Pompano catches have been frequent and some are huge

Dave Beebe, owner of Lighthouse Bait and Tackle at the Cape Henlopen Fishing Pier throwing a cast net. Submitted photos

Fall, summer, fall, summer, good times with the weather. Now we have king tides here and low tide is next to nonexistent. There is high tide and higher tide. With a new moon and Hurricane Lorenzo storm surge it has been a wet week on the beaches and waterways.
Daily small craft advisories are keeping anglers stuck to land based fishing. Beaches have been flooding to the dune line at the top of high tide. Surf anglers have to watch themselves in case they get stuck out there.

The pompano catches have been frequent and some are huge. Surf anglers and wreck fishing anglers are hooking up with pompano. Fishbites, clam, sand fleas, crab, and shrimp have been the baits of choice for pompano. You can target them but really just fishing in general for them and the small fish is the easiest method. Top and bottom rigs with sharp hooks is the best bet. DS Custom Tackle top and bottom rigs for the win with many anglers in the surf and boats. Their modified mullet rigs are great for catching bluefish and reducing the amount of bait you feed the fish.

Pompano and bluefish caught by Adam Stansell.

Spot, kingfish, puppy drum (black drum), sand perch, weakfish, short striped bass and bluefish have been the most frequent catches in the surf. Occasionally lizard fish here and there, another summer visitor. They look like a lizard and have really sharp teeth. Known as bait stealers to many anglers.

Icehouse Bait and Tackle moves to Route 1

Icehouse Bait and Tackle has moved to Route 1 at 18388 Coastal Highway; they had to move off of New Road in Lewes. A bigger location loaded to the gills with gear and bait. Just a heads-up for everyone looking for them and a quality shop. My three favorite shops are now on Route 1: Dan’s Tackle Box, Icehouse Bait and Tackle, and Fenwick Tackle.

Offshore anglers haven’t really gotten out much the past few days. It has been nautical to say the least. Mahi, tilefish, swords, bills, and sharks have been the targeted species. Check the charter and head boats. Inshore has been better fishing conditions but still a little rough. Make sure you have your sea legs before you convince a captain to make a trip on a rough day.

Mullet is easy to catch in the flats around the area with cast nets. Anglers are loading up buckets and even catching the occasional striped bass following the schools for a quick meal. You can’t keep a cast netted striped bass but it is a nice surprise.

Mullet are thick and cast nets are getting the job done, a cooler full caught by Chris Ranney from Chicago getting ready for the War On The Shore surf fishing tournament.

Short striped bass action in the surf and waterways all over the state has been good. They have schooled up for the small fall run and are feeding heavy. Check the bridges and structure in all of the creeks up and down the coast for short striped bass action. Occasionally a keeper will be caught.

The Indian River Inlet has been producing triggers, pin fish, sheepshead, short striped bass, pufferfish and small sea bass. The striped bass are easy on sand fleas, or using white and red bucktails. Triggers are hitting sand fleas, and cut baits. Sheepshead are also hitting sand fleas. All the smaller fish are hitting fishbites, clam, crab, and shrimp.

The beaches were flooded over the other day, and the surf is still heavy.

Pond hoppers are doing well for bass, snakeheads, and pickerel. The wolly buggers and other caterpillars are out and the fly anglers are matching that bait. Top water action is hot in the evenings and morning. With the temperatures in the lower range it is nice fishing in the afternoon. Well, except for today since it is 95 degrees out. Good old fall temperatures.

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

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