Beautiful spring 2016 Cape May tide -runner weakfish
Epic falls short in describing today’s fishing trip. We were targeting tide-runner weakfish. Bill Collins landed 12 weakfish topping it off, with a 10 pound plus tide-runner. Ed Teise kept his reputation going, finishing the trip with a 10 pound weakfish. I ended this memoirable trip, with an 11.70 pound spring tide-runner weakfish. So wonderful, to see the weakfish return to Cape May Point, NJ and other historic locations. 99% of all the weakfish I have caught have been released.
The weakfish population is at fishable numbers, however.
The stock is at a point, that with a few management adjustments, could be completely rebuilt. Bringing with it, a significant increase in economic benefits:
1) Management mind-set adjustment. Currently it is, natural predation is the cause. Anything we do makes no difference. To: mistakes have been made in the past. Lets fix it, not cover it up, by claiming natural predation is the cause.
2) Close the market for the sale of weakfish for both commercial and recreation fisherman, until the population is restored.
3) make adjustments to the commercial seasons. To avoid large amounts of commercial by-catch.
Ed Teise and a 10 pound 2016 spring tide runner weakfish
2016 Weakfish season
Every rock has a story. A few of them ran through my mind, as I walked the jetty at 2:00 am. Larry Martino’s rock, that produced a 42″ world record class weakfish , that he didn’t weigh in. The striped bass rock, that held them at a time , that you were famous if you caught one. The don’t try it rock, this one has sent many fishermen and surfers to the ER, including me. My focus returned, to the task at hand, at that point.
Tonight , the rock of interest , was CJ’s rock.
The moon filled night, held a steady cadence of the surf, mixed with a salt breeze, so refreshing! The conditions were almost perfect for weakfish. The water temperature was in the zone , but just, at 58 degrees . All the other conditions were right on . Cj’s rock, gained a little more fame tonight. It produced my first 2016 spring weakfish. The spring striped bass and black drum bite has been excellent, in Cape May County waters this spring. However, nothing holds bragging rights among local sport fishermen , like a tide runner spring weakfish. Now is the time.
The 2016 Summer Flounder Opener, was a bust. The weather condition were so poor, I didn’t go. Looking forward to the upcoming week.
South Jersey commercial fishermen are hard working, salt of the earth, people. They are neighbors, friends and family to many of us. They have been total disregarded, by the save the horse crab at all cost mind-set. New Jersey fishermen were completely hoodwinked out of their federal allocation for house shore crab. Delaware and other States base their harvest decisions on science. The crab seasons continues in those States. Meanwhile, New Jersey used numbers gathered by people with an agenda. New Jersey commercial fishermen are forced to buy the horse shoe crabs, from out of state. Horse shoe crab is used for baiting eel pots.
These people involved in saving the horse shoe crabs are good passionate people. I have personally met many of them. They put their heart and soul into their endeavors. They have many achievements that benefit wildlife in New Jersey,and across the nation. I just disagree, with how they bullied the small commercial fishermen on this issue.
Check out the trail to the upcoming show here:
This is my personal best weakfish 15.7 . Caught during the full moon tide in late May. During the same tide, Jake Stern had a 15 pounder. One over 18 pounds was also caught. It fell just under the current NJ state record.
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.
In complete disregard of common sense. The ASMFC allows the commercial sale of weakfish to continue.
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.
Governor Christie and Dayna Townsend shared some flounder fishing stories . Governor Christie has personally attended numerous meetings concerning outdoor sportsmen.
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.