Take the weekend, no really, you can have it
Welcome to July, and what I call the home stretch to the end of the season. It's not over yet and summer hibernation has kicked into full gear. We don't venture out on weekends - leave that to the tourists. Weekdays are the best fishing days for me and the crew. Otherwise weekends are for the pool, 4-wheelers, playing pool, cutting firewood, and mowing the grass ... literally in that order. Because it's the weekend and we like to have fun more than being productive.
The weekend fishing is not too bad, we just prefer the smaller crowds and feel it is better to leave more space at the beach for those who are visiting. Not to mention we tend to have events going on during weekends these days anyway. When you live here you learn when and where to go on specific days. Don't get me wrong; I love the tourist season. I meet some of the most interesting people from all over the world.
The offshore yellowfin bite has heated up and boaters are doing well filling the boxes. A few big eyes have made it to the docks as well. The bluefin bite is on but few are talking about where. The secretive ways of offshore anglers are as finicky as some inshore and surf anglers. Can't blame them; it is nice to have a bite all to yourself. Book a charter to get on the bite! You won't be disappointed.
Short striped bass have been abundant at the Indian River Inlet at night, with a nice number of shad in the mix. You can use speck rigs to hook up either species and on light gear it is a lot of fun. Small swim shads work well for the striped bass. Sand fleas are another good way to catch bass at the rocks. Use a flea or two on a hook. Throw in a handful of sand fleas and then cast your line into the "feeder" bait. Think of it like feeding seagulls, you toss out the food and here come the bass. Do this close to the rocks and at night.
Lot of small sea bass along the rock walls and jetties stealing bait. There have been some nice-sized keeper rockfish caught at the Oceanic pier as well as some redfish or red drum in the keeper slot range. A huge sheepshead was caught there last week. Lot of shad and small bluefish action in the mornings and night. It is summertime, so the best action is going to be in the early morning and late evening into night. The afternoon is just too bright, hot and crowded.
Flounder have been picking up offshore in the flounder grounds. Ron Newswanger, a scuba diver buddy of mine who spearfishes, got two nice keeper flounder last week at the Indian River Inlet. He said this is the smallest number of fish he has ever seen down there. Despite the low visibility, he had to really work to find the fish. Flounder numbers are down and have been for the last couple of years. The Lewes Canal is producing, but not for every angler; though there have been some nice fish pulled from there. The inland bays have been seriously slow for any flounder action in the keeper class.
Croaker, spot, kingfish, and small weakfish are hitting bloodworms readily at the Cape Henlopen fishing pier. The flounder action there has been sporadic. Lots of cownose rays, skates and dogfish. Charters out of Lewes are getting the same in the Delaware Bay with the addition of puffers and spotted hake or what locals call ling (cod).
The oyster cracker bite is starting to heat up and will be on fire soon enough. The Terry-Farrell Fund Delaware Chapter hosted the 4th annual Oyster Cracker tournament. This year the tournament is a series of five fishing days from June to September. The object of the tournament is simple. Catch the largest oyster cracker. Captain’s Lady Charters takes out the fishing crews to help raise money for the fund. Registration started for this event in March and I believe it is filled up but you can call Captains Lady Charters and ask.
Crabbing has been and still is excellent this year despite the plethora of crab pots around the inland bays. Whether you are running trot lines, crab rings, soaking pits or using hand lines, the catches have been good and the crabs are thick with meat.