Decemberrrrrr Spring Fishing

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striped bass, rockfish, cape may, new jersey, mattadams, open aperture ideas,
Matt Adams with a nice striped bass Thursday (today) morning Jersey side out of Cape May.  41 inches and released

It’s frosty in the morning, beautiful in the afternoon, and this weekend we might hit seventy degrees.    Talk about weird winter weather.  The water temperatures yesterday in the Delaware Bay were forty eight degrees during low tide while we were trolling. The seal is still out by the outer wall feeding.   Keep that in mind when you are fishing, he might be looking for a hand out, DO NOT feed it.  We saw gannets again yesterday, marked a lot of fish and bait, never hooked up.  A friend of mine was south of us in front of Gordons Pond area and hooked up with a large fish on a stretch thirty but didn’t boat the fish.  There are striped bass on this side of the Delaware Bay but hooking them up is a chore.  Now the Jersey side … that is on fire as soon as you find the fish.  You can expect the Overfalls, to Prissy wicks, and up to the Cape May inlet area to be a parking lot this weekend.  Right now there are over a hundred boats out there.  Find the whales and birds and you will find the fish.  Sometimes the whales find you, some boats have been getting bumped around by whales and since they are feeding on bunker very close to the boats.  Boats are limiting out or getting totally skunked.  Captain Brent from the Katydid yesterday said it was just sick out there.   He is thinking of canceling a sea bass trip just to go for more striped bass this weekend.  DNREC enforcement is out in full force checking boats and catches, not just at boat ramps, but all over the place.  Make sure you have legal bass if you are keeping fish, and are measuring them correctly.  Good to see the boys are out making sure everyone is following the rules.  Also if you are fishing Jersey side, make sure you have the proper New Jersey Saltwater Registry Number, it is free just log into the website and sign up.


Video of a boat being bumped by a whale, excuse the language, but that would freak me out too.


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striped bass, rockfish, the point, cape henlopen state park, the rips, delaware, sussex county
Trolling the rips of the point in 55 feet of water 30 yards offshore. at one point we were in 49 feet of water that you could easily cast out to from shore.

The surf has been quiet, I saw a guy hit a skate at the point yesterday while we were trolling.  There have been random short striped bass, spiny dogfish, skates, and spotted hake (ling cod).  Bunker chunks have been the choice of bait.  I have been telling a few friends to cast white swim shads in the cuts to see if they can scare up a schoolie bass, that has been the best color in the surf.  Bright colored bombers could produce as well, the Jersey surf casters are doing well with bright colors.  The water is rather clean at the lower beaches and still a little silted up near the point area and Delaware Bay beaches.  With the amount of fish we have been marking near the outer wall and Hen and Chicken Shoals, I would expect striped bass to show up in the surf at Cape Henlopen and Rehoboth beach first, but you just never know.  While we were trolling yesterday I decided to swing close too the point, less than twenty five yards off the beach the water is fifty three feet deep.  Near the Harbor of Refuge lighthouse the water is one hundred and two feet deep at the end of the wall.   Just to give you a perspective of how deep that area is and how close you are to very fast, deep water.  Both of the rips at the point are deep water, if you are fishing them use some serious weight to get it down there the fish we marked were near the bottom.  The bait fish were close to the surface.

Seal at the Outer wall


striped bass commercial versus recreational, eastcoast rockfish, linesiders, asmfc
Chart comparing the striped bass yearly catch between commercial and recreational fishing, notice the recreational take is much larger than the commercial. Photo from Roy Miller’s talk last night at the Saltwater Fly Anglers of Delaware’s club meeting.

The Inland bays are still hot for short striped bass schooling up, especially at night under lights.  You just have to find them, and once you do it is fish, after fish, after fish up to twenty seven inches.  That is a lot of fun, your arm will go numb eventually, and you will leave them feeding.  With the warm temperatures this weekend you might get to see a seal sunning on a beach, you never know, remember to stay at least a hundred and fifty feet away and leave them be, they are resting.  Sometimes they are escaping a predator, disturbing them could send them right back into the predators jaws, which happens to be the name of the movie of the very sharks chasing them.  The broadkill river and other tributaries are still producing schooling striped bass, so that is another option to do some fishing.  White perch action up north in the creeks and tributaries has been hot using  bloodworms.  Lot of channel catfish being caught up there as well.  The freshwater action for crappie bass is getting better and the pickerel are hitting hard.  Tautog and sea bass action is still hot just need to get out to the fish. Check our business directory for a charter or head boat, they are booking up fast for the weekends.  Also check the directory for a bait shop near you, the bunker runs out fast, surf clam is another option for striped bass and so are bloodworms.  Using a whole worm is an option in the surf on a striped bass rig or on a top and bottom rig.  You don’t always need a big hook to catch big fish, just look at freshwater trout flies, well that is if you can see those tiny hooks.

Whale Video from Sea Gear Marine In New Jersey … 


buoys, inland bays, USCG indian river station, delaware, sussex county
Inland Bay buoys dry docked at the Indian River Coast Guard Station .. photo courtesy of the USCG Indian River Station

If you are planning on boating this weekend around the inland bays, the buoys were all removed this week.  We put up that alert last week hopefully everyone made sure they had their courses plotted or still do from this past season.  The buoys are removed every year to keep them from breaking loose due to ice, also so they can be cleaned and maintained.  The water temperatures are averaging in the low fifties to the high forties at low tides around the inland bays.  At low tide water will be warmer during the day due to the sun warming up the mud bottom, and colder at night due to the low temperatures.  High tide will bring in the fifty degree water from the ocean cooling off the low tide water in the afternoon and warming up the night time water temperatures.  High tide at the Indian River Inlet will be around 9 AM on Saturday morning. You will be able to fish the incoming to the outgoing tide from dawn to about noon this weekend.  Always a good tide transition and time of day to do some fishing.   Have a great weekend, there is a lot of events going on, the traffic will probably be heavy for shoppers at the outlets and the fact it is going to be spring like weather in December at the beach.

Fish On!!

Rich King



NOAA Indian River Inlet tides … Thursday to Friday

12/10 Thu 12:38 AM 0.09 L
12/10 Thu 07:37 AM 3.02 H
12/10 Thu 01:35 PM 0.25 L
12/10 Thu 07:43 PM 2.39 H
12/11 Fri 01:15 AM 0.0 L
12/11 Fri 08:16 AM 3.1 H
12/11 Fri 02:13 PM 0.19 L
12/11 Fri 08:24 PM 2.39 H







Photos from this week … 

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