2015 results from New Jersey’s annual survey of the Delaware Bay released

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.
http://wsfrprograms.fws.gov/home.html.

Winter sidestep

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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 untold weakfish story

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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 has supported the freedom of outdoor traditions in NJ

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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.

Quick note on NJ summer flounder regulations

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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.

Payoff

I released this tide runner weakfish  during the summer of 2014. Hoping to find him this spring.

I released this tide runner weakfish during the summer of 2014. Hoping to find him this spring.

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.

Congratulations

Fish On!
SignatureMDY Cerelli_Signature
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.

CJ Polhamus  And his tournament contending tide runner weakfish.(The Fisherman magazine tourney)

CJ Polhamus And his tournament contending tide runner weakfish.(The Fisherman magazine tourney)

Bill Collins and his tournament contending weakfish.

Bill Collins and his tournament contending weakfish.

2015 tournament winner tide-runner weakfish.

2015 tournament winner tide-runner weakfish.

On the way to Cape May ♫ down striped bass way♫

December 16, 2015 CJ   readies  to boat a 42"  striped bass. Number 14 for the morning tide, all in the same size class!

December 16, 2015 CJ readies to boat a 42″ striped bass. Number 14 for the morning tide, all in the same size class!

Ken IV show his first striped bass onboard his new 21' tiderunner  center console.

Ken IV show his first striped bass onboard his new 21′ Tidewater center console.

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Adam to the right, will try striped bass , for the first time tonight.

Adam to the right, will try striped bass , for the first time tonight.

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CJ leaves them biting after number 14 during the morning tide.  He helped us out, by giving us the hot lure of the day, the correct weight !  We boated our first striped bass of the day  shortly after. Thank you CJ

December red hot stripers bass bite in Cape May co. NJ

CJ has earned a 95% catch rate on quality striped bass.  over the  last couple of weeks. He  has caught  most of them  from his 15'keywest.

CJ has earned a 95% catch rate on quality striped bass,over the last couple of weeks. He has caught most of them from his 15’keywest.

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Jeff Polhamus with a quality striped bass he caught from the surf.

Mark K. and mate with a limit  December 2015 catch

Mark K. and mate with a limit December 2015 catch

 

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I was out and about Sunday. I found lines at the fish cleaning stations, including Felix with two 48″ striped bass. How long will this excellent December Striped bass bite last?

December Striped Bass in Cape May co., NJ

 Cj Polhamus  kept one 41" December striped bass for the table. He released  numerous others in the same size range.

Cj Polhamus kept one 41″ December striped bass for the table. He released numerous others in the same size range.

The striped bass fishing finally turned on here. The rips, Delaware Bay chunking, and the Ocean trolling bite , have all produced limit plus catches.You still have to be tuned in, or you will catch nothing. Skill Sharp fishermen have been running up the numbers. The average size Striper has been running about 40″. A few forty pounders have been caught the last few days. The surf remains dead, as far as I know. This weekend looks good. I am done fishing at this point, hunting season . If you want to get in on the last bite of the year, I am sure there is a few guides and party boats running out of Cape May.

Thanksgiving” Striped Bass

Mark and CJ with a couple of  big Cape May County holiday striped bass.

Mark and CJ with a couple of big Cape May County holiday striped bass.
The blue 4×4 van again !

After an extremely slow fall striper bite here in Cape May County, NJ, the striped bass bite has turned red-hot this week. A few local sharpies had been catching them prior to this week, but failed to contain the information (words out). At this point, it is just look for the fleet. Trolling is the method of choice . These fish are on the move, at any time the bite could shut down. Now is the time, to show up late for dinner , use vacation time or call in sick. Archery deer season has my full attention, at this point. You will not find me out among the fleet. However, a few speckled sea trout have been caught over the last few days. I will save some time for them.
Happy, Thanksgiving 2015.