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Vol 49 | Num 4 | May 22, 2024

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Delaware Report

Article by Capt. BJ Pietryak

Last week in Delaware, the waters gave us rough seas and high winds. Sea bass season opened on the 15th but I was unable to find any boats that made it out for a successful opening day. Rough seas and finicky fish made it a bust all throughout the area. The surf is still very much our savior with big rockfish, blues and large black drum.

Back Bays & Inlets

A few nice flounder are starting to come in off the rocks in Indian River along with the usual big blues. Sea trout are also coming in. Elenterio Abreu caught the biggest sea trout we have seen this year while fishing the inlet. The fat 14 inch, 5.2 lb. fish was enough to earn him a citation and his name on our current leader board for heaviest weakfish to date. Great job!

The Cape Henlopen Pier has been a constant producer of quality fish last week. Taiwan took advantage of it and landed 6 of these hard hitters. He released all but one which he brought home for fish dip. Kevin Blouch fished the pier and caught 3 big blues. The fish were checked in at Lewes Harbour Marina. The pier produced for James Jones who caught a big 9.2 lb., 33” blue using a finger mullet. Frank Spence checked in to LHM with a 26 inch black drum caught in the bay. He reported the fish was caught using a hi-lo rig with clam strips. He also landed a 20 “ striper. The big girls are finally starting to show up for the spawn. Indian River near Massey ditch is producing some big blues on an incoming tide. Alan Beck states if you hit the tide at the right moment, the blitz is still on. The Lewes Harbour Marina Canal Flounder Tournament was held this last Friday. Over 500 anglers entered the tournament and the canal was loaded with anglers looking for the prized flatties. A few big fluke were caught, although many anglers reported the fishing was really tough. First place was taken by Freddy Wilkerson at 5.69 lbs., Chad Mitchell was second at 3.73 lbs. and Herbie Richards placed 3rd at 3.54 lbs. Renee Hartman was the Top Lady Angler with a 2.12 lb. fish and Colton Hartman was the Kid's winner at 2.06 lbs.

Nearshore Wrecks & Reefs

Sea bass season usually inundates me with more reports than I can fit into my article. This year however, due to rough seas and dirty water, not many reports of sea bass are coming in. For those that did venture out for the black beauties, the going was rough and the fish were very picky about biting a hook. The Lewes Tog Club reported a good trip last week with almost 25-30 throwbacks along with some nice keepers. Bruce Carlton along with Dr. Keith started out slow but picked up as the tide changed. They reported catching sea bass including a big 17” one.
Unfortunately this was the day before opening season so all fish had to be returned to the water. Their biggest tog was around 8 lbs. That's some good eating! Many boats returning to the Lewes Harbour Marina loaded the table with big sea bass catches. I guess the seas have calmed down enough to allow the fish to bite on the weekend. The “Surface Tension” enjoyed limits of the black beauties making their clients very happy. The crew came home with over 50 keepers. The LHM reports all the headboats had traditional sea bass catches for the opening of bass season. What a difference a few days make. So even with the late start of the season due to bad weather, the weekend has shown a return to a more normalized beginning sea bass season. Hopefully as the weather and ripping currents return to normal the fishing will get even better.

Site 11 was the hotspot for bass. Many boats did not venture out to the NJ/DE Reef due to poor conditions. It seems that despite the slow opening day the bass are here and ready to finally start biting.

Surf Fishing

The beach has been the most consistent of all our waters for producing quality fish. Big stripers are still being caught on both mullet rigs as well as cut bait. Grant Barnhart got a whopper of a fish measuring 40 inches on the south side of the inlet. Even though the fish was overslot and had to be returned, it was still a great fish on a surf rod. Steve Maddox pulled in a nice black drum last weekend using fresh surf clams. Steve always seems to know just the right beach to fish for these big uglies. Chase Haugh scored his personal best, a 49” rockfish. There have been some good reports of the big rock moving through our area last week. If you want to hook one of these big girls, now is the time, because as the water warms they will quickly head north out of our area.

Josh Frantz had his little helper son with him on the beach and caught a citation 35.5” bluefish weighing 12.25 lbs. Ryan Leonardo fished right by the inlet and pulled in a 10.5 lb., 32 inch blue. Billy Settle and his wife had a great day on the beach using mullet rigs to catch their big blues. They landed 3 nice ones to take home and lost a few more. Jon Clemmer was rewarded with a steady diet of blues from the beach just south of the jetty. He reported nothing big but did have a blast catching fish after fish. Josh Frantz fished 3R’s with finger mullet and caught a nice 12.25 lb. bluefish. The fish was weighed in at Rick's Bait and Tackle. Steve Hamburg spent his day chasing the blues up and down the beach. He caught them on popsicle mullet but stated that anything would have worked as fired up as they were.

Crabs & Clams

Crabbing has been producing a ton of juvenile crabs with pots averaging 2-5 crabs per pot on a 3 day soak. Numerous crabs with eggs as well as crabs just undersized are in each of the pots indicating the ratio of keepers should increase after the spawn is over.
Clams are slow as the water is still cold and they are still buried deep in the mud bottom.

Till Next week…
Tight Lines and Fins up §

Coastal Fisherman Merch
CF Merch



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