Big blue around but not for much longer
Summertime brings us hot weather and crazy storms. Nothing like late evening summer thunderstorms, even the strong ones are fun. Usually with a nice rainbow over the ocean for a finale. The weather is certainly heating up and the fishing is not too bad for this time of year. Usually very hot weather puts a damper on fishing, but this year the water took longer to warm up, so we still have cooler waters, especially in the ocean. Not to worry - it will heat up soon enough and get as warm as a bathtub around the inland bays.
The offshore action is on fire for the boats going for yellowfin tuna. White marlin, blue marlin, mahi mahi, rosebellies, tilefish, big eyes, and a lot of sharks. Makos, threshers, and hammerheads have been the big catches. Sand tiger sharks are showing up along the beaches and that action really heated up over the weekend. Several crews were shark fishing from the beach and catching some nice-sized sand tigers. A 477 pound shark was weighed in at Indian River Marina, caught by Rick Passwaters, Tom Dukes , and Darrin Payne. The boys were fishing about thirteen miles out when the shark hit a bunker. " It took us an hour just to get it up so we could see it was a thresher, then it took an hour to get it in the boat." So far that is the largest thresher to hit the docks for Delaware. It even beat out the largest thresher of day two of the mako mania.
Sand tiger, dusky and sand bar sharks are prohibited to be removed from the water in Delaware. Cody Gallien, Ethan Henry, Jason Satterfield, Chris DiVincenzo, Spencer Dish, and José Guadarrama were sharking at Fenwick Island. Serious props to the boys for doing it correctly. They were all waist deep in the water working the shark for a safe release. That will get your blood going, I have been almost chest deep with a big sand tiger; it is quite the experience. Unless you are willing to get up close and personal with these creatures I don't suggest you try land-based shark fishing. Even this up close and personal, sometimes the line has to be cut, because the hook can't be removed fast enough.
The surf has been decent action for short striped bass, puffer fish, striped burrfish, kingfish and spotted hake, which are all hitting top and bottom rigs with bloodworms or Fishbites. Small pieces of cut bait will work as well, but will attract more scavengers like skates, rays, and dogfish. Spot are showing up around the inland bays, that is striped bass candy and the flounder love to eat them too. They are small right now but a cast net thrown in the right spot will catch a good amount. Try around bulkheads and structure. When they get a little bigger you can use small hooks and bait.
Flounder action is still happening but slow for this time of year. It has been decent some days and awful the next, such is the nature of fishing. The old grounds and wreck sites are producing a few flatties, especially for the anglers targeting seabass. That action has been decent at some sites and slacking off at others. Check the Lewes charter and head boats for a trip offshore to do some fishing.
The big blues are still around but probably not for much longer. As the waters warm they will head farther north. The summer snapper blues will be here and they are always fun on light gear with spoons. Otherwise, bait up the mullet rigs and soak that rig o see what hits. Sometimes flounder will hit mullet rigs on the retrieve. Try to bring the rig in slow across a cut to see if a flounder is lurking about.
Small croaker and weakfish are all over the Delaware Bay beaches. Some large weakfish were caught by a Lewes charter recently. Several nice-sized fish. Apparently there is a school of unicorns moving around the Delaware Bay. People like to blame the blues and rockfish for eating all the weakfish, but there is another consumer that is wearing on them rather well: dolphins. Some guys doing studies in South Carolina are finding nothing but trout in their stomachs. No, they are not killing the dolphins to check and see what they are eating. They are making Flipper throw up his lunch to see what he is feeding on. It is their ocean we are just visiting so they can eat whatever they want. The summer fishing will continue like this for a little while, then all the Gulfstream fish will show up. You never know what that will bring to our waters and what will be pushed up by storms. We will have to wait and see. Personally I hope the pompano are bigger this year, they are great eating. We get a variety of freaky Caribbean reef fish from butterflies to lookdowns.