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Vol 49 | Num 6 | Jun 5, 2024

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Delaware Report

Article by Capt. BJ Pietryak

This past week in Delaware we saw some really nice days with temperatures in the mid to upper 70s and lighter winds. The sea bass on the wrecks and coral grounds has still been inconsistent to say the least. Many anglers are reporting limits with as many anglers reporting only a few keepers. The surf is still very active with big drum, reds, bluefish, and even big stripers. Back bays are warming up and small flounder are around the inlet and ditches.

Nearshore Wrecks & Coral Grounds

The nearshore fishing on a whole has been daily consistent. Some big early season flounder are being caught both off the wrecks as well as on the coral grounds near A and B buoy. Long strips of squid are the number one producer of these early fluke. The squid is working best when tipped onto a bucktail, however the traditional flounder rigs with squid are also producing well. Gulp baits are doing fair and should really start producing better as the water temps get closer to the 70 degree mark. Sea bass has been very spotty this early summer with many anglers reporting the fish are only biting during a small time window of the day and then reluctant to bite a hook no matter the bait that is used. I am hearing from many anglers that small jigs are working best for catching the big knotheads. When using these smaller jigs a light line with a test of around 10-15 lbs is needed to prevent these jigs from scoping out too much and getting snagged on the bottom. Carl Gutberlett was out last weekend and landed a few decent sea bass along with a keeper flounder. He fished clam and squid on an Aqua Clear rig. “Bad Wind Charters” was out in the ocean this week and reported some decent catches of sea bass. They reported the sonar showed tons of fish on the spots but just couldn't get them fired up to bite. The crew of Jene, Brock, Jim and John managed to bring home fish for dinner, just not the freezer filling trips we are used to this time of the year. Mike Hammer along with AJ and Chad went out for sea bass had a nice catch of the black beauties. The crew also brought home a bonus of 6 flounder, with the largest at 7.2 pounds. The flounder bite has really turned on in the nearshore area early this year. Just a reminder as of June 1st, the new size limit for flounder is 17.5 inches. “On Delivery Sportfishing” was out on the Old Grounds and hooked up their clients with a nice cooler full of flatfish along with some sea bass. The crew was all thumbs up at the fillet table at Lewes Harbour Marina upon their return. David Quigley returned to Indian River Inlet with 13 sea bass up to 15 inches. John Coffiey checked into Hook’Em & Cook’Em Bait & Tackle out of Indian River Marina with 35 sea bass and a cooler full of flounder up to 25 inches. He said it was a picky bite, but they kept grinding and it paid off.

Surf Fishing

Surf fishing has remained very strong with big rockfish, reds and drum being pulled onto the beach. Bluefish, although not as numerous, are still around with a few nice slammers thrown in the catch. Most anglers are fishing a 2 rod set up. One rod is baited with a mullet rig while the other has a circle hook and either clam or sand fleas and Fish Bites. Stanley Chaplinski was out Tuesday morning and pulled in an 18 inch bluefish along with a few skates, and a 16.6” flounder. Stanley was fishing at 3Rs beach using squid. Richard Lebow caught a big bluefish off the surf using a red high-low rig. Khaliq Still managed to find his dinner Thursday eve when he hooked into a bluefish. Richard Wagner caught 2 fish while fishing Fenwick Beach. Rich used cut spot on a DS Custom float. Chris Connolly was at York Beach Crossover and landed a nice bluefish. It is good to see these blues hanging around despite the warmer water. Steve Bleiler was at 3Rs and landed a 34” blue on a mullet rig. He said this fish put up one heck of a fight. Rich Wagner scored a big blue at Fenwick Beach using a top and bottom rig tipped with cut spot. Josh Barfied reported watching a few redfish get pulled from the surf. He said despite his hard effort he had to be different and only pulled in bluefish. The following day he finally got to hook one of these overslot redfish. This was his first ever red from the beach. We see a lot of redfish south of Delaware but the past couple of years we are seeing more in our own backyard. Clam, finger mullet, cut bait and fish bites are all good baits for these hard fishing fish.

Back Bays & Inlet

The back bays and inlet are still producing some decent catches of bluefish wandering into the bay for a quick meal. Flounder catches have started to increase with bigger fish being caught both at the inlet as well as Massey’s Ditch. Richard Hanna caught a 33 inch blue at the inlet on the end of the outgoing tide. The big fish hit a pink Mister Twister paired with a minnow.

The Delaware Bay is still producing big spawning black drum. Kevin Graybill reported his friend Brody Naranjo checked the black drum box on Friday while fishing the coral ground at the mouth of the bay. DNREC even made a safety check of their vessel. Keven said they were very friendly and did their job quickly. Jim checked into Cape Henlopen Bait & Tackle with a limit of flatfish he had caught in the bay. Great job getting a limit this early in the year. Ryan Leonardo fished the Lewes canal this past Saturday and returned home with 2 keeper fish. It would seem the canal has calmed down after all the boats fishing the Lewes Canal tournament.

Crabs & Clams

Crabbing was on fire this week with my pots yielding 12-14 keepers per pot. Several keeper crabs were released with us keeping only large or jumbo crabs. Mullet is still the prime bait. Clamming is starting to heat up with claims closer to the sand surface and easier to rake up.

Till next week...
Tight Lines and Fins Up §

Coastal Fisherman Merch
CF Merch



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