In the midst of the summer-fall fish transition

By Rich King
Posted 10/21/21

Nothing like a quick reminder it is actually fall — loving these temperature drops. I need a frost or four to destroy these chiggers, but they have calmed down a bit, or they have more hunters …

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In the midst of the summer-fall fish transition

Posted

Nothing like a quick reminder it is actually fall — loving these temperature drops. I need a frost or four to destroy these chiggers, but they have calmed down a bit, or they have more hunters to chew up instead of just me.

The fish are reacting as usual to the lower temperatures. We still have the summer fish here, but not for long at this rate. Get that in while you can.

Now we are in a contest to see who folds and turns on their heat first. The Buck Stove is ready for winter, all cleaned up and ready to heat the shop. Now I just have to spend a few weeks chopping wood when we aren’t surf fishing.

I haven’t seen any more Delaware bull red drum, but Assateague is still producing a few here and there. That run will end soon, too. There is still a chance to hook up on a bull red — you just never know — but you have to put in some time.

Migratory striped bass will be incoming, but who knows how well to our coast. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission met Wednesday to decide on options for striped bass regulations. I hear moratorium might be an option.

Meanwhile I am having fun hammering short bass on ultralight gear around the inland bays. The creeks and rivers up north are producing a lot of action around structure, rips and bridges. Coast-wide, we should be allowed to keep the smaller ones, which are mostly males. That would help fix the fishery, but no one likes to talk about not allowing targeting the big striped bass. Fishery science is such a circus to follow.

White Clay was stocked with rainbow trout, just in time for some fall fishing. Fish in a barrel is always fun.

Surf fishing has been hit or miss. The bluefish are small but abundant on most days. I mean small, little eight-inch cocktail blues up to the 16-inch snappers if you are lucky. Mullet rigs have done well for blues, as well as spoons and silver stingers. Just look for a school to pass by and start casting.

The short bass are schooling up and more are moving into the surf to feed. Sand fleas are still abundant but that will end soon.

Spot are way up the river for some reason and in some places I’ve never seen them before. We also have an abundance of Atlantic white shrimp in a few places. I’m catching shrimp cocktails by the bucketful with a cast net, not just around Delaware inland bay waters, but down into Virginia, too.

A lot of little blue runners caught in the surf are being mistaken for Jacks. There are still pompano around, too. Fishbites is still working, but the water is in the mid- to low 60s. Flounder are hitting along the surf more as well, fattening up and feeding heavy for the offshore migration.

Hit up the charters and head boats for some last-minute flounder for the year. Maybe start looking for some striped bass trips in the Chesapeake. Soon Delaware boats will head to Jersey to hit the striped bass migration. Maybe we will see a little action in our waters this year. Tautog has been a popular target and, of course, the offshore usual suspects.

We are really into the summer-fall fish transition, so gear accordingly. The water is warmer than the air and it feels good for now.