No such thing as a slow news week
Mother Nature had her own fireworks display in store for us this Fourth of July weekend. Hurricane Arthur blew up the coast and dumped a lot of rain that dropped the water temperatures in the surf by nearly three degrees.
In one day the weather went from a torrential downpour to a beautiful day with calm surf in the evening. You would have never thought that a hurricane was in the area that morning. The beaches were closed to drive-on access during the high tide cycles to keep people safe during the high surf advisory. The water looked like chocolate milk one day and rather clean and clear the next.
The fishing was a little thrown off by the storm, but mostly because not too many people ventured out to fish a hurricane - though a few did try and succeed. After the storm the beaches quickly turned into the holiday parking lots we see every year. Fireworks were shot off in Rehoboth and Dewey Beach on the Fourth of July, and other places throughout the weekend.
Croakers heavy on local scene
Fishing has been decent this past week. Croakers are heavy all over the place and in some cases rather large, hitting Fishbites, squid, or bloodworms. By the way, I should note that the algae or grass-looking stuff that bloodworms are packed in can harbor invasive species. Be sure to dispose of the packaging and contents in a trashcan. Please do not throw the algae or seaweed into the water.
Croaker have been showing up heavily at the Indian River Inlet. So have shad, shorty striped bass and flounder. Bay anchovies are heavy in that area as well, so if you match the bait your fishing will be much better. The Delaware Bay is teaming with croakers, and in the Lewes Canal it’s hard to get a line wet and not catch one. They are a lot of fun to catch on an ultralight setup; it feels like you are pulling in Moby Dick. Broadkill River has a lot of croaker there as well as Canary Creek. Not a surprise since that whole area of the Roosevelt Inlet is where all these waterways meet.
Flounder have been hot and heavy at the old grounds and a few reef sites in the Delaware Bay. The surf has produced a few on sand fleas and Gulp on jig heads. It just takes a little work to actually catch one that way in the surf. Flounder have an uncanny ability to strip a sand flea off a hook without you ever knowing. If you use a regular boat rod with a one ounce weight and regular flounder hook setup like a drop rig, it works rather well. You have to hold onto the rod to ensure a better hookup rate. The inland bays have produced some nice flounder, and Massey’s Ditch, Roosevelt Inlet area into the Broadkill River, Lewes Canal and Canary Creek have also seen some nice catches. Minnows and chartreuse Gulp have been the best baits for the flatties.
Dig up the sand fleas!
Spot and Kingfish are in the surf, the inland bays and Delaware Bay. Fishbites and top and bottom rigs are the best; small pieces of squid also work well, as do bloodworms. Personally I like Fishbites; they are easy to use, not messy, easy to store, and last a long time on the hook. Much easier than messing with cut bait and the like. Granted it is artificial bait, but I prefer it. My next favorite is digging up sand fleas. They’re easy to find and readily available from the surf when in season. You have a virtually unlimited supply of them at your feet on the beach.
Last week, a banded rudderfish was caught last week at the Indian River Inlet on a small minnow. First one of these seen this year. It certainly has been a strange year for fishing so far, but every year is different and you just never know.
Sharks are still showing up in the surf and will for the rest of the summer season. Don't panic! Sharks live in the ocean, they are supposed to be here, and many come to the Delaware Bay to have their young. The Bay is a huge nursery for many types of fish including large shark species. Dogfish are always out there in the surf, and are a blast to catch. They can really tug on a line. I had a double up yesterday of little ones and they hit the rod like a freight train. Was kind of funny to pull in that line and see two small dogfish. You would have thought a huge skate, shark, or ray had hit it.
Slow news week?
The offshore bite has been hot for bigeye, bluefin, and yellowfin tuna. Tilefish of all sorts have been caught, along with lots of Mahi. The charter boats have been doing very well; some better than others, and that is all part of fishing. Just about all of the canyons have seen decent catches from one day to the next. Clamming and crabbing have been decent so long as you find a good spot. A picture sent to us recently had surf clams mixed in with regular steamers. Those are the smallest surf clams we have seen in a while from the inland bays. Hopefully that’s a good sign.
Well, aside from a Jeep catching fire and a plane landing on the beach, we have certainly had an exciting time this past week. Oh, and just for grins and giggles we decided to unofficially change the name of Gordon's Pond to The Airstrip. Yesterday 2 planes flew by rather low and the jokes started flying. "Maybe they’re looking for the new Cape Henlopen Airport By The Sea."