Cape May is so well placed for awesome angling it’s a wonder the area isn’t more famous. Cape May fishing charters can explore sheltered sounds less than a mile from town or head through Cape May inlet to the deep, open waters of the Atlantic. Turn the other way on your way out of the marina, and you cut through Cape May Canal straight into the awesome shallows of Delaware Bay.
Cape May marks the meeting of northern and southern species, and anything from Black Drum and Spotted Seatrout to Blackfish and Weakfish can be caught here in big numbers, alongside a whole load of Striped Bass. Don’t spend your whole time in the bay, though. Monster Bluefin, Yellowfin, and Bigeye Tuna wait offshore. Head out far enough, and you can also find White and even Blue Marlin. There’s no end to the awesome hookups Cape May fishing has in store for you!
Your first choice is simple: bay or bluewater. Cape May’s Atlantic coastline isn’t usually fished as the inshore action is so good elsewhere. If you head out past the Inlet, you will be traveling 20, 60, or even 100 miles offshore in search of big game pelagics. Stick to be bay, and you will be fishing shoals and bars for inshore gamefish. These are a few of the spots you might visit.
If the five-mile cruise through Cape May Canal is just too much for you, head to Jarvis Sound to enjoy great inshore fishing a stone’s throw from town. The local creeks and mud flats are highly tidal, but when the fishing’s hot a range of gamefish show up here, drawn by the big schools of bait.
The Brandywine Shoals are one of the best spots in Delaware Bay for Weakfish. You can also catch some decent Bluefish here, and there are plenty of deeper wrecks around for bottom fish like Seabass and Tautog.
Cape May Rips
The mouth of Delaware Bay is hands down the best place for landing Striped Bass. A series of sandbars create rips all along the entrance to the bay, which are ideal hunting grounds for hungry Stripers.
Five Fathoms Bank
Want to set your hooks into something a little bigger? Head out to Five Fathoms Bank and battle a variety of Sharks. This is also a great spot for trophy Bluefish, and you can even find Tuna here during the heat of summer.
Cape May charter boats don’t mess about when it comes to the bluewaters. The best deep sea fishing Cape May has access to is 80+ miles out at the canyons, and that’s exactly where you’ll be going if you want Marlin, Tuna, and other big game A-listers. Wilmington, Poor Man’s, and Baltimore Canyons are the most popular, out on the continental shelf.
Cape May charter guides use a range of techniques to get you pulling in big fish. Weakfish are caught by casting jigs baited with shredder crab or plastic worms. Black Drum are usually targeted using clams on heavy bottom rigs. Fishing at night is the best way of bringing in the biggest fish, with monsters well over 100 pounds being pulled out of Delaware Bay in the past.
Stripers are taken in a few ways around Cape May. You can drift baits over the rips at the mouth of the bay, or head further inshore to chunk for them with Menhaden. Drifting is a more reliable way of filling the icebox, but Bunker chunking routinely brings in the biggest fish of the season. Diamond jigging can be effective for both Stripers and Bluefish, but is best in federal waters where you can’t keep your catch,
Cape May Tuna fishing charters mainly troll around the canyons and other bluewater spots. You can also have a lot of fun throwing jigs or poppers for Tuna. Sharks are caught the same way the world over: get the water nice and bloody, then throw in baits on big circle hooks and heavy wire leaders.
Need to Know
You don’t need a fishing license aboard New Jersey charter boats. Fishing from shore or from a pier may require a permit, depending on the body of water you’re fishing. Be sure to check the Division for FIsh and Wildlife’s website
for more info.