The weather/fishing guessing game continues

By Rich King
Posted 10/18/23

The weather/fishing guessing game continues Guess the weather this weekend. Are you even surprised there might be a wee bit of a coastal storm, snotty to right nautical? That’s good, though, …

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The weather/fishing guessing game continues


The weather/fishing guessing game continues
Guess the weather this weekend. Are you even surprised there might be a wee bit of a coastal storm, snotty to right nautical? That’s good, though, because striped bass love rough, nasty surf with overcast horrible weather. I don’t, but they do.

The Atlantic striped bass fall migration just went off in northern Jersey from the beaches to the boats. This will move down the coast slowly to just pass us by or drop by. That remains to be seen but we can guess easily enough.

Consistent striped bass action in Delaware is pretty much the schooling shorts, but year-round. Before the fall and spring runs, the fish school up more and feed. Some join that migration, some do not and remain resident fish for life. That’s where our large resident bass catching comes in, but finding them is half the battle.

Our resident striped bass are doing their school up and feast thing. They are moving from the creeks and rivers into the bays and then into the surf zones, mostly around structure, such as the Indian River Inlet, but eventually just moving up and down the beaches with the tides, feeding and hunting.

Right now, the marinas we aren’t allowed to fish are loaded with schooling striped bass under the lights. These fish are here year-round, but a lot more now. Boo on the no fishing. For an area that thrived on fishing combined with agriculture back in the day, we should have more fishing areas and accesses, not less. Anyway, find some lights with moving water, and you’re going to have some fun. You can add light yourself now that is legal in Delaware. It takes a minute but light attracts bait fish, shrimp and small squid. Then the predators take an interest. Larger striped bass will move through a lighted area but mostly they sit outside of it in the dark looking for food.

Don’t forget the marsh banks and moving tidal water. Bait drains out of the grass.

Bluefish have been very random to nonexistent. There have been a lot caught in the OBX the past few days. The red drum action up here has been slow at Assateague. Put in the time, you may or may not catch. It is fishing, if you don’t enjoy the process, you’re gonna hate waiting for a specific catch. Some of the summer suspects are still around, even sharks.

Bait shops have off hours in the fall due to the slow season and, well, some of them actually like to go fishing. “Hey you guys, wanna go see if these hooks are sharp and these worms work?” is usually the last thing you hear. The off season, though slow, is often welcome for activities. “If I’m not going to sell bait and tackle, I may as well go use some and fill the freezer.”

Speckled trout is the next target around the inland bays. The tautog action in the inlets has been great but there are a lot of throwbacks. Sheepshead are still around the inlets. Sand fleas have been the bait of choice but green crabs are working well, too. Green crabs are also great for striped bass in the surf.

Triggers, sea bass, bluefish, croaker and trout are still being caught around wrecks and reefs by the offshore anglers. The problem has been all the small craft advisories. Nautical weekends force weekday fishing trips. Your employee isn’t sick today, they’re out fishing.

Spot are in the surf still and around the back bays and creeks with the white perch and short striped bass. These weekend weather events are making for off fishing, dropping temperatures. That is one reason everyone suspects the red drum bite is off. They are mostly offshore and on the move, hardly coming into the beaches. A lot of anglers that usually catch multiple fish are not seeing action.

A Marblehead Flyfisher in Centreville is closing soon — the only fly fishing shop in Delaware. Terry Peach, the owner, is retiring the shop, not his wands. He is having an everything-must-go sale at upwards of 75%. Now I have to go buy more fly fishing stuff, that I’ll probably never use. I’ll put it next to all this other fishing junk — you get it. See you at the sale.

In fishery news, Maryland DNR has a few new regulations being scoped. One involves the recreational taking of menhaden or bunker. Apparently there isn’t actually a recreational take regulation for this so they have to create one because technically it isn’t legal with the current language. Weird, I know. Or I read this wrong: “The Department is considering clearly allowing the recreational harvest of Atlantic menhaden. This change is necessary because when the Department originally declared Atlantic menhaden as ‘In Need of Conservation’ and adopted regulations for their commercial harvest, it was overlooked that the authority that was used made it so that harvest was only allowed under rules that explicitly allowed the activity.”

Maryland DNR has a page on their website, Changes To Fishing Regulations, with everything they are working on, and the list is long and involved. There are a lot of things going on over there on the daily. They have neat educational displays traveling the state right now, too.
Trout stocking season in Maryland is a constant activity and updated weekly. Anglers can look online (search Maryland trout stocking), subscribe to an email newsletter or call 800-688-3467 and press option No. 1 for a weekly update, new on Fridays.

From DNREC: “Christina River Boat Ramp on Churchmans Road Closed Temporarily to Recreational Activities for Water Main Repair — The DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife cooperatively manages the Churchmans Road boat ramp and adjacent parking lot with Artesian for recreational activities. Anglers, boaters and waterfowl hunters who need to launch a boat in the area can alternatively use the Newport boat ramp on Thoms Way in Newport.” They said to expect this to take about six to eight weeks.

The Garrisons Lake aluminum fishing pier on the north side of the lake was to close Monday, Oct. 16, for repairs after having been damaged by a fallen tree during a recent storm, the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife announced. Repairs are expected to be complete by the end of the week but are weather dependent. Garrisons Lake’s south boat ramp, pond and shoreline fishing will remain open while repairs are made to the pier.

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