Looking forward to some fishing and fun in the sun
Gordons Pond reopened on Friday, July 18. I’m looking forward to fishing the recently inaugurated “Cape Henlopen Airstrip” again; more room on the beach (and out of the way of landing aircraft!) is always a good thing. The point will not reopen until September first as usual, though sometimes it opens a bit earlier (don’t count on it).
Tautog season runs until August 31, with 15 inches and 5-a-day limit. I'm sure the usual spots will be crowded, and the charters will start booking up. Great fish to eat, but they can be tricky to catch. Sand fleas are the best bait and are abundant in the surf if you want to put in the time digging. And it doesn't take long to fill up a bucket. There have been some nice triggerfish and large sheepshead caught at the outer and inner walls while people have been toggin' with live sand fleas. Don't forget it is still slot season for striped bass in the Delaware Bay and its tributaries. I have seen some nice catches the past week for slot fish. In fact, fishing this past week has been particularly good for flounder and croaker. Crabbing and clamming has been okay when you get into them. Not as good as past years for crabbing, but not bad either depending on where you go and who you talk with.
Cool weather brings angry sea
The cooler weather we had before the weekend turned to an overcast angry sea by the weekend. The kind that can be compared to an old man trying to return soup to the deli. Despite the weather, people did some decent catching on the beaches on Saturday. The boats were having a rough time out at sea, but managed a few fish here and there. The back bays were a bit snotty so to speak but fishing was still decent. Sunday there were fewer people on the beach than I have ever seen on a mid-summer weekend. The surf was very rough, but many still went out there and gave it the old college try. Saturday I took the SGYAA (Solid Ground Youth Anglers Association) kids to the beach and taught them about surf fishing. We managed to catch one spot and the kids dug up lots of sand fleas. It has been a lot of fun volunteering to help the SGYAA on Saturdays, and everybody - adults and kids alike - has a good time. Last weekend we took them to the Cape Henlopen fishing pier and the kids did well catching croaker and spot. One small flounder was even caught on Fishbites bloodworm formula. Too small for a keeper (the size I like to call a Pop Tart because you could cook it in a toaster), but a catch nonetheless. A big thanks to Matt Shoup of Ice House Bait and Tackle for helping the SGYAA and supplying a lot of needed gear. I would like to also thank the Fishbites company for supplying the group with enough bloodworms formula to last the year. Great to see people helping this organization in its first year.
Can’t get away from scavengers
The flatties are all over the place from the inland bays, Massey’s ditch, Indian River Inlet, Lewes Canal, Broadkill River, Roosevelt Inlet, Delaware Bay, the old Grounds, and B buoy. The Henlopen pier has been decent to spotty. Gulp, squid and minnows have been the best baits, and croaker and spot are popping up everywhere still. Spot used for chunk bait or stripped out makes decent flounder bait as well. Some people like to use flounder belly meat for flounder bait and that is okay so long as you have the carcass the belly meat came from with you at the time. Obviously it must be from a keeper flounder. Small chunks of bluefish also work well in the surf as well as sand fleas. Fish for them in the first 10 feet of water just behind the first wave. The flounder are in there feeding on sand fleas and small baitfish. Minnows work okay in the surf but don't last long in the salt water. Keeping them in brackish to fresh water is the best, and if you do take them to the beach do not add salt water to their container. It will kill them off faster. Keeping them wrapped up in a cool wet towel is really the best way to keep the mummichug minnows.
You will still find skates, rays, dogfish, sharks, and the like in the surf as well as everywhere else. You can't get away from the scavenger fish and for the most part they are still fun to catch. However a day of skating can get old, even on the beach. If you keep running into nothing but skates or scavengers, change up your bait and rigs. Most of your cut bait, if not all, will attract more scavengers. Fishbites, peeler crab, and clam make for good bait to keep the scavengers away and attract more kingfish, spotted hake, croaker, spot, etc. Mullet rigs have been producing bluefish the past few days from Fenwick Island State Park to Cape Henlopen State Park. The craziest surf catch this week goes to Mike Fetters with a houndfish on a mullet rig. These look like needlefish but get much larger and are notorious jumpers. Mike said it leaped several times on the retrieve, adding to the excitement. Houndfish in some cases have been known to jump across the deck of low boats and kayaks, freaking out boaters and in some cases impaling them with their sharp "beaks." I wouldn't worry about that here as much as in the warmer southern seas below North Carolina.
Charters faring well
The charters have been doing well, and the offshore action has been great with bluefin and yellowfin tuna, tilefish, and mahi mahi. I am sure everyone saw the new state record mahi mahi recently caught. The White Marlin Open starts August 4 and many people are already gearing up for the tournament. Always an interesting time watching the boats come in and see the catches at the scales. The water out in the deep blue is always clear and looks so much different than that close to shore. Recently we had clear water here and then the winds picked up and it got a little stirred up in the surf. The water is looking good and the recent rains will stir it up a little more, but we should see clear water this weekend. The cold front that came in was a relief from the high humidity and temperatures this week. Hope everyone has a great weekend, and we’re looking forward to some fishing and fun in the sun despite the rough days working outside. The beach always seems much better. The water today was a nice bluish green in the surf. Hopefully that lasts until and throughout the weekend.
Big shout out to Jacob Martin from Delmarva Boy Scout Troop 281 in Ocean View for having the life rings installed at the inlet for his Eagle Scout service project. Steve DiGirolamo was at the north side checking surf conditions on Sunday when ... " Today, while I was checking the waves at North Side, I saw Gary Revel running off the jetty, grab the ring pictured, and run back to the jetty. I ran up and met him on the rocks and he told me a kid who was body boarding got swept over the rocks and was in the inlet. We managed to get the ring to him and got him up on the rocks, and although scared to death and bleeding everywhere from the scrapes he is going to be OK. Yes, we were there to get the ring to him, but if it wasn't for Eagle Scout Jacob Martin there wouldn't have been a ring there to toss. His father was gracious and appreciative, we told him to not let this little incident keep him from surfing; it was just a learning experience. Heck, I've been washed in the inlet before ... just not in such gnarly conditions." Steve DiGirolamo is an assistant troop leader with Troop 281. It makes him proud that our boys are doing something positive for our community. Thank you again, Jacob Martin! You did a great thing and saved a life on Sunday.
We have new shirts available in the online store. "There is a fine line between FISHING and just standing on the beach like an IDIOT!"
A very true statement if you do as much fishing as we do on a daily basis; standing there all day staring at a rod waiting for it to bounce.
Take your eyes away for a few seconds, miss the fish hit, and reel in an empty hook. My favorite is turning your back for a minute to flip a burger or whatever, and when you look back to where your rod used to be, there is a nice carved trench from whatever behemoth of the deep dragged your rig out to sea. That always makes ya feel a little dumb. We just thought it was funny to put on a shirt, as it’s true on many levels. Check it out in the online shop and our other apparel, or at Adkins Produce on Long Neck Road. Don't forget we have the Gneaux.