Two years ago today was roughly the beginning of this yearly bluefish run. Since then I have had to keep pliers with me just to re-bend my hooks.
You have to love the fight of these gator bluefish. We have been having a lot of fun chasing them up and down the coast. When and where is the question on everyone’s mind. We have been finding them consistently, but that has been random as far as when. The where is easy … in the water. The when has been sporadic but stays the same for about three days and then everything shifts. Cape Henlopen was quiet for the noon bite the last few days, but is blowing up around four o’clock in the afternoon. I expect that to not be the same today but who knows, this has been only going on for a week or so. The morning bite has been good below the Indian River Inlet. Then it seems the fish move north along the beaches. I guess you could say that is the pattern for these fish, but I wouldn’t bet on it daily. Best way is to get out there and fish, if it isn’t any good where you are … move. But keep in mind fish move and will come by eventually, you have to be there. Jason Schuster chased fish up and down the coast, from Cape Henlopen to 3Rs yesterday only to find fish back at Cape Henlopen later in the afternoon. He nailed a nice citation bluefish on a top water plug.
Another key factor for slamming these blues. If you want some serious action, start surf casting, and stop drowning bait. I haven’t used bait in a week. Silver three ounce casting spoons, silver stingers, and plugs have gotten the job done. We haven’t used steel leaders either which is risky, but we just got lazy. None of the bait guys were getting a bite the other day at Cape Henlopen, but we were hammering fish on spoons and plugs. The blues would literally blow up a plug right at your feet that they followed in, that was some serious excitement. Now why would lures out fish bait you ask? We can cast lures much farther and create more action. Plugs make a lot of noise, and attract fish. Shiny spoons do the same. The other day the boys were all throwing plugs, but the bite was slow. I decided to go under and use a spoon instead, first cast and I had a beast of a blue. If everyone is using the same stuff and not catching, try something different that you know usually works. Switching it up can change the results immensely.
Now don’t get me wrong the bait anglers are getting fish, I just prefer the action from casting lures. There is nothing like watching a big bluefish blow up a popper. The feel of the hit when they slam a spoon is awesome. It is instant action. Your sand spikes are having all the fun when the fish strikes the bait. Hold onto that rod, for some more action and fun. Ethan Henry, myself and Michael Duncan of Helly Hansen were fishing near 3Rs yesterday and had a blast. Everyone was working their bucktails and we started tossing silver stingers and spoons. We hooked up immediately, in that thick fog. I hit my personal best for a shad, that thing had to be all of three pounds.
The shad were hitting like a freight train, that was some fun action. We yanked in a few dozen short stripers (rats), and then the big blues showed up. Ethan landed his first big blue on a light rod. That looked like fun. When we all looked around we were surrounded by people trying to cast to these fish. I can cast a hundred plus yards with zero effort with the Delaware Surf Fishing Signature series surf rod. We were able to get tot he fish, those silver stingers shoot out like a bullet. Swim shads and bucktails with soft plastics get all jammed up in the air and won’t go nearly as far. Gage Taylor at the Cape Henlopen pier… “A woman caught a 12 lber with a ultra light with 10 lb test. Craziest thing I’ve witnessed with my own 2 eyes” You can land any fish with the right experience and using that drag the right way.
The oceanic Pier has seen some killer bluefish action, there are flounder around the back bays of Ocean City. They are still seeing lots of short striped bass around the pier and the bridges. The beaches have a lot of short striped bass and those big blues move through as well. Assateauge Island is seeing a good black drum bite, with short stripers and these blues in the mix.
Top and bottom rigs in the surf will produce northern puffers, kingfish, and short striped bass. Mullet seems to be working better than bunker for these bluefish,but bunker works. It is a skate and dogfish fest using cut baits. Big migratory bass are hitting in the upper Delaware area near Port Penn down to Woodland beach.