Summer is rolling in, so are fish

Hot Hot Hot! Now we are into the heatwaves of summer and she came in strong.

The water temperatures are still in the mid-60s in the Delaware Bay and the surf.

The inland bays have shot up to 78 degrees in just a few days and dropping to 70 degrees. The fluctuating tides really move the temperatures around in the back bays.

These lower temperatures are helping keep the spring fish around and active. We also have a lot of summer fish now in the mix. Hopefully this cold front moving in will keep it nice for the anglers. The fish are just fine.

The big gator bluefish action has slowed down tremendously from shore. We are still seeing a few catches, but they are random and nothing like a month ago. The summer blues are in the four-pound range and are also random at best for action. Mullet rigs in the surf are working well or if you spot a school moving by start casting spoons.

Melissa Bethard, of Newark, caught this 21-inch, 5.4-pound bass from a Kent County pond while fishing out of her kayak. (Submitted photo)

Cape pier a hot spot

The summer fish are arriving. We are seeing a lot of catches now of small croaker and spot. The heaviest being at the Cape Henlopen fishing pier. Small weakfish or spike trout are hitting along the pier and Delaware Bay beaches. Sand perch, northern puffers, and burrfish are all hitting in the ocean surf and and the bay beaches. Top and bottom rigs with fishbites, clam, squid, cut bait, or live bloodworms is working well. We prefer Diamond State Custom Tackle top and bottom rigs they hold up much better than the “standard” store bought rigs and are available in many shops.

Outdoors column logo by . The owner hooks wil last a long time if you take care of the rigs. Wash your gear when you are done for the day, or as soon as you switch out to another rig. The hooks won’t rust either on these rigs and stay very sharp. Surf rigs tend to get dull hooks fast due to pulling them along the sand so much. The cheaper store bought rigs will get dull real quick and the hooks snap readily under pressure.

There is a lot of decent offshore shark action as well as sea bass. Mako and thresher sharks are being brought to the docks. The sea bass are readily filling the boxes on many charter and private boats.

Flounder in canal

Flounder action has been great in the Lewes canal area. Offshore flounder grounds are producing and the inland bays is picking up a little bit as well. Drifting minnows or using gulp is working well. Jigging for flounder is decent action but more work, some prefer the lazy drift of the boat for a more relaxing day fishing. Let the boat do the work you just reel in the fish.

Short striped bass action is decent up and down the coast in tidal creeks and back bays. Some of the these “schoolies” have been close to keeper size. They are hitting bloodwomrs on top and bottom rigs. Anglers using bucktails and swim shads are seeing decent action. There have been some caught in the surf as well on top and bottom rigs.

The C&D canal has a lot of white perch and catfish as well as schooling striped bass or the “shorties”. We call them rats in the surf.

Crabbing has been excellent, lot of steamed crabs hitting the newspaper layered tables.

Big rays are here and hitting everything as far as bait. The bigger chunk of cut bat the more readily you will hook into a big whip tail or a cownose ray. Sharks are hitting the cut baits. If the fact it is all you are catching just change up to top and bottom rigs with artificial baits. They tend to attract less scavengers.

Freshwater action

Freshwater action is hot for bass and pickerel. The action for top water is really good. Some crappie catches here and there, and of course bluegills are hitting readily. Northern snakeheads are feeding heavily and getting more aggressive.

Despite the heat it is great to be outdoors and enjoy the day. Cooling weather is coming, and summer is just getting started.

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

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