Fishing in surf is hot for kingfish, small weakfish
July came in hot and doesn't seem to be letting up anytime soon. You know it’s summer when you can cook an egg on the hood of your car and it takes an hour to go two miles on Route 1. The water temperatures are the same as they were in May it seems. Most of the fish don't seem to care but it has thrown off the flounder fishing a bit. That fishery is in a thirty percent decline anyway, so it will not be a banner year for flounder. That is the main reason the creel size was changed. Personally I think they should have lowered the number you can keep as well. Seems if you want to increase a population it would be a good idea to keep fewer. Just sayin’.
Despite the lower numbers there have been some quality size flounder brought to the scales. I think the largest so far has topped out around eight pounds. Last year we didn't see any flounder over ten pounds until the end of July. Minnows are the best baits and Gulp is working as well as white or chartreuse. Pork rind or bacon on a bucktail are also great ways to jig for flounder. It is the old school method, but it still works. Striped bass go nuts for that setup as well, because everyone likes bacon.
Fishing in the surf has been hot as of late for kingfish and small weakfish. One day you are hammering kings and the next day it is weakfish. Some of the weakies are keeper size, but for the most part they are the smaller ones we call spikes. Some flounder are being caught in the surf, jigging the cuts or when a mullet rig is being retrieved. Not much bluefish action for the summer, but a few have been caught. Short striped bass are being caught on occasion. There have been a decent number of pufferfish and burrfish caught on bloodworms, clam, squid, or cut bait on top and bottom rigs. Look for Diamond State Custom Tackle rigs, they’re the best around and are made locally.
The Delaware Bay is seeing some flounder action around the wreck sites. Not like years ago but there is some action. Otherwise it is skates, dogfish, rays, sharks, small croaker, weakfish, spot, and puffers. Triggerfish are being caught throughout the bays and offshore wreck sites. Great to eat, hard to clean. Shark fishing is off the hook especially sand tigers since this is their pupping grounds over the summer. Just remember they are a prohibited species and are not to be removed from the water. Offshore shark fishing is producing some decent mako catches, many of which are hitting yellowfin tuna on the retrieve; lot of half-eaten fish coming to the docks.
The yellowfin bite has been the best around the hotdog and the hambone. Bluefin were good for a few days then it just shut down. The "fleet" has been chasing warm water for days looking for Bluefin; a few have been caught here and there but nothing like the action should be this time of year.
The third Annual Kids Catch-All Tournament was last weekend and it was big success to raise money for the Lyme Disease Association of Delmarva. This event is held annually at the Indian River Inlet Marina and was a great time. Despite the rough weather and water the first day, a lot of fish came to the scales Sunday. Triggerfish, flounder, skates, weakfish, sea bass, bluefish, black drum, sheepshead, and yellowfin tuna were all entered by seventy-one kids and their families. Over seventy-one-hundred dollars was raised by the tournament for the Lyme Disease Association of Delmarva. At the end of the day an anonymous donor added to the pot to round the total out to ten thousand dollars.
The surf temperatures are in the mid-sixties still and the back bays in the mid-seventies. This heat wave and some good east winds could change all of that. Hopefully we see a switch up soon enough. Sheepshead action is really picking up with a lot of catches offshore and around the Indian River and Ocean City inlets.
Crabbing has been excellent for the inland bay recreational crabbers. Pots are filling up nicely and trot lining is producing quickly. It doesn't take long to get a bushel of crabs with a trot line, we will see if that continues as the bays go from cool temps to bathtub hot by August.
In the meantime stay hydrated – with water - out there on these very hot days. Beer does not hydrate you no matter how much of it you drink.