Fishing Reports July 1 to July 31
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Thread: Fishing Reports July 1 to July 31

  1. #1
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    Default Fishing Reports July 1 to July 31

    With a lot of the weekend crowd gone we still have a ton of people on the water now that the 4th of July holiday is here. The weekdays are a little better and if you go way back in the shallow flats you pretty much have them all to yourself. It is going to get real crazy down here in Cape May, this week so I wanted to get in a trip before it all starts. With a good new moon high tide Monday night I decided to work the back bay. Fly fishing buddy Larry and I left the dock around 5:45 pm and headed to the back bay sod banks and flats. We started where I found some small bait fish and the best striper action last week. Was surprised to find the water much cooler. It was 68 degrees even with all the hot sun during the day that usually heats up the mud flats. We worked a good amount of prime sod banks for over and hour and never saw a single bait fish or even got a hit.

    Second area we tried was just as bad. Our third move finally paid off. Water here was 71 degrees. Larry got the first three stripers on a half and half fly fished on intermediate and I got my first fish on a popping fly using floating line and missed a couple both of which I almost got to the boat. We continued to work this area and found three creek mouths that produced a bass here and there. Most of the fish were decent size with only one on the night being around 15 inches. I kept using a popping fly and Larry switched to a gurgler. Fish all hit very aggressively and made some nice jumps either on the original hit or shortly after getting hooked up. Fishing in 3 to 4 feet of water they made some nice runs making for some exciting fishing.

    As the tide started out I saw the first signs of any bait fish. It was all the way up on the water that covered the sod banks. Guess with the colder water that came in on the high tide the really warm water was up on the 6 or 8 inches of water on top of the sod banks. After the sun set we made one last move to a spot that I wanted to try before heading in. We saw a fish pop on some bait and Larry cast his gurgler right on that spot and a bass immediately took it, made a nice jump and he caught the last fish before we headed in at 9:15pm.

    All in all it was a great night. We both had a good time. We caught 11 stripers, mostly on poppers and missed a good amount of surface strikes and were treated to another beautiful sunset. Only downer on the night was we had our first confirmed kills of green heads. They were not too bad as we were both wearing long pants and long sleeve shirts, but it was the first trip that I have seen them. (Now we will have them till it gets cold)

    After cleaning the boat I was walking off the dock when a bass splashed in the dock light shadow line. (first one that I have heard or seen this year.) Don't know what there was to feed on as I have yet to see any bait fish of any kind around the docks. Made one cast and hooked up with a nice little 18 inch fish and about 5 casts later I got another one just about the same size. After about 20 more casts with out a hit I headed up to the car.
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    Read and interesting article on Saltwater Sportsman site a last week. Talked about what colors etc. that fish see. Chartreuse, white, yellow and red were four of the top colors that fish see best. Also said that when fish look up at poppers or popping flies they all look black from underneath so color really doesn't matter much at all. Here is a sort of an example: This the old wooden popping fly that I used last night. It has a rusty hook, faded worn off paint, only one eye and a re-tied tail to replace the one that bluefish have hammed in the past. Doesn't look like much but has great action. It still works as well as the bright new looking ones that I have. If it looks fishy from below the fish do not care. Just thought I would share as we all have tendency when we fish to always put that new best looking fly on. That ugly old beat up fly proves beauty doesn't matter.

    Also a couple of pictures of last night dock side fish that were caught on clousers.
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    Fishing Friday night was a bit disappointing. It was super hot all day in Cape May and I was looking forward to getting out for some fishing as the sun was going down. There were so many people at the beach today and all leaving around the same time that I took twice as long to just get to the boat.

    When I got to the marina I almost decided not to go as the wind was still blowing strong out of the east southeast and even though we were going to have a really high tide. (5.7 feet of water) the tide had only been coming in a short while and there was very low water in the back with high being around 11:00 pm. Left the dock 7:00 pm. with fly fishing buddy Peter and we headed to the back. We found the water very muddy from all the wind and wave action on the mud flats and around the sod banks. We fished the first area for about 15 minutes and I knew we were beating a dead horse, so we moved.

    Made the move to a creek where we could be a little sheltered from the wind. (It was still windy. Your pant legs and fishing shirt would flap in the wind) We just barely made it into the creek, as at the mouth there is a mud bar and the water was only about a foot deep, but with the electric motor we were able to get in. Once in, even with the water still very low we had 2 to 5 feet of depth. Water was 69 to 70 degrees, pretty clean and we were pleased to see some signs of bait fish. We worked it super hard for almost 2 hours and into the dark. Peter fished a clouser on intermediate line and I fished a popper fly on floating. The whole time I had one fish swirl on the popper but we never got a single strike. To add some salt to the wound, as I was motoring out of the creek on a plane I spooked a striper that jumped clean out of the water. There must of been a few fish there.

    With the tide now up a bit higher we tried one last spot before heading back to the dock. Here we caught 4 small stripers up to 19 1/2 inches. The humidity was very high and were wet like we had run through a sprinkler. Wet and tired of fighting the wind all night we headed back to the dock around 10:00 pm. After washing down the boat, with no signs of life I took a few casts around the dock shadow lines and picked up two more small stripers before heading home. I think it was a fun evening, but it just didn't feel like it as our expectations were higher than the results.
    Last edited by CapeMayRay; 07-06-2019 at 11:06 AM.

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    Possibly my best fishing trip of the year and I almost decided not to go out. Wanted to fish with a buddy and head out early this morning before the sun came up, but last night my wife informed me that she needed some help with a couple of things in the morning before she left on a trip. Got stuff completed by 7:30 am and though twice about going out as the sun was up and dead low tide was at 8:00 am. (not what you call prime time or tide) Decided I would go out by myself and give it a try as I could always come back in if it was dead. Left the dock with some what low expectations at 8:00 am and headed out to the ocean. Water in the ocean was nice and calm with hardly any wind and water was 72.5 degrees.

    My main target was going to be weakfish. First spot that I tried I was really surprised. Within the first 20 minutes I got 5 nice stripers. The smallest was 24 inches and the largest was 28 1/2 inches. (which I released) I was really excited and already had a great day. When the bite ended I moved to another spot. Here I caught 2 small fluke and one 16 inch weakfish and a mess of small blues mostly 10 to 12 inches. The only way to keep away from the blues was to bounce your fly close to the bottom. As soon as it would get close to the surface the small blues would hammer it.

    With the seas so light I moved down the beach in search of weakfish. I was able to fish right out side the surf line in 6 feet of water where I found the weakfish. Caught 6 that were all right around 16 inches. Also got 4 more fluke including a nice keeper (which I kept) Got a few more small bluefish and the smallest sea bass that I have ever caught. My fly was 3 1/2 inches long and the sea bass was 4 1/2 inches long.

    Tried one more spot still tight to the beach. Decided to change to a new clouser as there was hardly anything left of the old one. The bluefish had really chewed it up. Here I got another surprise. On two back to back casts I caught two keeper size Spanish Mackerel (The last one that caught was a few years ago.) They were fairly small so I released them both. Working the same area I caught 3 better size blues. ( I kept two of the blues for dinner.) After catching 6 species with keeper size fish in 4 species, I couldn't of asked for better fishing. With the sun getting high and it starting to get hot. I had enough fun and headed back to the dock at 11:45 am

    Never saw any small bait fish all morning, but saw about a dozen pods of bunker working their way along the beach, with nothing exciting them except some dolphins and one pod was getting worked over by a group of 13 pelicans, after which they just sat on the water right out side the breakers and rested for about 1/2 hour before moving on. That is the largest group that I have ever seen here in Cape May. With the warm water there were also a lot of cow nosed rays running along the beach. It was a good morning to be on the water and definitely my best trip of the year.
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    Last edited by CapeMayRay; 07-09-2019 at 08:11 PM.
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    Here is the picture of that little sea bass that hit a fly almost as big as he was. Felt the little strike and felt a little wiggle on the line. Thought it was going to be a super small postage stamp fluke.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CapeMayRay View Post
    Here is the picture of that little sea bass that hit a fly almost as big as he was. Felt the little strike and felt a little wiggle on the line. Thought it was going to be a super small postage stamp fluke.
    there have to be 5 million of these little guys all over the south jersey bays right now. guess their spines prevent predation? non-stop hits yesterday afternoon


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

    Rob

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    What a difference a few days make. Last trip was my best of the year and Friday night was my worst trip of the year. Was going to fish the ocean this morning, but decided that with a perfect tide in the early evening it would be more fun to fish for stripers in the back bay with popping flies. Left the dock with spin fishing friend that I use to fish the back bay with, during the good old days when there were stripers, bluefish and bait fish galore all over the back areas. Every night we would catch good numbers of fish and around dusk and you would always see feeding fish swirling or nervous bait fish jumping. We left the dock at 5:00 pm. with the tide to still come in for about another hour. Water was nice and clean in the back and temps were from 69 to 73 degrees. At the first spot we worked, in less than 1/2 an hour we caught 3 small stripers up to 23 inches and missed 2 hits. With it early in the evening we thought we were going to be in for a banner night as the sun got lower, as it should only get better. It wasn't to be. It went down hill fast and stayed that way the whole rest of the trip. Fishing was so poor and with the westerly wind we couldn't even get the greenheads to bite. (Not that we wanted them to)

    We had perfect conditions. The wind was light, good water clarity and temps and a perfect tide. We tried just about as many prime spots that you could possibly fish in 4 1/2 hours time. (My longest trip of the year) Each spot looked perfect except for little to no amounts of bait fish. Most bait fish that we saw all night was a couple of little jumps of 1/2 long stuff that his popping plug or my popper fly would spook. It was the most frustrating trip this year as we moved from one spot to another and covered miles of area. In the four hours after catching those first fish we had a total of 3 small swirls behind our poppers with no actual hits on them. My buddy could not believe how much the fishing had changed over the years as we worked many of the same spots that use to produce constantly years ago, with out even a sign of any fish or bait fish. We had a beautiful sunset and headed back to the dock around 9:30 pm.

    Just the other week there were a decent amount of fish around, in the back, even though there was hardly any bait fish. This all make me believe that we get schools of the northern migrating stripers that come into our back bay, stay for a couple of tides, find no food and go back out and head further north. For past number of year this is about the time that the fishing starts to really drop off. Only the smallest stripers tend to hang around as they are the only ones that can survive on such small bait fish.

    We know that the poor fishing last night was not do to our fishing skills, but just due to the fact that the fish were just not there in any numbers. You just can't cover that much shallow water with out finding a few fish, with such perfect conditions.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CapeMayRay View Post
    Here is the picture of that little sea bass that hit a fly almost as big as he was. Felt the little strike and felt a little wiggle on the line. Thought it was going to be a super small postage stamp fluke.
    little fish big appetite


    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'

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    After having a tough last trip in the back, I have not been all that excited to get out and work the back bay again even with the good tides right around dusk. This morning with light winds I decided to switch gears and fish the last of the out going tide in the ocean and see if I could scrape up some weakfish and fluke like last week, with similar conditions. Don't like to fish in the bright sun, but it worked last week.

    Left the dock at 10:00 am and headed to the ocean with dead low to be at 12:39 pm. Water in the ocean was 68 degrees, much cooler than the 72.5 the last time I was out there. First spot I picked up a small 17 inch striper. Second spot I got 3 very small bluefish in the 10 to 12 inch size.

    Moved to third spot and worked it to death till the tide started to come in. Here I got 5 small weakfish in 15 to 16 1/2 inches. 3 small fluke to 16 inches and 5 more of those really small bluefish. All fish were caught on chartruese/white clouser on sinking line and all fish were released.

    With the cool water it was very comfortable on the water with a nice breeze, much nicer than I thought it would be. At 1:00 pm I headed back to the dock where it felt it was an oven and I couldn't wait to get into the air conditioned car.
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    Took a break from flyfishing on Tuesday. Did some old fashion bait fishing. Drove up to Barnegat Light and joined a friend and his group of 11 that charters the Susan Hudson, captained by Eddie Yates. Left the dock at 6:00 am and had great weather an good fishing. We headed offshore and worked two wreck sites. We limited out on Sea Bass and had I believe caught over 200 ling. There were times when we had chub mackerel up on the surface and you could just take off your sinker and drop your line in and you could watch them take your bait close to the surface. They looked like they would be a blast on the fly as they are much thicker than a Boston Mackerel. I could of caught them casting off a corner of the stern with a fly. Maybe next time I go. We caught and kept a good number for strip baits etc. for other trips. We also had two bonita in the mix. Over all it was a fun day on the water and everyone got a nice bag of fish to take home. Had some ling last night and it was really good. Went to bed early as it was a long day getting up at 3:30 and driving the hour and 3/4 both ways and out on the water for 8 hours, when I am spoiled with my normal 3 hour trips. Will do it again next month.
    Last edited by CapeMayRay; 07-17-2019 at 10:21 AM.
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    With this heat I just can't get excited about going out fishing. Got the grandkids down for a 5 days and even going to the beach has not been pleasant. It is just way too hot. Today it is 99 and they say it feels like 109. My mind says let's going fishing, but when I step out the door my mind jumps in and what are you crazy. Hope to get the boys out fishing, but being 6 and 9 they don't last all that long even when it is comfortable out.
    Last edited by CapeMayRay; 07-21-2019 at 02:21 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CapeMayRay View Post
    With this heat I just can't get excited about going out fishing. Got the grandkids down for a 5 days and even going to the beach has not been pleasant. It is just way too hot. Today it is 99 and they say it feels like 109. My mind says let's going fishing, but when I step out the door my mind jumps in and what are you crazy. Hope to get the boys out fishing, but being 6 and 9 they don't last all that long even when it is comfortable out.
    Yesterday's Ocean temps here were mid-60s. Got out early on the waverunner and parked for a bit near the inlet and took a dip with my youngest daughter... it was great
    and had I a choice would have stayed there sitting in 3 ft cool ocean water all day.

    Then again, my loco neighbor was out midday today, long sleeves, long pants, trimming his flower beds.


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    Rob

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    Grand Kids headed home today and weather was pretty nice with all the heavy heat gone. No one could make it tonight so I did a solo trip. Left the dock at 6:00 pm and headed to the ocean to fiah the last of the out going tide and the start of the incoming. Wind was blowing light out of the north east all day and was suppose to settle down to nothing by dark. Left the dock and the water in my marina was 68. As I got closer to the ocean it got colder. Water right outside the inlet was 64 degrees and nice and clean. Went down the beach to where I have been catching weakfish in close to the beach and the water there was 68 degrees and very clean there too. Tonight I decided to fish a pink/white clouser on sinking line. Started out getting small bluefish 10 to 12 inchers. They were a pain all night a they chewed up 4 flies down to almost nothing and must of caught close to 20. Did get two that decent around 17 inches. Did get 6 weakfish from 13 1/2 inches to 17 inches and one small 15 inch striper all from one area that I worked to death. After dark I stopped back at the inlet rocks and hooked a decent striper maybe 24 to 25 inches. Had it to the boat but just couldn't get it in the net and it came unhooked after missing it with the net once. It was a beautiful night, cool water, the wind died to nothing and I caught a few fish, heading back to the dock at 9:15 pm.
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    Had a another good trip tonight. Went out solo again. Left the dock at 6:00 pm. Water in the harbor was 68 degrees and with the tide going out for about an hour I decided to head to the back bay and try a couple of areas before heading to the ocean. Went in the way back. The water was 75 degrees and started fishing in about 5 feet of water using chartreuse/white clouse on intermediate line. Fished for about 15 minutes when I hooked up my first striper of the night. A nice 21 1/2 incher. Kept moving along and fishing some shallower water so I switched to floating line and popping fly. In about 3 feet of water that was 72 degrees I hooked a nice keeper size bass that took off like a rocket and really put up a nice fight. Just took a picture and released it, plus it had a fair number of red sores on it. I kept on covering ground and found a small rip line where I caught 3 more small bass. 13, 17 1/2 and 18 inches two 12 inch bluefish with one wrecking my fly. There were not a whole lot of fish in the back but I did see more small bait fish than I have seen all year. Felt good to at least see some signs of life.

    Around 8:00 pm. with the sun getting low I decided to move to the ocean and try for some weakfish. When I got out the inlet the water was 68 degrees and as clean and clear as I have ever seen it. I when down the beach to where I have been catching the weakfish and with the sun almost down the water was so clear, I could see the submerged structure that I fish clear down to the bottom in 15 feet of water. Water was 69 degrees. I worked it hard till it got dark with a clouser on sinking line. The fishing was slow. I got one small 15 inch weakfish and 4 more small blues that tore up two more flies. Had a beautiful sunset and after dark I stopped back at the inlet rocks where got a small 15 inch striper to end the night and headed back to the dock at 9:15 pm. Don't know why the pictures turned out upside down. I tried changing them around, but that didn't work.
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    Tough trip tonight. One of my fly fishing buddies just got home from a 2 week trip to the Europe and wanted to go fishing. I looked at the tides and high tide was at 6:30 pm which I thought would be perfect, but the wind was blowing around 15 mph. (not really perfect, but with wind to be higher on Tuesday and maybe thunderstorms later in the week, I made the decision to go, as the last fishing trip in the back bay was pretty productive.)

    The original plan was to leave the dock at 6:00 pm. Shortly before then things started falling apart. My buddy called and said his car battery was dead and he needed to be picked up. By the time we got to the boat it was 6:30 pm. About the same time I found out that I loss my wrist controller for my bow mounted electric motor. I have a back up one, but it was not work properly. Probably had some corrosion, so trying to control the boat with the wind was a problem the whole night. Just couldn't get it to operate properly all night.

    Water in the back was nice and clean with temps from 68 to 74 degrees. There was a decent amount very small bait fish at most of the prime spots that we fished and we covered a lot of ground during the three hours that we fished. We fished the first two hours with out so much as a hit or a swirl. I finally hooked about a 24 inch stripper on a popping fly. With fishing so slow I told my buddy to just keep fishing that I would just pull it up over the side of the boat. While lifting it out of the water the leader broke. After that missed fish I had one small striper swirl and smack my popping fly and my buddy missed a small striper that we thought he had hooked good. He was fishing a clouser all night. Three hits in three hours of fishing with perfect conditions, is pretty poor fishing and we headed back to the dock at 9:15 pm. Was the worst fishing trip of the year and I doubt if I will try again till I get a new remote controller for the electric motor.

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