Put in the time for keepers

June 9, 2022

The spring fishing has been active for many anglers. While the flounder bite is finally increasing offshore, it’s still slow inshore but there are keepers if you put in some time. There have been a few weakfish in the 4- to 5-pound range caught around the Cape Henlopen Fishing Pier.

Croaker and spot have arrived. We have summer fish mixed with the migratory fish, which makes for a variety of action but also feeds the big migratory fish. Black drum, red drum, striped bass and bluefish catches are still good. The red drum are being caught off Assateague. The black drum fishing has been productive from both land and boat. Boat fishing is easier if you are looking for black drum at the coral beds – you can literally hear the fish “drumming.”  The Delaware Bay beaches are also seeing some black drum action, and there are a lot of spike trout or small weakfish, bluefish and the occasional striped bass. Croaker and spot are hitting the smaller baits such as Fishbites. 

Bloodworms are in short supply coastwide. Fishbites has many formulated flavors that are producing multiple catches. Bloodworm formulas come in red or chartreuse and both work well. There is also the option of quarter-inch or three-eighths-inch wide strips,   although most people opt for the quarter-inch wide strips as it only takes a piece the size of your fingernail.

Crab, clam, shrimp and sand flea formulas are all working well too; the sand flea formula is really cleaning up on kingfish.  All the summer fish will hit just about every flavor of Fishbites. The preferred flavor can change from one day to the next. Sand fleas are abundant in the surf for live bait; minnows have been tough to get. To find minnows, get a small fish trap, some dry dogfood pellets and learn to catch them. It’s easy and in most places, only takes a couple hours. The dogfood floats to the top of the trap and won’t pass through the screen. A crushed mussel is also amazing bait for a minnow trap. 

The charters are mostly going for sea bass and trying for flounder. The hard part is getting through the sea bass to the flounder in some areas. Look up your favorite charter and book a trip.  

If you are targeting bluefish and want to catch more and feed less, get a modified mullet rig from DS Custom Tackle.  This rig keeps the mullet on the shaft and the hook in the action zone. I can cast it 100 times and the bait never moves off the shaft.  The biggest issue with mullet rigs is the mullet slides all the way down the shaft, and the hook is behind the head out of the strike zone.  The Modified Mullet Rigs’ holder hook keeps the mullet in play.  You’ll use less bait and catch more fish.  One pack of mullet and you are set for the day.  With the limit of only three bluefish, it isn’t hard to hit that number.  The MMR has saved me a lot of money and time by helping me catching my own mullet.  If you use less, you need less.  Their gear is available in most shops around Delaware: Dan’s Tackle Box, Broadkill Store, Lighthouse View Bait and Tackle, Icehouse Bait and Tackle, Fenwick Tackle, Bayside Bait and Tackle, Lead Pot Bait and Tackle, A Bit More Than Bait and Tackle, Williamsville Store, Treading Water Bait and Tackle, and Captain Bones.

If you prefer to use lures and spoons, Hopkins, Silver Stingers and Deadly Dicks are doing well producing bluefish in the surf. The blues are big gators to the smaller snappers. The little summer cocktail blues are not here yet.  Those are fun on ultralight gear and small spoons at the point during second summer. 

The drive-on beaches from Faithful Steward to Key Box have been closed due to storm damage.  The structure is amazing for fishing.  It is a few miles of beach, but well worth the walk for surf casting. It is possible they will open this weekend or perhaps have by now.  Things change fast around here, much like the weather.  Just wait 15 minutes. 

Beach combing has been amazing daily, on all the beaches.

Subscribe to the Daily Newsletter