Good fishing with cocktail summer blues

17-inch flounder caught by Kaden. Submitted photo/Tracy Roles

A summer season endith, and second summer beginith! That’s right, every year we get a “locals” summer. The beaches are dead quiet on the weekdays and only the weekends are little crowded, but nothing like the summer.

The fishing usually picks up by now as well with all the cocktail summer blues in the surf and surrounding waters. They move into the inland bays as well in large schools. A 2-ounce silver spoon is all you need to bail bluefish all day long. They are especially fun on an ultralight rod.

Eat those pompano

I get a lot of messages this time of year. Can we eat these pompano? What kind of fish is this, can we keep them? You certainly can, they are delicious, and probably one of the easiest fish to cook. Because cleaning them is simple.

Just gut the pompano, and clean it out real good. Wash it out well with cold water. Then slice the skin in a criss-cross pattern. You can season them anyway you want. If they are big enough you can filet, but cooking whole is the best bet with the smaller ones we are catching in the surf.

There are a lot of recipes online. Just put a little salt and pepper on the pompano and throw it on the grill. Salt the inner cavity as well, it is that simple and fast. The meat will flake right off the bones after about 20 minutes on the grill. If you are baking them it might take a little longer depending on your cooking temperature.

Coating pompano in butter or olive oil and spice to your preferences, is great for baking. It is a sweet meat fish. Every year we see more and more pompano. I would highly recommend trying them for dinner. This summer we have seen a lot of them caught in the surf.

The point is open

Our favorite place to surf fish is finally open. The point in Cape Henlopen State Park opens back up every year just in time for some great surf fishing.

Spoons for bluefish, or cut bait and mullet rigs. Puppy drum are hitting bona fide bait, fishbites and sand fleas. There are a bazillion tiny sand fleas in the surf, the fish are just on the edge of the drop off, feeding on fleas and all the bait fish.

Beach clean-ups will continue throughout the year. This crew cleaned the point on Sept 4. Submitted photos

Tossing spoons for the little blues is fun especially on the 3-foot ultralight rods. I mean if you are going to catch tiny blues on a spoon may as well have some fun. I even had a 8-inch blue hit a 4-ounce gator spoon. We have fun when the blues feed.

The porpoises are also feeding like crazy all around the point.

There are a lot of pompano caught on the ocean side of the point during the incoming tide, and we were catching spot, croaker, kingfish, blues, short bass, weakfish, and flounder on the bayside.

Boats and activity on the water

Pompano caught by Jeff Biden ready for the grill.

Aside from all the surf fishing, there is a lot of entertainment watching all the boats and activity on the water. You never know what you will see, especially on a crowded weekend. People need to be careful around the point … those waters can be dangerous.

Dave Beebe at the Cape Henlopen fishing pier says the spot action has been the hottest on the incoming tide. Anglers are doing well on bloodworms. The heat has been affecting the fishing in the flats. He recommends fishing the early morning and late evening high tides. Decent flounder action for some keepers and the blues are around the pier. Even people who don’t fish normally are catching fish, so that is always a good sign.

The mahi action offshore has been on fire for the last few weeks. You definitely need to go hire a charter before that action subsides. Reef and wreck sites are producing flounder, sea bass, triggers, spade fish and sheepshead.

Short striped bass are starting to school up in the tidal creeks and waterways. This makes for some fun fishing and really gets you pumped up for the fall action. They will hit small bucktails, swim shads, and spoons. Top and bottom rigs with bloodworms will work as well, but the lures are more fun.

See you next year in the sand box.

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

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