East winds, full moon put bait inside the inlet
Indian River Inlet is seeing the same hot rockfish bite as we saw last spring. The combination of east winds and the full moon put bait inside the inlet and the rockfish followed. The bite has been at dusk, dawn and during the night with Storm and Tsunami shads the most mentioned baits.
As you would expect, the crowds along the rocks have been brutal. I understand on Saturday night they were lined up from the Coast Guard Station to the end of the jetty and conflicts were not uncommon. With a mix of experienced anglers and first-time fishermen, the stage is set for crossed lines and hot tempers. Add to this a bunch of boaters trying to fish the same water and trouble is certain.
If you have plans to fish the inlet, please take all safety precautions. Fishing the sidewalk is reasonably safe until you have to get down on the rocks to land your fish. Walking out on either of the jetties is extremely dangerous and should not be attempted without proper footwear. Korkers are the best way to attain purchase on the slippery rocks. They slip over shoes or wading boots, and the metal spikes will not slip on wet rocks. Wearing waders is dangerous, because if you fall in the water, the waders will weigh you down.
Never go out on the jetties if water is washing over the rocks. When I fished out there, we would start out on a falling tide and come back in on the flood. One day, a friend of mine and I waited a bit too long and became stranded on the end of the south jetty. We had to swim back to the beach on the ocean side holding onto our rods and the stringer of blues we had caught. Fortunately, it was summer and the water was warm.
At least one angler has been catching rockfish by trolling the inlet with Stretch 25s. He goes out when boat traffic is light and has had limits of big fish.
Rockfish have also been caught from the beach. Cut bunker has been the top bait along with fresh clams. This week’s photo illustrates the size of the rock available from the surf. I fished the same location with the same bait on Friday without so much as a dog shark. It’s going to be a long season.
The most consistent rockfish bite remains in the upper bay, where a 49.26-pound rock was caught last week. At least one other 40-pounder was taken along with several 30-pounders. The 4L and 6L buoys were good locations along with the Yellow Can. Shore fishermen had success at Woodland and Augustine beaches. Cut bunker and bloodworms were the prime baits.
The black drum bite in Delaware Bay has started with several big boomers caught over the weekend.
Flounder action got off to an early start, but has slowed since the weather turned cooler. I suspect we will see better catches once the water warms.
The tackle shop on the end of the pier at Cape Henlopen State Park is open under new management. Dave Beebe is the new owner, and he expects to have all the bait and tackle pier fishermen will need.
My friend Harry Aiken closed Ole Salt Bait and Tackle last fall and it is now reopened with a new name and new owners. Ice House Bait and Tackle is on New Road and very convenient for boaters heading toward the Lewes ramp.
Trailer Backing 101
Last Saturday I tried to help a friend back his new boat and trailer down to the water at the Lewes ramp. I discovered I am a very poor teacher.
My friend had the theory down pat, but when it came to putting the theory to use we both failed miserably. He understood he had to pull forward until the boat trailer and the tow vehicle were lined up with the ramp. This he did after only a few tries. Then came time to back the rig straight to the ramp and launch the boat. For reasons known only to the driver, as soon as he began to back up, he turned the steering wheel and the trailer went off in one direction or the other. I would tell him to turn the wheel the other way, but we just kept getting the trailer crooked.
Finally, a good Samaritan came along and talked to the driver through the car window while I continued to provide instructions from the back of the trailer. After 25 minutes, the three of us managed to get the boat in the water.
The lesson I learned is you can point a trailer to the water, but if you can’t back it up straight, it will never get wet.