Aquatic invaders

June 22, 2017

This year Delaware added the northern snakehead to its sport fishing tournament. Now anglers can get a citation and possibly a state record for a northern snakehead.

These fish are an invasive species and most likely are here to stay. Some anglers prefer to catch these fish over any freshwater species. The fight they put up is nothing short of epic. Back in April Bobby Smith was fishing for bass and hooked into a beast of a snakehead.

Bobby does a lot of tournament fishing for bass. I met him at the Delmarva Outdoors Expo, and it turns out he is also a nephew of Harry Aiken, Delaware’s original surf caster champion. There are still some big snakeheads in our waters. If you decide to turn one in for a citation, you have to kill it before you can legally transport it anywhere.

You are also allowed to catch and release these fish, though DNREC would prefer they be killed due to the fact they are an invasive species. Congratulations Bobby for setting the first northern snakehead state record in Delaware at twelve pounds and twelve ounces.

Fishing is not too bad most days. The windy weather is not helping with rough surf and small craft advisories. It is now summer hot, and the water is slowly warming up; the few days we get of colder weather helps keep the water much cooler. The inland bays are still in the high seventies, and the Delaware is still in the low seventies to high sixties. The fish are hitting just fine, and in some cases the temperature is perfect for them.

Short striped bass have been abundant at the Indian River Inlet at night, with a nice number of shad in the mix. You can use speck rigs to hook up either species and on light gear it is a lot of fun.

Small swim shads work well for the striped bass. Sand fleas are another good way to catch bass at the rocks. Use a flea or two on a hook. Throw in a handful of sand fleas and then cast your line into the “feeder” bait. Think of it like feeding seagulls, you toss out the food and here come the bass. Do this close to the rocks and at night.

Bluefish are slowing down for the big gators. For the most part we will see just summer blues for the rest of the season. There are still a few schools of the big gators around but they are tough to find. Easier of they happen to find you while you are out on the water.

The oyster cracker bite is starting to heat up and will be on fire soon enough. The Terry-Farrell Fund Delaware Chapter hosted the 4th annual Oyster Cracker Tournament. This year the tournament is a series of five fishing days from June to September. The object of the tournament is simple: Catch the largest oyster cracker. Captain’s Lady charters takes out the fishing crews to help raise money for the fund. Registration started for this event in March and I believe it is filled up but you can call Captains Lady Charters and ask.

Kingfish are hitting bloodworms readily in the surf when the fish are around and if you’re in the right spot. Lot of beach out there, you don’t always pick the right spot ... and because it isn’t called “catching.”

The Cape Henlopen fishing pier is seeing decent action for kings, croaker, spot, flounder and small weakfish. You can jog for flounder around the pier poles, or the fly anglers are hitting them in the low spots in the flats. You have to do some wading to hit that or get a kayak. If you are on the pier, fish the pier poles, that is the best structure there, and the only shade.

Offshore Poormans Canyon (area) is producing fish. Offshore will pick up soon enough with the way this summer is coming in hot.

Bring the kids for a weekend of fishing and fun. The Third Annual Kids Catch-All Fishing Tournament will be at the Indian River Marina, June 23 – 25.

The staff at the Indian River Marina in Delaware Seashore State Park is excited to invite children ages 3 to 18 to participate in this fun event. During the tournament, kids have many choices for where and how they want to fish; from the beach or jetties, private boat or charter boat, in the ocean, inland waterways or try deep-sea fishing. Adults can help children reel in their catch.

Registration is $25 per child or $150 per boat with up to six participants and includes a free event T-shirt and free all-you-can-eat dinner on Saturday and Sunday evenings for kids entered in the tournament.

Other family members pay just $10 for the great dinners prepared by local restaurants each night.

On-site registration is Friday, June 23, from 6 to 8 p.m. and Saturday, June 24, from 6 to 8 a.m. This year, online registration is available through Eventbrite.

All children must be registered either online by Friday at 8 p.m. or in person by Saturday at 8 a.m. to be qualified.

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