It’s a boiler out there but fishing’s still pretty good

Pompano caught by Jake Walker in the surf. Submitted photos

Well it has been one boiler of a week here on the fringes of Satan’s kitchen. It is hot, but we are fishing anyway. Being near the water helps with the temperatures, especially if it is an east wind. If there is a W in any of the wind directions expect the flies to be an issue. These little black march biting flies will wear you on exceptionally hot days with little to no wind. A windless day is just as bad as a west wind day for flies.

If you don’t have to be in the heat it is best to stay indoors. Stay hydrated if you are out for any length of time. Dehydration can come on fast and be deadly.

The fishing has been good but the increased temperatures are pushing water temperatures up. Fish are looking for cooler waters, but they are still feeding pretty well. The surf has been hot for kingfish, spot, croaker, bluefish, sand perch, puffers, cusk eels, and pompano.
Some days are better than others and not everyone is catching. Many are still casting too far and over the fish. Fishbites have been the bait of choice. They are working well and so much easier to deal with than normal bait like squid or bloodworms, which are also working.
Sand fleas can be dug up and either use the small ones on small hooks or cut up the bigger ones into pieces. Fish are feeding heavy on fleas. They are also feeding heavy on the silverside schools. Silver spoon at the ready for bluefish and mackerel.

Cape pier busy

The Cape Henlopen fishing pier has been on fire most days for spot. Great fishing for the kids too. There have been small stripers, bluefish, flounder, croaker and the usual small suspects. Check in with the shop at the pier for what is happening that day. They also rent rods for those that do not have gear, and sell fishing licenses.

Clamming around the pier is decent and easy to do at low tide. You cannot clam on the left side of the pier (towards the ferry), but you can on the right side (towards the park).

Offshore action has been good for most of the anglers heading out. Tuna, tilefish, mahi, and sharks. The charters are your best bet to get out and catch unless you have a friend with a boat and knowledge.

Rick Boyer caught probably the smallest flounder in the surf this past week.

A rare catch is showing up again this year offshore. The swallow tail bass or Anthias Woodsi. A bright colored fish caught in and near the canyons deep dropping. A local charter crew has a specimen at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC. They are rarely seen this far north.

Flounder fishing is still numerous for short fish and the occasional keeper. Offshore action is getting better than inland bay or inshore action. Wrecks and reefs have been producing with triggers in the mix. The action changes daily and is hard to predict with flounder. Gulp is working well, but silversides seem to be the go to, yet some will say they prefer minnows.

If fishing the inland bays, fish near structure and dark bottom. Stay away from the brightly lit up sand bars, fish the rips from the sand bars where the water is dark and deeper.

Pond hopping has been productive for top water action in the mornings and evenings. There are a lot of big bugs flying around, match the hatch for that and catch some fish. Fly fishing has been very productive, even in saltwater.

Swallowtail bass or Anthias Woodsi recently caught in the canyons.

Surf Slam Series 5

The DSF’s Summer Surf Fishing Slam Series 5 was last weekend. Many fished but only a few caught fish that qualified. Never fails on tourney day, the fish are much smaller. One of Murphy’s Fishing Laws. Our winners were …

Michele Trotter … 69 points

Jonathan Martin … 22 points

Bill Elborn … 18 points

Adding spot to the list helped a few anglers get on the board and add to their overall scores. The next Slam Series 6 is on July 28. This has been a fun tournament to follow this summer.

Michele Trotter’s entry in the Summer Slam Series 5.

There are still some gator blues in the area, once in a while they will blitz the beaches. For the most part they seem to be feeding in the Lewes canal and area creeks and rivers. Then move into the bay following fish or food. They will hit spoons but anglers are getting them on bait since no one is targeting big bluefish, just bluefish in general. The summer cocktail blues are starting to get thicker and thicker in schools along the beaches.

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

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