From regular to weird catches, summer fishing in full swing
It seems like just yesterday it was June and the summer had just started up in full swing. Now it is time for the wind down! Kids are getting ready to go back to school, and parents are celebrating the fact that kids are going back to school. Right now everyone is squeezing in that last vacation, which is why we are incredibly crowded here at the beach. You can't avoid the crowds; you have to learn to work around them. Go to the stores on Tuesday, hunker down on Thursday and come up for air on Monday. If you do travel the weekends, go early and stay late to avoid traffic. The tourists are still on their nine-to-five schedule. It happens this way every year, but this year it is much more crowded, you can thank the under-two-dollar gas prices.
In spite of all that, pumpkin spice everything is already starting to hit the shelves. Fall will be here before we know it and brings the next big fishing event when the striped bass make their run. In the meantime, summer fishing is in full swing with the regular to the weird for catches. The weird being blue runners and pompano in the surf. The regular catches being lots of kingfish, but the flounder bite is definitely off this year for the bays. The offshore action is the best.
When a fish is swimming around it is fishing, and when it is eating it is catching. Because fish also fish, I mean they have to right? Sometimes other fish will go after your fish when you are reeling it in, and this happens often. It happens in the surf a lot with sharks hitting bluefish and kingfish. Big bluefish are notorious for stealing catches or at least the good half of the catch. That is how fish help one another, they see another fish in distress and they eat them. From the potential frying pan into the fire, so to speak. Over the weekend, Greg Hinkle and his buddies were at the Old Grounds and a cobia helped itself to their flounder. “We lost two fish to the cobia, then we tossed bait at it on a line afterwards and managed to catch it, then we released it.”
Bluefish have been decent in the surf in the late afternoons along Delaware Seashore State Park. The blues are hitting mullet on mullet rigs. You can catch fresh mullet around the inland bays. The only stores that have had any as far as I have been told is Dan’s Tackle Box. He gets in many a dozen and they are gone fast, so call ahead. Otherwise it is cast nets and hitting the flats and tidal creeks of the inland bays.
Pompano action has been hot in the surf with bloodworms on top and bottom rigs. Good-sized ones for the grill. Just gut it and grill it, but slice the sides open a tad and add pepper first, they are very tasty. Kingfish are still the hot bite in the surf as well.
Nighttime short striped bass action under the lights around the inland bays has been excellent. Use top water plugs or small swim shads. Crabbing is excellent in the bays as well. Lots of full pots, trot lines, and hand lines.
The water is very clear on the beaches from South Rehoboth to Fenwick Island. So clear that you can practically see the fish, which is good, but also bad because it means they can see you too. Cape Henlopen is clear as well, mostly on the incoming tide. The inland bays are stirred up like chocolate milk. Not a surprise there, with all of the rain and whatnot.
When you are surf fishing, the fish are at your feet don’t wade in to cast. You are stepping on your fish. Also you may notice the water is a little greener than normal. That is just phytoplankton and is a good sign. Delaware Bay near Cape Henlopen was really green last week.
Boaters check your bilge pumps, get boat insurance, and make sure you are signed up with a tow boat. Seriously, that was a long night and day. (Don’t ask.) Oh, okay I will tell you anyway: A friend of mine had his boat in a slip and it filled up with water during that deluge the other day. The bilge pumps failed when the batteries died. The boat was facing the wrong direction so when the winds picked up the other day it pushed water into the boat and sank it. Thankfully the marina is shallow and the boat sat on the bottom with the engine out of the water. So not a total loss but was a long night and day dealing with that. Since they did not have insurance, the cost to pump out the boat and tow it to Rosedale Beach was the boat owner’s responsibility. Thanks to Captain Clarke Droney at Towboat US for not knocking their heads off with the cost. After every rain check your boat, in fact if you can, check it daily when it is in the water. Make sure the bilges work and batteries are fully charged. Make sure you have insurance for the boat and sign up with Tow Boat US. The few hundred bucks it costs for both of those is well worth it if you get jammed up. I rode with Captain Clarke Droney to the ramp, he ran that boat right up on the trailer with the Tow Boat.