Cooler weather great for fishing

August 31, 2017

Doesn't feel like August at all, and we have had some blowback from the tropical storm headed up the coast. The beaches are carved up and there was a shelf or drop-off that was formed on Sunday. All it takes is some northeast winds and heavy surf and the beach profile changes dramatically. The cooler weather is dropping water temperatures, which is great for fishing not so much for swimming.

Short striped bass seem to be more active in the tidal creeks and inland bays. There's a lot of mullet in the waters back there and the bass are feeding on them. The best lures right now are anything that looks or acts like a mullet. Soon the mullet will move into the Delaware Bay beach areas and the surf. The Indian River Inlet will have them all around the rock piles. The fish will be feeding heavily on them. Another good bait for striped bass this time of year is sand fleas. Just put one on a four aught hook and toss it in along a rock pile or jetty. If you "seed" the water with several sand fleas, like feeding birds, before you cast you will increase your catch ratio. That's called "fleaing"

There have been some trigger caught around the Indian River Inlet as well as black drum in the puppy size and sheepshead. There are a lot of squid in the Indian River Inlet, feeding on anchovies and the bluefish have been feeding on the squid. Most of the fish are close to the rock walls feeding. The blues are in the fast water.

The Cape Henlopen pier has seen a lot of action. Mostly small fish; croaker, spot, kingfish, weakfish, puffers, sea bass, short flounder, black drum, pinfish, blowfish, short striped bass and burrfish. It is rumored some pompano were caught there as well; we have seen several of them in the surf. There have been some decent keeper croaker but mostly they are all too small to keep. Spot have been good sized but random catches. Keeper flounder was picking up but the weather changed that a bit due to stirred-up water killing the clarity. Use Fishbites, bloodworms or squid for the smaller fish on Diamond State Custom Tackle top and bottom rigs, available in the Lighthouse View Bait and Tackle shop at the pier and other local retailers.

The beaches, though getting carved up, are producing some nice short striped bass and small bluefish. By small I mean the little eight-inch bait stealers. You can get them two at a time with a top and bottom rig. They are chasing anchovies in the surf and will usually have birds working the same bait ball. There are some snapper blues up to two pounds but they seem to be mostly around the beaches south of the Indian River Inlet. Shad are along the surf as well, hitting mirrolures and spoons. Fun to catch and decent bait for larger striped bass and bluefish.

The usual suspects in the surf as always are the sharks, rays and skates. All you need is some bunker chunks or any cut bait to catch one of these critters. The skates will hit just about anything including your Fishbites on top and bottom rigs.

Offshore action has been great for the charters. Tilefish, tuna, wahoo, mahi, billfish, Spanish and king mackerel. The bite has been on most days and despite the bad weather, when the anglers can get out the action is decent.

We will see how the storm affects the fishing this weekend. We saw its effects all week long.

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