Pick a tide and it will produce some type of catch

By Rich King
Posted 6/12/24

Here comes the heat! At least we have had some great cool breezes during the days and cool mornings and evenings. It’s summertime. The June bugs are emerging and heading to the beaches. There …

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Pick a tide and it will produce some type of catch


Here comes the heat! At least we have had some great cool breezes during the days and cool mornings and evenings. It’s summertime. The June bugs are emerging and heading to the beaches. There are a lot of fun events every weekend now all over Delmarva. The fishing is picking up for summer fish and some new arrivals. It’s been an all-around good start to the season for many anglers and outdoorsy folks. That heat is coming soon enough, and my A/C is ready. When it gets too hot, we will switch to predawn or night fishing. In the meantime, let’s see what’s been happening.

Spot made a strong showing all along the Delaware Bay beaches and the Cape Henlopen fishing pier. They are decent sizes for bait and the table. Fishbites bloodworms red or chartreuse colored long-lasting flavor has been doing well filling coolers. Kingfish are hitting in the surf on all Delaware and Maryland beaches. There were some large ones from Assateague a few days ago. Kingfish tacos or just pan seared in a little butter, or try sesame oil — so good! Use the same bait — bloodworms or Fishbites bloodworms. The spot are in close to the surf with the kingfish as well. Croaker are also around. They are small but abundant catches as far up as Augustine Beach if not further by now. It depends on the salt line location. It’s all salty down here.

Black drum have been dwindling. There are some red drum around as well. You can find red drum in the slot sizes all summer, you just have to explore a little and look for fish tailing. Clam is always good bait — fresh is better but salted works well, too. Peeler crabs and sand fleas are excellent bait. The big bull reds love kingfish heads or chunks of kingfish. Drum eating drum, because nature is chaotic and violent but it is beautiful.

A cobia was landed in the surf last weekend. They are a little early but so is everything else. It’s nice to see such a variety of fish around. Summer has arrived but she can slow her roll, I’d like to enjoy her a little.

The first thresher of the season was brought into a marina, and tuna are being landed offshore farther south.

Indian River Inlet has a mixed bag of action. Pick a tide and it will produce.
Bluefish are still around but that gator action is dropping off. The summer snappers are making an appearance here and there. Random action I hope to see continue all summer. It’s fun just throwing spoons on light gear for snapper bluefish. A fin fight and the perfect sized blue for the table.

Flounder action has been great around the Cape Henlopen fishing pier, inland bays, ocean beaches, the canals, and the Delaware Bay. A lot of small fish are inland. Pop-tarts, as we call them, for days. Anglers are picking through a couple dozen fish for a keeper, especially now that the creel limit has changed up to 17.5 inches. There are plenty of little fish around the inland bays while you are flounder pounding. Use those small spot to catch big flounder.

There is a new regulation for bait finfish and invasive species. Without getting into a ton of details, trust me, this is a good thing. It gives DNREC the tools they need to regulate and enforce keeping finfish infected with invasive species out of our waterways. The life cycles of many invasives or pathogens involve the guts of a fish. Pathogens are excreted by the fish and which lifeform of the pathogen depends on the fish. In other words, the fish could be harboring eggs or larvae of say an invasive mollusk. Knowing said fish from X waterway is infected with Y pathogen, the regulation authorizes DNREC to not allow that finfish into our state or waterways and can enforce the regulation with fines through legislated law. This is literally what they are supposed to be doing but we didn’t have any regulations for them to use to prevent this kind of issue.

Sharks are around in more numbers. Be careful handling the prohibited ones. The best rule if you can’t identify a shark: If you don’t know, let it go.

Crabbing has been excellent but still a little small, so give them a couple weeks or crab where the housing communities are not located. Trot lines are producing well. Mind your shellfish temperatures. Vibrio is ever present. Keep your clams or oysters cool on ice around or under 50 degrees. That keeps the vibrio from blooming which can give you food poisoning. Clamming has been decent in the summer season open areas.

Action up at Bowers Beach has been good for flounder, weakfish and spot. Check out the crew at Bowers Bait and Kayak rentals, they can point you in the right direction. In the Leipsic area, if you are in the market for DS Custom Tackle check out Smith’s Bait and Tackle.
Check out Cape Water Tours and Taxi out of Lewes. This year the East End Lighthouse is open for tours.

On June 15, there is a youth fishing Derby at the Assateague State Park Day Use Beach from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Contact the park for details; that is the Maryland State Park side not the national.

The Cape Henlopen State Park fishing pier is closed in several places and more of the end was closed Tuesday. I spent an hour out there with many of the pier rats Wednesday and everyone is visibly upset about this closure. There are now square sections in the middle closed off. The golf cart can’t be used to take out the elderly and handicapped. Small sections are closed here and there until you get out to the “new” end. Nearly 200 feet of the end of the pier is now closed. There are at least four rotted-through boards on the way out. I watched a kid almost lose a foot in one of those. Meanwhile, DNREC will deflect to the shoaling in around the Harbor of Safe Refuge beaches that will make it unusable in the future. So will doing nothing to upkeep said structure, but who wants to split hairs.

I think that 20% you’re taking from the pier shop could be backed off to like maybe 5% until the pier is a hundred percent, too. When the biggest seller in a pier bait shop is ice cream, something is broken.

One thing I do want to know — I saw a guy out there for a full 24 hours with a generator and grill. I had no idea we could set up tents and camp out on the pier, too, which took 40 feet of rail for themselves. Also we are going to apply for an RFP to have cage matches in those two squared-off closed sections. Maybe we can raise enough money to build a new pier. It would be like a bake sale but more fun.

Get out and fish! Put out a line for everything or just fish for the little summer fish in the surf and waterways. Sharks are hitting cut bait and the like. That is one beauty of using Fishbites. It tends to keep the scavenger catch ratio low compared to cut bait such as squid or fish.

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