Lionfish, bluefish, bass, oh my!

May 24, 2018

It has been rainy and cold at the beach for what seems like forever. The weekend monsoon was annoying to many who tried to get out there and fish. The fair-weather anglers have been getting out when they can and fishing. The hardest part about weather this time of year is deciding if you want to fish in it. You know it is the best weather for larger striped bass, but do you want to deal with feeling like a drowned rat. Then you hook into a big fish and everything disappears; now you aren't leaving.

Hot ticket

The drum and bluefish bite has been the hot ticket from the surf. Anglers putting in the time and at the right time are being rewarded with some serious fish numbers and size.

Dave Beebe at Lighthouse View Bait and Tackle at the Cape Henlopen Fishing pier says, "I'm thinking that serious anglers have the potential to catch several different species for the next week or two.

Although the big blue bite has been inconsistent, there have still been some big ones caught on the pier and from the beach next to it - other than this morning, mostly on the higher tides.

The Black Drum bite on Broadkill beach is turning on, with fish from 15 to 50 lbs bring caught on clams. Then we seem to be looking at a major spurt of seriously big stripers at IR inlet and the surf. I suspect some monsters can be caught anywhere on the DE coast in the next week or so. All in all, this is the time of year we wait for - no excuses. Get out there!"

Bit off by blues

Anglers in the surf are getting "bit off" by bluefish. The fish are fighting over your baits, when this happens you can get bit off real quick. Even if the fish can't see the line they will nick it trying to get to the bait or lure the other fish is hooked onto. If you have shiny swivels or any attractants on your rigs, the competing fish will hit those as well. That can also get you "bit off."

Fish don't know what fishing lines are they just know they are hungry the other one has food and they want it to. Food competition can be fierce.

Also dragging a fish through a school of hungry bluefish will increase your chances of being bit off tenfold.

Just say no

Freshwater action has been great for bass and pickerel. The snakeheads have been really active and I have seen many caught. You can catch and release northern snakeheads in Delaware you just can't transport them live.

Occasionally a bucket biologist will take one to an area without snakeheads and release them. Unfortunately not only is this illegal is not good for the waterways. Northern snakeheads are an invasive species and though a total blast to catch they can do more harm than good.

Lionfish recon

I am in Pensacola, Florida helping my friends run The Lionfish Removal and Awareness Day along with the Lionfish World Championship. Lionfish is an invasive species that has been taking over the Gulf and area waters for decades.

They are such a problem you can't go anywhere and not see a lionfish. This is unfortunately a great example of how out of control an invasive species can become.

The group I work with, Coast Watch Alliance, is on a mission to eradicate lionfish from the Gulf waters. It will be a long mission, but you have to start somewhere. Over two days we weighed in over fifty one hundred pounds of lionfish for the tournament.

A mere drop in the bucket compared to the populations in these waters. Lionfish are great to eat and we are hoping by getting them more commercialized, they will become attractive to commercial ventures.

The theory is once a fish becomes popular as a food product, it gets nearly wiped out by commercial ventures unless there are limits.

With no limits we can use that practice to control the populations of lionfish. However they will always be in these waters.

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