Fishermen enjoy steady catches of small bluefish

The Delaware Surf Fishing Beach Clean Up volunteers gather for a photo after cleaning 3Rs in Delaware Seashore State Park. We do these every Tuesday in a different park. Soon, we will switch to weekends now that the crowds have died down. We clean all winter as well. Trash never stops washing up on beaches worldwide. (Submitted photo)

Hope everyone is enjoying the fall like weather.

I know the hunters are for two reasons: It isn’t as hot in that gear and the bugs aren’t as bad as usual this time of year.

I keep seeing some great deer pictures online, looks like hunting is still going strong.

I ran into some of the Delaware Fish and Wildlife officers yesterday at Representative Steve Smyk’s coffeehouse meeting and chatted them up for a bit. Those folks have a tough job this time of year.

In the summer, it is all fishing and boating, but now they have to add hunting to the mix. So if you see some of these folks, also known as Mr. Green Jeans, out there, show them the respect they deserve. They have a tough job and we are grateful they are there. I do not envy that job one bit and am always respectful and as helpful as possible. We all should be.

Small blues

Fishing is fun in the surf if you like bailing lots of small blues. Either on mullet rigs or top and bottom rigs with just about any bait. Bluefish will eat anything and even hit empty hooks when they are in a feeding frenzy. Even freshwater gear like small mepps spinners will hammer these little guys. If it is moving, shiny and looks like food, a bluefish will crush it.

Panther martins are fun to use. They add that noise factor to the lure and that drives the blues crazy. Flounder will hit them readily in the surf as well.

I like using my ultralight spinning gear for these small bluefish it makes for a much more fun fight.

Beating the drum

There are a lot of small puppy drum in the surf, the baby striped black drum. Hitting fishbites, clam, bloodworms, and squid. Some anglers are pulling them in two at a time. They have to be 16 inches or greater to keep and are great for the table. There are red drum around as well, as far up as Jersey in the surf and near the jetties. I haven’t seen any caught in Delaware but the Oceanic Fishing pier in Ocean City and the bridges have been producing reds in the keeper slot size. Clam is always a good bait for any drum, but sand fleas and green crabs will work as well. We should have them in the surf, Delaware bay, and the inland bays.

More reports

Short striped bass action has been good around the inland bays, Delaware Bay, Indian River Inlet, tidal rivers and creeks, and the Lewes Canal. The fish are schooled up on structure and feeding along mud and grass banks. Swim shads and small bucktails are the best lures. Anything that mimics a mullet will get slammed.

Sandfleas work well along the jetties. We have seen them in the surf hitting mullet rigs. Mostly the mullet being caught are small but there are some “cob” mullet out there as well.

Flounder are best offshore still and will continue that way until they head to the wintering grounds. We have seen less and less keepers each year around the inland bays,and the Delaware Bay action has been decent but tough. The offshore action has been great for charters putting in the time. Triggers are still out there and on structure around the Delaware Bay.

Small hooks and clam is the best way to catch triggers, cleaning them is a chore but they are tasty.

Migrations

The birders are out in full force, we are starting to see some of the migratory birds leave and others arrive.

Soon we will have a full transition of summer to winter birds.

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

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