Tag: Cape May fishing

Flounder regulations, a region shift for South Jersey?

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There is a tremendous difference between New York/North Jersey and the Delaware Bay /South Jersey waters.
The water temperature between North Jersey and South Jersey , especially in the back bay areas is significant at times . This in-itself makes it impossible to set fair flounder regulations managing north and south Jersey as one management unit. The species found and size, also indicates a significant difference. For example, in South Jersey we catch black drum, speckled sea trout and red drum* . These species are not found in North Jersey, New York or Connecticut in fishable numbers. However, they are found in Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and South Jersey. Delaware and South Jersey fishermen fish the same exact spots. Like the Delaware Bay and atlantic ocean spots like the old grounds. Yet, they are held to different regulations. Delaware fishermen enjoy regulations that are in tune with the area, that includes a 16 ” keeper size and a 365 day season. South Jersey fishermen are held to regulations based on science derived from the New York area, that calls for a 19″ keeper and a much smaller season, that opens at the wrong time. Summer flounder management and the South Jersey tourist economy will be significantly enhanced with regional option 3A. The State of Delaware has benefited economical at the expense of New Jersey, due to insufficient summer flounder regulations.

For the reasons above, I urge you to support and lobby for region option 3A see below:

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 bag limit:
North Jersey, New York and Connecticut * 19″ 5 fish 128
South Jersey, Delaware and Maryland* 17″ 4 fish 365 days

NJ ASMFC Rep
Assemblyman Sgt. Robert Andrzejczak
609-465-0549

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New Jersey 2015 summer flounder by zone

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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*
19″
5
128
SOUTHERN NEW JERSEY*
17″
4
365

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)

NEW JERSEY*
18.5″
5
145
DELAWARE BAY*#
16″
4
365

Cape May County ‘s resident striped bass

 

Wayne shows one of today's stripers

One of today’s striped bass

Striped bass fishing in Cape May County, NJ  has been  dependent upon our local striper population, so far this season. The conditions necessary for the migratory fish to  show up , wind direction, water temperature and other factors, have not lined up yet and may not. Mother nature dictates the conditions, every year is unique.   However, if you arm yourself with information specific to fishing for our resident striped bass,  your catch rate will skyrocket. Watch for upcoming articles in On The Water  magazine (New York/New Jersey)  for detailed information on this subject.

The last weakfish of the 2014 season ?

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It is time for me to focus on Jersey red drum and speckled trout, so  today’s  weakfish could  be the last of the season for me. The first red drum of the fall season has been caught, I call this fish the motivator.  The fishing news travels at the speed of light today , even with the (do not tell anybody)  tag on it.  I am sure the Jersey red drum specialist will be fishing a little harder next week. The peanut bunker, mullet and snapper blues are still pretty thick in the back waters and along the beachfront. We need the water temperature to drop a few degrees  and a good NW wind to jump start the fall fishing season.

Weakfish

 

Ed Teise shows one of the weakfish he caught today.

Ed Teise shows one of the weakfish he caught today.

Large pods of  mullet and peanut bunker  darkened  the water as they passed the boat.  We could hear, but not see,  the  striped bass exploding on the bait fish.  The mullet and peanut bunker  were seeking refuge from the stripers  in the tide covered marsh grass. We had no interest in catching  striped bass during this trip, but their performance did enhanced our fishing. The  weakfish had our attention from the first cast to the last today. “Drag screaming weakfish, describes today’s weakies. We caught them during a 2 hour window of opportunity.  It was a beautiful September evening to be saltwater fishing.

Weakfish bite continues into September

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The bluefish have made an impressive appearance this season in Cape May County, NJ. Today  schools of blues in the 3-5 pound range covered  acres of water. It looked like fall with the mullet being pushed and the turns working above. However, it did not feel like it, it was hot. The water temperature topped 80 degrees  for the first time this season, in the area I was fishing. The temperature rise completely shut down the striped bass bite in my spots.

The weakfish  more than made up for the lack of stripers. They  hit and fought like spring tide runners today.I love catching weakfish. One 5 pound weakfish,  is worth 10 stripers in my book. Great day on the water.

August weakfish bite in Cape May,NJ

 

August 2014 weakfish

26″ August 2014 weakfish

I fish hard and often, but a Saturday night fishing trip is usually off-limits for me, saved for entertaining. However, this Saturday night I was able to fish. Ed had been flounder fishing with me earlier in the day,  and  invited me to fish  a weakfish spot that has been red-hot.  Ed Teise has earned a reputation as one of  New Jersey’s  top weakfish specialist. Knowing  the night tides of August hold  quality weakfish, coupled with Ed’s reputation,  I was gearing up early.  As we cautiously  worked  our way across a slew , that runs through a sand  flat, pods of  bait fish could be seen moving over the flat. The weakfish and stripers could be heard popping, each having a signature sound. It was a cool ” August night,   that proved to be well worth the loss of sleep.

 

Good summer flounder bite continues

Today's flounder like all that I catch,  were caught in the sounds of Cape May co..

Today’s flounder, like all that I catch, were caught in the sounds of Cape May co..

One of the advantages of living in close proximity  to the areas you fish,  is it allows you more time to fish.   I had not planned on fishing today, but . As I pulled back on the throttle,  I found clear blue water, one of the conditions I was seeking.  However, the water  temperature was a little chilly.  I checked  seven spots before I found good conditions . The spots that were holding fish were two degrees warmer than the others. The water temperature was 63-68 degrees. Fishing pressure ranged from heavy to non existent depending on the spot. Total time spent 2 hours 35 minutes.

July flounder fishing in the Cape May sounds

John and his 5  back bay keeper  flounder

John and his 5 back bay keeper flounder

We were jumped by a gang of mad strawberry flies at my dock this morning.Keep in mind, that if you run into strawberry flies ,  hold your ground and swat, you can clear them out in a short time. After rumbling with the strawberry natives we  loaded the skiff and were on our way.With the weekend fishing pressure coupled with the conditions,  it took some effort to zero in on the fish.  We fished 3.5 hours, the water temperature was 65 degrees, the bite window was narrow. It is was a good morning fishing with John.

 

 

 

 

Baitfish

Grass shrimp found inside  a 20" summer flounder

Grass shrimp found inside a 20″ summer flounder

It started in  May  with millions of spearing. I noticed them  being pushed around the sound by stripers , bluefish and weakfish. This June I seen the best run of grass shrimp  in a decade , along with a good amount of minnows.  Thus far in the back bays of Cape May County, NJ we have had a good fishing season. The success is linked directly to the presents of the bait. Hopefully the bait will hold into  the fall.  In this area red drum and speckled trout usually show up in the fall of the year. However, Kayak Bruce caught the first Jersey red drum  this season in June. The first Jersey speckled trout has been caught also,  by an Avalon sharp. Maybe this is a good indicator for the upcoming fall season?