Late Summer Fish Are Early


pompano, gulf stream fish, delaware,sussex county, east coast, summer fishing
A pompano was caught last weekend by Ron Saxton at Fenwick Island State Park

One fish we normally don’t see until mid to late august is pompano.  One was caught over the weekend at Fenwick Island.  It is strange to see these warmer water fish when the water temperatures are not as warm as year’s past.  Masseys landing is only topping out at seventy-six degrees and dropping to seventy-two degrees today.  Even during the hottest part of the week it only hit eighty-two degrees for two days and then steadily dropped a degree or two a day back down to seventy-eight and this morning it is seventy-six degrees at the peak of low tide.  During the higher temperatures the ditch was still dropping to seventy-two degrees daily at high tide.  Flounder fishermen offshore are pulling up weights that feel like they have been sitting in a refrigerator.  The Delaware Bay surface temperature from Lewes to Cape May is seventy-five degrees, and the upper bay is eighty-two   So it is just a bit weird to see warm water or gulf stream fish here already.  Rick’s Bait and Tackle reported a triple tail that was caught around the Indian River bay, that is a first for Delaware.

Croaker, though small, and spot are finally hitting at the Cape Henlopen fishing pier.  Not as heavy as the years before the big bluefish showed up, but they are hitting.  Top and bottom rigs with fishbites, squid, bloodworms, or clam will work just fine.  Bloodworms are probably the best bait to use, just messy.  Diamond State Custom Tackle top and bottom rigs are the best rigs around, the sharp owner hooks are perfect for catching fish and don’t rust or break off like the cheaper brands.  As long as you clean your gear at the end of the day, it will last a long time, especially if you use good gear.   There are still some trigger action at the pier, that action has slowed down a bit, but the reefs and wrecks are still loaded.  A few keeper flounder have been caught here and there as well at the pier.


banded rudder fish, delaware, sussex county, atlantic ocean, offshore fishing
Rachel Anne‎ caught this banded rudderfish at B buoy last weekend

The Delaware Jet Ski crew went offshore the other day and landed or “skiied” a couple of mahi.  A few anglers have been catching banded rudderfish offshore too.  That fish ID these days is always entertaining.   We had a picture sent to the Facebook page asking what kind of fish this is and all I could do was laugh.  If you follow any of the popular fishing pages on Facebook, the good ones, banded rudderfish is always a standard answer for all fish ID’s.  So that had me laughing a little bit.

There are a lot of kids out fishing this year and it is good to see them take an interest in the outdoors.  Getting them out is one thing, keeping their interest is another.  Kingfish in the surf have helped with that when they are biting.  It’s just fun to watch a kid sit there with that determined look on their faces.  Owen Vamos was no exception when his dad Eric took him surf fishing.  After his first kingfish he was glues to the rod all day waiting for that next fish to hit the bait.

Cusk eels are thick in the surf now, they aren’t much for the table, they look like an eel with a huge head, and  a little bit of color.  Great bait for flounder, and striped bass.  They will hit just about any bait on top and bottom rigs in the surf.  they don’t get very big, but at least it is a mini tug on the line and something to add to that life list of fish caught.

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take a kid fishing, delaware, sussex coutny
Owen Vamos determined to get the next fish

Short striped bass, flounder, kingfish, sand perch, skates, dogfish, rays and sharks are all in the surf.  Just depends on who feels like biting that day.  Most of your fish are in close to the drop off in the surf break feeding on sand fleas.  You will find flounder in the cuts feeding on fleas and baitfish, like cusk eels.  There are really small snapper blues around and some of the larger “summer” blues up to a half pound.  The ones at the Cape Henlopen fishing pier are tiny, fierce bait stealers.   Like I said before, the best action is the mornings and evenings, but day time fishing will produce.  Today is a perfect day to fish the temperatures outside are gorgeous.

Well it is time to head out and see what is happening in the surf today or the pier, we can’t decide so may just do both.

Fish On!

Rich King

striped bass, rockfish, surf fishing, delaware, sussex county,3rs beach, delaware seashore state park
Stefan Talabisco with a short striped bass from the surf that hit a green mullet rig
cusk eel, diamond state custom tackle,  top andbottomrigs, delaware, sussex county, surf fishing, delaware seashore state park, fenwick island, cape henlopen state park,beach plum island,
A cusk eel caught in the surf by John Charles Moore



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