There are a few ways to put yourself in great position to catch weakfish under 2015 conditions . However, the best way is to fish with someone who is catching” weakfish. There are a lot of fishing guides today that have 90% of the information on fishing for weakfish, but in 2015 you need 100% of the information to catch.
The ASMFC is considering a proposal to create 2 summer flounder rules sets for New Jersey. This is an excellent idea. The region/zone approach will make it possible to fine tune the summer flounder size and bag limits. The marine habitat of the Delaware Bay for example, attracts and holds a smaller average size summer flounder, than the waters found in North Jersey. This is due to the documented fact, that as summer flounder mature they migrate north. This creates a hopeless situation for New Jersey fishermen fishing the Delaware Bay and other Cape May County waters. Regardless of the increases in the summer flounder stock,the average size flounder has not increased in these areas, and never will. New Jersey’s summer flounder can not be managed effectively without area specific regulations (zones). If this proposal is approved the the minimum size summer flounder for the Delaware Bay will be between 16 and 17″, if not, it could jump from the current 18.5″ to 19″ this season. Summer flounder fishing is not about catch and release, it is about harvesting fish for the table.
However, the 18.5″ minimum size in this area, has pretty much turned the summer flounder season into a catch and release situation.
Here are a couple of options they are considering:
Regional Option 3-Split New Jersey Option 3A This alternative proposes the State of New Jersey be split in half, establishing north and south portions. The northern portion of New Jersey would be included with the current Northern Region of New York and Connecticut while the southern portion would be included with the Southern Region of Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. The line of demarcation would occur around Little Egg Inlet with Great Bay included in the Southern Region keeping New Jersey counties intact.
Table 6. Regional Option 3A with example management measure
Example Size Limit
Example Possession Limit
NORTHERN NEW JERSEY*
SOUTHERN NEW JERSEY*
Regional Option 4-Delaware Bay included in the Southern Region Option 4A This alternative includes Delaware Bay in the southern region of Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia.
Table 8. Regional Option 4A with example management measures
Example Size Limit
Example Possession Limit
Example Season (in number of days)
The conditions for red drum and speckled trout have not lined up this season, yet. However, the stripers are always fun to stalk. Today they were up on the marsh during the flood tide. This is really a lot of fun, as the stripers will hold in the grass. The above striper held tight as we approached. I was able to get a couple of pictures without him even flinching. When he finally realized we could see him in the grass, he darted out of sight in a split second. Today we cherry picked stripers for hours.
Finding the time to target summer weakfish, between the best flounder bite in years and striped bass fishing, is the hard part for me. When I have targeted weakfish, I have been successful most of the time. The tip of the day is the summer weakfish are here for sure. The summer weakfish are smaller than the spring and fall run weakfish. However, there is always a couple of big weakies around in the summer. Ed Teise actually hooked a tide runner weakfish last Friday. Ed has zeroed in on the summer weakfish and is running up his catch numbers. Traditionally the weakfish will begin to feed at night during mid to late summer, it is about that time.
The striper bite remains slow at best. Fishermen with extensive local knowledge, coupled with over the top effort, are catching a few stripers, including a few 50 pounders. The large migratory school stripers should show up at some point. The lure of choice here in Cape May County this fall, is called patience… I have been able to find a few resident stripers in the back waters, how long they hold remains to be seen.
The August back bay flounder bite continues to be slow but steady. Wayne and Jon put off their annual June flounder fishing vacation until August, due to the record rain fall in June (poor fishing conditions). They fished five of their 7 day vacation in the back bay. We found keeper flounder on every trip coupled with weakfish. The water temperature was 72 degrees on the top of the incoming today. Fishing pressure has been very light in the back bay during the week.