Water temperature’s rising and so is the bluefish action

Stefan Talabisco of Wilmington is now a three-time DSF surf fishing tournament winner. He won the May The Fish Be With You for his new trifecta. Just ask him, believe you me he will be happy to tell you. Submitted photos

The weather is awesome. Well, it hasn’t rained in a few days so there is that. The pollen has been miserable. Check on your friends with allergies, we are not OK. Every rain the roads and puddles turn yellow. The water temperatures are rising slowly thanks to cool nights and warm days, as well as the ton of rain we have seen. I am good with that, a nice long spring slide into summer is fine by me. Much more preferred than cold to nuclear hot summers, like the past couple of years. The fish are certainly enjoying the slower transition.

If you are living under a rock then you probably don’t know the bluefish showed up in full force. The action has been epic, the crowds not so much. Best advice is fish away from the crowds and you will still catch fish, they (fish) tend to move around. Granted they will sit in one area for a few hours on the tides, but they do move. The southside of the Indian River Inlet has been packed daily with anglers busting blues from the beach. Ocean City Inlet has some serious action as well as the Indian River Inlet.

Nighttime fishing has been great. Daytime has been just as good on the incoming tides at the beaches and inlets. The inland bays and tidal creeks are holding a lot of bluefish now as well down here in Sussex county. The May The Fish Be With You Surf Fishing Tournament saw a good amount of bluefish caught.

One thing about these bluefish, and all bluefish but especially these skinny spring gators. They are feeding heavy, and food competition is a real deal when they are this hungry. Anglers are getting lines cut a lot and losing fish and gear. These fish will follow a caught fish and try to rip whatever is in that fish’s mouth out for food. They are fighting for that food, competition is fierce. If you aren’t using steel leaders you will lose gear. If you are using shiny leaders and swivels they will hit those and you will lose gear.

It barely takes a tap of a bluefish tooth to cut a line. If you are fishing a school fish the side of the school closest to you so you don’t have to drag a catch through a school of angry hungry fish with razor sharp teeth. The surf is easy fish close to the beach, not very far out.

You can take advantage of the food competition if you are fishing with friends, or people who are cool with this if you ask them first. We do this all of the time. When someone in your crew hooks up, cast near the fish they are retrieving, without interfering with their line and retrieve. Nine times out of 10 there are fish following that caught fish, trying to get their food (your lure). If you cast a plug, spoon, or bucktail near that fish the others following will hit your rig. Hold on too, that is one seriously hard hit, and a whole lot of fun!

The largest bluefish in the May The Fish Be With You Surf Fishing Tournament was caught by Stephen Storch near conquest beach. It was 33 inches measured to the fork.

Striped bass action great

Striped bass action has been great in the Delaware River up near Port Penn and Augustine area. Boats are having the best luck, but some anglers are hitting keepers from the banks. Bunker chunks have been the go-to bait. Big bass like bunker heads. They usually cherry pick the bluefish schools for food, and the only part the blues don’t eat are the heads. The bass love to gobble those up from below. Big bass (cows) are lazy, until you hook one up then it is 50 pounds of angry fish. I am talking the big fish, not the average keeper. There have been a few keeper bass caught off the Delaware beaches and Assateague Island beaches.

Black drum action is still hot and heavy at Broadkill Beach and other Delaware Bay beaches. The boats are now going out into the bay and catching. One thing. these big fish, like striped bass, need to be handled correctly if you are going to release them. Holding a 30-plus pound fish by the gill plate can kill it. I have seen a lot of fish handled wrong and there have been many dead drum found along Delaware Bay beaches this week. Those are the ones that make it to shore or are found.

Ted Proseus‎ with a big bluefish.

Surf fishing is producing its share of skates and dogfish. There are northern puffers out there as well. Everyone is throwing big bait for blues and striped bass. You can use top and bottom rigs for the little fish but the blues when they move in will destroy your gear. Keep a spoon at the ready on a good casting rod for that action too. I love catching big blues in 3-ounce silver gator spoons. The action is fun and the hit is nasty when they grab that spoon.

Flounder action heats up

Flounder action in the Lewes canal and inland bays is really picking up. Anglers are using pink Gulp, minnows or silversides. Drifting rigs along the bottom has been the best. You can also catch them in the surf jigging the cuts, and rip currents areas. Even Broadkill River and Canary Creek in the Lewes area are seeing some nice catches. Not surprising since those waterways are all connected at the Roosevelt Inlet.

Jason Gillespy‎ with a big drum from Broadkill Beach.

Crabbing is really picking up with trot lines, soaking pots, or hand lining form piers and boats. The pot poachers of Pot Nets are in full force too, don’t let your posts soak too long. Usually a left behind buoy and float with no pot is from a boat hitting the line, but not always. Make sure you have your turtle guards the diamond back terrapins are plentiful this year.

Freshwater fishing has been great in all the ponds and waterways. Nothing like a day of pond hopping and worm dangling. The fly fishing has been a lot of fun. There will be a fly fishing tournament in September at the beach in Cape Henlopen. That will be a lot of fun.

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

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