Bluefish are heading north


Bluefish is the fare in May.

Blues, weighing up to 15 pounds, are migrating north from a leisurely stay in the South. After the long swim, they are lean and very hungry.

Since there is little natural bait in the surf this time of year, the blues don't stay long. They come tearing close to the beach, chasing schools of sand eels, bunker or an early bunch of shiners. They may remain only 15 to 45 minutes, so the surf angler must be ready.

To catch the blues, an angler must heave a long surf pole, 10 to 15 feet, as far as possible. A 3 to 6 ounce pyramid or hurricane sinker assures that the rig will stay anchored. The surf rig is constructed of 45 to 60-pound steel on wire so the powerful blue cannot bite it through. No. 3/0 to 6/0 hooks should be baited with cut mullet, squid or fresh blue. (Some anglers use bunker, mackerel or herring.)

Though not every angler is so lucky to catch a 10 to 15 pound bluefish in the surf, many a half- to 5-pound blue will be taken over the next couple weeks. Cut bait, wire-leadered surf rigs, sinkers, a sand spike and an adequate surf rod and reel is all the gear you need to give it a try.

Party boat fishing out of Ocean City is at its peak. Anglers are catching quantities of sea bass averaging a half to 2 pounds. Mixed in with these fish are some 3- and 4-pounders.

Since anglers are catching up to or exceeding 50 fish per person, most good fishermen release the smaller bass when the catch is this good. Since the smaller bass are usually females, and the larger bass are usually males, this makes even more sense.

The charter boat Karen Sue out of Indian River with Capt. John Nedelka had an outstanding catch last weekend. He anchored on a wreck and started pulling in sea bass 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 pounds.

Charter boats are beginning to troll for large bluefish offshore. On the Mo Jo out of Ocean City Fishing Center, a couple were caught recently. Mark Sampson on the Fish Finder last week caught five trolling the Fenwick Shoal. Considering the recent windy weather, this is not a bad showing. The next couple of weeks should see more blues in the 9 to 18 pound range. Anglers trolling for blues usually start at the First Lump of the Bass Grounds and start trolling toward the Second and Third Lumps. If they do not find them there, they continue toward the Jackspot.

Inshore fishing has been relatively slow the past two weeks, mainly due to the weather. When we have considerable rain and wind, the water becomes the color of chocolate, and the fishing is naturally affected. Anglers venturing out into the bay were able to pick up a few flounder, though many were throw-back flounder, those under the legal minimum size of 13 inches.

The good news is that the flounder are moving all over the bay. Anglers fishing the U.S. 50 bridge, the channel in front of 3rd Street and the Shantytown Pier area are all seeing some fish when the weather is decent. This means anglers without boats )) have a chance of catching some fish.

Anglers with boats are still catching in the Thorofare area, as well as the channel between the U.S. 50 bridge and the Inlet. When the water is stirred up, this is usually the better place to fish. Water closer to the Inlet cleans up the fastest.

Gene Racz of R and R Bait and Tackle in Rehoboth reports some of the first sea trout in that area. Anglers fishing the Broadkill Beach caught five trout up to 4 pounds. Peelers are the best baits for these fish.

Anglers fishing at wrecks offshore of Roosevelt Inlet are catching some huge tautog, up to 12 pounds. These anglers are using green crab, sand fleas, or sectioned pieces of hard crab.

Indian River Inlet saw a few sea trout the week before last, but then they disappeared during the last northeast blow. These fish, along with the schooling bluefish, should be back in numbers at any time. If you ae interested in inlet fishing, it is best to drive into the parking lot and watch for signs of fish. Sea gulls diving, fish jumping, bait working and other anglers catching fish will tell you right away if something is happening.

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