Predawn is the right time to fish for stripers

June 6, 2019

Summer is in full swing!  The weekends have been crowded, but if you know how to fish the crowds, you can do well. The easiest and best time is to fish when everyone else is still asleep. Predawn hours or after dark into predawn hours is a great time to look for striped bass in the surf … big ones.

I don’t care what the tides are doing; when that sun cracks the sky, most of the fish start feeding.  When you wake up in the morning you are hungry, plain and simple. The tides certainly affect fishing, but I have noticed that when the sky starts to stir nature in the surf, she feeds.  A great cue is those loud, annoying marsh birds in the morning.

When that fishing dies off in the morning is about the same time the beaches fill up with people at the drive-on.  That is when we leave and go look for other places to fish, crab, or clam away from the crowds. 

Grab the kayaks and hit the out-of-the-way creeks, coves, back bays, and ponds.  We go where the boats can’t.  It makes for a fun day on the water.

When evening is about to roll back around we will head back to the beach - once the majority of the crowds leave to go stand in line for dinner.  We hit the beach, break out the grills or open the subs we brought and fish into dark and even into the following morning.  The drive-on beaches are pretty much cleared out by 7 p.m. in the summer. 

The fishing has been changing up from the spring madness of the bluefish to a melee of summer fish. Kingfish, burrfish, sand perch, and northern puffers have been a frequent catch in the surf now that the blues have calmed down.  Spot and croaker just showed up over last weekend.  Anglers have been doing well using squid, Fishbites, bloodworms, calm, and sad fleas with top and bottom rigs.  We use DS Custom Tackle rigs made with Owner hooks, a very sharp long-lasting hook.  Locally made by anglers for anglers, ask for them by name at your local shops.

Don’t buy cheap gear! It is all made in China with the cheapest components; the last thing you want on a rig is a cheap hook.  Once these cheaper hooks get wet they get a tiny rust spot and hooks start snapping.  They are not made to last, they are one-and-done rigs.

Don’t panic - there are still some bluefish around.  They have been showing up in the surf randomly.  For the most part they are along the Delaware Bay beaches, in Canary Creek and Broadkill River.   They will push out of the river once the temperatures increase.  This mild spring has really kept the water temperatures at premium levels for better fishing.   Mullet rigs are working great for blues when they are around.  The Modified Mullet Rig by DS Custom Tackle is saving anglers bait and catching more fish.

We are still seeing some decent – though random - striped bass action, though not as plentiful as the past weeks.  The shirt bass action is always fun around the waterways, just fish rips on moving tides with small swim shads or bucktails.  Keeper striped bass are random and even a surprise for some anglers.

Last Friday while everyone was sitting in rush hour beach traffic, Jeff Purdy took his kids and their friends to the beach. He had them all rigged up for a shark in the surf at Cape Henlopen near Herring Point.  “I was hoping to get them on a shark; we had a bunker head out. Instead of a shark, Ticen Willey of Milton caught this 34-inch striped bass. He is thrilled, as it is the biggest fish he has ever caught”  

The first white marlin for Delaware was landed last Sunday by Taylor Deemer.  “I was on the “Rock On” out of Indian River Marina. Tim Tribbit was the captain and Tyler Tribbit was the leader man. Fish were caught in 68 degree water in 100 fathoms in the Baltimore. The fish ate a ballyhoo skirted with an 8 oz. white Joe Shute. We also were 4 for 5 on yellowfins in the same area.”   

Offshore action is picking up for yellowfin tuna and anglers have been going out a lot the past week.  Some are successful and others not … the nature of fishing.  Black sea bass action has been excellent for the charters and head boats.

Flounder fishing is better all-around, but everyone has been favoring the Lewes Canal.  The inland bay action is picking up and the Cape Henlopen fishing pier is seeing some decent action with a few bigger sized keepers.  Flounder have been averaging around 18 inches for the most part.

Crabbing is much better.  Pot Nets residents are already complaining about stolen crabs, that is usually a good signal the crabbing has picked up. 

Most of us wait until the crabs shed out a couple of times to get away from the “mud”.  After the crabs emerge from their winter rest, they are full of mud. We like them to get cleaned out a little before eating. 

I also clean my crabs before I steam or cook them.  I don’t like the mustard, yeah I know that isn’t popular but I know what is in the mustard and I am not eating it.  I steam them but I also will pan sear a few in butter and white wine with garlic and all kinds of combinations.  The crab meat tastes just as good but I like to play with flavors. Putting cleaned crabs in spaghetti gravy is the bomb!  

Have a great weekend.  

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