Without fish, you can’t fish
Fishing is always a different experience for everyone. From the advanced angler to those just starting out, we all got into it for the same reason: Our love to fish. Being in the outdoors, hanging with your friends or family, and those awesome solo trips (those are the trips you usually do your best and don’t have a camera!). Then you have to try and convince your buddies you really did catch that almost state record fish, that happened to get away at the last minute, and you didn’t have your camera. I like all the fishing trips I take, but the solo ones are the best, especially if you need to relax and unwind from the hustle and bustle of society. A lone day next to the water can really clear your head.
One thing I do like to see are kids getting into fishing. It teaches them respect for the outdoors and ultimately the environment. Because without fish, you can’t fish. I receive a lot of pictures of kids fishing and catching. Especially with their first catches and huge smiles. Once that happens they are usually hooked for life (pun intended). If you want to teach your kids about nature and to respect the outdoors, get them into fishing. It is the one thing they can do by themselves that is easy to do and safe for the most part. Once they know how to bait a hook, cast that line, and remove the fish, they can be on their own and learn from experience. You don’t need the best gear to be a good angler; you just have to have the heart to keep trying and learning.
We are seeing more and more Gulf Stream fish this time of year. Pompano, Jacks, and Cobia have made a real appearance. We see cobia every year but this year we have seen more than ever. Dave Pcholinski from Pittsburgh hit a nice little cobia in the surf last week; it wasn’t a keeper but was certainly a surprise to him. Not surprising since the water has been so clear and the number of bluefish off the beaches. “I was at the fishing beach in Rehoboth next to the rock Jetty. I was catching small blues from 6 inches to 16 inches for the last few days and also 2 short stripers around 18 inches. Catching all the blues on cut bluefish and the stripers on white Gulp curly tails with a pink skirt. Then at low tide around 12:30 this afternoon got a nice hit and thought it was just another bluefish but to my surprise as I was reeling it in, through the wave I saw that the fish was dark colored with a light stripe. Beached that baby and saw it was a small Cobia. Never have I seen a Cobia caught in the surf in all my years. The fish hit a chunk of cut bluefish. I was casting out to where the green water broke at the line with the dark blue water probably about 50 to 70 yards out. I have never seen the water this clean.”
Delaware follows the federal regulations for cobia at thirty three inches. I have asked the Tidal Finfish Advisory Council (TFFAC) to recommend that DNREC put cobia in the fishing guide next year so people know the regulations on these fish. We are seeing more and more of them every year in our waters. Right now you can’t keep one if you are three miles or more off the coast of Delaware (the EEZ). That is due to a closure by the feds earlier this year until January 2017. You can catch them you just can’t keep them if you are out there. Once in a while we see a big one caught in the surf and the Indian River Inlet. They are usually following the bluefish. In the case of a few offshore anglers not long ago, cobia were trying to steal their flounder catches on the retrieve at site ten.
Pompano and Jacks follow the Gulf Stream and make it to our coastlines every year. This year the storms seem to have pushed a bunch of Jack Crevalle into the inland bays area. I am sure once they got into that warm water choked with baitfish there was no reason to leave. I mean, it isn’t like they have a map telling them where they are - which is lost. Recently a few have been caught at and near the Indian River Inlet. This happens on the years we have much warmer water closer to the coast. This year we have seen some gorgeous water along the coastline and offshore. When anglers are catching mahi mahi less than ten miles out you know the water is clear. One thing I have noticed over the years is the Gulf Stream fish that make it up here seem to get bigger each year. Pompano this year are decent sized and excellent to eat.
So whether you like to fish from the surf, boat, or pier. You never know what you will hook into this late in the summer season in Delaware. Crabbing is also excellent and this is the best time of year to catch them as they fatten up for that long winter’s nap. Fall has yet to happen though, and in the meantime we are gearing up for the striped bass run. But if the waters don’t cool off enough, they will not come close to shore but swim past Delaware out of range in the EEZ. We will have to load up the boats and go after them!