Flounder action has increased significantly at the inlet thanks to lead heads laced with white gulp fished tight to rocks with lead heads laced with white glass. Small striped bass has also been caught during daytime incoming tides while decent-sized sheepshead is taken at Masseys Landing and Bowers Beach using a cut bunker.
3Rs and Fenwick 44WDramps are currently open; all other ramps remain closed until further notice.
Kevin Lattin from Lewes caught his first 5 pound kingfish using bloodworm off of Indian River Inlet’s North Jetty Sunday morning to mark its arrival. Billy Windley managed to catch a seven-pound kingfish by fishing for bloodworm at North Bethany’s South Jetty Sunday evening. On Sunday afternoon at Cape Henlopen Beach, two kingfish were seen off the shore. Carter O’Day reported eating-size spots from bloodworm fishing, while Claude Davis managed a 7.25-pound area! The snook bite remains strong along the beaches and inlets, with occasional sightings of tarpon mixed in. Jetty fishermen inlets have caught some rockfish, while the black sea bass winter season reopened on November 1. This should spur more action for anglers looking to hook some bass.
Indian River Inlet and Ocean City’s inlet rocks have produced sheepshead, with sand fleas as an effective bait. While most surf fishing action consists of small kingfish, croakers, and bluefish, keeper-sized stripers have been mixed in. Meanwhile, Bay flounder are coming in strong for those fishing drifting minnows or squid on tandem bucktail rigs.
Tuna fishing remains excellent in both nearshore wrecks, rocky areas, and deeper canyons out of the Inlet, often yielding bigeye, yellowfin tuna, and dolphinfish (Mahi-mahi). Wahoos are occasionally seen out there, too!
Mullet runs are still not at full strength, but small pods of mullets have begun showing up in the surf at Indian River Inlet and Sebastian, drawing attention from Snook, Spanish Mackerel, and even some tarpon in the evenings in both inlets; those latter also tend to frequent Stuart or Jensen Beach jetties and bridges for shelter from predators like Snook or Mackerel.
Tautog, commonly known as blackfish, is one of our region’s most sought-after bottom fish species. Renowned for being hard-fighting yet delicious to eat, these structure-oriented creatures seek areas offering protection from predators and easy access to crabs and crustaceans as prey – often finding refuge amidst rocks during times of high current before emerging later to feed when tide conditions permit.
Finding tautog requires looking for areas such as rock ledges, natural reefs and wrecks; man made structures like pilings, bridge and dock pilings, jetty rocks, or seawalls may also produce fish; anchoring tends to be more productive when fishing deeper waters with stronger currents than drifting; most anglers set their anchor up-tide and work as close as possible to structures. GPS trolling motors greatly aid this practice, allowing anglers to more precisely pinpoint where their anchor placement needs to be placed when fishing for tautog fish!
As with most bottom fish, tautog are highly sensitive to bait presentations. Brightly-colored lures can quickly draw away their attention; therefore, opting for dark or natural colors that blend in with surrounding structures when fishing for these fish is wiser. Furthermore, many anglers prefer braided line over monofilament because of its greater sensitivity and lack of stretch; however, this comes at the cost of potentially being caught by sharp rocks that can cut your line if caught up.
Tautog fishing requires a medium action spinning or conventional rod equipped with a 20-30 pound test line, typically coupled with a medium action spinning reel equipped with a smooth drag. A 3/0 to 5/0 hook targets various baits such as sand fleas, bloodworms, whole or half green crabs (rock or hermit crabs), conch pieces, or cracked clams. A strong reel, such as one from the 4000-series reel series, should also be chosen because of its durability.
Reports of small to mid-size stripers in the bay and surrounding the Inlet have been positive, hitting bucktails, spoons, and plugs with success right after sunrise and at night. Unfortunately, due to hot weather and boat traffic, the Inlet has been slower recently, but some excellent sheepshead catches have been reported daytime incoming tides near rockpiles or jetties both within the Bay and the Inlet itself.
Flounder fishing has been very productive on the beach and nearshore ocean structures, with some impressive catch rates on wrecks and reefs and inshore wrecks and reefs. Many over 5 pounds were caught during Paradise Grill Bay’s only flounder tournament on Saturday alone! In addition, reports are coming in of flounder fishing from Dewey Beach through Fenwick with words of flounder hitting shad, croakers, striped bass, and some occasional keepers.
Summer Snapper Blues have been providing some quality slammers as well. These fish have been biting on mullet rigs, bucktails, and plugs alike, with larger ones typically coming in between 10-12 pounds and smaller ones being 5-6.
Dirty water may be holding back our bite, which may prevent fish from feeding as quickly as possible. Hopefully, it will clear soon so they can return to work!
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The flounder bite has slowed this week but should pick back up as the season winds down. The Inlet remains productive, with snapper blues being caught during daytime incoming tide and some Spanish mackerel bites at night; sheepshead are moving through, as well as some tautog saw using bucktails baited with Gulp or minnows and squid for bottom fishing; on the beach are some kingfish and blues with some nice size croakers being caught as well.
Some decent-sized flounder are being caught in both nearshore coral/grass beds and in 90-plus feet of water, particularly near Old Grounds and east of Inlet and Cape Henlopen Pier. Drum action remains strong on local wrecks and reefs; black drums are possible if given enough time and structure nearshore with nearshore grass clumps to work them up.
This weekend marks the 17th Annual Delaware Mobile Surf Fishermen’s Flounder Bay Tournament!! This tournament will begin on Saturday at 6 a.m. in Youth Camp 3 at Cape Henlopen State Park. Entry fees for anglers ages 16 and up are $50, with cash prizes awarded to the first three places, trophies to the top 20 finishers, and raffles throughout the day! For more information, please visit the DMS Surf Fishing Tournament website, where public attendance is welcome!! Good luck this weekend, and thanks!