Wow, where did everyone go, it was a like a ghost town on Tuesday at the beach. Hope everyone had a safe and fun summer, good luck with back to school for the kids and the parents. I am sure the parents are more excited than the kids. We will see many of you during the weekends for the next several weeks. For the most part I have run into nothing but anglers on the beach this past week. I finally took some great pictures of a pelican and some American Oystercatchers. Taking bird shots is difficult they just won’t sit still. The surf fishing has been decent in the mornings during the incoming tide. Bluefish have been showing up in the surf more and more tearing up mullet. Flounder are still the hot ticket everywhere, including the surf. Jigging for them behind the waves is the best way to catch in the surf. I recently met up with Ian to show him a few pointers for the surf. He said all he was catching were skates and flounder, he wanted to know what he was doing wrong. I said if you are catching flounder that consistently , nothing I asked if the flounder were hooking up on the retrieve when he checked bait and he said yes, how did you know that? Flounder will hit the bait when you retrieve to check baits, just in the surf behind the first wave, that is where they are hunting for food, especially sand fleas. A bit fat mullet is a bonus find for them. I told him he was doing better than most and spent a couple of days fishing with him last weekend. Always fun to meet new people and do a lot of fishing, can’t think of a better time to spend an afternoon.
The Old Grounds, buoy sites, inland bays, indian river inlet, Lewes canal, Roosevelt inlet, Henlopen pier or flats area, Delaware bay sites and beaches, and broadkill river have all seen their fair share of flounder catches this week. Minnows have been the go to bait for the most part. Gulp on ajig head has worked well too, even cut bait like croaker. It’s funny but you can catch a croaker or spot on fishbites, then chunk or strip them out, and hammer fish all day long. Makes for some cheap fishing and a great time. If you are all about catch and release then just use the gulp and jig for them, that way you are not killing one species to catch another you do not intend to keep. A couple of blue runners have shown up in the Lewes canal and the inland bays. Warm water fishing for the end of summer. Speaking of which, the summer season ends, and the hottest days show up, funny how that works. We are expecting some very cool temperature by next week, but as usual will have to see how that plays out.
Several stargazers were caught this week. Freaky looking fish and can give you a bit of a shock if you touch them between the eyes on the top of their head. I was sent a picture of one to identify and said don’t touch the head area it will shock you. The response was “too late”. Never can be too careful with the weirder looking fish, they always seem to have some kind of defense mechanism, which is true for all fish species, but the weirder they look seems to follow suit for their defenses. Big rays and skates are still abundant in the surf and will continue. The rays are good for peeling a lot of line off a reel and a huge fight. The skates are just a fun tug on the line. Sharks are still abundant in the surf as well, and few small or puppy sized hammerheads were caught in Delaware Seashore State Park over the weekend. They always get people excited, little hammers, what should get anglers wondering is how far away are the parents. There have been more and more shark sightings up and down the east coast this year. Seems like they are coming closer and closer to shore or we are just hearing about it more. Septima, the twelve foot, thousand pound Tiger shark is still of the coast of Delmarva between the coast and the canyons.
Croaker are getting bigger and bigger and if you can’t catch one you are doing something wrong. Seriously, they are all over the place. Matt Shoup owner of Ice House Bait and Tackle said he weighed in a 2 pounder over the weekend from the Lewes Canal. I have been catching them all over the place with just squid or fishbites on a top and bottom rig. On an ultralight rod that is some fishing right there makes you think you just caught Moby Dick. The little bluefish in the canals are fun on that set up. We fished the outer wall on Monday and were hammering upwards of eighteen inch bluefish on bucktails, and Deadly Dicks. That was a lot of fun, there was almost no boat traffic all day. When summer is over it is like someone turned off a switch. The fish are still here, but much less people. We were trying to drift and catch trippers along the all as well as puppy drum, spade fish, and whatever else we could hook up. John Masten did mange a nice spike trout. I think we could have baited hooks with cigarette butts and still catch bluefish, they were eating whatever we tossed at them. Aahron Jost was pulling them in two at a time with sand fleas and squid on top and bottom rigs.
Striped bass slot fishing season ended on the thirty first of August, but Devin Fortney owner of A Lure Bait and Tackle has been hitting keeper striped bass in the Indian River Bay. These are resident striped bass, and I know a few other folks that have been catching them as well. You will still catch short striped bass in the inland bays, indian river inlet, Lewes canal and the walls in the Delaware Bay near Henlopen. Small bucktails, plugs, and poppers work great for them. Bloodworms is always a favorite bait for striped bass. Soon enough the fall run will begin and time will tell how Delaware fairs during that season this year. Shad are showing up at night at the Indian River inlet and Masseys Landing under the lights. Spot and croaker are thick at the Cape Henlopen pier as well as small bluefish. There are still a lot of small spike trout (weakfish) around we have not seen a lot of the larger ones recently. Still hoping to see some redfish soon (red drum). Small black drum or puppy drum have been caught around the inland bays. I have seen small bluefish at Cupola park still and they are as far up the Delaware bay as Port Mahon. Crabbing is getting a little better, and clamming is still good.