Saltwater or freshwater, process is the same
Anybody tired of the wacky weather yet? Despite the conditions, the fish don't mind getting a little wet, and most of us don't mind getting drenched to get a line in the water. On the heavy weather days we sit in the man cave and tweak our gear; oil and grease the reels, clean out the sand, and shine up the rods. Check the guides for nicks and scars that can shred your braided line. Tie up rigs and get ready for the next venture on the water. Whether you fish saltwater or freshwater the process is the same. Keeping your gear in tip top shape is important. It is also a good excuse to sit in the man cave all day or night.
The blues are still hitting hard along the coast. The action is random but when they show up, catching is a blast. The Cape Henlopen pier has seen some great action in the flats and near the pier. A few blues were caught as far up as Port Mahon. They are all over the place and in many of the tidal creeks. Many people do not like eating bluefish, but I do like it when it's fresh. The big ones are great smoked and turned into fish dip.
Weakfish or trout are making an appearance at the Cape Henlopen fishing pier and the Lewes Canal. Mostly in the lower twenty-inch range. It would be nice to see them come back again in full force. They are hitting Gulp mostly while people are flounder fishing. A pink zoom soft plastic on a two ounce jig head works well for weakies. So far this year we have seen some nice weakfish catches. Hopefully that trend continues.
Skates and dogs are hitting the most in the surf. Cut baits and even Fishbites will attract them. I know people hate catching these fish, but at least they are a tug on the line. Release them carefully just like you would any other fish. You are in their house, and they need as much respect as all fish we release. I have seen people kick them in the water, throw them in the air, and even just leave them on the beach. All due to the frustration of catching them. Change up your techniques to avoid skates ad dogs! Skate is actually good to eat and more people have been trying them recently. The hard part is cleaning them. Dogfish is good to eat as well; you just have to clean them right away.
Sand tiger sharks are here already and like everything else this year they are early. A few have been caught at Assateague Island. These sharks migrate to the Delaware Bay every year to have their pups. It is their breeding grounds and that is one of the reasons they are prohibited from being removed from the water. To ensure they are protected in their spawning grounds, If you catch a sand tiger shark, keep it in the water and cut the line. If you can safely remove the hook, do so, but be careful. Getting in the water with a shark is not something we recommend to the novice angler. The easiest way to avoid that is not catch a shark, but you can't always choose what you catch.
Flounder action around the inland bays is decent. The Lewes Canal has produced some nice fish for anglers putting in the time. Drifting minnows has been the most popular technique. Gulp on a jig head is working well, and even producing a few trout to boot. Even just using Gulp on a flounder rig and drifting. Gulp is good artificial bait but you have to work your rig, it doesn't catch fish on its own. Think of it as a soft plastic that has a flavor, but you still have to create some action to attract a bite. Some anglers will double up and use minnows and Gulp on the same rig.
Sea bass action has been great since the first day the season opened. Boats are limiting-out fast. Clam and squid are the best baits on top and bottom rigs. You just let the gear come close to the bottom around structure and let the boat do the work. A little action from the boat bobbing in the waves helps. If you are on a lot of structure be prepared to lose a few rigs.
Striped bass action is still good for the shorts around the inland bays and tidal creeks. A lot of them are being eaten by the bluefish, which are eating everything they can find. Large migratory striped bass are already up in New York and the Cape Cod Canal, but we are seeing some catches in Delaware.