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September 2004 Cape May Fishing Q & A

By Paul Kerlinger
Outdoors Editor

From now on, I will answer all fishing questions on our new Cape May Fishing Forum. Just sign in and fire away. I will be checking the board every day.

Here's the last batch of questions I'll be answering in this column:

Question. Does the Fishman guide?

Answer. No, I do not work as a guide, but I wish I did. Check out the Cape May Times charter boat page for a listing of captains with boats who are highly qualified anglers. You should probably try to call them to get some details and plan your trip.

Question. What surf action can I expect in September? This question was asked by both spin and fly anglers.

Answer. September is the month of the mullet and with the mullet come striped bass. If there are mullet in the surf, use poppers or swimming plugs, or, if you are not a high-brow angler, use cut mullet as bait. Fly anglers can use big flies. Flies with a big head will push water and have a fat looking head, just like a mullet. You can usually see mullet in the wash, almost right on the beach and the bass will follow them into less than a foot of water. The mullet will be given away by the little V-shaped wake they leave. A pod of several mullet make the water look nervous as they shoot along in shallow water, leaving V’s behind them. You needn’t cast far and you can sometimes work your lure or fly parallel to shore in the foamy water just off the beach. Mullet will run in spurts, one day here, gone the next. So, keep trying. Fish dawn and dusk.

Question. What’s the surf action in Cape May, Ocean City, North Wildwood in September?

Answer. Pretty much the same up and down the beach, although there will be hotspots here and there that are relatively unpredictable. There are also kingfish, small bluefish, flounder, and even croakers caught from the beach and at the end of the month the beginning of the weakfish fall run begins.

Question. What tackle do I need for surf fishing along the southern New Jersey beaches, including Cape May?

Answer. A 7-8 foot medium to slightly light weight spinning rod works fine, with lines in the 12-17 pound class. You will need to throw plugs from ½ ounce to about 2 ½ ounces (early in the season). Later in the year, you may wish to go heavier to throw 3+ ounce plugs long distances.

Question. I’d like to flyfish North Wildwood and Wildwood in late September (Irish Festival time), where can I fish and what can I expect.

Answer. Because September is mullet and striped bass month, the outer beaches can be good and because the mullet and bass are in the wash (close to shore), they are within flyrod range. There are plenty of places to fish, although very close to the Irish Festival there is Hereford Inlet and there’s easy access to the sandy spit that juts into the inlet. Some places drop right off, so be very careful. There are also plenty of small bluefish ready to chew up your flies. Vary the size of your flies because there are also spearing in the inlet that are an alternate food in September.

Question. General questions about bottom fishing.

Answer. There has been some pretty good bottom fishing for seabass, flounder, and big croakers several miles off the beach. You may wish to consider a charter. See the Cape May Times list of charter boats and try calling them.

Question. Do I need a saltwater license.

Answer. New Jersey does not require a salt water fishing license (there is a freshwater license requirement however).

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

 

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