Tag: Stone Harbor fishing

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

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Striped bass on the marsh

A striped bass hunts on top of the marsh.

A striped bass hunts on top of the marsh.

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.

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.

Striped bass keeper size at noon today in Cape May, NJ

 

30" striped bass caught on a 4' paddle tail lure

30″ striped bass caught on a 4′ paddle tail lure today Sunday August 31,2014  at noon. 

I untied the lines and head directly to the spot I was fishing yesterday, but today it was dead.  The conditions were different today, so I was not surprised.  I ran at  full throttle  to a new location, based on the conditions. Sure enough, the striped bass were in the area. It was a short trip today, I only fished about 45 minutes. The water temperature is moving up again, it was 76 degrees on the top of the tide. The water was clear about an 8,  on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the clearest.

Please do not misconstrue the condition of the overall striped bass stock, it has been in steep decline for ten years. The striped bass run last fall was non-existent  in Cape May County, NJ. It  was the worst I  have seen, since the  80’s.  In 2005 a warning was issued by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Council’s  biologists : “reduce  the harvest by  x %  or the  weakfish stock will collapse. The Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA)  and others pressured the council into disregarding the warnings. The ASMFC  did not make the reduction in harvest,  and the weakfish stock totally collapsed.

Collectively we can ensure they do not make the same mistake with striped bass, by making a call, sending an e-mail, writing a letter or attending a meeting.

 

On September 4, 2014 at the  Galloway Twp. Branch of the Atlantic Co. Library, 306 East Jimmie Leeds Rd., Galloway, NJ 08205, at 4pm. there is a meeting to discuss options to reduce the striped bass harvest.   The option that provides the largest cut back in harvest, over the shortest time frame,  is the only  option that brightens the future.

Rest assured, that there will be interested at the meeting that will not support the necessary harvest reductions.  They will be looking out for their short-term financial situation, in complete disregard of the future of striped bass and the jobs they support.

Summer weakfish bite 2014

 

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.

 

 

 

Summer striped bass bite

 

One of today's stripers takes a close look at my lure.

One of today’s stripers takes a close look at my lure.

Today felt so much like fall, I decided to forgo flounder fishing  to hunt summer stripers.  It was refreshing to find them with very little effort. I was sloppy in my approach to the spots , but I still hooked up at most locations. In one  area they were feeding on peanut bunker and they had no interest in my favorite paddle tail. What is exciting is the amount of bait fish I continue to see in the area this year.  If the numbers of bait fish hold, this fall striper fishing will be much better than last year.

Good morning summer flounder fishing

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The extra-large full moon tide,  filled the sound with crystal clear ocean water. The view of all the marine life on and around the flats was spectacular. What I thought was a giant striped bass chasing bait, turned out to be a large shark aggressively feeding on striped bass!  No time for a picture.

It was a beautiful day for flounder fishing. I ended the back bay safari with three keeper flounder. The largest was 23.5″, 4.9 pounds. I fished for two hours and ten minutes. The water temperature was 66 degrees at the top of the tide. Fishing pressure ? It looked like everybody was on the water today, including very busy fish and game officers and State Troopers.

Grassy Sound Marina Flounder tournament 2014

Kenny,Ken,Chip and Charlie

Kenny,Ken,Chip and Charlie

Saturday was a beautiful June day for fishing .  Every crew I spoke with caught fish. Mater of fact, a  record amount of flounder  were checked in.  The tournament  has a friendly family atmosphere. However, the competition and the excitement that accompanies it  are in the mix.  We had  6 keeper flounder and one weakfish. Our heaviest  flounder was 5.3 lbs. It held for a second place tie with friend   Chip Gruff’s 5.3 lbs flounder.  Our weakfish held for first place.   I was fishing the tournament with sons Kenny and Justin, it was a great day on the water.

 5.3 lbs

5.3 lbs

 

You can see a complete list of the winners on the Grassy Sound Marina’s Facebook page.

A June Monday on the water

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A summer flounder fishermen’s wintertime  daydream, that describes today.  A blue sky, no humidity, no bugs, light wind  and a good flounder bite . I fished for 2 hours and 20 minutes today. I caught 4  keeper flounder  the biggest was 24″.  The water temperature was 67 degrees.  The conditions are excellent for back bay flounder fishing from Corson’s  inlet down to Cape May Harbor.