Fish don’t care if weather isn’t fair, but plenty of stories there

The rod may have snapped, but Bryan Wheatley still managed to pull in his catch. (Submitted photo)

The rod may have snapped, but Bryan Wheatley still managed to pull in his catch. (Submitted photo)

The fishing has been great for many anglers; you just have to deal with the fall-like weather. I guess April showers bring more May showers. We have seen some great catches mixed in with the occasional skunk.

You have to get out and brave the elements to catch fish in this weather. It is hard to hold bottom in the surf and even cast, but you won’t catch if you are not out there. Despite the weather not being fair the fish do not care.

There are always great fish stories that come out every season. A few days ago Bryan Wheatley and Paul Higs were out fishing; they have been catching rockfish all season. Some days are better than others, and you just never know how things will turn out.

Bryan told me this tale of the one he was not going to let get away:

“Well, the story really all started with our bad luck earlier that morning. Only two of us on board, so one man had to stay on the wheel. The first fish we hook up we get it boat side, I try to reach down and grab her and we lose her. Probably around a 38 (inch)″ striped bass. Strike one!

Outdoors column logo by . “Second fish hooks up about a half hour later, a roller Rod bends over, pulls hard, and just snapped the leader. I knew I should have double checked, but was a little lazy after Paul Higs cooked up breakfast. Strike two!

“Third fish hooks up about another half hour later and I’m not getting strike three The drag screams with a serious bend in the rod, so I know it’s a nice fish. I got her about 20- to 25-feet from the boat, she pulls hard one good time and snaps the rod!

“I reach down and grab the line, I threw everything else to the deck, and start hand-over-hand till I get her close to the boat. I reach down behind the gill plate of my first 50″(inch) fish. Finally in the club. We didn’t weigh her but she was a post spawn fish.

“I’m gonna miss that rod. She’s been a catchin’ machine for five-plus years.”

You just never know what you will have to do to land that fish of a lifetime, because being able to prove the size of the one that didn’t get away is priceless. Bryan has a story he can tell for years to come: Let Me Tell You About The One That Didn’t Get Away!

Hot bluefish action

Bluefish action is the hot catch and people are seeing them in all the same places as last year: from the Rehoboth Bay all the way up as far as Augustine Beach in the Delaware Bay.

Bunker chunks or mullet are the best baits, but these fish will hit just about any lure that is shiny or creating a lot of action. Poppers work great and the action from the fish crushing that lure on a hit is awesome.

The Cape Henlopen flats near the still closed pier has been the hot spot. The beaches are seeing a decent amount of bluefish from the surf. The fish are close to shore when they run the beaches so keep your bait close to shore, that will help for a faster retrieve so your line doesn’t get cut in a feeding frenzy.

And in freshwater

Freshwater action has been great for bass on buzzbaits, crank baits and top water.

It is spawning season so please let your bass go to produce more for another day. I know many an angler who gets upset when people keep freshwater bass. It would be nice to see that same attitude and respect for the striped bass one day.

Let’s not forget pickerel

Pickerel action has been hot and the fly anglers are really having fun with those green beasts. Spoons or Mepps on an ultralight set up will give you some serious action. They will hit the shiny lures more readily than most fish.Pickerel can really pull so a set up with light line will need the drag set low to allow the fish to take line. Unless you step up your line to a heavier weight rating or use braided line to avoid losing lures and the fish.

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

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