Bluefish all over, with other catches also picking up

By Rich King
Posted 5/8/24

The bluefish really showed up the last few days, but I wasn’t here. Sorry I missed you all last week. My arm was stuck in a cast, and I was buried in the mountains in cold fog and fish. Fishing …

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Bluefish all over, with other catches also picking up


The bluefish really showed up the last few days, but I wasn’t here. Sorry I missed you all last week. My arm was stuck in a cast, and I was buried in the mountains in cold fog and fish. Fishing started really early on our family lake in Connecticut. It was a great time.

The fish are waking up everywhere and on the move. This has been one hot spring so far. These heat waves, I am not ready for this at all. The water is cool though and that helps, especially at the beach. The bugs are bad, and the ticks are out. One would think it is summer already.

Bluefish made a huge appearance the other night at the beach and pier in Cape Henlopen State Park on the incoming tide. Then the next night was a total skunk showing. The first night there were maybe 50 people out there, the next night nearly 200 by the evening. There were boats, kayaks, surf anglers, wading anglers, pier anglers and fly anglers, with plenty of passersby and people just checking out if anything was happening on the pier.

Despite very few fish showing that night, it was quite the show above water when the beach got crowded. “We were here first” was said more than once between two of only four boats on the water. The pier rats were all chuckling. To them this is a little amateur hour — the people not used to the water there, or how the fish move along the beach and pier structure. Everyone standing in the water is in the way of the fish, for starters. The boats are parked on top of the fish and should be farther out, casting into the fish, same for the kayaks, while shore anglers cast out to the fish from dry sand. Usually with the experienced anglers this is a graceful dance between lines. Instead, everyone wss trying to pile up in the same area the fish run through and along the entire beach.

If you fill in that area with people and boats, the fish just move along elsewhere. That night apparently, many moved into the Broadkill River via the Roosevelt Inlet after exploring Lewes beach, because that action blew up a little.

Bluefish are pretty much all over the place. Tylar Graden said, “The blues were tailing last night, and the action was on fire. Tonight, it is dead. Tomorrow night? Who knows, it’s fishing.”

Black drum and migratory striped bass along Assateague Island’s beaches has been decent action on both Maryland and Virginia sides. The gator bluefish are down there as well and as far up as Long Beach Island in Jersey. So are the striped bass. Black drum action has picked up in the Delaware Bay on the coral beds and along the beaches for surf anglers, both the Delaware and Jersey sides. The bugs are vicious already, so take your bug juice by the gallon. Summer is trying to show up early and mess up our fishing.

This spring has been a lot of fun so far for many anglers. It’s great to see all of this action in the surf. Sand fleas with sand flea Fishbites formula has been a bait of choice. Clams are another favorite of anglers for drum and bass. With crabs, use half a peeler or cut it up and use the knuckles for bait. It’s funny, but most people won’t use a crab for bait. They would rather eat the crab. I get that, and so do the fish. Fishbites blue crab formula has also been on point. Then you can still eat your crabs and catch your fish, too.

Fly anglers are gathering at the pier beaches and fishing the high tides in the evenings. If you are looking to get into fly fishing, that is a great way to network with fellow fly anglers for fishing the salt. The pier beaches and all Delaware Bay beaches offer a calm setting for fly fishing. The ocean beaches are fun, but fly fishing in waves is tiring. The bay beach action is relaxing. Any fishing trip can be whatever you want it to be as far as the amount of work you will be putting in to catch. Most trips are never about the catch.

I always love a good fishing trip. You just never know what is going to happen. Annual trips are fun because it is different very year.

The sun cracked the sky, but we didn’t see it while in the river. Fishing the Farmington for trout was cold, but a little action. The reward was watching the river and valley come to life for another fog-filled rainy day. You can’t pick your weather, but you can just go fish and deal with the conditions. Then it’s back to the lake to hunt bass in the kayaks. We drove away from a hot sunny beach with fish, into the cold, rainy mountains.

This annual trip gets different weather each year. We open up the family cabin in the mountains and then fish the rest of the day. If the weather and fishing is favorable, we suddenly can’t come back for a few days. We can’t even see across the water, but I think the car just broke down, and the part won’t be here for a few days. ... Five days later, I just got back in town. It’s time to get out and catch one of these bluefish and make some dip.

I made a mullet rig out of a mannequin head — they really need to stop leaving me unsupervised in the tackle warehouse. I’m going to need about eight pounds of lead to hold it down.

The weekends are looking decent weatherwise for fishing. Honestly, the worse the weather, the less competition. Fish don’t mind getting wet again.

The water is still chilly, be careful in kayaks and small boats. Wear your waders in the surf if out for long periods. And always wear your PFD in a boat.

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