Temperatures dropping but summer fish are still feeding

Striped bass in the surf are thick right now … Rich King. Submitted photos

Someone apologize to Miss Summer, we miss her, she didn’t have to pack up and roll, she could have stuck around a bit longer! Apparently she took Mrs. Fall with her and left Old Man winter behind. Typical, wonder what he did now?

The water temperatures are dropping steadily but at least slowly so the summer fish are still feeding. The tropical fish that show up every year don’t have much choice, they have to eat to survive. Fall fish are coming on nice as well, so we have a mixed bag in the waterways as usual this time of year. How long that will last remains to be seen.

The surf is producing bluefish, kingfish, croaker, pompano, short striped bass, skates and dogfish. There are some random northern puffer and burr fish catches. The added bonus is we are starting to see some slot sized red drum in the surf as well. They are hitting mullet on either mullet rigs or but up on top and bottom rigs. The reds have been a by catch going for bluefish with mullet rigs. You can target them with mullet or sand fleas.

The rest of the fish in the surf are still hitting bloodworms, fish bites, and Bona Fide baits. Fishbites will stop working in about a month when the water gets too cold.

Pompano are still being caught in the surf.

Flounder are still around the inland bays and Lewes canal. A lot of throw backs, with a few keepers in the mix.

Sheepshead has been a hot catch along the jetties and rock piles. They have even been caught at the train bridge in the Lewes canal. Using sand fleas is best for them.

Always use an action figure to make your catches look bigger. This is now a 50-pound black drum … Paul Jonovic

Everyone’s fall favorite, striped bass aka Rockfish if you are in Maryland. That action has really picked up with resident fish schooling up and now moving into the surf areas as well as around the inland bays and Delaware Bay. The tidal creeks and rivers are producing a lot of short bass. Swim shads, bucktails, poppers, bombers, and spoons. They wit just about anything this time of year when they are feeding heavily. Best to match the bait in your area and start there. Anything mullet usually works and white swim shads are always a favorite down here in the surf.

Bass action

Daytime bass action has been good, but the night is turning on as well. That is one of the best times to get in the surf for the bigger fish. Migratory bass will start moving soon, the main migration, but there are some bass that migrate early and late. If you don’t put in the time you won’t catch. The rock walls and structure have a decent amount of fat schooling bass. The surf is loaded with them chasing mullet and bait fish along the coast.

Red drum in the keeper slot size caught off 3Rs by Kevin Michale

Albies have made it to Delaware, offshore but they are here. Captain Keith Beebe was on his charter boat Surface Tension out of Lewes and he and the crew ran into false albacore porpoising on bait near site 11. That is good news, hopefully we see them in the surf soon and around the Indian River Inlet.

“They were eating the micro bait out there all the tiny minnows. We kept seeing schools of them busting up on bait.” Captain Keith Beebe.

Fall Fish Bowl 2018 surf fishing tournament in Delaware Seashore State Park Nov. 24, get signed up now!

The Katydid out of Lewes is still doing excellent on flounder when they can get out the wind, as of late has made for some snotty conditions. Head boats are hitting reef structure and picking up a mixed bag of species: flounder, sea bass, pufferfish, bluefish, and oyster crackers just to name a few.

White perch action is really picking up all over the place from tidal creeks to ponds. They are starting to school up and feed heavy. Easy to catch with grass shrimp or bloodworms right now. Winter you will need to switch to jigs with floats or minnows.

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

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