Spot, Needlefish, and Hog Chokers
The water clarity at the Indian River inlet today around noon was crystal to four feet. Nice looking water and a few small flounder were caught off the rocks at the south side. The water temperatures shot up the last day or so thanks to the mini heat wave. Masseys Landing is bouncing between seventy-eight and seventy-two degrees. Crabbing is awesome, there are pots all over the place, pay attention to the floats so they don’t get jammed up in your engine. Some of the back bay creeks are lined with crab pots they look like slalom courses for tiny water skiers. The surf temperature is hitting the upper seventies by mid day. Thankfully the flies have been okay since the winds shifted. few days ago they were horrible. Kingfish is the hot catch in the surf still and fishbites is working just fine, bloodworm or crab formula. The flounder action is so so inshore and hotter offshore. There has been some serious sand tiger action along the beaches I will cover that inn the next report later this evening or tomorrow. Some decent offshore shark action as well.
Pelicans are all around near the surf and the bays. Circling in small flocks. Always a pleasure to watch them fish. Osprey are feeding heavily at the beaches. Keep an eye on them. If they are up high the fish are deep if they are low the fish are shallow. Good to know when you are stuck on the beach.
Bigger spot are being caught at the Cape Henlopen Fishing pier. Bloodworms or fishbites is the trick and there are tons of other smaller fish around. Back in the day live spot was the ticket for big tide runners or weakfish. Live linig them now is good for big flounder. Some anglers will freeze them for striped bass season. I know may people that eat the large ones thay are an excellent “pan” fish form the sea. Also at the cape Henlopen pier are short striped bass, kingfish, croaker, pig fish, and weakfish. There have been more throwback flounder than keepers. The Incoming into the outgoing tide is the best at the pier so you have water to fish. Drop your line near the pier poles or along the area between the poles. Most of the fish will move around the pier poles using the structure for cover and to hunt food. You will see schools of fish moving around the flats. Be careful casting make sure any kayaks, SUPS, or waders are clear. Many fly fishermen wade the flats to fish, don’t cast near them, you have the whole pier area and structure to fish. Laways check your back cast too and make sure no one is walking into it, not everyone on the pier is an angler. Most of the kayakers are just coming back from fishing out front around the old pier poles or the inner wall and flats. In some states casting from piers is not allowed for safety concerns. Recently some people were overheard saying they were trying to cast a sinker at a kayaker from the pier. They could kill someone doing that, if you see anything like that let the folks in the store know so they can call a ranger.
Needlefish are showing up around the surf, you really see a lot of them at night under the lights. they are fun to catch on light gear, but hard to hook. That bony mouth is hard to set a hook into. Small silver spoons with good treble hooks will work. Needlefish will hit the one ounce spoons frequently. They will hit flies but again it is hard to set a hook. It is like catching a skinny angry pickerel. They are great bait for striped bass, and horrible for the table. Cutting them up for cut bait is a little messy, they are a bit slimy. Some people use them for bait, they are just a fun alternative to catch on a hot summer day. Really fun on an ultralight set up for bass fishing. That set up is fun with shad and small blues as well. The shad at the Indian River inlet has been some fun action same for the Oceanic Pier in Ocean City.
Hog chokers are in the surf at Broadkill beach and other Delaware Bay beaches. Hitting bloodworms on top and bottom rigs. Not much there for eating, but i have heard they are tasty, problem is they don’t get very big, just a cool fish to add to your life list. They are in the sole family and look like tiny flounder. It is rumored the name is from the fact hogs would feed on the fish when discarded on the beaches as by catch back in the day, they had a hard time swallowing the fish due to its rough scales. hence the name hog choker.
Lot of small croakers, sand perch, striped bass, eels, and kingfish along the Delaware bay beaches. Bloodworms are the best baits and use small hooks. Circle hooks are always the best so you don’t have to set the hook and it just grabs the fish. Setting a circle hook is a good way to rip its head off or at the very least lose the fish. Have a safe weekend, stay hydrated (with water) it is brutal out there.