Fall fish getting excited

David Moore with a bull red drum from the surf at Assateague Island. Submitted photos

Fall-summer fun is in full swing. Cooler nights and hotter days, or cooler days and hotter nights, or hotter days and hotter nights. The struggle is real with fall weather but the water temperatures are leveling out nicely in the low 70s along the coast and the Delaware Bay.

We still have plenty of summer fish and the fall fish are getting excited and starting to move. Short striped bass are schooling up around our waterways. Way up north (New York) the albies are slowly moving south and getting more active. That is one fun catch from the surf, and I hope we see them this year for a prolonged period of time. They like feeding on those summer bluefish, which we have plenty of bluefish. You can catch them on metals … you just have to reel like your life depended on it … they like fast moving baits. Small fast moving colorful metals work the best.

Sheepshead at jetties

Oystercatchers feeding along the surf line.

The fishing has been killer for sheepshead along the rock jetties at the Indian River Inlet, Ocean City Inlet, the inner and outer walls, and the breakers. Just pick some structure and anglers are doing well for sheepshead on sand fleas for bait. Lot of short bass schooling up in the jetties inland. Croaker action is still decent as well.

The inland bay fishing has been OK for flounder with a lot of throwbacks. Short striped bass and small bluefish are all over the bays chasing mullet schools and other bait fish. There are a few strange catches here and there, small gag groupers and rabbit fish. The groupers have become more frequent over the years.

Spot action at pier

The Cape Henlopen fishing pier is producing come decent spot action on the higher tides. Bloodworms have been the ticket for those and Bona Fide baits. Flounder action has been decent for some keepers. A sheepshead was caught last week at the pier. The tackle shop there, Lighthouse view Bait and Tackle, will be closing the 14th of October, but the pier is open all winter.

Surf fishing is getting better now that the waves are calming down. Driving onto the beach around high tide has been an issue in some places but that will be done with by the weekend. There are still some large swales out there, so be careful.

Kingfish, flounder, croaker, spot, and small blues have been the most frequent catches. Skate and sharks obviously are always a catch. Some pompano are still around and are even being caught in the creeks of the inland bays. So are blue runners, which is weird, but that is fishing.

The red drum run has hit Assateague Island and anglers are doing well that put in the time. You want spot or kingfish for bait. Clams and crabs will work as well, but spot is the go-to bait for most anglers. Action is better at night but the daytime is producing just as well right now.

Offshore action for mahi is still on fire. Anglers are loading up almost every trip.

Hunting regulations

Hunters are digging the new Sunday hunting regulations. There is still a little confusion about the cartridges for rifles.

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

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