FISHING REPORTS July 1 - July 31
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Thread: FISHING REPORTS July 1 - July 31

  1. #1
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    Default FISHING REPORTS July 1 - July 31

    A little early this month, to make up for being late last month. {:-) Not really. Tomorrow I head back to the Keys to prepare for Saturdays plane to Belize for a week at Turneffe flats. We did this trip last summer & it was great. Plenty of bonefish on 6 & 8 wts with WF F lines, being humbled by permit, 2 + hours each day plenty of shots, 3 bites 2 anglers & 2 fish boated, & some tarpon action which neither of us were particularly interested. Wonderful area, isolated & beautiful. Will have no computer or phone service. Hope you guys & gals have a blessed July 4th experience & I look forward to reading your reports.
    Ron Conner
    MODERATOR SALT WATER FLY FISHING FORUM
    release the fish, keep the memories. Once a Knight is enough. Sparse

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  3. #2
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    Ron, you are making us all jealous. It sounds like a once in a life time trip and this will be your second trip. I would say you are living large! Hope this trip is as good or better (better may be tough) Will we anxious to see how you do and don't forget to take some pictures.

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    After canceling Saturday nights trip and my trip tonight due to poor fishing, I decided to cancel all trips until the second week in July, when at least there will be perfect tides early morning and evening. With the ocean water around 75 and no signs of bait fish or sport fish and cow nose rays so thick you can walk on them, the ocean is out. With the back bay now hitting temps near 80 degrees and no real signs of decent bait fish the only decent time to fish might be the middle of the night and my charters don't want to do that.

    The 2nd week of July the tides should be very good in the early morning and evenings. With the low light and good tides if I can't catch then it is party over and will have to cancel all trips unless a miracle happens. Last two years fishing died out to nothing in August and pretty much stayed dead the rest of the year with fewer and only very small fish around. This would be the earliest that I have seen that.
    Last edited by CapeMayRay; 07-02-2018 at 03:06 PM.

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    Thank you Ray & sorry to hear of your woes. Feel bad to give this report. Went yesterday & this morning Dark A.M. tide was 3 & 4 A.M. Went very well 1/2 yesterday & 2/3 this morning. WT10 F & WTF 12 F, My night fly, white hackles splayed with some glitter & a collar of white Marabou, & a dark shrimp pattern. The night fly is from Capt. Bob Lemay. Yes this will be a great trip. My High School (he's almost as old as I am) & was my best man at our wedding 51 years ago will be coming with us along with his wife. Will be fun.
    Ron Conner
    MODERATOR SALT WATER FLY FISHING FORUM
    release the fish, keep the memories. Once a Knight is enough. Sparse

  7. #5
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    Ron, don't feel bad about giving a good report. Just like the song "It is 5:00 somewhere." It is always fish catching time somewhere, just not in Cape May. Around here in NJ the poor fishing is the new normal. It use to bother me more and I always liked to think things would get better. Now, I just accept that it is the way it is and it is never going to be like it use to be or improve.

  8. #6
    rob
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    Ron,

    I tried responding while I was away, but apparently this site has issues with the browser on my phone.

    At any rate, sounded like a "twice" in a lifetime trip

    Great report.

    Ray, say it isn't so: giving up chartering? Perhaps it will give you time to venture to better parts of the state, not everything is as dire as Cape May.
    You don't have to travel out of town only for sailboats ... just sayin'!

    if it's not the pesticides flowing down the Delaware, it's the beach replenishment killing our surf and inlets, one load at a time.


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    Rob

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    Still not looking good. Went out last night with a friend with perfect tide and conditions to see if it was worth taking out charters. We worked 12 different spots in the back for 4 hours and got 4 hits landing all 4 stripers from 17 to 21 inches. Water cooled down into the mid to lower 70's in the back but just no bait fish other than the 1/2 to 1 inch stuff. Everything was on poppers. Every location looked perfect with perfect weather and there was enough breeze off the ocean to keep the green heads away. We averaged about one hit an hour or one hit for every mile of sod banks we covered. Pretty sad fishing and we worked it as hard as you could.

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    Decided to fish on Friday to make sure that canceling charters was still the right decision. Left the dock late afternoon and fished till dark. Had low light and perfect incoming tide. Tried the ocean and inlet area for about 1 1/2 hours. Had one hit that looked like about a 10 inch bluefish. Water looked nice and clean and was 73 to 75 degrees. Worked four different spots and just couldn't find a fish.

    Then moved to the back bay and worked the heck out of a good number of normally great spots. Water in the back was 74 to 76 degrees, nice and clean and most of the spots has a fair amount of very small bait fish, maybe 1 inch long. Worked the back for 2 1/2 hours and only got two hits, landing both stripers. A 16 and a 17 inch bass and that was it. 2 decent hits in 4 hours of fishing is as poor as it gets, so I feel comfortable still canceling trips. I wouldn't want to pay for fishing like we have right now. I just can't believe how bad the fishing is. I have never seen it this slow with really good conditions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CapeMayRay View Post
    Decided to fish on Friday to make sure that canceling charters was still the right decision. Left the dock late afternoon and fished till dark. Had low light and perfect incoming tide. Tried the ocean and inlet area for about 1 1/2 hours. Had one hit that looked like about a 10 inch bluefish. Water looked nice and clean and was 73 to 75 degrees. Worked four different spots and just couldn't find a fish.

    Then moved to the back bay and worked the heck out of a good number of normally great spots. Water in the back was 74 to 76 degrees, nice and clean and most of the spots has a fair amount of very small bait fish, maybe 1 inch long. Worked the back for 2 1/2 hours and only got two hits, landing both stripers. A 16 and a 17 inch bass and that was it. 2 decent hits in 4 hours of fishing is as poor as it gets, so I feel comfortable still canceling trips. I wouldn't want to pay for fishing like we have right now. I just can't believe how bad the fishing is. I have never seen it this slow with really good conditions.
    what do you think is or was the cause of the continuously bad fishing especially in the inshore CM area. I fish the area often and have not caught much of anything for a good while
    Last edited by fdformicola; 07-14-2018 at 05:00 PM. Reason: missed word


    turn the poachers in & stop the waste

    just a little more C&R
    let fishin be fun
    KILL ONLY WHAT YOU EAT
    BUY AMERICAN
    XVlll Abn Corp 65' to 67'

  12. #10
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    The fishing started to go down a little in the early 2000's Stripers made a good recovery and the back bay, beachfront, inlet and back bays had tons of bait fish everywhere. You would see mud minnows in the marinas, full size spearing and bay anchovies sometimes up to 6 feet wide along the sods and jetties. There was also tons of peanut bunker around all the mentioned spots.

    Cape May County at that time was heavily spraying for mosquitoes due to the possible West Nile problem. They used Malathion which has a very long dissolve time. With in a year or so the bait populations were starting to go down, but fishing was still very good. Waters around the inlet and back were super clean and clear and you could often see down 8 feet to the bottom. Fishing was strictly and early morning, early evening or middle of the night thing as the clear water would let down too much light.

    At about the same time they started dredging Cape May Harbor and the first major beach replenishment along the Cape May and Cape May Point beaches, smothering all the life. They tore up all the mussel beds off the front to get the sand. They have done this at least two more times wrecking more areas. Every year they also dredge the inlet to keep it deep enough for the Coast Guard boats to get out.

    About the same time many of the marinas did dredging and the main channel of the harbor was dredged. I believe this put a lot of sediment all over areas in the back. Many had sandy bottoms and they are all now covered with mucky black mud.

    Also at the same time there was so much rebuilding of new larger homes and they all now have lawns, landscaping. Fertilizer and weed killers goes in the street and then to the back bays and ocean front.

    Somewhere at this same time. Cape May put on a few more large capacity bunker boats for the purpose of supplying New England lobster men with bait as they had over fished the sea herring population which was their bait of choice. At that time there was a pretty much open season all year. The 7 big boats would come in. They would off load their catch and then dump all the tank water with the blood, guts and slime into the area around the old 50 cent bridge. Just imagine the amount of organic waste from thousands of lbs of bunker times 7 boats a day. You would only be able to see down maybe 6 inches to a foot at best and at low tide the back bay really smelled bad. Worst than the normal low tide smell.

    By July when the water would warm up we had terrible algae blooms bringing oxygen levels down to almost nothing.
    Since that time they have shortened the season for the large scale bunker. Ever since we have not had a serious algae bloom, but I believe they did a lot of damage.

    Each year I would see less bait fish, and free swimming crabs. At the same time the normal peanut bunker that used to be always around the marina, inlet and back bays was disappearing. ( I have not seen any in the last 4 or 5 years.)
    With the lack of bait fish the seagulls started stripping all the mussels off the floating docks and jetties to the point that there isn't a single mussel to be found on any docks at my marina anymore. Mussels are just like bunker. They are algae feeders and filter enormous amounts of water. In the marina and around the back. I can now be in 2 feet of water or less and not be able to see bottom. The gulls have also eaten the green crabs from around the docks. Grass shrimp populations use to be in the thousands under the docks at night. You would shine a light and never begin to count the red eyes. Now there are so few you have to look to find them.

    They have since replenished the beaches two more times. The last three years I have seen a tremendous change in the amount of life around the inlet and back bays. I believe that the combination of all the things that I have mentioned are the cause of the decline in our fishing here. Fish need food to survive. I believe there is not enough decent size bait fish to sustain decent fish. I believe on there migration north they stop in our back for a couple of days, that they find little to nothing to eat and then head north to find food. Just like fishermen. You don't leave fish to find fish.

    Since spring I have seen one little pod of bay anchovies out near the inlet and in the back I have only seen bait fish to and inch long. Only snapper blues and very small stripers will chase and feed on bait fish that small.

    Mullet, I use to see it around the back and especially in the fall when it would gather up to leave. It would also pile up around the inlet and jetties long the beach. Our last few falls there has been little to no amounts of mullet.

    I believe when you devastate the ecosystem and reduce the food source, you can't expect fish to thrive. I truly believe there isn't a good enough supply of food left down here.

    Each year I catch few and fewer stripers. It use to be that I would get some keeper size fish a week and now keeper size bass a few and far between. The average size striper has gone down year after year. Bluefish use to pick up the slack (1 to 2 lbs) to the point that on some trips you would have to avoid them. Weakfish you would see fair amounts of larger fish and good amounts of the spikes and fluke along the beach front and back bays was a fairly steady pick with keepers mixed in. Now it is a tough pick just to get a few fish.

    Even if the state gave me millions of dollars and said Ray use it to correct the situation. I don't think there is much that could be done. They will still dredge, still fill in the beaches, run off will still continue. The only thing they have changed is the use of malathion. It may be too late as when you kill bait fish for so many years it is not easy to bring it back, with all the other problems stacked against it. The overall quality of our water down here is much poorer than it use to be.

    Every year I submit this same information to the state. I am told it is interesting but there is no scientific data to support my theory and there is no money to even look into the situation. With watching the steady decline in the fishing for so many years, I can't even begin to fantasize that it will ever come back. I hope a am wrong, but it isn't looking good.

    One last thing. The rising warm water temps are making our back bays and beachfront waters warmer than normal. Last fall the water along the beach the first week of October was near 70 degrees and people were swimming. It also keeps the fall striper run from coming down in early October like it use to. Now when it does come down around Thanks Giving there is little to no bait around to draw it into the beach. They tend to now feed on the large adult bunker out close to the 3 mile limit or further and after the first cold weather they race south following the bunker.
    Last edited by CapeMayRay; 07-16-2018 at 08:50 AM.
    fdformicola likes this.

  13. #11
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    thank you Ray very informative I hope it is not to late but I doubt if I will ever see in my lifetime any improvement


    turn the poachers in & stop the waste

    just a little more C&R
    let fishin be fun
    KILL ONLY WHAT YOU EAT
    BUY AMERICAN
    XVlll Abn Corp 65' to 67'

  14. #12
    rob
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    Up here I saw a spray plane hitting the marshes earlier this year and inquired about what it was, as I was concerned, after some emails Michelle Brunetti from the press of ac found out and reported on what the DEP is now using:

    "The state Department of Environmental Protection has been spraying a natural bacterium to kill mosquito and black fly larvae at the North Brigantine Natural Area, a state-owned property and one of the last long areas of natural beach left in New Jersey.


    It's at the north end of Brigantine Island, and has been a source of controversy lately over the state starting a new permit program there for driving on the beach, and over the trapping and killing of red foxes to protect beach nesting birds like the endangered piping plover. Red foxes eat their eggs and chicks.

    The state is using Bacillus thuringiensis, and the increased spraying is being done at the request of local mosquito control agencies, “due to standing water from all the rain we’ve been getting,” DEP spokesman Larry Hajna said in an email.

    Bti is a naturally occurring bacterium found in soils that has no toxicity to people and is approved for pest control in organic farming operations, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Its spores produce toxins that target and only affect the larvae of the mosquito, black fly and fungus gnat, according to an EPA fact sheet."



    I'm guessing that what they've switched to this down your way as well, but as you said, the damage is multi-layered and seems an uphill battle to try to expect recovery any time soon.


    ------------

    Rob

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