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July 2004 Fishing Questions

By Paul Kerlinger
Outdoors Editor

Question. I'm interested in learning more re: fly fishing in the Cape May area this summer. We will not have fishing gear with us. What are our options? Thanks. - Greg R

Answer. Greg – Check out one of the guide/charter services on Cape May Times.

Question. We're vacationing in Wildwood the last week of July and I'd like to know the best spot to fish from the shore and the best place to crab, again, from the shore?

Answer. Access to shore fishing isn’t easy on the outer beaches. Better access can be found on the back bays behind Wildwood – from sod banks or from areas along the back canals. These produce fluke and a few weakfish in late July through August. The inlet in North Wildwood has some great access and some of the beaches are good at night for bass, etc.

For crabbing, any of the creeks in the back bays can be good. Renting a boat works best. Find a smaller creek with plenty of water and anchor up. Patience!

Question. I enjoy your articles. I am fairly new to the sport and need all the help i can get. I always see people finishing from the shore, catching blue fish and striped bass, how do they do it? Can you give me several pointers on fishing from the shore/beach. (is it better to use a lure or bait?) - Marco D.

Answer – That’s a huge question. For most it is a try and fail, try and succeed kind of thing. Get a few books, learn about where fish hang out, what they eat, and then give it a try. Watch the guys who are successful and do like they do. For beginners, I’d recommend using bait. Tackle shops can help you determine what is biting and what bait to use locally. Then you have to try, try, try ….

Question. What can be caught off the jetties or surf in July and August around the Cape May area ? Jack C

Answer. Best bet from jetties at the ferry terminal or in Cape May Point in July and August are weakfish and croakers. For the latter, use smaller hooks and baits. I use a fly-rod for croakers with #1 hooks and shrimp like flies (small) – sometimes fishing 2 flies at a time. For weakies go with bigger flies.

Question. When is the best time to go crabbing. I know in September most of the crabs are pregnant. Is July a good month?

Answer. July and August aren’t bad. There are plenty of crabs around, you just have to release those that are sub legal. Only the females will be carrying eggs in September, so the “jimmys” can still be taken.

Question. do you need a license for saltwater fishing?? Eric A.

Answer. No license is required for saltwater fishing in NJ.

Question. I usually fly fish small streams in Pa. and lakes in the Adirondacks. I'd like to wade fish in the Cape May area for any species. From what I've read, there may be some small blues/snappers in your area. Would a 9 foot, 8 weight , fishing streamers and poppers be the right choice?
Ed Q

Answer. An 8 weight is great for August and July (from September on use at least a 9 weight) for small blues (bigger than snappers). Use poppers with heavy leaders and hopefully you don’t care about your fly being chewed to pieces. Fish the inlets at dawn and dusk – like North Wildwood/Stone Harbor – or back bays (along sod banks) and make a racket with your popper (faster than for largemouths). Fish fast sinking line with clousers at the same time for weakies – fish them slowly. You may also snag a fluke or a striped bass.

Question. Is the Rock Jetty at the Coast Guard base still off limits?

Answer. The beach is definitely off limits, but the jetty, I’ve heard is open to fishing from a parking lot within the Coast Guard/National Wildlife Refuge. Call the refuge for details – (609) 463-0994.

Question. My family will be staying in Stone Harbor for the week of August 28. We’ll have a bay rental with dock. I have a 5.5 year old son who has only fished once. I’m interested in suggestions. I can rent a 14 ft skiff for some of the week and can use it for crabbing or light tackle local bay fishing. I’m also thinking of a half day excursion. Can you help?

- William S (Frank G. had a similar question. Here’s your answer)

Answer. There are 17 foot boat rentals in Wildwood – check out our boating page. Also, the charter boat page has several boats and guides that could be of service to you and your son. Young ones need only a couple of fish to make the day successful.

Question. Recently went fishing just north of North Wildwood under the "free" bridge. I casted out my line (12 lb. test on med/heavy 8' rod). On it I had a 1 ounce weight with and a flounder rig that had a propeller like object at the top, a spoon behind it and a pink bucktail above the hook. My question is.....I placed a minnow on the hook ( through the lip), was this necessary? I jerked it across the bottom reeling in line very slowly and only had one catch, a skate. Is this the proper bait and rig? If I feel a hit should I stop reeling in or continue my slow retrieval? Chris L

Answer. Start by using a lighter rod. 7 foot is generally long enough for spinning in the back bays. You might need a 2 ounce sinker in the faster current – to hold bottom. In addition to using a live minnow, add a strip of squid. You might even get rid of the spinner. Hardly move your bait, although you can let it bounce along the bottom twitching it a little. If you feel a few bumps, lower your rod tip to the count of 2 and gently pull back. If you feel tension pull harder, but don’t jerk it too hard or you’ll rip it out of the little darling’s mouth. Make sure your bait is a few inches off the bottom.

Question. Hello! Is catching flounder better at high tide or low tide?
Tank you. Jack P

Answer. I like near the top of the tide, but moving out or in. Dead tides generally don’t produce well – maybe because your bait can’t drift.

Question. I've vacationing in Cape May for the past few years. This year my children will be old enough to go fishing and or crabbing with me. Are there small boat rentals available or any dock in the area that would be good to fish or crab from? Also I am interested in claming? Last year I went claming in Delaware and it was quite fun and rewarding. How is the claming in the Cape May area??

Answer. For boat rentals see our boating page. You will need a clamming license if you wish to do this in New Jersey. You may apply through the NJ DEP website. There are plenty of clams in the back bays, but I’m not that knowledgeable about exact locations.

Question. I am interested in taking my wife , daughter and son on a fishing trip. My son and daughter are 16 and 20 yrs. we have no boating and very little fishing experience. I need someone to take us out and teach us while we are out. Have no fishing equipment. Thanks.

Answer. For people like you, the best bet is a small charter. We have several boats chartering from Cape May. They can tailor a trip to suit your interests and needs. They also have all the gear, bait, etc. Read their write ups and give one or two a call to learn more. They are nice guys and know their stuff. See our charter boat page.

Question. I will be visiting a friend who lives in Wildwood during the first week of August. This friend has a boat. I am thinking of bringing some saltwater fly tackle. Can you give me any idea of what I should be looking to fish for?? Phil

Answer. With a boat, I’d suggest that you fish the sod banks at dawn and dusk – into darkness. Drift the banks, casting poppers right into the grass. There are bass around and some blues. You should also try something like a clouser minnow on fast sinking line - letting it sink quickly next to the bank before retrieving it. – The edges of the deeper water – close to shore - in Hereford Inlet (North Wildwood), can be great at dawn for small blues. Fishing deeper – just off the bottom with fast sinking line could easily produce blues, weakies, and, maybe bass or fluke. Fish slowly for weakies – using a short – 6-10” strip or even shorter. Let it sink occasionally.

Have a fishing question??
Go to the Cape May Fishing Forum.



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