Complete Guide to Fishing in Cape May, NJ

Complete Guide to Fishing in Cape May, NJ

Cape May, New Jersey, is a popular destination for fishing enthusiasts due to its abundant marine life and diverse fishing opportunities.

Cape May offers a variety of fishing options, including surf fishing, inshore fishing, offshore fishing, and back-bay fishing. Each type of fishing provides unique experiences and opportunities to catch different species of fish.

Below, we have compiled a complete guide to fishing in Cape May, NJ.

Where Can You Fish in Cape May, NJ?

Cape May has various fishing spots to explore. However, obtaining the necessary permits before fishing in Cape May is important. This includes having a valid fishing license issued by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. Make sure to adhere to size limits, bag limits, and any specific regulations for certain fish species.

Popular fishing spots in Cape May include:

1. Cape May Harbor

There are several spots along the shoreline of Cape May Harbor where you can fish. The jetties, docks, piers, and bulkheads are popular locations for anglers. Target species like striped bass, bluefish, and flounder using techniques such as casting lures, bait fishing, or jigging.

Cape May Harbor is also a great spot for kayak and canoe fishing. Many anglers choose to fish from boats as well. Whether you have your own boat or opt for a fishing charter, you can explore different areas and target various species. Fishing around piers, bridges, and channel edges can be very effective.

2. Stone Harbor

Stone Harbor has beautiful beaches that are ideal for surf fishing. The back bays of Stone Harbor provide excellent fishing opportunities for species like flounder, striped bass, weakfish, bluefish, and summer flounder (fluke). You can fish from a boat or try your luck from the docks, jetties, or bridges.

3. Cape May Point State Park

Cape May Point State Park features a scenic beach along the Atlantic Ocean, where you can try your hand at surf fishing.

May Point State Park also has a fishing jetty that extends into the ocean. This jetty provides access to deeper water.

Cape May Point State Park is also a prime location for migratory bird species. You can combine your fishing trip with birdwatching, making for a unique and enjoyable experience.

Cape May Point State Park
Cape May Point State Park

4. Sunset Beach

Sunset Beach is a beautiful stretch of sandy shoreline. When surf fishing at Sunset Beach, popular techniques include casting bait or lures into the surf and allowing them to drift with the current.

You can use bait such as clam, squid, bunker, or artificial lures.

5. Cape May Reef and Delaware Bay Reefs

The Cape May Reef is an artificial reef located about 8 miles off the coast of Cape May. Bottom fishing is the primary technique used at the Cape May Reef. Common species you can target include black sea bass, summer flounder (fluke), tautog (blackfish), striped bass, bluefish, and weakfish.

The Delaware Bay Reefs are located in the Delaware Bay, off the coast of southern New Jersey. Similar to the Cape May Reef, bottom fishing is the primary technique used at the Delaware Bay Reefs.

6. Offshore Canyons

Some popular canyons in the area include Hudson Canyon, Wilmington Canyon, Baltimore Canyon, and Lindenkohl Canyon.

Offshore canyons attract a variety of pelagic species, including tuna, marlin, swordfish, mahi-mahi, wahoo, and sharks.

Offshore canyon fishing often involves trolling and live baiting. Deep-dropping techniques can also be used for deep-sea fishing to target species like tilefish or grouper that inhabit the canyon depths.

What Fish Can You Catch in Cape May?

Cape May, New Jersey, offers a diverse range of fish that can be caught throughout the year.

Some of the common fish you can catch in Cape May include:

  1. Striped Bass: Striped bass are highly sought after and can be caught both inshore and offshore.
  2. Black Sea Bass: Black sea bass are typically found near offshore structures such as wrecks, reefs, and rock piles.
  3. Bluefish: Bluefish are abundant in the waters of Cape May, particularly during the summer months.
  4. Flounder: Flounder, including summer flounder (fluke), can be found in the back bays, channels, and nearshore waters of Cape May.
  5. Weakfish: Weakfish, also known as sea trout, are another prized species in Cape May. They are typically caught in the back bays and nearshore areas.
  6. Tautog: Tautog, also called blackfish, can be found around rocky structures and wrecks in the waters near Cape May.
  7. Bluefin Tuna: Offshore tuna fishing in Cape May offers opportunities to catch bluefin tuna, particularly during the summer and fall seasons.
  8. Mahi-Mahi: Mahi-mahi, also known as dolphinfish or dorado, can be found offshore in the warm waters of Cape May during the summer months.
  9. White Marlin: White marlin are highly migratory and are found in offshore waters. Cape May offers access to these offshore areas where white marlin can be found.
  10. Sharks: Cape May is known for shark fishing, with species like mako sharks, thresher sharks, and blue sharks targeted offshore.

What Are the Best Times to Fish in Cape May?


Spring and fall are typically prime fishing seasons, as many species migrate through the area during these times. Fall is known for the “fall run” of striped bass when larger fish move through the area.

Summer can also be productive, especially for inshore species. However, winter fishing tends to be slower, with fewer options available.


Many anglers prefer to fish during the periods around high tide or low tide when there is more water movement.

Time of day

Early morning and evening are considered the best times to fish, as fish are typically more active during these times.

The low light conditions and cooler temperatures can make fish more willing to feed.

Cape May Point, NJ
Cape May Point, NJ

Where Can You Find a Fishing Boat in Cape May?

Numerous charter fishing companies operating in Cape May offer guided fishing trips. These companies provide experienced captains, boats, and equipment. You can search online for “charter fishing in Cape May” to find a list of companies and their contact information.

Cape May has several marinas that provide boat rentals, including fishing boats. Contact the marinas directly to inquire about boat availability, rental rates, and any additional requirements.

Online marketplaces like FishingBooker and Boatsetter allow you to search and book fishing charters and boat rentals in Cape May. These platforms provide a range of options, allowing you to compare prices, read customer reviews, and book your fishing boat online.

Fishing in South Jersey? Read our Ultimate Guide to Fishing in Wildwood, NJ

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