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Fish are biting in the Cape Region

Cape Gazette of Lewes, Delaware

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Black drum remain on the Coral Beds and are willing to take clams, live blue claw crabs or peeler crabs. Clams are the least expensive option, but blue claw crabs will attract fewer sharks, rays and skates.

Peeler is the most expensive bait, but will also catch some of the nice kings mixed in with the drum. Of course, you will have to drop down in hook size with a 7 or 8 Chestertown hook ideal for kingfish. When I ran charters for drum and cobia, I would always have two light spinning outfits rigged for kings and croaker to keep the party catching something while they waited for the larger fish to show up.

Speaking of croaker, they are beginning to show up on the Broadkill River and from Broadkill Beach. So far, they are on the small side, eight to 10 inches, but as the summer moves on larger fish will begin to show up in coolers. Bloodworms are by far the best bait, although peeler crab, squid and clam will also work.

As late as Tuesday, big bluefish were still in the bay between the Cape Henlopen Fishing Pier and the Inner Wall. Some were in close enough to be caught from the pier. Cut bunker is the top bait, while poppers, swim shads and plugs have also accounted for some of the choppers.

I wish I had better news on flounder, but it is still a slow pick from the Lewes and Rehoboth Canal, the Broadkill River and the Cape Henlopen Fishing Pier. Live minnows and Gulp! swimming mullet fished on a jighead have been effective. The next week looks to be dry, so perhaps the water will clear up a bit and fishing for flounder will improve.

Out in the ocean, it takes a concentrated effort to round up a limit of sea bass. Most of the well-known locations have been picked clean of keepers, so those with a little black book of secret wrecks, rough bottom and other structure will do best. Running out to the deep is another good way to load up with sea bass and tilefish.

Last week, I had a photo of a 297-pound thresher shark taken at the Old Grounds. We didn't have the space to run that photo, but this week we have a 477-pound thresher shark caught at A Buoy. As you will see in the photo, a 477-pound fish is huge and not easy to handle after it gets to the boat. Those boys will have a good story to tell their grandchildren.

Back in the 1970s and '80s, shark fishing was more popular than it is today. Makos were the primary target because they jump like no other fish and combine their acrobatics with blistering runs. We would catch them as close in as the lumps just outside of the Delaware Lightship on bluefish filets or whole squid. Boston mackerel were ground up for chum, as they were plentiful in those days.

The largest makos were found in the canyons, and several have been caught out there this spring. They are feeding on tuna that anglers hook on trolled baits or lures.

Tuna fishing remains off the hook between the Washington and Norfolk canyons. Several boats have recorded limits of yellowfin with a couple of bigeyes mixed in the catch. Gaffer dolphin have found their way into the fish box, and a few white and blue marlin have been released.

Back inshore, flounder are beginning to show up at B Buoy and the Old Grounds. The usual baits, bucktails and jigs, are still working. The hot setup seems to be a bucktail or jig heavy enough to maintain contact with the bottom and baited with a strip of squid, Gulp! or fish strip. About six to eight inches above the bucktail, tie on a teaser. This can be a fly, Gulp! swimming mullet or even a circle hook baited with a strip of squid, live minnow or fish filet. Keep the rig bouncing just above the bottom until a hungry flounder tries to have it for dinner.

The surf is still producing blues and rockfish. They may show up anywhere from Herring Point to Fenwick Island on any stage of the tide. Cut bunker has been the most common bait with some of the rockfish taken on sandfleas.

Rockfish action inside Indian River Inlet has been decent. The best bite occurs after dark on either side of the inlet on incoming water. Black swimming plugs, bucktails and swim shads have produced most of these fish.

Blues keep the daytime crowd happy. They too like incoming water and will hit bucktails or metal lures.

Flounder action in the back bays remains slow.

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Original Publication Date: June 10, 2016

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