Everyone has striped bass fever and thankfully the migratory striped bass have arrived in Delaware, or at least in front of Delaware.
We have migratory schools over five miles off the coast the past week in the EEZ.
Now some large fish are being caught in the Delaware Bay trolling mojos, but nothing has hit a stretch yet.
Mojos are essentially a huge bucktail with nylon skirting and flash with a large paddle tail swim shad up to nine inches long.
Usually the hook is a 12/0 hook for the larger ones. Mojos weigh as little as eight ounces, up to four pounds.
Your everyday boat rod is not going to cut it trolling mojos, you will need heavier gear.
Surf anglers have been seeing a lot of bait fish off the beach and whales feeding along Delaware Seashore State Park.
This time of year where there are whales there are usually striped bass, and both are feeding on bunker. Some gannets are working the water here and there with the whales.
All the evidence is there for striped bass to be in the schools, no one has really gotten a chance to fish them.
The water temperatures near shore are perfect. The schools are just a little too far off the beach to cast.
Using bait at the beach out in front of the schools is about as close as we can get to enticing a bite.
Hopefully these are all signs we will get striped bass in the surf this fall run. Right now it is a skate and dogfish festival hitting bunker chunks.
If you want to get into the blitz style fishing you see in New Jersey then you will have to travel to Jersey. We don’t see that in Delaware, but when we do it is rare and only lasts as long as it takes a school to swim by the beach.
The bunker schools don’t push onto the Delaware beaches like they see in Jersey because our beaches are different.
The trough is right in front of us and the fish will run that close to shore or beyond the second sand bar which is way out there on most beaches.
The bait fish can escape over the bar easily or run the trough. The tide pools and longer shallow surf zone of Jersey doesn’t exist in Delaware. In Jersey that is the area the bass push the fish into and school them up to feed.
The anglers or surfcasters go nuts when this happens they gang up in spots, chasing birds and schools of bass down the beaches in their trucks. It is pandemonium fishing in some cases.
There are different techniques for each state. Up north you will see people using bunker spoons. In the Chesapeake Bay they use mojos or planer boards to get lures down deep. In Delaware we still do well with the good ole bucktail.
Swim shads are good too and even plugs or poppers, but the bucktail is the most versatile.
You can fish it so many ways and mimic a lot of different baits, the presentation is only limited to your skill with a rod.
The presentation has everything do with how you tie the bucktail up. The traditional red and white is always a go to, but some guys take it farther and tie up elaborate patterns on bucktails and the action is just as good if not better than the traditional colors of red and white.
Combining different colors to match bait patterns and adding mylar flash will really change up your presentation to the fish.
My favorite bucktail, I need to make more up, was black and purple feathers with some black buck tail and green mylar. The entire lure was about eight inches long and hammered striped bass. It looked so good in the water I wanted to bite it. The action from the mylar and the long feathers gave it an eel like motion, it was poetry.
There are plenty of schooling bass for those that don’t want to go out in a boat to chase migratory striped bass.
Just look in the tidal creeks and rivers, and use a bucktail or rattle trap. The Delaware Bay beaches have some great schooling bass action.
The short bass are larger at night, and smaller during the day. The larger bass are deeper during the day and come shallow at night to feed.
Rich King’s column appears Thursdays in the Delaware State News.