Bad weather keeping fishing quiet

Surf fishing with ominous clouds overhead. (Submitted photo)

The weather, whether you like it or not, is still bad. Some days are better than others. I do prefer to fish the overcast days but it would be nice to see the sun a little more often and maybe dry us out a bit. Deer are bedding down in my front yard, I kid you not. I have two new ponds in the field next to me, if I knew they would last, I would start stocking.

Fishing has been quiet due to the lack of people fishing in bad weather and the lack of fish on the days some of us do go. Some days are better than others and fish tend to move around. One day a spot is hot and the next it is not. If you put in the time, you will have a good day of fishing — catching is a bonus.

‘Bait and wait’

The surf has been quiet with some decent action. Nothing going “off” so to speak but if you spend the day, you will catch a few things. All depends on the bait you are using and the method of choice. “Bait and wait” works if you pay attention to the rod, and it depends on the gear. That one time you are not staring at the rod tip you will miss a strike. Now you are fishing with a bare hook and don’t realize it.

Suzanne Martin high hooked with a bluefish.
(Submitted photo)

If you are using larger baits like mullet rigs and surf rigs then bait and wait is easier — the fish usually hook themselves up if you are using circle hooks and just from the action of them striking or swallowing the bait.

If you are using top and bottom rigs and the like, these strikes are not as strong. If you hold onto the rod you will hook up with more fish. Despite circle hooks the little fish can strike and take your bait. Do not set a circle hook, but do keep the line tight when you get a hit and just start reeling. Always check your bait every 15 to 20 minutes.

Kingfish, spot, northern pufferfish, small blues, and short striped bass will all hit top and bottom rigs readily. Obviously so will skates, sharks, and rays, but that is the nature of surf fishing with bait. Using cut bait like squid, and fish will attract more scavengers. Using artificial baits and bloodworms will attract less scavengers. Keep the line tight and hold onto your rod to feel all the small strikes you can’t see, but can feel.

A pile of flounder and sea robins at the cleaning table in Lewes. (Submitted photo)

Large bluefish, and striped bass will readily hit large cut baits on surf rigs. Drum will hit clam on a drum rig or surf rig. Sharks will hit everything as will skates and rays. Everything eats clam, because who doesn’t like clams? Just like shrimp and sand fleas make great bait, and you can eat both of them. That will be in a future article. Eating sand fleas, google it.

Offshore and inland

Offshore action for bluefin has been great for the boats getting out. Lot of fish blowing up on the surface. Hire a charter today and get out there during the week to avoid the crowd of the “fleet.” Offshore flounder fishing has been decent if you put in the work.

Inland bay fishing is good for a lot of throw-back flounder, with a few keepers. Short striped bass action has been fun especially under lights at night. The storms have really stirred up the water. Bait fishing is doing better than lures. Crabbing is excellent.

Riding out the storm

If you are ever at the beach surf fishing and a storm is going to come in you have two choices. Leave early so you can air up or stay put. Reason being is the storm will blow over eventually. This time of year it is pop up storms and small cells. No one wants to be stuck in a storm, but if you leave with everyone else you will sit in line through the entire storm waiting for your turn to air up … in a storm you are avoiding. We always pull in the lines, leave the rods in their holders. Unless we think we may decide to bail if it gets bad, we put up the gear. It doesn’t take long to pack the vehicle when you are only fishing. Two rods, rod holders, bait box, and a chair and I am packed and ready to roll.

Boats should just get off the water early, waiting for the last minute will make you part of the show at any state boat ramp. It gets congested fast and people are scrambling to get off the water which can be unsafe and highly entertaining. If you are boating and a storm is coming, get off the water.

A new bait

We have been product testing a new bait so we are fishing a variety of places. Piers, canals, beaches,and jetties we have tried just about everywhere. Interesting new bait that if it works out we will tell you all about it next week.

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