Lower temperatures help fishing at inland bays

Lance Parker and Tasha Peters of Smyrna and Kadoka, SD, caught a 596-pound blue marlin while fishing in Cape Hatteras aboard the Bite Me charter boat. Submitted photos

The weather is back to hot, but at least not as hot as the first heat wave. Summer ain’t over yet so be prepared for more hot days.
Best to go fishing in the early morning and evenings when it is cooler, and the fish are more active. We have a lot of large dragonflies and cicadas everywhere, time to make some noise with top water action for ponds.

Water temperatures are about normal for this time of the year, but the south is a bit cooler. Upper Delaware River and Bay is in the 80s. By the time you get to Lewes the water is in the low 70s in the Delaware Bay and along the coast or beaches. The heat wave took the inland bays up to the mid-80s and then that cool-off we just had dropped the water temperature down to 76 degrees. That is helping the fishing and crabbing around the inland bays.

The fishing has been fun but the catching has been moderate to good. That depends on who you ask, the guy catching is much happier than the one who is not obviously. So he will tell you catching is great — the other guy will tell it is not with a string of profanities. This has definitely been a weird year for fishing.

Spot and croakers

The bite at the Cape Henlopen fishing pier has been decent for spot and croakers. You just have to find the spot where the fish are congregating. “One guy was hammering croaker filling a cooler and no one else was, he was in that one hole that was holding fish.” Dave Beebe, owner of lighthouse view bait and tackle, and while he was filleting some spot for a customer he asked him how is the spot fishing? “It has been spotty.” Lot of punny answers in the fishing community.

There is a decent croaker bite in the harbor of safe refuge but mostly in front of Lewes beach, the kayakers have been cleaning up.
Flounder action is getting better offshore and some large fish are coming to the scales. Fishing reef and wreck structure mostly has been the best fishing.

I haven’t heard or seen much from ‘B’ buoy and areas like that without structure. The Lewes canal has been decent action with more throwbacks than keepers but people are catching a decent amount of flounder. Minnows or gulp is the bait of choice. Jigging for them has been good at the piers and the surf.

Slot striped bass

Slot striped bass action has been great in the Lewes canal, and all the Delaware Bay structure at the walls. One angler was catching fish that were either too short for the slot or over the size limit all day long at the inner wall. Sand fleas have been the best baits to use at the Indian River Inlet at night “fleaing” for bass. It is easy, just put a large flea on a four aught hook and toss it in along the rockwall. Seeding the water with fleas like feeding pigeons helps get the fish excited and chewing.

Triggers are bein caught on all of the reef and wreck structures along with seabass. Seems every year we see more and more triggers. Haven’t seen any at the Cape Henlopen pier yet but you can find them at the rock walls of the Ocean City and Indian River Inlet. Sheepshead are being caught as well. Clam is best for triggers with small hooks. Sheepshead will hit any crustacean or clam.

Offshore fishing good

Offshore fishing is good if you find the fish. Mahi, tuna, tilefish are all coming back to the cleaning tables. Shark action has been decent. The best action for sand tigers is off the beaches of Rehoboth. Of course they are catch and release only.

Crab races

Crabs being loaded for the race into the slots.

Last weekend the winds were just too much at the beach, so I decided to check out the crab races in Long Neck at the Amvets. This was
the 13th year they have done this and how I have missed this all these years is beyond me, but I am glad I went.

Every year volunteers from the Amvets set up for the crab races. This is the most fun you will ever have playing with your food. Spectators can bet on each race, just like a horse race. Winners become dinner at the end of the day.

Ten crabs are lined up in a holder at the top of the slanted track. When the judges count down to zero the crabs are dumped onto the track. The first crab to scurry off the end is the winner. This year number 10 was winning a lot. Different crabs are used for each race, so the same crab is never used twice.

Crabs scurrying down the ramp to the finish line.

It was a great time and an excellent way to raise money for the Amvets while having a lot of fun.

No crabs were harmed during this event, but all were eaten afterwards.

Shark reminder

Just a reminder about sharks. Some sharks are prohibited by the state of Delaware to remove them from the water. These are sand tiger, sandbar, and dusky sharks. All sharks that are not of the required size limit are also not to be removed from the water. That is a federal law, not just state.

Just a heads-up for anyone who is shark fishing, this is a rule that is enforced, but not heavily and few know the actual rules. Always make sure you know the laws and limits for all fish, you never know what you are going to catch.

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

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