This has been a beautiful week to fish and just be outdoors, not too hot and not too chilly until the evenings. The early mornings are much cooler and it is glorious. Hoodie weather for the first few hours of the morning is here. It’s much better than waking up and it is so humid out your clothes stick to you and the sun isn’t even up yet.
The cooler nights will help cool the waters off, eventually triggering the fall fish to start getting ready for a move. In the meantime, we have plenty of summer fish here to catch.
Sheepshead have been caught all around the inland bays and the inlets on structure. Maryland just had a new state record sheepshead caught. They are hitting sand fleas mostly and green crabs. Most shops are starting to carry green crabs. Sand fleas are still abundant in the surf and great bait for every species of fish.
The Cape Henlopen fishing pier has seen a fair share of sheepshead and black drum this past week. There are still some decent flounder catches daily. All the small summer fish, especially spot, are all around the pier, and croaker on occasion.
Trigger are still around the inlets, wrecks and reefs. It’s nice to see more and more of those each year. They are a great meal, just annoying to clean. Use a box razor knife to precut the skin and scales then follow in with a filet knife. This will keep your filet knife from getting instantly dull on that tough skin.
A kayak angler caught a tarpon in the Virginia back bays. That is a bucket list fish for me to catch in the back bays. It would be real fun on a fly rod but that was a 105-pound fish. I couldn’t use my regular fly rod. Now I have to buy more gear.
If you are a fly angler, A Marblehead Flyfisher is closing for retirement. Check the shop out for deals as Terry closes. It’s a shame to see Delaware’s only fly fishing shop close, but congrats on your retirement Terry. Now maybe you will have more time to fish.
Flounder action all around the waterways is still decent for this time of year, drifting in boats, fishing the rips in the surf or fly fishing the flats. The creeks and jetties have flounder along the edges hunting for bait. It’s fun watching a little flounder follow your bucktail in when jigging the marsh banks.
We are still seeing decent weakfish catches around the Delaware Bay and ocean beaches and structure fishing. Bowers Beach is seeing a nice variety of fish from the river, jetty, inlet and the beaches. There are a lot of options in a small area. That little town dock is fun to fish from for shorts (small striped bass). The boat ramp areas and jetty are full of structure. The bay beaches are long and shallow but fun to wade and fly fish.
There’s a stormy weekend inbound and it will be right nautical, especially on Saturday. Granted, weather changes every 15 minutes around here, but this storm offshore will send us surge no matter its position.
Plan ahead for any trips this weekend, and skip the boats. There are plenty of places to fish rough water from land without walking a beach. Expect to see drive-on access closed on the weekend at some point. These days, it is better to close off the drive-on beaches, due to all the storm tourists. Actual surf anglers rarely drive out onto flooded beaches, we know better. By the way, this doesn’t mean the beaches are closed. You can still walk out onto a closed drive-on beach.
The piers are seeing decent action, as are the inlets. These will be good options for fishing the storm-surge weather. There are many cool places to fish from land. Do some exploring, you might be surprised. Finding an out-of-the-way place to fish is rewarding. There are many places that rarely see more than two people all day. You just have to find them. The ponds are always an option to fish a little sweet water.
Ribbonfish are still a hot catch for offshore anglers. It makes for a great day to make up any skunks on other species. Tuna and the usual suspects are still out there in force. The weather has been the issue, including this coming weekend.
If you are getting ready for striped bass season and need a lot of bunker, get up with the Bowers Bayside Bait and Tackle crew. They are out almost daily pulling nets. There’s nothing like chunking fresh bunker from land or boat. Then again, I have seen some large bass caught using old smelly half-rotten bunker. That works great for catfish, too. Like me with aged cheese, maybe some fish have their flavor preferences. I bought some real Brie cheese in France once that cleared the room. They don’t call it green cheese for nothing — I turned three shades. I instantly thought of that time the bait cooler full of bunker was left out in the sun for a week. It tasted great — the cheese not the bunker.
Check with your local bait shops for their fall hours. Stores will be changing those up soon. Check with them for gift cards for the coming holidays, too. When I hear people complain shops don’t always have fresh bait, I can’t help wonder where are you shopping when they do? One of the issues for shops is keeping fresh bait turned over in sales. Most have to deal with die-off — that costs money, and eats the profit. Many sell the bait barely above costs already, just to get you in the door to make money off the gear you might happen to purchase. Bait and tackle is in the title of those shops, not just bait.
Get gift cards for your angler friends that they can use for bait through the coming season. Put a gift card to your local bait shop for your bait needs on your gift want list. A hundred bucks in bait can go a long way in a season.