The series of shoals off Cape May Point where the Delaware Bay and Atlantic Ocean meet is one of the most popular and productive places to catch stripers during the fall run.
The major shoals, which include Prissy Wicks Shoal, North Shoal, Middle Shoal, Somer Shoal, and Overfalls Shoal, feature dramatic depth changes, going from 20 to 2 feet over short distances. This creates standing waves during running tides, particularly the outgoing tide. The confused currents of the Cape May Rips tumble baitfish, making them easy prey for the stripers waiting in the deeper holes. Be extremely cautious when fishing areas of intense rips, such as those on Prissy Wicks Shoal.
Striped bass pass through the Cape May Rips in the spring and again in the fall as they migrate along the coast. The spring fishery has been less consistent than the fall fishery, which begins in late October as schools from New England and New York pass southern New Jersey on their fall migration. Good fishing often lasts into December, with the best action occurring between early November and Thanksgiving.
The most popular technique in the Cape May Rips is drifting. Fishermen begin their drifts above the rip and work through the structure with a live eel, live spot, or bucktail jig. To reset the drift, fishermen motor around the rip, rather than risk spooking the fish by motoring through it.
The Cape May Rips cover a broad area, and the fish often set up in very specific locations. Rely heavily on your chartplotter to track your drifts and note where you’re hooking up so you can shorten your drifts and pinpoint the school.