Warmer waters can bring tropical fish to Delaware

By Rich King
Posted 8/4/22

Summertime is almost ending; it is already August. Woohoo! The Point opens soon! Every serious surf angler just loves that area for many different reasons. Fly anglers (me) like the bayside flats. …

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Warmer waters can bring tropical fish to Delaware


Summertime is almost ending; it is already August. Woohoo! The Point opens soon! Every serious surf angler just loves that area for many different reasons. Fly anglers (me) like the bayside flats. The Point has a variety of structure to fish. The scenery is amazing and it’s just a really nice place to surf fish, especially overnighters. I can’t wait to rig up and “drift” the point, from land. This requires a weekday of no one out there in the way and a long, light surf rod. My Tsunami Airwave works well and my Ticas.

That heat wave backed off, and brought some pompano with it. They have been few and far between but are showing up in the surf in Delaware and Assateague. The majority of pompano are still south below Chincoteague. There are still red drum being caught at Assateague. Action all summer that has everyone confused, but we will take it.

The summer slot striped bass season lasts until Aug. 31. There have been some decent slot striped bass in the Lewes canal, Broadkill River, Roosevelt Inlet, Delaware Bay and beach areas and the Cape Henlopen fishing pier. The Lewes canal is legal, as a tributary from the Kings Highway bridge to the Roosevelt Inlet. Some would argue this is bad for striped bass. I personally think it is fine, these are mostly male fish and will not harm the population much at all. Besides, Delaware barely counts in the grand scheme of East Coast catch numbers, recreational and commercial.

The surf has been decent action for all the summer fish — spot, kingfish, croaker, sand perch, weakfish and now pompano — all on the smaller hook rigs; top and bottom, spot and kingfish rigs. Bloodworms are tough to find most weekends, so lug or sand worms work well. Fishbites bloodworm formulas, shrimp, crab or clam works well, too. Using squid works, as well, and small pieces of shrimp. Salt the shrimp the night before so the meat is tougher and stays on the hook better or longer. The only downside to cut squid is it attracts more scavengers, skates, etc.

Flounder action has been much better offshore for keepers compared to inshore which is typical of this area. The inland bays produce but there are many a throwback for that keeper. Same with the beaches and flats areas.

Don Weber said, “The sign at Lighthouse View Bait & Tackle said there was good fishing with bloodworms and Fishbites. Oh, and using DS Custom Tackle top and bottom rigs. Took their advice and BOOM! Happy boys today. They caught 13 fish total, Chase caught 9 and LJ caught 4.”

Good to see these kids having a blast catching fish. That is what it is all about, and a great way to teach kids to have respect for the outdoors and wildlife. Fishing will increase a child’s interest in the outdoors, especially when they are catching.

The offshore action for tuna, mahi, etc., has been great. The weekdays are much less crowded for better action, it seems.
The White Marlin Open is going to crank up soon. OCMD is all abuzz since the GOAT is in town to fish it again. The boat Catch 23 arrived this week. Yes, Michael Jordan is fishing the White Marlin Open again.

The cobia action is picking up offshore and from the beaches. I am seeing more and more caught each year. A byproduct of increasing temperatures is more tropical fish migrating farther north each season. As that increases, those school numbers increase. Years ago, it was the occasional pompano catch in late summer, now we target them as early as June some years.

You can find all kinds of wild tropical fish in our inland bays. Run a seine net, you will be amazed at what you catch. Angelfish, butterfly fish and all kinds of tropical reef fish. These don’t migrate up here, they come up with warm water from the Gulf Stream and storms. Most will not survive the temperature change in winter unless they get lucky and find a warm water outfall to hang around.

It is a great way to stock a saltwater fish tank. I have a ton of cool stuff in my tanks I have found in our waters over the years.

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