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Fishing for rest of summer does not look promising


Thursday, July 20, 2006
The question that many anglers ask at this time of year is, "What can we expect to be catching for the remainder of the summer? We are seeing lots of croakers now and some fluke plus a lot of small blues -- is this what it's going to be about until the big bluefish and striper season gets underway in late October?"
The answer is probably, yes.
Everybody has been hoping that some sort of miracle would come to pass and that a good slug of nice weakfish would enter Delaware Bay to add to the fish already here. However, all indications do not point to this happening as much as we would like it to.
In many years in the past we did see weaks in the 14-to-16 inch range swarm into the bay just after the Fourth Of July Holiday, and give a welcome boost to the bay's population. Last year it was the same story as we ended up the year with a few weaks around but the majority of the catches consisting of croakers, small blues and fluke.
If such is the case, we must convince ourselves that this is what's going to be and that we must make the best of it. While there is no doubt that croakers are not weakfish, but that they do give a good account of themselves when hooked and are top fare when put on the table, we must take and enjoy what comes our way.
One thing that party and charter boat captains, marina owners or any of us common fishermen should never do is to run down the current species that are being sent our way.
Just think what it would be without the croakers for instance. Some years ago in the Chesapeake Bay all the charter boats in the Bay Bridge area trolled for the abundant striped bass located there. The fishing was excellent and business boomed.
"These rotten things shouldn't even be in the bay. They are worthless. They taste awful and all they do is take up our time removing them from our lines."
With that they banged their head on the side of the boat and tossed them into the bay.
In the following years the striper population fell off to a point where trolling for them yielded little and the laws allowed even less. Business plummeted and something had to be done.
But the bluefish still remained and we're content on taking up the slack left by the absence of the stripers. The captains were then faced with suddenly explaining that these same bluefish that they had been running down for many years all of a sudden were a prime catching and eating species.
It's awfully hard to run down a fish for any period of time and then, when that's all you've got, try to sell it to your patrons as something they should be willing to spend their money to fish for. Often as we talk with area fishermen it seems as if this attitude is expressed towards croakers when they are compared to the weakfish.
We had become so accustomed to finding weakfish plentiful that they were the only fish that would do. Now that the trout are scarce we should consider ourselves lucky that the croakers have shown up to fill in the void.
Those of us who are advanced in age remember when croakers ruled the bay years ago and the party and charter boats had a booming business on the "hardheads." Weakfish were practically unknown and when they were hooked, very few of them were over 12 inches in length. Sometimes history does repeat itself.
All the latest reports coming from the bay indicate that the croaker population is on the increase and indeed even expanding it's territory. In talking with Joe Fahrnbach of Canton, he related that those fishing the upper bay around the Hope Creek Jetty were doing very well on croakers lately and that the fish were of nice size as well, with many in the 14-to-15 inch range. Joe also noted that the Middle Grounds off Seabreeze also has a sizable population of croakers.
Meanwhile, the party boat and charter boat fleet is putting a lot of "hardheads" in their fares coolers. Most are fishing around the Maull and down to the 19 buoy. While they are scarce, a few really large fluke have been taken, although most of these coming over the rail are just a tad shy of the 16-1/2 inch limit.
A few limits have been achieved, but they are few and far between. Higbee's Marina reported a 8 pound, 1 ouncer for Steve Henley and a 6 pound, 1 ouncer for Bill Powell. James Johnson had a 6 pounder on the Bonanza II, while Ray Wasko had a 6 1/4 pounder and Heather Marr one of like size reported by the Port Norris Marina.
A smattering of weakfish came in recently as Al King and wife Dee accounted for 15 at the 6 buoy and Frank Ono and friends also did well at that location, according to Bryan at the Toadfish B&T.
Ralph Knisell is the outdoors writer for Today's Sunbeam. His column appears on Thursday.

© 2006 Gloucester County Times
 

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I agree with Ralph. From what I see, they better get used to catching croakers. Also, the "Weakfish Capitol Of The World" sign at Fortescue has to be changed.
 

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Ralph's report

Ralph Knisel is a fine example of a considerate fisherman, and I'm commenting on that:

Back when I first started fishing Del Bay, it was Mr. Knisel who offered up a few suggests to me on the VHF.

Ralph spoke to my young son on the VHF too, and my son used to hope that the " Reel doctor" ( Ralph's boat and radio name ) would be out there to say hello on any given weekend.

Mr. Knisel taught me how to catch really big weakies in close to shore too.
( 5-10 years ago when they were there )

With all the wise guys on the radio, bad language spoken, and such - it used to be Ralph that I liked to check in with on the bay for some easy talk about the fishing............ it added to the whole experience.
 

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I was thinking about this again. Isn't the article in conflict with the title?? lol
 

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Twin D's - did you not read my post. Here I am, telling my story about what a fine guy Ralph is, and such, and you just post something about the title right after mine ???

How about a moment of consideration for my thoughtful comments ?

Oh, whatever........
 

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yeah Phil, what's your problem :D

bgreene..I'm sure Ralph is a very nice guy.

Hey, i got a solution to help bring the weaks and fluke back into abundance. Lets kill all the stipers :eek: :D
 
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