We are starting to go striper fishing!
The fall weather has been terrible. You can tell it is Saturday if its blowing a Gale and Raining!
Despite extreme conditions, we have managed a few trips. Our half trips closed out the season with some nice Sea Bass, though with the increase in size limit came lots of fish missing the mark by a half inch. We have also had some ok Taug fishing. Our final half day trip of the year ended with a bang. We took a group of eight guys out on Sunday in search of stripers. Capt Jeff extended the trip by an hour in search of the elusive Striper. The fishing was not good but the weather was ideal. The trip home was punctuated by a report that one our personal fishing reels, an Avet Reel, had gone missing. After confronting the eight passengers aboard, the reel was no where to be found. Capt Jeff notified the local police which met the boat at the dock. As the vessel was docking, mate Judy found the missing reel, not in the cabin, but placed behind the toilet in the head. The police questioned all aboard an sent everyone on their way. A lousy end to a lousy trip. A note to anyone reading this, stealing will not be tolerated aboard the Miss Chris Boats. And to the honest men who were aboard, we are sorry to have to end the trip the way we did.
WIth this knowledge, we move into Striped Bass fishing. The reports have come from both the ocean and the bay. Short fish with an occassional keeper can be found up Delaware Bay and in some areas closer to Cape May around Structure. There are reports of bigger fish in the Ocean, though nothing within the legal limits. We are concentrating our efforts in the bay and the rips. Fresh bunker has been made available and Capt Bob has a new batch of Live Eels. We will also have clam available. We will be fishing Full Day Trips up till Christmas, please call for weather and fishing reports.
Have a safe and blessed Thanksgiving with your family and friends. Hope to see you aboard this weekend.
Since October 8, the Sea Bass fishing has picked up, when we can get out! The wind and rain have been relentless and the seas have been large. However, between bouts of high seas and down pours, we have managed to get to our favorite spots and find a few fish. Sea Bass, kingfish, triggers and porgies have all been found on the inshore wrecks. Capt Mike and Capt Jim have had success when the weather cooperates.
The new 75 ft Miss Chris is fishing daily! After a 9 month rebuild process the new boat is up and running. There are still odds and ends to finish like paneling and trim. However, the new John Deere power is purring away and the United States Coast Guard Inspection is complete.
Captain Mike reports good fishing up to the recent string of poor weather. When conditions permit, the blues and croakers are around. We have also seen some of the last 2018 Fluke come aboard. We are still fishing daily. We require 12 people to go. Weekdays can be more popular in the morning. We look forward to having you aboard.
Wait, where did summer go?
Thats right. It is September tomorrow and I have been very lax with fishing reports for August 2018. The reason is because it was busy. Yes I know August is supposed to be busy and this August was no exception. We saw many familar faces in August and we also had some very good fishing.
Croakers showed up for the middle part of the month and stuck around longer than years past. The rips have produced a mixed bag of Kingfish, Croakers, Bluefish, Fluke, and Triggers. Many of the fish have been to the smaller end, but we have seen bigger kingfish than usual and the triggers that we have caught have been very nice. The croakers slowed down at the end of the month, but the fluke picked up.
Captain Mike Reports that the fishing has been steady.
Cape May Point has been producing kingfish and snapper blues, along with a few keeper fluke mixed in with both throwback and keeper weakfish. The bite has been better on the incoming tide, however the ebb has also produced depending on the wind direction and intensity. Strong SE winds made fishing difficult, but Captain Mike still managed to take home a few tasty kingies. The calmer seas after the weekend have also changed the table fare a bit. Along with kingfish snapper blues, and weakfish, Captain Mike, Jim, Judy, and Gavin report a mix of small Porgies and Croakers. This mixed bag is a welcome sight over the sand sharks and sea robbins, though I still say those junk Sea Robbins are delicious- there is a reason it makes good bait (this is the opinion of Captain Jeff and does not reflect the feelings of the crew towards Sea Robbins or their status as a junk fish and not eligible as a pool fish). In any case here are some of our junior anglers with noteable catches.
In other news, reports of a sea monster breaking off anglers at Cape May Point are not exagerated. I thought this was bogus until I experienced one of the mysterious hook ups first hand. Something on the other end- very much alive and very large. Something which would run everytime you got it to the boat. One glimpse of the boat makes this large fish "take off." Theories have ranged from large sharks to rays to the unexplained. Well, Captain Jim was able to land one of the beasts, but it turned out to be a cow nosed ray and much easier than the true monster of the point. After the release of the monster ray, another hook up occured and was never captured and spooled the unlucky angler. Some mysterious need to remain unsolved. This beauty was released by shaking the hook out in the water.
On a lighter note, new to the team at the ticket booth this year, joining Brigid and Shanida, Whitney Poppert. She has been helping us out with both phone calls and ticket sales. You may have met Whitney at the ticket booth for the Silver Bullet. If you are a long time customer of the Miss Chris Boats and fishing in Cape May, New Jersey, you may remeber her husband, Captain John Poppert from fishing aboard the Fiesta out of South Jersey Marina. Whitney brings a great deal of knowledge to our booth along with some excellent stories and photos. She brought in this beauty of Captain Mike from his early days at the Miss Chris Docks.
Captain Mike circa 1987 at the Miss Chris Docks at 1210 Wilson Drive, Cape May, NJ 08204.
Thanks Whitney, and Thanks Captain Mike for continuing to catch us fish and give us a great time on the water!
Captain Mike reports that the mouth of Delaware Bay has improved over the last few weeks. Some good catches of Kingfish have been reported along with a good mix of weakfish, fluke, and snapper blues. Some larger keeper Flounder have been caught in good conditions. We have had our share of weather to deal with. Strong North East winds over the weekend made for tough fishing only managing a few keeper species. Calmer conditions lead to more bites and better chances for both novice and seasoned anglers. The new vessel has made a big difference in lousy weather.
The 125 foot Atlantis is stable no matter the conditions. This awesome rig has the ability to sit like an island in even the harshest weather. The Atlantis will continue as the Half Day fishing boat until the repower job on the Miss Chris is completed.
The all new Miss Chris at 75 feet in length and 22 feet in beam will offer very stable fishing with improved side deck space. This will not only make for very comfortable drift fishing, but it will also allow the mates to get to anglers with less confusion. That means more tangles cleared, easier netting of fish, and better fishing all around. The new Miss Chris with her new John Deere Diesels is undergoing extensive United States Coast Guard inspection and oversite. The rigourous standards of the United States Coast Guard inspection criteria provide you as an angler with peace of mind that our vessels are safe in whatever circumstances of fishing we may encounter.
People think Coast Guard and they generally thing Safety Gear which is a huge part of the Inspection. The new Miss Chris and the Atlantis for example have brand new Life Jackets in 2018, 400 in total. New water lights, new life rafts and other safety gear are all part of an annual inspection. Did you know the Coast Guard also inspects the hull, exahaust, fuel tank, generator, electronics, railings, snack bar, etc? The inspection of Sub-Chapter T vessels and the more rigourous standards of Sub-Chapter K vessels, like Atlantis and Cape May Whale Watcher, ensure not only safe operation for passengers, but also uninterupted operation for the owner. That is why the Stewart Family is committed to extreme care of all our vessels in conjuction with the United States Coast Guard. By working hand in hand with our inspectors from USCG in Sector Delaware Bay, our ships in Cape May, New Jersey will continue to operate trouble free for us and safely for our customers.
A slow start is showing signs of life
The Weather! The Weather! The Weather!
I don't have to tell you about the weather. For those of us who cancelled BBQ over Memorial Weekend- the fishing has been dictated by the weather. Cold water, rain, and wind made the start of Sea Bass season and Fluke season 2018 Difficult. We started fishing Cape May Reef with good initial results. Both Throwback and Keeper Sea Bass made for some great drifts. We even found a 18.5" Keeper Fluke at Cape May Reef in cool 62 degree water. Conditions dictated moving inshore. The inshore fishing was poor except for a couple Bluefish and one very nice Taug which went back.
Nice 2.5lb Black Sea Bass
As our season has progressed, Capt Mike has turned his attention to Delaware Bay. As recently as today, June 5, the Delaware Bay is looking lively. Loads of Bunker, Dolphins, and Birds are all over the Bay. The Drumfish bite is still on-( we did not fish for them this year as we are between vessels, but we will be back on the drum in 2019). The initial report is very positive with snapper blues, weakfish and fluke all being found in Delaware Bay.
22" Fluke caught in Delaware Bay
What a winter!
Ok it seems like we had four months of January and we are finally coming out of it. Well it was an exciting winter of ups and downs at the Miss Chris docks. The season wrapped up a bit earlier than usual with tough fishing conditions. It looked to be an average winter of maintenance. Then in December a gentleman whom lost his boat in a hurricane came to the dock desperately in need of a new boat and the old Miss Chris fit the bill. After much negotiation, we decided to part with our perfect vessel. The 75 ft Lydia was all new essentially and it was tough to say good bye. However the Lydia is at its heart a wood boat and we have had our eyes set on a more modern, all aluminum vessel for some time.
Why aluminum? There are pros and cons to every type of construction. Bottom line is that for United States Coast Guard Inspection and longevity, along with many other attributes, you cannot beat aluminum. The Stewart Family has been involved with aluminum boats since 1973 and are very familar with the upkeep, pitfalls and everything in between associated with Aluminum Boats.
So one of the most iconic Aluminum Boat builders for the party boat industry is Gulf Craft, originall of Patterson, LA. We found not one but two. We have rebuilt both vessels and we are prepared for our first trip May 26, 2018. We are looking forward to seeing you all back for the 2018 season.
The new Miss Chris is a 75 foot by 22 foot wide Gulf Craft. Powered by twin all new John Deere Diesels. She has many attributes improving the overall fishing experience with wide side decks improved aft deck space along with all new electronics and other upgrades
The all new Atlantis is 125 foot by 25 wide. She is a high speed ferry which has been converted for whale watching, fishing and private charters. She boasts a huge aft deck, cabin seating for 100 on the main deck and 50 on the upper, air conditioning, heat and many amenities.
Both vessels are coming on line in 2018 and we look forward to your thoughts on the all new experience. Captain Mike Scanlan, Captain Jim Hyndman, Captain Jeff, Capt Dave, Capt Stand along with Judy, Gavin and Jim are all back and looking forward to helping you on your first fish of the season and many more.
Captain Mike in the end of October saw good catches of Black Sea Bass on the inshore grounds. Warmer waters meant the fish were not moving to deeper water and a descent pick could be found on the drift. First Mate Jim has recieved his Captains License Credential and will be the Captain for the remainder of the fall. He has also reported good catches of Sea Bass. The fishing has been close so our four hour schedule has continued into November. There are scattered reports of Striped Bass Moving South and that is our plan for December after our Fall Haul out with United States Coast Guard Inspection. Our hull is inspected often by the United States Coast Guard, as is every Inspected vessel (vessels carrying more than 6 passengers for hire.) We expect no issues and to have the boat back in painted up for the weekend. We will continue our weekend schedule for December with longer trips for the full day for $75 each.
Captain Mike reports good catches of Bluefish at Cape May Point and other areas around Cape May and Wildwood. We are fishing on Saturdays and Sundays at 8:00 AM and 1:00 PM. The Bluefish has been Snapper Sized, though larger 1-2 lb fish have also been caught in the mix. Some larger weakfish have been seen in Delaware Bay. Some Triggerfish have been caught on days when birds and blues are scarce. The mixed bag of Fall has been successful despite worries over regulations on Sea Bass and Flounder.
We plan to go fishing for Sea Bass starting October 22, 2017 when the season opens. the Bag limit proposed in 15 fish per person with a 12.5" size limit in the State of New Jersey.
The inshore reports have started to improve for prospects of Striped Bass. Fishing for Stripers should start in November and Captain Jeff is looking forward to Striper Fishing.
In other news, it is official, long time mate, James Hyndman has completed all criteria for his 100 Ton Master Captains License from the United States Coast Guard. Captain James will be joining the roster for the 2017-2018 schedule. We look forward to his catches and reports in the coming months.
The Fall has arrived and Captain Mike has adapted to the ever changing world of inshore deep sea fishing. Over regulation has sent us in different directions and those different directions have sent us right back to the rips at Cape May Point! The Blues are to the small end. Snapper Blues have been plentiful. The occassional Weakfish has also been caught in the area, along with a 40 lb Drumfish. Some Fluke have been caught and thrown back as well. Some other trips have yeilded Triggerfish and Kingfish. Lots of bait and small Tunnies on the surface have been seen but are near impossible to catch. Taug is also open currenty at 1 fish per man at 15 inch minimum.
We are looking forward to the return of Striped Bass. Early reports indicate there are already a couple local fish being caught off the beaches. Black Sea Bass opens on October 22, 2017 with a 15 fish bag limit at 12.5" minimum size. We have plans for some extended offshore trips for Sea Bass currently. Participation and weather will be huge factors.
We are also available for Private Charter for inshore and offshore fishing. Weekday trips offer great rates with only a 10 person minimum. Weekends in October, November and December are also available with competitive private charter rates.
Captain Mike reports that fishing has been steady when the weather cooperates. There have been some very nice Fluke and steady keepers for some. Sea Bass, Bluefish, Weakfish and Kingfish are also around.
Rich & Nan Hogan of Fayetteville PA, Nan won the pool with a 20in fluke while Rich was runner up with an 18in fluke. Nan repeated this the next day with an identical Fluke. Way to go!
Kristin Louie of Severna Park MD with a 6lb 5oz pool winning fluke aboard the Miss Chris.
Dominic & Donna Lambardo of Bordentown, NJ, with a nice Fluke and a Sea Bass.
Father and Son trips are the best.
Grace Murray of Summit NJ 18in fluke & Sarah Harvey of San Angelo TX keeper sea bass
Stephanie from Hesperia, California wins the pool with a 20in fluke
Emily from Hockessin DE with an 18in fluke
Captain Stan reports improved night fishing on our 6:00 PM trip. Fluke and Sea Bass at dusk and the occasional shark after dark.
Captain Mike reports that the fishing has been tough. The fish have been on the move so Miss Chris has been in the move too. It is an unpredictable season. The good days have been very good and then there are days which we are poor. Weather has played a major factor in poor days. Not rain, but lots of wind. Wind is the enemy some trips. Despite unpredictable conditions and fishing we have managed good trips for Kingfish and Weakfish at the end of July, and now we have moved into deeper waters off of Cape May which have produced Fluke, Sea Bass, Kingfish, Weakfish, and the occasional Triggerfish.
John Richmond Park Ridge NJ 19in pool winner
Dennis Simpson of Upland Pa 19 in fluke
Steven Atkins of Aldan Pa pool winning 19in fluke
Nicole from Newark DE pool winning 20in fluke
Carl Oles of Salt Point NY pool winning triggerfish
Michael Hubert boothwyn Pa with one of his tasty Kingfish.
Captain Mike reports that we have transitioned to targeting Kingfish and Weakfish. The early Summer season showed us some good Fluke fishing. The Summer waters of Cape May have warmed up and the Kingfish bite has turned up. The fish are a smaller fish in general, smaller hooks are the order. The bite is pretty good. There have been some excellent catches making for some great pan frying fare. There are also wekafish mixed in with the Kingfish. Just because many food fishermen are targeting the Kingfish does not mean that Fluke are off the table. Fluke are still caught in the same areas, but with less frequency. The Flounder are there and occassionally a keeper shows up. Our Night trips with Captain Stan on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday have produced mixed results of kingfish along with the occassional Shark.
HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY
Captain Mike Scanlan Reports Fluke fishing continued to improve throughout the week, despite tough winds. There has been success with some keepers when the weather allows. Other mixed species include Weakfish, with the occasional keeper and some kingfish.
Its been awhile since my last report so I will try to recap as much of Captain Mike and Jim have been up to as possible. Basically, Drum Fish is over for 2017. Sea Bass Closed on the 18th and Fathers Day had some rough conditions. Our evening trip will continue to sail on select evenings as a Bay Only Trip, at 6:00 PM. Look for more of Captain Dave, Captain Stan, and others aboard the 6:00 PM.
Captain Mike Scanlan is fishing daily at 8:00 AM and 1:00 PM. He reports a mixed bag of both Fluke and Weakfish. There have been good days with keeper Fluke in June. Some other days not so much with a few throwbacks. There have also been some slow days with a couple Weakfish. Recent catches include some nice fat Kingfish. The prime spots have been slow to warm up after a moderate winter. The recent South West winds caused some upwelling and some cold water in shore. Now things are starting to perk up and should improve weekly. Here are some recent catches.
Darrin Hendrizac from Williamstown NJ with a 19in Fluke.
Danny Floyd from New Concord, Ohio with 2 nice kingfish
Joe and his daughter Tara with some nice Father's Day Fluke!
More Fluke aboard the Miss Chris with Captain Mike Scanlan and Jim
Im starting with Thank you on multiple levels. Thank you God for some sunnier weather. Thank you State of NJ for allowing us to fish for Sea Bass and Fluke. Thank You Customers for going fishing.
After a very rainy Memorial Day weekend, the winds subsided for a bit, the sun came out and we got to do some good fishing.
Captain Mike and Jim got out in the Ocean and found signs of Sea Bass, some of which were keepers. We saw our first throwback fluke also out in the ocean. We also tried Delaware Bay for better Fluke fishing, and while many were throwbacks mixed with junk fish like Spiny Dogfish, we found our first Kingfish of the Season, a welcome sight. We then tried Cape May Point which did not yeild great results, but this usually develops as the season progresses. So our options are plentiful around the Cape. Captain Mike is sailing daily at 8:00 AM and 1:00 PM.
In addition to great day fishing, our nightly bay fishing trips are also showing success when we make it out. At this time we are fishing at 6:00 PM Wednesday, Friday and Saturday for Drum Fish. Captain Dave and Jim have had some success with a good bite still going in Delaware Bay. Fish range from 25 pounds up to 70 pounds. Fresh Clams is still the bait of choice.
The Drum fishing is picking back up after a lull last week. One poor trip lead to better catches over the weekend. High winds made fishing very difficult on Saturday during the day. Friday and Saturday evening produced some nice Drum Fish. Several were caught over the weekend. Selena Green walked away with the pool, two nights in a row with a 40 lb and a 50 lb Black Drum. This Thursday, May 25, 2017 Flounder season starts and Captain Mike has a plan of attack for these Spring fish. Sea Bass opens the next day, giving us options depending on weather and fishing reports. The summer season starts unofficially this coming weekend and our Half Day trips will sail at 8:00 AM, 1:00 PM, and 6:00 PM. Call with questions or go to capemayfisherman.com to book.
The Black Drum Fish are here. The Fluke fight is coming to an end. Memorial Day is around the corner.
We are fishing for Black Drum, or Pogonias cromis, and we have been doing well, when we make it out.
The Fluke ruling is a mish-mosh of mis led politics, un-proven science, flute music, and white noise, of which all my comments will fall into the later, so, I will spare you that bologna for a future report...
The spring time in Cape May brings about all sorts of interesting change. The sleepy towns of Cape May and Wildwood and Sea Isle start to spring back to life. People come down to open up their "Shore House." Other folks flock to the shore with severe cabin fever, eager to see the waves crashing on the beach, the gulls mating, and feel the sand between their toes. Businesses slowly but surely open up, then open their schedules some more and then get around to their summer schedules.
At the same time, the waters around the Cape of New Jersey come to life as well. The bait swells in Delaware Bay, and the back-water estuaries feeding it. Mullet, sardines, shiners, minnows, spot, and a plethora of others can be found in abundance. The Menhaden fill the Delaware Bay from Salem down to the Villas and then start to flood out into the Atlantic. All manner of fisherman, woman and beast comes to feast on this vast buffet that is the Delaware Bay in Spring time.
The Predators that flock to the bay for this bait come in all shapes and sizes. Striped Bass, finish spawning up the river and then gorge themselves on the bunker fish. Large whales, like Humpbacks, or Megaptera novaeangliae, swarm the bay and the surrounding areas of Cape Henlopen and Cape May feeding on 2-3000 pounds of it, daily.
Another favorite of the Delaware Bay and a staple of fishing in this area are the massive Black Drum. Ranging in size from Puppy drum at 15-20 pounds, up to 100 pounds, these big, ugly prehistoric monsters funnel into the shallow parts of the Bay in both Delaware and Cape May, and take up residence for a month, and sometimes longer.
These fish are a favorite with locals and tourists alike. Anchoring up in the sloughs and shoals of the bay is the ticket, and whole clams is the bait. While waiting at anchor, other species will come along to nibble at the baits ranging from clear nosed skates to smooth dog fish and horseshoe crabs. The occasional Striped Bass can be caught on these trips, though Bunker is the bait of choice for a Striper.
The bite is a slow pick or nibble and can easily be mistaken for a tiny ling cod or crab. You do not want to set the hook right away, but rather let them inhale the clam and then slam it home. The fight of the Drum is considered by many to be lack luster. They use their weight and size to their advantage, particularly in the unrelenting tide and current of Delaware Bay. This strong tide will be the biggest factor in the fight and test the strength of the best knots, monofilament and rods. Be prepared for a healthy fight, depending on your gear.
We rig our rental rods with heavier line for drum, to withstand the abuse of the tide. We try to leave as little room for error on our Penn Long Beach 60 and 65 reels with fresh line, and rods without defect in guides and reel seats. Larger hooks are preferred in the 5/0 chunking style. Bigger can be better and recommended. A bait holder barb on the hook can make the clam last a little longer in the vicious bay current. 4/0 Reels are not uncommon, but in this day and age of light tackle, inevitably someone will be trying to catch one on spinning tackle though, this practice leads to longer fights, exhausted fish and fisherman, and lost fish.
Once anchored, the magic of Delaware Bay surrounds you. If it is calm enough and the drum are plentiful enough, you will hear their deep bass, characteristic, "drumming." It is said that this natural beat of the Black Drum is their mating call, which goes hand in hand with all the life of Delaware Bay in Spring.
As table fare, these beasts are best fileted out nice and neat. The Drum family does not have a huge amount of filet, though other parts depending on size are equally tasty, like their ribs, which are large and abundant. This Captain's favorite method for cooking is the BBQ grill. I have also fried and baked this wonderful fish with good to great results.
So, if you are up for it, think about heading to Cape May in May and even June to locate these local leviathans. The weather is the factor. Spring Westerlies mess up the bay and make fishing poor. Though, Nor' Easters can be fished when the fish are on the New Jersey side of the bay, in the lee of the peninsula. Be prepared for all types of weather, both cold and hot, windy and calm, dry and wet. Also consider small crowds and other days when it's just you showing up as getting started is a struggle some springs for business. Either way once you get fishing and hook your first Drum, you will know, they are worth the hunt.
We are back!
It has been a very busy winter at the Miss Chris Marina. Many Many Many things are going on and has kept the place very busy.
The Miss Chris got hauled out at Canyon Club Marina. We removed the old shafts, went back with new shafts and couplings as well as dripless shaft seals. The propellers got reconditioned. The bottom got sanded, primed and painted. The Hull sides got sanded, primed, sanded again, and painted with Imron. The waist got sanded and painted with imron and our new red stripe. The upper waist got sanded and painted with imron. The deck got some paint. Lots of love all over the boat to compliment her new engines last season. She is essentially a new boat. Ready to fish! We were due to start this weekend, though weather seems to be postponing this due to wind and rain.
The report from our friends is that Taug are still biting, though the fish have been on the smaller side. Taug fishing will continue through April 30. Some Striped Bass have been caught in the back bays, as well as in Delaware Bay and even areas in the Ocean, though many of the Stripers in the Ocean are also small fish. There are also mixed reports of Drumfish being caught. Bluefish have popped up in Delaware Bay along the beach which is another great sign. The warmer water means an early spring.
In other news at the Miss Chris Marina, if you have been down, you may have noticed some construction. Our dock is being renovated by Arenberg Marine Construction. Some much need love has occured and the whole dock should be open in the coming week. Thank you for your patience.
A new boat has arrived at the Marina. The Atlantis is 115 feet in length, all aluminum, built by Gulf Craft Inc of Louisiana. She is a new project for us and should be completed by the end of season. We are looking forward to the new opportunities this large platform will bring to the marina.
There is also a new building at the Marina. Our new 30X50 Shop is nearing completion. This new space will allow for more storage of gear, and other opportunities for the Marina. Stay tuned for updates on all the new exciting improvements occuring at the dock.
January in Cape May, NJ.
Quiet time to reflect on the year past....
Yeah right! We never stopped working. Im questioning why we stopped fishing. I have now heard reports of Mackerel being caught and with water temps staying about level, Id like to head out and check it out. Anybody up for it should call (609)849-9453 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Instead of reflecting on last year, we are concentrating on the here and now and tomorrow. We are fixing the things that need fixing, preparring for our annual haul out, sanding, painting, fiberglassing, etc. We have completed some nice projects with Milt, Cape May's very own shipwright. First mate Jim and Capt Jeff finished up the fiberglass job on the roof of the Lady Chris, so no more showers for the Captain on rainy days. Still lots of work to complete before Spring.
Captain Jeff has taken time this week to complete a National Marine Fisheries Educational Workshop about the Fisheries Management Approach and how it all works. I have some thoughts on this highly educational and enlightening subject.
Recreational Fishing is a staple of living at the shore. As sure as I am that I am a local and love boats, I too love fishing. From a young age, I went fishing with my father on both private boats and Party Fishing Boats. I learned quite a bit from age 8 to age 10 aboard the Royal Flush with Captain John Royals. My fishing education expanded further aboard the Miss Chris Fleet at age 11 with Captain Fred, Captain Butch and later on Captain Chris.Along the way I learned a ton from Captain Bob Lubberman and made many trips with him. I also was mentored a bit by Captain Bill Garrison and Captain Rick Shepanski from the Lady Catherine and Miss Andrea. My education expanded once more as my long time friend Captain Jason and I fished more and more as college came to an end. I even learned a bit from the Tournament crews of Viking Yacht Company in Cancun, Mexico, though little of that can be repeated on a family fishing website.
My passion for fishing has lead me to this blog for fishing reports, boat ownership and after 34 years of regulation, I find myself wanting to understand what it all means, how it all works, and how can I help to ensure my kids can have a similar experience to what I have had. I preface this with, not only am I as worried about the looming decision to cut the Fluke quota for the next five years, but I wonder what has happened to this seemingly thriving industry in the last two decades. The following party boats have disappeared and all in my life time.
1. Buccaneer 120 passengers
2. Holiday 80 passengers
3.Captain Robbins 80 passengers
4. Rainbow 60 passengers
5. Sea Raider 60 passengers
6. Adventurer 60 Passengers
7. Wildwood III 49 Passengers
8. Miss Loraine II 49 Passengers
9. Nada Jane 49 Passengers
10. Thunderbird 80 Passengers
11. Lauren K 49 Passengers
12. North Star Express 149 Passengers
13. Jessie O 75 Passengers
14. Miss Cape May 49 Passengers
15. Fiesta 80 Passengers
16. Sonnys Toy 49 Passengers
17. Big Jim 120 Passengers
18. Catchalot 80 Passengers
19. Angler 40 Passengers
20. Ebb Tide 149 Passengers
21. MS12 49 Passengers
22. Noreaster 12 Passengers
23. Native Dancer 49 Passengers
24. Morning Star 49 Passengers
25. Captain Craemmer 60 Passengers
26. Gallant Lady 30 Passengers
27. Super Spray 49 Passengers
28. Mariner 49 Passengers
29. Bodacious 60 Passengers
30. Lone Star 49 Passengers
31. Down Deep 12 Passengers
This list reflects boats that either were sold, went out of business or were simply moved out of the area. The boats below, except for the smaller charter boats, essentially coexisted with the vessels above. So basically we had 40 boats and now, in Cape May County we have 10.
1. Miss Chris 80 Passengers
2. Sea Star III 60 Passengers
3. Porgy IV 80 Passengers
4. Cape May Lady 80 Passengers
5. Starlight 120Passengers
6. Atlantic Star 120 Passengers
7. Fins and Grins 30 Passengers
8. Royal Flush 80 Passengers
9. Miss Avalon 80 Passengers
10. Starfish 80 Passengers
11. Cape Queen 30 Passengers
12. Unreel 20 Passengers
I know, there are a billion reasons and none of them have to do with regulation..... Well maybe some of it does. ANd let me side step further in that I by no means want to paint the Mid-Atlantic Fisheries Council or the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission as the bad guys. Quite the opposite. I trully as a fisherman, as a father and as a business owner want to help. These Government Organizations, like the Mid-Atlantic Fisheries Council, governed by National Marine Fisheries which is under National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration which is under the Department of Commerce are bound by law, mostly the Magnuson Stevens Act of 1976 and its reauthorization in 2006. This law, the underlying language of it along with the National Standards set fourth in the reauthorization are the reasons these hard working fisheries managers do what they do. Its not because they are tree huggers, bleeding heart liberals, ecologists, or fisherman haters. Its their job and the President of the United States made it that way back in 1976. After 40 years, its not going anywhere.
So, what have I learned. Well, I knew nothing about the process and i know almost enough to be dangerous now. I take away some key concepts which I would like to help with going forward. As a recreational angler, and a Party fishing boat owner, I get a sense that the for hire recreational fishing angler is completely mis-understood. I believe that recreational anglers as a whole need to stop squabling and decide on one voice in order to be heard. Petitions, and associations, alliances, protests are all good, but not enough.
Recreational Anglers need to start with better Science. The Council's Science Teams are charged with determining biomass for each species and Acceptable Biological Catch and setting Catch Limites so that Overfishing does not occur. Commercial fishing, though reluctant at first, is now participating on an unprecedented level. Science is helping Commercial Fishing Captains dial in on the best areas to fish, which is also leading to an all new Habitat based Management plan which we heard a lot about. In any case, Commercial Fishermen are reporting on a daily basis their catch through Vessel Management Systems and other electronic means. This leads to quicker calculation of data for any given fishery, which leads to better science driving a better decision making process.
Recreational Anglers do not have this type of data collection occuring. Our reluctance to oversight and more laws has lead us to where we are now. We do not want to have regulations, but we have for decades. We do not want to have a Saltwater Registration in New Jersey, but we do. Our Party boats are covered by their own permits and licenses, however, if you intend to go fishing at the beach or on a rental boat, we strongly encourage signing up for the Saltwater Fishing License Here. Currenly all data is collected through surveys over the phone or in person. I encourage you to participate often by filling out this Form.
Here is the reason I want better data and better science. Right now, these surveys are conducted on the public. Only so many people are surveyed, and the rest of the estimation is left up to scientific probability and the rest drops into a large margin for error. The level of error can mean that a large buffer is left due to Scientific Uncertainty. So, if we as anglers provide better data, we can then make a case for less Scientific Uncertainty. Why is this important to Recreational Fishing? Because Commercial fishing is already providing pinpoint numbers. The Science exists for Commercial Fishermen to push and push and push for as much of the biomass as they can allowable have access to. They are participating in this Science and getting into a seemingly cozy i scratch your back you scratch mine relationship. And why not? They have a huge stake in fisheries. Billions of dollars invested and waiting to be made. What about Recreational Anglers?
Recreational Anglers also represent billions of dollars from boats to tackle to fuel spent, etc. And, there are lots of us. It seems when public comment on something as passionate as fluke comes up, no problem filling a bus of anglers hell bent on voicing their opnion that this is BS. Well, while the Public Comment period is important part of the process, according to some Greater Atlantic Regional Offices Fisheries staffers, this stage is too late to honestly steer the conversation. The time for this would have been the very beginning in a Scoping Hearing. This information is available on the Councils Website. They recommend signing up for email updates and choosing the species you wish to learn more about as time goes by. I did this and look forward to the email updates.
As an open access permit holder with National Marine Fisheries, I already receive snail mail updates. I myself after taking this workshop would like to do more and I believe a good start would be to get involved with an Advisory Panel. I hear there is an opening for Spiney Dogfish. Not exactly what I would like to assist with, but I have some thoughts and insights which may be of use on this seemingly unwanted recreational fish. I believe my thoughts would be better served if a more ecosystem based approach to management becomes the norm, as I see Spiney Dogfish as a lazy predator which nothing eats, though they seemingly eat everything, ergo bad for other tastier species.
Its been a learning curve and the acronyms still suck. ACL, ABC, RHL, BLAH BLAH BLAH. Its government speak I will admit. It all serves a purpose and it was all crafted by people far more intelligent than myself. I personally like the idea that there are people which have this as their job, are well versed in it, and are out to rebuild stocks to ensure my kids have the same chance at fishing as I do.
I do not appreciate the level of extrapolation and variance and general mumbo jumbo that is present in the science for calculating the number of fish in the sea. Yes its an impossible task. However, we have come a long way, and as anglers who want our favorite species to be around for the next generation and their kids and so on, we can do better. Or we need a new plan. We have no right to complain if we are not participating in the data which gets us to the issue, just like we have no right to complain if some of us are not involved in the rule making process at every stage of its development. Whether via going to council meetings, or simply watching the webinars, and submitting public comment, DO IT. This is one Captain who will not remain silent anymore!
Well the season is starting to show signs of wrapping up. Unlike past Decembers, the long johns, foul weather gear and gloves are becoming mandatory apparel. We continue to offer our reservation only trip, though, thanks in part to comcast and in part to my own mistakes, the phone was not forwarded for a week. If you have had issues contacting us, I assure you (609)849-9453 is back up and running. If whatever reason this fails again ( I dont particularly like or trust comcast) try my cell (609)602-9048.
The fishing with its ups and downs has show signs of life, but it is hard work to round up some fish. Long treks up and down the coast of New Jersey and across the mouth of Delaware Bay have produced Striped Bass. When the weather cooperates, participation is low, when the weather does not cooperate, participation is non-existent. If you read this and say fishing stinks, you are not seeing through the sarcasm and thats ok, im pouring it on thicker than usual.
Over the weekend we had a small group out. We had three striper bites, two fish on and we landed one. Sounds poor, but in reality it is a sign of improvement. This fisherman is not giving up on Fall/ Winter 2016. December has many days to go and January can be surprisingly calm, though I would not count on it. Best Bet, buy a ticket for the day with the least wind, 15 MPH or less. Lets go get em!
The winter has arrived. The Turkey has been served. Black Friday is over. The mad dash to Christmas Nirvana has begun and theres only 1,2, 3, oh only so many shopping days left to buy everything you cant afford.
There has not been a huge amount to post. Just big catches of Sea Bass on offshore wrecks. Great opening days of Taug season followed by cooling waters forcing these fish offshore, but the catches are still there. The fishing has been fair. Its not amazing, its not guaranteed bag limits (all though those keep getting easier to acheive thanks to our fisheries management) Its fishing. The crowds have been light to moderate when we get out with 12-25 guys. Plenty of space.
The big question: Where are the Stripers? Well. They are here in Cape May, NJ. I know, there have been trips where we miss them. There have been other trips where we have seen huge 25-40 pound fish. Sadly, due to weather (the Westerlys and North East has sucked) coupled with small crowds, there have been fewer trips. More trips means more chances for catches. So stop waiting for the ideal moment and book a reservation. Last year, December was the month for Striped Bass and we intend to keep going through Christmas and New Years, weather permitting. The fishing reports are improving for Striped Bass, so come on down, go fishing, buy that Amercian Girl Doll on Amazon between drifts, instead of fighting those crowds in the mall. The heat is on and we look forward to seeing you aboard.
Captain Jeff reports some windy weather this past week gave way to more wind, followed by cooler weather and yes, you guessed it, wind. Despite the windy conditions we forged ahead and started to search for the elusive Striped Bass. Saturdays trip aboard the Miss Chris had some four foot swells with a confused Ocean and Delaware Bay, after a week of Westerly, the wind shifted to North East. The early part of the trip was good with bait and dive bombing Gannets just outside Cape May Inlet. We had a run off and then nothing. After the birds died down, we headed to the Cape May Rips, off Cape May Point. The heavy west winds had muddied the waters and turned them to chocolate milk, which coupled with an outgoing tide made for poor conditions. So, up the beach we went for the other half of the day. We found bait and birds along the beach Saturday and Sunday off of Wildwood and Stone Harbor as far north as Peacock shoal. Plenty of Spiney Dogfish (sharks) were available to chew eels to pieces. Saturday ended searching for a Sea Bass after the birds yeilded not much. Sunday was no better for the Miss Chris. The final report of the day was of other boats finding fish off of Avalon, NJ. Two Striped Bass were caught on the Sea Star III on Sunday, upwards of 41 pounds. The fish are here and we are booking for the rest of November and December. Eels which dont get chewed to pieces by sharks work well, and metal jigs and big bucktails also have a good shot at producing. Everything you need is available at the Miss Chris Tackle Shop
Remember the Striped Bass Trip aboard the Miss Chris is now Reservation Only, Limited to 28 pasengers. Book Online Only, by clicking Buy TIckets or Schedule. Adult Discount Tickets are only $65.00.
Captain Mike Scanlan and Captain Stan had a great weekend fishing for Black Sea Bass. The Sea Bass fishing is becoming highly regulated with a limited season, with a closure of all fishing from August to Oct 22 this year, and a new size limit of 13". With this new limited window, we are fortunate to find good fishing along the Cape May Reef. A number of keeper fish were caught and hundreds thrown back. Steady action on the drift was possible which means fish were spread out over a good sized area. Some folks caught their limit on Sunday.
The Black Sea Bass fishing shall continue until either the Tautog season opens on November 15 or some Striped Bass show. Reports of Striped Bass in the area are starting to trickle in and we are armed and ready to attack. Our Bonus tags are in for both the Lady Chris and the Miss Chris, so whether you Privately Charter or make an online Reservation for Striper Fishing, you have your best change for success fishing aboard the Miss Chris Fleet.
Hope to see you aboard soon.
Captain Jeff Stewart
Fluke Season Ends September 25
Compared to catches in the rest of the fleet, Miss Chris with Captain Mike at the helm has been doing well on Summer Flounder.
Mike Huff of Wilmington DE with a 7lb fluke caught with gulp on a teaser rig while fishing the AM trip aboard the Miss Chris
Thomas Brady and his wife Judi of Boston, Massachussetts with a 20in pool winning fluke aboard the Miss Chris
Giovanni Perricone Marine Core and current firefighter of Edgewater Park NJ with pool winning fluke of 19in on the Miss Chris
Once we wrap up Fluke 2016, we will be still fishing Half Day at 8 AM into October. The bite will shift to Weakfish, Croakers, Bluefish, and Kingfish.
We will then shift our efforts to Full Day Reserve Online Trips for Sea Bass starting with Opening Day October 22, 2016. Book now to get your spot on the Miss Chris.
Goodbye Tropical Storm Hermine.....You will be missed....Not Really....
Report from the storm in Cape May: Light and variable winds around 15 MPH. Sunny Skies. It rained on Saturday for about 40 minutes. Other than a pretty large ocean swell with a long face on it, no nothing from Tropical Storm, I mean depression Hermine.
Moving on to fishing: Before Hermine, we saw catches of Croakers in Mid August of up to 500 per trip. This dropped down to more reasonable number of 5 to 50 per trip mixed with Weakfish, Sea Bass, Kingfish, and some Fluke, some of which were keepers. This trend continued right through the Friday before Labor Day.
We made a trip on Monday of Labor Day during the storm and it was not very positive. Old Timers tell me that Fluke know when weather is coming and hide. Some have been found with pebbles in their stomachs after blows like this. Some think they did it to weigh themselves down, others say they ate them because they are starving. In any case, wind or not, the swells have mixed it all up offshore and at the point.
We skipped Tuesday.
We are out today, Wednesday 9-7-2016 and await the report. For the time being, please remember there is a lot of good weather days in September for Fluke, and Kingfish, Weakfish, and Croakers. Sea Bass Return October 22, when we start All Day Fishing. Striper Fishing will Follow in November. Taug open November 15. We look forward to seeing you all back aboard this late summer and fall. And for those of you who love those Summer Days...................
A happy fisher girl from Illinois wins the pool with this nice 20in fluke aboard the Miss Chris. Thanks Captain Mike!
The Half Day report from the Miss Chris is improving as August continues. The heat has been on everyones mind and the first question with every phone call. Yes, when you check the weather, in addition to the deadly thunderstorms that may happen, at any moment of any day, throughout summer, now the National Weather Service and the Weather Channel in their infinite wisdom of marketing to turn nothing into something, now must post Excessive Heat Warnings! Yes, we know Weather Channel, It is hot in summer time, Cold in winter time... Thank You. In preparation for this, we wear light colored clothing, avoid direct sunlight, drink lots of fluids, stay in air conditioning and pretty much attempt to crawl under a rock for the rest of the summer. OR NOT!
Yes it is summer, Yes it is Hot and the Miss Chris is better preparred for Hot than ever before. The Brand New Miss Chris has some features to beat the heat. Lydia Yachts are built in Sunny Florida, and this vessel came preparred for lots of sun, with bench seating with shade, Marine Grade built in Air Conditioning for the cabin which is strong enough to break the humidity and cool the cabin with the doors open, or hang meat with the doors closed, and a snack bar with fountain sodas and ice cold bottled water. Also at the tackle shop, an assortment of light colored Miss Chris Marina apparel and bigger selection of drinks, along with the widest array of fishing tackle per square inch of any tackle shop in New Jersey.
Now that you know you will not spontaneously combust while aboard ship, you probably want to know about the fishing. Some of the phone calls from our expert customers have asked if the fishing stinks because the water is warm. I defer to the comment earlier, its summer, the water always gets warm, our species of fish are used to it. If anything, the spike in temp along with some cooling temps thanks to the upwelling effects of the recent South West wind blowing, have increased your chances for a variety of fish.
Captain Mike on the Miss Chris reports catches of Kingfish along with Weakfish both up the Delaware Bay and off of Cape May, NJ. There are also fluke and occassional croakers. One trip up the Bay found there are schools of keeper size weakfish, though you do have to sort through the schools of very small fish. Lots of bites still leads to consistent fishing fun. The delectable kingfish still lend themselves to excellent table fare. Once you try Kingfish, you will be back to catch more.....
Captain Fred aboard the Lady Chris for an eight hour charter this past Saturday reports catches of throwback fluke along with some very nice no need to measure size keeper fluke. There were also several Sea Bass, though many are undersize. Noteable on this trip were three chicken size Mahi Mahi caught by a Chef aboard. That sounds like a fine meal. We welcome Captain Fred Dietz back to the Miss Chris Marina after a long hiatus. Captain Fred worked for Frank and Christine Spiegel, the original owners of the Miss Chris, which sold the marina to us in 1993. Captain Fred proved while the fishing has changed a bit over the decades, he has what it takes to keep up with the modern fishery. We look forward to future reports from Captain Fred.
Captain Jeff aboard the Miss Chris reports weakfish and kingfish up the Bay along with some very large rays and small sea bass and oyster crackers. Lots of action this past evening trip.
So the summer is in full swing and will remain in action throughout September, thanks to this warm climate. Stop listeing to the weather man and come to the shore to cool off like people have been doing for the past couple hundred years. Heat is not a new invention.
Vincent DeLucia of West Babylon, NY with his 19in pool winning fluke while fishing on the 4hr trip aboard the Miss Chris
The Fortunato family from Sweetwater NJ Liz, Isabella, Lorenzo and Tom had 30 kingfish, 2 weakfish, 1 blue and a keeper fluke on Sunday's 4hr trip aboard the Miss Chris. Captain Mike Scanlan says the fishing remains consistent at Cape May Point. Multiple Kingfish can be found on any given trip, including our Night trips on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Mike Baney of Depford NJ pool winner 4lb 3oz fluke. Now that's a nice fish. WAY TO GO!
Captain Mike says on 4hr trips aboard the Miss Chris, we continue to fish off the Cape May Point with a lot of action, kingfish more and more keeper weakfish showing up everyday, small blues and a throwback fluke here and there. The kinggies and weakies dominate the catch.
Pool winners were Bill Cerasiri of Wilmington DE 21in weakfish along with 7 kingfish.Dave Mullagan of Folsom Pa 2lb kingfish and Sergio Gomez of Vineland NJ a 20in Spanish mackeral
Captain Stan and Captain Robert have had some successful charters in recent weeks abaord the Lady Chris catching their share of the Kingfish, Weakfish and even some croaker action. These trips are private charters and available daily with deposit and confirmation. Weekday trips start at as little as $800 this time of year.
Ashley Amber from West Cape May won the pool on the Miss Chris with this beauty, 6lb 2oz fluke.
Capt Mike checking in, we have been fishing this week off the Cape May point with good results, mixed bag fishing kingfish,weakfish,small blues and a few fluke. Water temperatures at the Cape May Point are warming and getting closer to the temperature we want to see this time of year.
Captain Mike reports some good days and not so good days at the Cape May Reef. When conditions are right, the flounder have been biting and there are keepers to be found. The keeper to throwback ratio is still in favor of throwbacks. The bites are there and signs of life continue to increase. Some Sea Bass are also still coming over the rail, but they are not the main focus of the fishing. Fluke are. On not so nice days, we have ventured into Delaware Bay and the Bay has been good to us with a mixed bag of Kingfish, Flounder, Weakfish, Skates and Smooth Dogs, or sand sharks. We have also seen our first Sea Robbin of the year which is nice. The new boat is performing flawlessly for Captain Mike. With more ammenities, like air conditioning and snack bar, customers seem to enjoy the bigger ride. The shorter run time to the Cape May Reef, at 15 knots instead of 10 knots is a welcome relief.
The fishing continues to please anglers on the four hour trip. Captain Mike and Jim have been on the Lady Chris, heading to the Cape May Reef in search of Sea Bass. Some nice catches have been reported to 3 lbs. The first summer flounder of the season was also caught on the reef. The pool winners have been Joe Sutowski from East Strousburg, PA, Gregg McCarter of Dennisvile, NJ, Cain Tarquini, AJ Taraquini, and John Gordon of Broomall, PA. The night action also continues for Drum Fish with Captain Stan on Fridays and Saturdays at 6:00 PM. These trips are reservation recommended. The Day Trips are scheduled for 8:00 AM and 1:00 PM and are open boat. For details call (609)849-9453.
In other news the all new Miss Chris, which is a 75 foot Lydia Yachts, built in 1990 in Stuart, Florida, is nearing completion. Captain Jeff Stewart Jr. and Cheif Engineer Scott and Captain Jeff Stewart Sr. brought the boat up from her original Home Port of Ocean City, MD, where she sailed as the Judith M. Captain Jeff Stewart Jr. and his wife Leeann bought the boat in December 2015. Once the boat arrived in Cape May, NJ, the boat had the old Detroit Diesels removed. Two new 650 Horsepower, John Deere engines were installed along with new twin disc gears.
The new power package is Environmental Protection Agency Certified Tier III Clean Diesel Technology, offering cleaner burns, less emissions and lower fuel consumption, offering a very green diesel power experience. The new engines are not only clean, but quiet, offering a more enjoyable experience on the water. The boat has undergone a new Simplified Stability Test, to the satisfaction of the United States Coast Guard and is licensed for up to 144 passengers and 3 crew. The new boat is offshore capable up to 100 nautical miles offshore. This new vessel offers speed and comfort which come in handy in both inshore and offshore trips. Her Air Conditioned and Heated Cabins offer both sodas and bottled water along with draft beer and mixed cocktails. Hot and Cold Food can be available also.
Headed out with Captain Mike on a night Drum FIsh Trip. With some intel from Captain Stan, Captain Mike zero'd in on the Drum Bite off of North Cape May, in the Bayshore Channel. After only one move, the fish could be heard under the boat with their distincitve deep base "drumming." After only an hour or two, the boat managed to keep five medium to large Drum Fish, from 40 to 65 pounds. Another large fish was broke off at the surface near the boat. A couple others were missed. The night grew rainy and wet and forced the end when the wind came up. The fish are here and should bite well after the Full Moon.
Headed out with Captain Mike during the day for Drum Fish. Many favorite hot spots like Tussies Slough, the 60 foot slough, the Bayshore Channel and Cox Hall Creek, near North Cape May and South of the Villas, New Jersey. Few fish to be caught during the morning. Many sharks, skates, and crabs. The occassional rare Horshoe Crab caught in close off of Townbank in search of Striped Bass.
Captain Mike Scanlan says its time to go Drum FIshing. The reports of Striped Bass are increasing in the Delaware Bay. Our trips will be heading out on Friday, Saturday and Sunday for Half Day Striped Bass and Drum Fishing Trips. Starting May 21, the Lady Chris will be heading out daily for Half Day trips targeting Flounder. The Lady Chris is also available for Charter for Drum or flounder or Sea Bass. Book Soon to get the date you have in mind. (609)849-9453
Captain Mike Scanlan and first mate Jim headed out for the first trip of the season in search of Striped Bass and Drumfish. They were met with calm seas and smiling faces. The Delaware Bay was very muddy from what seems like weeks of Westerly wind. Low tide was also in the middle of the day. Tough fishing conditions and multiple Spiny Dogfish led to a move down to Cape May Point. The incoming tide brought much needed clean clear water, but the temps were still chilly. Joe, the bachelor of the party had a good time and was thankful everyone on the boat caught something, even though Striper is not for Dinner! Maybe next weekend. Starting Everyday May 1 at 8:00 AM.
Our 2016 Schedule is available online. We will start limited trips end of April into May.