Match the bait and catch a fish!
Warm days and cool sand have been the norm this week. We still have cooler water temperatures and probably will for some time, with the surf averaging fifty-six degrees and the bays starting to warm up a bit faster. But the fishing has been great this past weekend!
The surf has produced a lot of croakers and puffer fish on Fishbites bloodworms. Spot have already made an appearance in the surf, inland bays, Delaware Bay and the Lewes Canal. Croaker have also been caught in the Delaware Bay at Broadkill Beach and as far up as Woodland Beach. Drum are still showing up at the fishing beaches using fresh surf clams for bait. Slaughter Beach and Bowers Beach, the Delaware Bay beaches to the north, have produced a few catches. For the most part the black drum are on the coral beds in the Delaware Bay, and the head boats out of Lewes and Bowers beach have done well when they find the fish. Everyone is still out trying to catch those keeper striped bass and several people have not been disappointed using bloodworms for bait. Large striped bass are showing up at the beaches, Inland Bays, Indian River Inlet, Cape Henlopen pier, and the Lewes Canal. We are still seeing fish moving up north from the Chesapeake Bay that are spawned out and heading north chasing the bunker along the way.
The other exciting catches have been the bluefish or big gator blues as many like to call them. These have been caught on bunker chunks, spoons, bucktails, and plugs from the surf, Inland Bays, Masseys Landing, Delaware Bay, Broadkill Beach, and the Cape Henlopen pier. The action has been hot and heavy especially on the incoming tide at the Indian River Inlet. Averaging twenty-four inches and in large schools, Shad are heavy at times and striped bass are under the bluefish; mostly shorty striped bass, also known as surf rats in some circles. But some nice keeper rockfish can be found in these schools. Big and small bluefish have been exciting to catch, and the largest are upwards of thirty plus inches and in the five- to six-pound range. That is one fun fish to pull from the surf, providing a great fight and tasting good in the smoker or on the grill. Fishing for blues has been much better this year compared to last. The frequency at the Indian River Inlet is almost a fish every cast, but there’s no telling how long that will last. Weakfish has been another exciting catch. Many in the five- to seven-pound range have been caught this week on pink gulp or pink zoom plastics with a one ounce jig head or silver spoons. Many of the weakies along the Broadkill Beach area have been full of shiners. Match the bait and catch a fish!
Sea Bass season opened up last Tuesday, May 19, and boats are already hooking up with decent numbers of catches. Get on a head boat or charter and hit the high seas. A few cod are showing up out there as well. The Canyons are warming up and a few boys hit the Baltimore this week and managed to catch the first bluefin tuna. Anthony Cichoki says, “We fish out of OC fishing center, they took our information. We fished the Baltimore canyon went 2 for 4 on bluefin at 52 &42 inches, released 5 blue sharks and lost a 300+ lb mako at the boat.” Sounds like a good day of fishing - and they boated the first bluefin tuna! We can expect things out there to get better as the warmer water moves farther north. We still have a pocket of cold water on our coastline and farther north, but that has not slowed down the fishing. In fact, it seems to have helped. We have a nice mix of spring and summer species here, all at the same time. A greater variety of catches makes for more exciting fishing.
Clamming and flounder
Clamming has been decent when you can stand the cooler waters wading for them with rakes. (Not too sure I want to use the feeling with your toes method until the water warms.) Blue crabs are showing up more frequently in pots, and trot lining has been okay in the right places. That has been the story with fishing as well; it is a right place at the right time scenario. We all know how that goes. Have you ever arrived at your spot and everyone says, “You should have been here fifteen minutes ago,” or worse yet, “You should have been here yesterday!” Fishing does not guarantee catching, but you are definitely going to have a good time. And that’s what it’s all about.
Flounder have been hot and heavy in the Lewes Canal, Inland Bays, and the Henlopen pier. The Indian River Inlet should see better catches soon enough, as well as Massey’s Landing. Chartreuse or pink gulp has been great for bait as well as minnows. Cownose rays showed up a few days ago and despite the fact they can be annoying to catch, they are a massive tug on the line. Landing one is like trying to pull a Buick in on your rod.
Horseshoe crabs have shown up in force along many Delaware Bay beaches, and are starting to spawn more frequently. Pickering Beach has been loaded. Many are being caught in the surf and bays, so if you happen to catch one please carefully remove the hook and let them go as carefully as possible.
Do not pick them up by the tail, as they need to use it as a rudder when moving along the bottom. Just hold them on the side of the shell. Don’t let their prehistoric look fool you; they are harmless. Their eggs are an important food for Red Knots, migratory birds that travel thousands of miles each year and stop in Delaware to feast on the eggs to fuel their journey.
A few beaches have been shut down in the normal spots for piping plovers that are nesting. Their offspring have to be taught by the parents to forage for food in the surf. Other offspring that are foraging out there are the baby foxes or kits. Many have been seen in the dunes of Delmarva beaches. Despite the cooler spring, the animals have been busy with that birds and the bees thing.
Speaking of birds, the osprey are already laying eggs and some have hatched. We are anxiously waiting to see how the DeNest Osprey project produces. DeNest - The Osprey Project was a nesting project that brothers Mac and Kent Davis started in the spring of 2014. The idea was to build an osprey platform on their family’s protected marshland near Slaughter Beach, Delaware to encourage nesting and to educate others about the osprey that migrate with their mates to Delaware each spring.
They can then lay eggs and have healthy newborn hatchlings before migrating south for the winter. The DeNest is equipped with two HD video cameras that are triggered by movement on the platform. Footage is then made available via our Facebook page Facebook.com/OspreyNest and on our YouTube channel YouTube.com/theDeNest.”
We will be paying close attention to the new inhabitants and keep you updated throughout the summer.
The videos are exciting to watch.
Memorial Day weekend is the official beginning of the summer season. I am looking forward to a fun summer with friends in the sand box. Have a safe weekend, and we’ll see you out there.
Don’t forget, DSF apparel is available at Adkins Produce, 32008 Long Neck Road.