Many bay striped bass have spawned and are on the move

Allen Betts of Milton snared a big drum from the Delaware Bay. (Submitted photo)

Allen Betts of Milton snared a big drum from the Delaware Bay. (Submitted photo)

Warm days. Cool nights and cold snaps. It is definitely spring in Delaware, and I have seen my first hummingbird.

We have had some great days of fishing and some not so good.

The fish are hitting the beaches in random areas and you have to be out there. The incoming tides have been the best in the surf. The outgoing tides have been the best in the inland bays.

Many of the Delaware Bay’s striped bass have spawned and are on the move and hungry. The spawning season is still in effect until May 31 for the spawning grounds. The bass are on the move into the lower Delaware Bay and then will push north to continue the spring run.

The Chesapeake trophy striped bass season has produced some quality fish. Trolling a variety of lures will help increase your chances of hooking up. Some folks are doing well with bunker chunks.

Kingfish and puffers are starting to show up in larger numbers — top and bottom rigs with two aught hooks and use clam or bloodworms for bait. There are small sand fleas in the surf that make great bait and are easy to dig up. The larger sand fleas make great bait for drum and striped bass.

Outdoors column logo by . There are still big bluefish here — you just have to find them.

One day they are hot in the surf and then are in the Delaware Bay or up the Broadkill River. It is hard to predict where they will be next.

The beaches and inlets in New Jersey are on fire with bluefish action. Some are still being caught south of us near Virginia. These blues are hungry and will hit just about anything. Steel leaders are a must or at least use long shank J hooks. Their razor sharp teeth can cut a line in no time.

Jackai Jackson enjoys crappie fishing with his grandparents. (Submitted photo)

Jackai Jackson enjoys crappie fishing with his grandparents. (Submitted photo)

The main issue is when reeling in one of these fish the others are trying to rip the lure out of its mouth. Food competition is fierce in bluefish schools. Kind of like watching a group of seagulls fighting over a French fry — it can get ugly.

The drum are still running the surf lines but that action has slowed down a little. Some big black drum were landed in Cape Henlopen recently on sand fleas or clam for bait.

Anglers on the bay beaches have had to deal with a large amount of spotted hake or ling stealing their baits. Those eight aught hooks are too big to catch the ling but they will still wear out your bait in no time. Use a top and bottom rig with clam on two aught hooks and you will hook up some spotted hake. They are a great table fare but a slimy mess to clean. They also make decent bait for striped bass and bluefish.

Jet ski fishing

The Delaware Jet Ski Fishing club has been venturing out more since it is warming up.

They have been seeing some decent action near the inner wall for spotted hake and some tautog. People are starting to outfit their skis more for fishing.

On June 18 we are hosting a Jet Ski Fishing tournament at Holts Landing State Park. You can find the information on the website, When we get closer to the event I will have more details.

Jet ski fishing is fun — you can go places a boat cannot venture. Some of these boys are planning an offshore trip for tuna this summer, that should be an adventure.

Rob Jones is the first person in Delaware to get a HMS permit for a jet ski. The conversation he had with the fishery folks was priceless.

“Wait.  You want an HMS permit for a jet ski?  So you can catch tuna … from a jet ski? Yes sir I do … Okay, sounds fine to us.

Freshwater fishing

Freshwater action is great for bass on buzz baits, crank baits and top water. Many of the ponds are producing decent catches and the action is nonstop.

This cold snap might slow the fish down a bit but I wouldn’t worry too much; it won’t last long.

White perch are still hitting in the tidal creeks but you have to find them and they are hitting grass shrimp more than any other bait.
Pickerel action was hot for the saltwater fly anglers of Delaware club on the Choptank recently. Nothing like landing a green torpedo on a fly rod.

Wave fun

The surfers have been having a blast with some nice spring wave action.

Boogie boarders are braving the cooler water to get in on the action. Those few storms we had have produced some decent surf.

When the waves are too big to fish, many of these guys go surfing instead. It is the best of both worlds.

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

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