Cold weather will change fishing routine

Captain Andy Ross with a good sized lionfish speared the other day. (Submitted photos)

Here comes winter, and all at once this weekend.

This cold snap will change up fishing for sure. For the fish and the anglers that do not like to fish the colder days. Time to trade in the shorts and flops for long pants and boots. Insulated waders on the beaches for surf fishing. The weather may get cold but the fall fishing we all hope to see will start heating up.

Striped bass are already on the move up north. They are on bait schools, but will take their time coming south.

In the meantime, we can still get some serious schooling bass action.

Almost time to break out the white swim shads, which is usually a popular fall color. Albies are still north of here and we are still seeing the occasional catch in the surf and inshore.

Barb Tanner with a short striped bass from the surf.

Seals are starting to show up as well, a sure sign winter is coming. Do not approach a seal on the beach or anywhere for that matter. Federal law dictates you stay 150 feet away from them. If you think a seal is in distress contact the Marine Education, Research and Rehabilitation Institute (MERR).

What’s hot

The sea bass action has been hot for the boats heading out and even a decent load of flounder with some small blues in the mix. Tautog action has been good on wrecks, reefs, and bay structure. Some triggers still around but that will change when the water temperatures drop after this weekend.

Lots of catfish and white perch in the tidal creeks and rivers. Schooling striped bass as well. The bass are hitting lures and bloodworms. Catfish will eat just about anything including hot dogs, which is an easy cheap bait to use. Perch prefer bloodworms or you can catch grass shrimp.

Suzanne Martin with a small snapper blue from the surf at the point.

The surf has been mostly small bluefish and short striped bass, with the usual suspects of skates and dogs. Sharks will be leaving soon if they have not already with these colder temperatures.

Where it’s warm

I am in sunny Florida enjoying their outdoors, soon to return to arctic like temperatures. I am down here helping Coast Watch Alliance with lionfish awareness, an invasive species in the Gulf, Caribbean and Atlantic Ocean. They are great to eat, the only catch is you have to go spearfishing for them.

Despite the cold I can’t wait to get on the schooling bass with some light gear. Maybe, just maybe this is the year the bass come close to shore and run the beaches. You won’t know unless you go, so get out there and fish.

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

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