Afternoon bite much better in cooler water

Greg Betts with a 36-inch striped bass from the surf caught on fresh bunker chunks. Submitted photo

Mother Nature never ceases to amaze — it is now April in June. What is up with this crazy weather? I have no idea, but the water temperatures are holding great levels.

The cooling off is keeping the water temperatures below 70 degrees. The afternoon bite is much better. Usually this time of year the morning and evening bites are the best. The afternoon bite all but dies off and gets worse as the summer progresses to even warmer water temperatures.

The cooler weather has kept the inland bays from topping 80 degrees, which has certainly helped the flounder fishing in the Lewes canal. The striped bass fishing has been fun around the inland bays, mostly shorts but still a blast to catch. There has been the occasional keeper at the Indian River Inlet. The surf is even cooler, and the Delaware Bay. Less people swimming at the beach helps make surf fishing productive.

A couple of early arrivals were caught at the Oceanic Fishing Pier, according to John Thompson. He heard a sheepshead was caught and a triggerfish. The sheepshead was caught in the Ocean City Inlet, and the trigger was caught at the pier. The flounder action has been OK at the Oceanic Pier. People are catching fish and having a good time.

You don’t need a Maryland fishing license to use the Oceanic Pier, just pay the daily fee to use the pier and the license is included. You can also get a yearly pass for the pier itself. The staff at the shop there are very knowledgeable about the action on their boards.

Spot bite is on

Speaking of new catches, the spot bite is on at the Cape Henlopen fishing pier. Anglers have been catching decent amounts of spot. They are the smaller early spot, but once they get bigger they are great to eat. The small ones are good this time of year for bait for catching large striped bass and weakfish. Catching spot is easy, a good top and bottom rig with sharp hooks is your best bet, using bloodworms, squid, or bona fide baits works very well.

The Cape Henlopen fishing pier has Diamond State Custom Tackle rigs with the owner hooks and rods for rent if you need to outfit someone for the day. The flounder bite at the pier has been decent, people are catching some nice sized keeper flounder. I wouldn’t say it is on fire, but people are catching fish.

End of Cape pier closed

Cape Henlopen fishing pier’s end being dismantled. Submitted photo

The end of the Cape Henlopen fishing pier has been closed for several months due to safety concerns with some of the pylons. The casing has cracked on several pylons. After evaluation the state has decided to remove a section of the pier. Originally I was told it would just be the last 20 feet, or two sections, but that has changed. Now the entire end, the newer section that is a smaller width than the pier, is being removed.

“We are removing the end of the pier so someone cannot just walk out there; it is a safety concern.” said a park administrator. Word on the street is a few people have jumped the fence to fish the end of the pier, which prompted this dismantling.

Offshore tuna fishing

Big Eye at 141 pounds caught on the boat Bail Out from Indian River Marina. Submitted photo/Lewis McCullough

Offshore fishing for tuna has started for the season for boats out of Ocean City, Maryland, and Delaware. The fish are up farther so boats don’t have to head out 100-plus miles to find fish.

The spring big bluefish bite is still on, but not like this time last year. That could be the reason spot turned on much earlier this year than the last couple of years. Those big blues will eat a fishery up in no time. Mullet rig in the surf are working, and Diamond State Custom Tackle has come up with a genius modification to their mullet rig design. That will be out in shops sometime next week.

Sea bass action out of Ocean City on the Morning Star has been excellent with Captain Monty. Get a trip booked on a charter on the weekdays — those are the best days to get out, less competition on the water. Weekends are still good but you could be surrounded by an armada of boats.

Shark record denied

The huge thresher shark caught in Ocean City that everyone is talking about has been denied the record due to it being shot. Maryland DNR … “After careful consideration, the Department of Natural Resources Fishing and Boating Services has carefully made the decision to disqualify Nick Skidmore’s 644.9 thresher shark. Under the department’s State Records Rules and Procedures and Official Fish Maryland Rules, fish that have been snagged, shot, gaffed*, speared, scaled, or mutilated are not eligible.

*Gaffing is illegal in the Chesapeake Bay, but is allowed for securing and boating fish in ocean waters. Gaffing (including use of detachable “flying gaffs”) is a common and accepted method of boating fish for ocean and offshore fishing. The current 642-pound thresher shark record held by Brent Applegit still stands.”

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