releasing this fish pay off? In June 2015, I caught a 9.01 pound weakfish, in the same general area. I kept this one, and entered the weakie in the statewide Beach-n-boat fishing tournament. I can’t be certain it was the same fish, and chances are it wasn’t. Regardless,it did paid off. They haven’t published a news release of the official tournament winners yet. However, I did get this e-mail that began with:
Congratulations on winning First Place in the Weakfish species category of the 2015 Jersey Shore Beach N Boat Fishing Tournament. Your Weakfish weighed in at Avalon Hodge Podge Bait & Tackle on 6/14/2015 was 9.01 pounds. Your prize(s) of a xxxxxxx will be mailed after you complete and return the attached W-9 form.
We appreciate you participating in the 2015 Jersey Shore Beach N Boat Fishing Tournament and hope that it was all that you expected.
Captain Mike Young Angler Mike Cerelli
Tournament Director Assistant Director
Friends CJ Polhamus and Bill Collins also released numerous weakfish, keeping just a couple” for the table and tournaments. CJ is in the hunt with his tiderunner weakfish in the Fishermen Magazine’s dream boat coast-wide fishing tournament. Bill Collins is an artist when it comes to fishing for weakfish. Although better known for his award winning coaching record. Bill took 1st place weakfish in the wildwood challenge and is on the BnB leaderboard. Their fish were also caught in Cape May County,NJ.