The other day we were sent a picture of an angel shark that was caught in the surf and this is not the first one caught this year. Aahron Jost was working on a head boat fishing the old grounds and they hooked into an angel out there. These are also prohibited sharks and are to be released immediately. When reeling them in for the first time many people mistake them for a skate. They have similar looking body structures, a winged head area, but the angel has a shark body. It can still be a little confusing for the first time seeing one. A few of these sharks were caught last year about this time and that is the first one we have heard of from the surf in a long time. A couple of monk fish were caught at the old grounds this week as well while founder fishing. Ugly fish, great tasting. Fishing for the most part has been just like every other summer, just the frequency of catches changes year to year.
Flounder are still heavy at the old grounds, structure of the Delaware bay and ocean. Minnows, squid strips, and gulp have been the best baits. The inland bays, Masseys ditch, Lewes canal, Broadkill river, and the bay beaches have seen their fair share of flattie action. Broadkill beach anglers have caught a few turtles and managed to release them unharmed. That happens this time of year, so please handle them with care. If you run into an issue with a turtle caught or snagged up please contact MERR, 302 228 5029 sending a text message with as much detail as possible is recommended. That goes for any marine mammal stranding you encounter. Anglers are the eyes and ears of this area when it comes to many reported strandings.
Croaker and kingfish action have been decent in the surf. Several citation kingfish have been caught this week. Croaker are all over the place, it is almost impossible not to catch one. Squid, fishbites bloodworm formula, and clam pieces have been great baits for the smaller fish. Spot are abundant at the Henlopen pier as well as croaker and small flounder. The obligatory skate, ray, and sharks are always in the surf and surrounding bays. Ninety percent of the sharks you catch from the surf are prohibited species, please leave them in the water when you release them and try not to handle them too much. Picking them up is not only illegal but a good way to get bit. If you can’t remove the hook just cut it as close to the eye as possible. If you can’t ID the shark, it is a good idea to just release it. “If you don’t know, let it go”.
The bluefish have been random at best in the surf and inlets. When they show up the catching is good but it does not last long. Small plugs at the Indian river inlet or one ounce jig heads with a white worm are working good for blues and resident striped bass. A couple of one or two ounce bucktails tied in tandem like a speck rig work great for the inlets and rock walls. Mullet on mullet rigs are good in the surf and even a top and bottom rig with squid pieces or mullet chunks will produce the blues. Wednesday Steve and I fed about a box of squid and mullet to what ever was hitting our bait. More than likely it was bluefish, but it is hard to tell when you can’t see the fish. It is easy to tell when you pull in half a mullet that was sliced surgically by those choppers. That is usually your best indicator, bluefish are about the only fish that chop up fish. I usually add a second hook to a mullet rig. I tie a small two aught circle hook to the top of the float at the eye, and then run the hook along the mullet and hook into the tail. I have caught a few blues on the same mullet since the tail hook gets them before they get the bait.
Tautog season ends the thirty first of August and doesn’t start back up until September twenty ninth. There are a ton of little sea bass along the walls at the Indian river inlet, and some nice sized keepers are coming back on the charters. Spotted hake have been caught while flounder fishing the old grounds and a few other areas, we are still seeing little ones in the surf here and there. The outer wall has seen its fair share of sheepshead, trigger, and slot striped bass catches. Live sand fleas are great for trigger, sheep, and tog. Plugs are working well for the striped bass, just fish along the wall. Haven’t seen as many weakfish this week, but I have heard tell they are still hitting in many of the bay beach and back bay areas.
Off shore action has been hot you just have to be in the right spots. The hot spots change as the fish move around but the catching has been great when they find the fish. The mahi and tuna action has been good. Crabbing is still decent and is about the only thing you need bunker for bait, but not as good as last year. The clamming is great if you find a good area. I have some friends that have their secret honey holes and they have been loading up on clams. Hopefully I can get out with them when I get back from vacation. I am deep in the mountains where the phone signals are sketchy at best, and we don’t care. I have to come down the mountain just to make a phone call and get a signal to send in this report. Have a great week and see you in the sandbox soon, but for now it is trout fishing the rivers or a lazy float on the lake for this guy. I am also fifty minutes away from great striper fishing I have been told, so a road trip might be in order to the coast.