‘Gator’ blues off the hook

The weather is perfect you should be outside fishing or doing whatever.

Seriously, go outside.

Unless you’re like me and allergies are killing you, but I am dealing with it to be outside.

Fishing is off the hook, and hopefully will just get better as spring progresses.

Up north at Augustine Beach and Woodland pier, anglers are landing huge white perch using bloodworms.

Rich King holds up a “gator” bluefish landed at Cape Henlopen State Park, near Lewes. (Submitted photo)

Short striped bass action is good, and the larger bass are starting to hit bunker chunks.

Migratory striped bass have moved into the Delaware Bay. Anglers are hooking up with some quality catches, most of which have to be released due to location caught or the fact the fish is in the slot.

It is always good to let the big girls go because they make more bass for the future of the fishery.

New rod

I have a new fishing rod, and it is beautiful.

Patrick Conroy of PC Rods in Milton built the DSF signature series numbered surf fishing rod for me.

I put a Diawa BG 4500 reel on the rod, and it was built to the reel and for my comfort.

A custom rod if you can afford one is the way to go, I will never buy a off the shelf rod again. This is my first custom rod, and definitely not my last.

For a couple of weeks, I have been using the rod to catch short striped bass or rats in the surf. It has been fun, and the rod casts like a dream with zero
effort.

I have been dying to really put her to the test on some large fish.  Tuesday I got that chance.

The gator bluefish that have shown up the last few years are back in the surf. A gator blue is a large bluefish upwards of 36 inches and all of 15 pounds.

That is the largest we have seen so far this year, there are much heavier ones that have been caught over the years.

Chasing the blues

For the past two days we have been chasing fish and reports up and down the coast and just missing the fish by 20 minutes.

The old adage you should have been here 15 minutes ago has been the mantra this week.

Yesterday we broke that, and broke it well.  Cape Henlopen Fishing pier has been on fire around noon for the past few days. We made sure we were there well before noon.  We still had to hope these fish showed up and we would see some action.  This is never like clockwork but the past few days it has been.

The wind was right, the tide was coming in and the flats were filling with water.  After two hours of casting and walking the beach we decided to take a break and see if the fish would finally show up.

I was literally blowing off work to do this and I was running out of time.  I had stuff that needed to be done.  While we were walking off, a buddy of mine’s rod went nuts, and bent to the sand.

I immediately knew what that was, bluefish, great big bluefish. I took some video and pictures and helped him land the fish.  Meanwhile that voice in my head is screaming, hey dummy cast  a line out there this is what you came here for!!  I toss my three ounce silver gator casting spoon way out to this little hole in the flats. The spoon hits the water, the fish hits the spoon. Fish On!!

The bluefish fought hard, and my new rod had a serious bend in her but took the fight like a champ, all I had to do was reel and hold on.  The first fish threw the hook at the surf edge.  No worries I cast back out, immediately I am hooked up again.  I did this 11 times in about 45 minutes.  The new rod is a beast, and my arms are Jello, best day of fishing in a while!

Those blues hit around noon and stayed for about an hour and a half then the bite shut down.  As soon as that happened we left and I was getting calls that the fish were now hitting at Dewey Beach and Rehoboth beach.  The park beaches were also seeing action.  This is going to be a good weekend of fishing, you should get out there and join in the fun.  You just need some casting spoons or silver stingers, mullet or bunker is also working.  We had some sick action on top water plugs as well.  Use steel leaders, the other fish in the school are following the caught fish and trying to take the lure, if they hit your line, it will cut like a razor.

Lighter side

If you want some lighter fishing, we have northern puffers, kingfish, and croaker just showed up. They are all early, but I will take that action as well.  All are hitting bloodworms on top and bottom rigs and even fishbites formula.

The Diamond State Custom top and bottom rigs work great with very strong hooks.

Of course there are plenty of short striped bass this year as well. That action is fun.

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

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