Bluefish will be here for a while

We had a great weekend for weather and fishing. The bluefish are still here and will be for a while, it would seem. The last few years we have seen them here as late as the first week of June. They are still being caught off the beaches of North Carolina. So long as the water temperatures hold for a while, they have no reason to make the move farther north.

Fish more aggressive

Mullet and bunker have been good baits. Silver spoons, silver stingers, and top water plugs are also working. Right now the fish are starting to get more aggressive and fight over food. Anglers are losing rigs from bluefish fighting

over the bait. Shiny swivels are being bitten as well since they attract attention. That is a quick way to lose a rig and fish. Use dark swivels, and dark wire leaders. As the month progresses the fish will get more aggressive and fight even more over food.

If these fish school up heavily it will get even worse as far as food competition. When that happens you need to fish the edge of the school. Trying to drag a big blue out of the center of a school is a sure way to lose your gear. If you are surf fishing place your bait close to shore just behind the breaking wave to catch the inside edge of the school running the beach.

The fish have recently been that close to shore eating all of the bait fish and sand fleas they find in the first drop off. That is where most of the fish are in the surf and the blues are in there feeding on them.

Olivia Hurst caught this 9-lb and 10.3-lb bluefish in South Bethany. She was using mullet rigs. (Submitted photo/Dan Hurst)

Bluefish at Masseys Landing

Bluefish have moved into the inland bays as well, and Masseys Landing has been a great place to fish for them on the outgoing tide in the late afternoon. They are on the bottom of the ditch feeding on everything that moves through there. Now that they are in the bays it will be more difficult to flounder fish. Bluefish will destroy a flounder rig. Not to mention they will attack a flounder being pulled in as well and eat your catch.

Augustine Beach and Woodland pier have seen some decent perch action and short striped bass. Bloodworms have been the best baits and fishbites is working well now that the water temperatures are warmer. There are large migratory striped bass up there as well, hitting bunker chunks.

The surf is heavy with bluefish, but there are kingfish, northern puffers, and of course plenty of skates. Everyone is concentrating on bluefish and using the top and bottom rigs to attract blues and they get bit off quick. Very small croakers have been caught at the Cape Henlopen fishing pier. There is decent flounder action in the Lewes canal but again you have to keep the bluefish in mind.

Blue crabbing at inland bays

Blue crabbing is excellent around the inland bays. Pots, hand lines, rings, and trot lines are producing well. The creeks have a lot of sooks, but there are some nice sized jimmys being caught. It should just keep getting better until the bays are loaded with crab pots for the summer. That hasn’t happened yet. Crabbing is great but don’t expect prices to drop much compared to last year.

Freshwater action is hot for bass and pickerel. The spring fishing is in full swing. Top water action is decent now that the waters have warmed. There is always bait and wait as well — depends on how much work you want to put into your catching.

Large black drum at beaches

Large black drum are still running the Delaware Bay beaches and Cape Henlopen State Park ocean beaches. The action is better along the bay beaches than the ocean beaches. You can use clam, shrimp or sand fleas for bait. The sand fleas have emerged and are all over the beaches, just dig for them in the surf.
The oceanic fishing pier in Ocean City is seeing huge bluefish, short striped bass, flounder, northern puffers, and small tautog.

Rich King’s column appears Thursdays in the Delaware State News.

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