Ice House Bait and Tackle moves to Route 1
Ice House Bait and Tackle has relocated from New Road in Lewes to their new location in the strip mall on southbound Route 1 where Bill’s Bait and Tackle was once located. They are not in the same storefront as Bill’s, but are a few stores closer to Route 1.
I stopped by earlier this week; the shelves were well stocked, and they were getting in a supply of live and frozen baits. They will have everything set up by the weekend.
I wish them well in their new location.
After a long period of good fishing weather, we experienced a dry nor’easter that shut most fishing down for several days, including last weekend. One location that wasn’t closed was the fishing pier at Cape Henlopen State Park. Dave at Lighthouse View Tackle said the spot fishing remained very good, with fish coming over the rails two at a time. This is a high-tide fishery, since there is very little water when the tide is low.
Flounder fishing from the pier was not as consistent as the spot fishing. Some days, flounder to 22 inches are caught by anglers fishing with live minnows or Gulp! swimming mullet worked tight to the pilings. On other days, only short fish are caught.
This pier and the entire Cape Henlopen State Park are a wonderful place to enjoy the outdoors, and it’s right in our back yard. Even if you don’t fish, you can swim in the bay or the ocean, walk or bike the trails, or just sit in a quiet place and enjoy the variety of nature available in this park.
It only costs $5 a day for a carful of Delaware residents and $10 for a car of nonresidents.
I hate to think about fall in August, but the signs are unmistakable. Labor Day is upon us, the kids are going back to school, the bait is moving out of the marsh, and soon the flounder, croaker and marlin will be heading south or east.
Since my 16-foot tin boat is a tad too small to chase marlin, I am more concerned with the flounder and croaker. Both of these fish go from the nearshore waters to the ocean to spawn. When they do, anglers can often find good numbers of them in a small area, and fishing can be excellent.
One of the better spots, close to Lewes, is the Cape May Rips. Most anglers associate this area with rockfish, but I have had excellent croaker catches here and taken a few nice flounder as well.
Croaker are unlikely to take a live eel or a Stretch 30, so most striper fishermen don’t encounter them. However, those of us who feel no shame in soaking squid strips on a top-bottom rig have caught big croaker in the Rips. The key is finding them with your sonar and recognizing what you are seeing. Croaker have nice big air bladders and make a nice big return on the sonar. They will be tight to the bottom, so when you get a bunch of big returns on the bottom, chances are, they are big croaker.
Finding flounder is a bit more difficult. Look for drop-offs and ridges, and drift over them with live spot or large Gulp! swimming mullet in nuclear chicken. If you hit a big flounder, go back over the same area until you don’t get any more hits.
Indian River Inlet folks can find big croaker at the Croaker Canyon. This is a patch of bottom about a mile or two off the Old Coast Guard Station. We named it back in the day when we thought we weren’t really fishing unless we were east of the 30-Fathom Line. On those trips when we had the family or friends out for a short run, we said we were fishing the Croaker Canyon. Now, that’s about as far offshore as I get.
Flounder are going to show up anywhere from Site 10 on out to the Del-Jersey-Land Reef. Here too a live spot or a big nuclear chicken Gulp! on a jig is going to work best.
Don’t pass up the Old Grounds or the rough bottom at B and A buoys. These places are always good for a flounder or two. When you catch a flounder, mark the spot on your GPS. Keep going back over the same area until the bite stops, but keep the spot marked for future reference. The flounder are very likely to be in the same place next week or next year.
I am sure we haven’t seen the last of the summer heat, but fall fishing is just around the corner.