When Are The Fish Getting Here?

 

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Suzanne Martin with a big gator bluefish from the surf in Cape Henlopen State Park (2015)

This is my favorite question.  Because you can’t predict the exact time you can only go by what has happened the past few years and hope that holds true for the coming season.  The best example are the spring drum and now blue fish runs.  Times change every year due to previous water and weather conditions.

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Barney with the 37 inch bluefish he landed last weekend. A few people have hooked into these along the beaches but this is the only one we know that was landed. I wouldn’t go looking for these blues this was a surprise for sure. We were hammering tons of the little blues all day when he hooked into this using a filet of bluefish for bait.

The past three years the bluefish have “traditionally” shown up mid-April, that has almost been like clockwork.  Once a few friends of mine start catching them near Chincoteague it is only a matter of days before we start seeing them on the Delaware coast line.  So when will that happen this year?  I have no idea.  Will it even happen should be the question you ask.

Four years ago the blue fish runs we see now were unheard of along the beaches and into the bays.  Maybe someone would catch the occasional big spring blue at the beach but it was far and few between.  Offshore you would see these fish but not along the beaches.  I haven’t seen anything like it in over forty years.  So the question still remains when will they show up and will they show up, we shall see.

 

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Corby Fulton with the Lewes Stretch on the beach trying to one up Suzanne’s bluefish.

The first year the bluefish run happened the fish were spread from Virginia to New York for over six weeks.  They held over in some spots in the Broadkill river and Canary creek for the entire summer. Last year Barney caught one at the point in the dead of summer in the schools of all those tiny snapper blues.

The best guess we have for why this is occurring is their numbers exploded and they are spreading out looking for food.  Dave Beebe, owner of Lighthouse View Bait and Tackle is concerned for the Cape Henlopen fishing pier because these fish though a lot of fun to catch at the flats by the pier and thus great for business.  “They are chasing off or eating all the spot and croaker, I have not seen many catches and it gets worse each year after the blues arrive and then leave.”     

 

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Karl Hitchens with a nice black drum in 2012 on March 18

Bring on the black drum!  That has been a fun run each spring for the last few years but you never know when that will start either.  in 2012 Karl Hitchens caught a nice sized black drum for the surf on Broadkill beach on bloodworms, that was a unusually warm winter year.  The following years we had colder winters and the drum run would start later.  When the big black drum started running the Delaware bay beaches the action was stellar.  This usually occurs between mid March and early May.  That all depends on how the weather was the previous winter.  I would guess this year it will be later in the April to May scenario.  But hey you never now, these fish will start moving for food, to spawn, or whatever triggers their run.

Best to just be ready for it and most important of all,be out there when it happens.  Sitting on the couch waiting for reports so you can go catch takes all of the fun out of fishing.  Get your gear tuned up.  Diamond State Custom tackle has some killer surf rigs for these big bluefish an drum.

Fish On!

Rich King

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Corby Fulton with the assist landing a drum with Aahron Jost May 7 2014
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Andrew Tawes of Outdoors Delmarva with the first drum of the night
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My drum I caught that night
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