Summer weather is cooking up good fishing

A cobia caught from the surf by Andrew Czerwinski

Summer heat waves are so much fun. Stay hydrated. The beaches have been crowded on the weekends. Typical summer out there. The Inland Bay sand bars were packed with boats over the holiday weekend. We are busy on the waterways. Fishing has picked up a little despite increased traffic and water temperatures. Anglers just have to pick the best times for room and cooler water temperatures.

The drive-on beaches require 20 feet between vehicles to allow surf fishing groups to social distance and for the safety of rangers and staff. It was rather crowded over the holiday weekend. Social distancing on a surf fishing beach is much easier than anywhere else — especially on a weekday when the crowds are smaller.

Sometimes remoras are caught in the surf when sharks are around.

“Hey Rich, was down at 3Rs today. The gent next to me was hooking shark after shark, I was hoping for one but instead caught a remora, I had never seen one in person, cool fish,” said Mike McKenna.

The Cape Henlopen fishing pier has a great spot bite. Bloodworms or fishbites has been the best bait. Bloodworm supply is still an issue. Apparently the worm diggers are concentrating on clams so the bloodworm supply is short.

Flounder catches have increased around the pier with a lot of throwbacks. Gulp and minnows are the preferred baits. Gulp is another product that is on short supply. Check with the pier shop crew to see what the latest reports are for the hot bite. There have been a few gems. I caught a large weakfsh or two and striped bass.

Larry Grover caught a small hammerhead shark in the surf recently. He is releasing the shark and removing the hook in this picture.

The boats heading offshore are hooking up on tuna and deep dropping for tilefish. Check the charters for trips and how they are dealing with social distancing issues. Some swordfish and sharks have been caught.

The White Marlin Open is still on with restrictions for crowds at the scales. Honestly it is easier to watch them online anyway.

The surf is a mix of all the usual summer suspects. Fishbites, squid, bloodworms and sand fleas have been the preferred baits. Bluefish are hitting mullet rigs. There are still Spanish mackerel in the surf, mostly near the Indian River Inlet-area beaches. It is a mixed bag in the surf with kingfish being the preferred catch for the dinner table.

Flounder action offshore and on the wreck sites has been really good the last week or so. It picked up all of a sudden. Sea bass is still on the menu.

Water temperatures are a real factor this time of year. Over the holiday weekend, Friday was great action in the surf. Then those temperatures hit and the fishing all but shut down. When it gets real hot outside, start fishing later in the evening and earlier in the morning. Float in the pool in the afternoon or head out to deeper water.

Tackle shops are having some gear supply issues due to supply- chain problems.

The boat Reel Chaos with a 300-pound swordfish the other day.

Dave Okonewski, owner at DS Custom Tackle, a local gear maker .

“We have been working overtime to keep our store and online customers in gear. Our people are making gear as fast as possible. We have seen a real increase in the needs of anglers this year.,” he said.

If you are like me and fish the predawn hours to avoid heat, crowds, to catch fish, and it’s all the time you can get before work, look up this week around 4 a.m. Comet NEOWISE is making a pass and can be seen in our skies in the predawn hours. You have to look before the sun starts to rise and just barely colors the sky for it to light up the comet.

Check the weather this weekend before you head out. It could be a tad tropical out there.