Fall weather means it is time for fall fish

Fall like weather brings us memories of fall fishing. Hoping to see a fall run of striped bass this year, but we dream of that every year and for the most part we get to keep dreaming.

One of these days the fish will hit the coastline like they used to, or not. The short bass are schooling up all over the place which makes for great action. They are hitting small bucktails and swim shads along grass beds and structure.

Cocktail bluefish action (little snappers) has been hot in the surf at the point and the lower beaches. The inland bays and Lewes canal is chock full of small blues in big schools. Short striped bass are mixed in with the schools. They are chasing peanut bunker and mullet.

Both bait fish have been thick in the surf and the bays. Match the bait if you want to catch consistently. Silver spoons have been the ticket for the surf or mullet on mullet rigs and/or chunks of mullet on top and bottom rigs. Bluefish make excellent bait for bluefish.

You can load up a 5 gallon bucket of mullet with a cast net in no time at the Cape Henlopen fishing pier and Lewes Beach. Just look for the schools of fish and throw in front of them.

Flounder action is still decent around the inland waterways and much better offshore. Lot of triggers in the mix offshore and some sea bass on reef and wreck structure.

The Delaware bay is producing weakfish keepers in decent numbers. They are all of about fourteen inches, but keepers none the less.

Sheepshead fishing has been on fire at the Ocean City Inlet and the Delaware Bay structure. Sad fleas have been the preferred baits.

Horseback riders have been taking advantage of the empty beaches to ride. That is a great way to experience the beach. I have been told that it is also a good way to train horses that get spooked easily. The waves’ sound helps with that training. That or it is just a good excuse to go ride horses on the beach.

Tropicals are abundant … Every year we get a lot of cool tropical fish that show up with the gulf stream. Storms will push in even more strange fish. This year we have seen more triple tails than ever before. A few Cottonmouth jacks were caught off structure.

These butterflies are common to catch this time of year. This one was caught in a pin fish trap by Mike Hinton. Our estuaries are full of all kinds of tropical fish like these. I know people who make a living off seine netting tropical fish for the aquarium industry.

Especially in the Virginia beach area the amount of marshes down there supports a huge amount of these fish to hide and feed.

These tropical fish will die once the water changes to winter temperatures. They do not have a biological clock telling them it is time to go back to the gulf area. They will feed and move to warmer water areas until they can no longer find warm water. This has been going on forever, and in the last decade we have seen a much larger variety of tropical fish species in Delaware.

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