Bait with a variety, see what happens

June 16, 2022

The spring migratory fishing, combined with summer arrivals, is still in full swing. There were a lot of kingfish in the surf the past week, mostly hitting Fishbites sand flea formula and bloodworm formula. It is still tough getting bloodworms due to supply issues, but shops have some on the weekends. It’s always good to have many bait options for picky fish.  

 Bluefish, black drum and striped bass are still on the migratory hit list.  More sheepshead and now cobia have shown up and no one knows why; at this point we’ve stopped trying to figure it out. They are early, so just fish and see what happens. They have been caught as far north as Jersey. Then again, some of my garden vegetables are early too; it’s a weird spring. 

The Cape Henlopen fishing pier has been productive. It’s a great place to take the kids fishing - they even rent rods there at the Lighthouse View Bait and Tackle shop. The shop has everything you need to fish the pier or surf in the park. A huge selection of DS Custom Tackle is available with some made specifically for the pier area. 

Flounder action has been good with keepers produced almost daily. The shop has a great Facebook page that puts up reports nearly by the hour on a great day.  

The spot bite has been good too on most days and tides. The low tides there are an issue; the pier is shallow more than halfway out. The fishing around the old structure is great.  A kayak can access that area very easily and jig the old pier poles for flounder.  

A lot of striped bass, weakfish, and bluefish feed on that structure. Triggers will feed on the poles when they show up late summer. The crabbing is fun but are mostly sponge females. Because the area has a higher salinity, you will catch more female crabs, or sooks.

 The surf has been great for spot and kingfish catches; of course, there are also a lot of dogfish and skates. The sharks are arriving, including sand, tiger, dusky, and black tips at Assateague recently, as well as sand bar sharks. Ninety percent of shark catches along the beaches are the prohibited species and must be immediately released and returned to the water. If you can’t work a shark in the water, cut the line as close to the hook as you can per the DNREC rule.  

There has been decent random bluefish action on mullet rigs.  Anglers using bunker chunks are targeting striped bass. With clam, they are targeting black drum and striped bass.  Sand fleas target just about everything. Honestly, it is hard to say most days what a fish will prefer for bait. That can change daily, so fish with a variety and see what produces the most. Always have a spoon at the ready to cast for bluefish schools or snag a fresh bunker for bait. 

Cobia are picky eaters, and they are being caught by anglers targeting the spring migratory fish. No one bait has been the best; they have all produced a cobia here and there. Sheepshead are hitting the sand fleas being used for black drum. These are by catch; no one is targeting them specifically because they shouldn’t be here yet. 

Charters are doing well. The first big eye tuna was brought to the scales in Ocean City over last weekend and the first white marlin was caught last week. That action is starting up, so start booking charters now and remember, weekdays are better. Sea bass trips are filling coolers. The offshore flounder action has finally picked up at most of the sites.

Crowded beaches, and membership in the Orange Sticker Gang -  we can’t drive on the beach on weekends now. I have plenty of other things to do and places to fish on a crowded weekend.  

One of the favorites - We spent the day at Masseys Landing on Saturday waiting for the boat ramp show while fishing the rail.  When it is forecast to rain on a weekend afternoon, go to a busy state boat ramp. The panic that ensues when everyone tries to get off the water is really comical.  All state boat ramps put on a show every weekend, even without rain.  You just never know what you will see. When you are fishing the rail for flounder, you get a show to boot.

So these guys were trying to back into the boat ramp ... sideways.  I guess their dad didn’t yell at them enough about backing up a trailer. When they finally lined her up after the eighth attempt, it was dead on straight with the docks too.  He hit the brakes.  I’ve seen boats come off trailers, but I’ve never seen this. The boat shot off the trailer, with the winch screaming like a reel with an angry tarpon and the line was attached.  Someone took the safety hook off and disengaged the winch. The boat, once it hit the end of the trailer, went prone.  It was standing up on end in the water for a hot second, at full attention.  Then it pushed back more and dropped into the water. The crowd was stunned and so was the boat owner.  How it didn’t flood is beyond me as it almost tipped over backwards. This all happened in under four seconds.  Once they realized what was happening, four people ran into the water to grab the boat. No breaks or holes, so they loaded up and headed out on a three-hour tour. 

I’m going every weekend now. I highly recommend state boat ramp weekend boat show and give it an eight out of 10. If it rains, it gets a 10 out of 10. 

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