Heat is on and so is fishing
The Andie and Opie Parents Fishing with Kids Tournament produced a multitude of fish. Yellow perch, bass, striped bass (shorts), catfish, eels, sunfish, bluegills, and some huge carp. Oh, and one hubcap. All fish were catch and release so everything and then some is still there, except the hubcap. Worms were the bait of choice except the carp were hitting dough balls. Over 175 kids and parents had lines in the water for 4 hours.
Meanwhile the surf has been producing sheepshead caught on Gulp with a Chartreuse teaser. There are smooth baby hammerheads hitting mullet rigs. Kingfish are hitting Fishbites, bloodworms, and even mullet rigs. Bluefish up to 24 inches are in the surf and the Indian River Inlet. They are mixed in with the bass at the inlet. Blues are also around the Bowers Beach Jetty and bulkheads. Swim shads, spoons and bucktails are working the best. Flounder at Bowers are decent, lot of throwbacks. Shad at the inlet will hit small spoons and shad darts or speck rigs.
Weakfish are all over the Delaware Bay wreck, reef sites, and beaches. Speckled trout are around the Henlopen pier and the Lewes Canal has seen a few. They only have a creel of twelve inches which isn’t a very big fish to eat. The weakies are all small; there have been very few caught in the keeper sizes. That is only thirteen inches, which isn’t a very big fish to eat anyway. One of the reasons the limit is so small in size but not number for weakfish is it is not expected for these fish to get much bigger before they just “disappear” like the unicorns they have become. The fishery in the back bays in Jersey is still good for nice-sized weakies but ours is bleak to say the least. For the most part they seem to either become food for other fish when they run into schools of blues and stripers, dying off for some other reason, or aliens are scooping them up. It depends on who you ask. Fact is the fishery is in serious decline and has been for years and that is no news to most anglers especially here in Delaware, but is becoming news in more mainstream media. The days of old, catching huge tide runners with live spot in the surf are gone. One theory is it is just a cycle and they will come back. If that is the case it would be nice to see. If you want to help that happen, let the keepers go; they are too small to eat anyway. The ocean is a tough place, figure for that fish to survive that long to that size, it had to run a gauntlet of hazards, including possibly aliens, just to grow to a decent size. Alpha fish make the strongest stock, let them go. You can apply that to any fish species you feel is in trouble. It is up to you, you caught the fish, now what are you going to do with it?
Bunker schools are moving up and down the beaches. With a lot of dolphins chasing them. Love Creek had some dolphins the other day, they are chasing peanut bunker and spot or possibly the croaker that have moved into the inland bays. They are small but fun to catch. Fishbites on top and bottom rigs will be good for croakers, hopefully they get bigger or bigger ones show up. Little bluefish are all over just below Augustine Beach. Those little seven-inch snipper blues, the ones that nip the bait off the hooks and tails off your soft plastics. Guys fishing for slot striped bass are getting their plastics torn up, the blues are in with the peanut bunker tearing them up too.
The Delaware Jet-Ski Fishing crew drove down to Ocean City, Maryland and dropped in their skis. Every weekend some of the boys get together and do an offshore fishing trip to the Old Grounds. Today was another planned trip except, Rob Jones, Rob Wolhar, Brian Stier, and Jack Dillon headed to Massey’s canyon to do a little tuna fishing. They have been talking about this for a year. Rob Jones got the first HMS permit in Delaware for a Jet-Ski about three months ago. That was a funny phone call. Weekends for these guys have been trips to the Old Grounds and places like that, but that itch to go farther out and catch a tuna needed scratching. The bite has been hot and from Ocean City it is rather close. These guys can go about a hundred miles on a tank of gas. Masseys Canyon is only thirty-five plus miles out. So not a problem for these jet skis, and they all have extra gas with them to fill the tank one time. Rob Wolhar used three gallons of the eight he had extra, and still had three bars when he got back to port. They all had decent amounts of fuel left, which is good for future trip plans. Just like the first trips anywhere, this was a trial run to see how it would go. It went well. When is the best time to go fishing? Whenever you can. The heat has been tough on the anglers and the fish, stay hydrated out there.
Rob Wolhar said, “Great day once the water settled. When we got out to Masseys Canyon there were a lot of boats out there. Waves were up to seven feet and moving fast at one point. Once the wind calmed down it was much better. The boats were anchored up and we had to drift so we stayed a couple of miles away.” Brian Stier caught a nice Mahi I will not soon forget how long that ride is on a Jet-Ski, but I will do it again.”
Once the boys got set up, they said the fishing was on fire. Jack Dillon was high hook with two mahi, a yellowfin tuna and to top that list, a white marlin - from a Jet-Ski! I asked Jack what it was like to hook up and land a white marlin on a Jet-Ski, and he said, “It is a little different.You have to deal with your rod, the leader, your other lines, and hold onto your ski. Just a few things to handle at once. The hardest part was dealing with the mahi on the foot wells. I lost one due to it flipping off the foot well. This was my first time offshore on a Jet-Ski and certainly not my last. The white marlin hit a skirted Chartreuse ballyhoo I was trolling.”
Once they got back to the ramp, people were really shocked they went offshore for tuna. Rob Jones said, “Some thought we were nuts and others thought it was cool as can be. The boats were talking about us all day on the radios." Now I want to get a ski rigged up, maybe not for offshore just yet, but I certainly want to do some inshore fishing. As far as we are concerned Jack Dillon holds a record for the first white marlin caught on a Jet-Ski in Maryland, and essentially Delaware and probably Delmarva. Since they ported in Maryland, it goes to Maryland but the crew is from Delaware. Jack is from right here in Long Neck. I think the next trip is in two weeks to the Washington Canyon and maybe we will be able to tag along.