Inshore bottom fishermen have had a tough time of it the past couple weeks, contending with runoff and debris from heavy rains, strong currents brought on by moon phases and ground swells from offshore storms. However, for those willing to travel a little farther, bottom action with sea bass has been pretty good. Wrecks and obstructions in the twenty fathom region seem to be where the bass are hanging out. Fishermen aboard the Pirate King had a great wreck trip Saturday, returning with a load of sea bass, big ling and even a few cod. Captain Dave Walker, Joe Walker and Dave Popovich made the run to twenty fathoms Wednesday and were rewarded with their limit of 75 plump bass, including citation knotheads of 3.41 and 3.48 pounds. The guys said it was constant double headers, and it didn't take long to cull their box full of keepers. They also had about 30 bluefish. There are still some sea bass on the open bottom between DB and DA Buoys, but there's more volume of fish on the snags a little more offshore.
Delaware's sea bass season is open until October 12, when it is shut down through October 31. It reopens November 1 and runs until the end of December.
A few flounder continue to come off the Old Grounds south of DB Buoy, as they make their move offshore. Some are real quality specimens, such as the 11.39 pound citation doormat intercepted by Gary Ebling on Saturday. Some flounder were still found in Delaware Bay as well. Flatties were reported from the Horseshoe area northeast of Brandywine. Boats anchored there also encountered kingfish, blowfish, bluefish and surprising numbers of legal sized weakfish. Maybe it's a sign that we'll see more trout next spring. Bluefish ranging in size from little snippers to 2 pounds have been scattered over much of the Bay. Blues have often been seen busting baitfish in the rip outside the Outer Wall, and the choppers can be caught by drifting shiners or cut mullet on bottom rigs, or by casting small bucktails and metals like Kastmasters, Gator spoons and Stingsilvers. Surf casters at Cape Henlopen also got into blues using cut mullet. Spot are still inside the Bay, and folks at the rails of Cape Henlopen Pier had plenty of the tasty panfish while baiting with bits of bloodworm and Fishbites. Many anglers are looking forward to the opening of Tautog season on September 29. Tog, along with some lingering triggerfish and sheepshead should be found along the Inner and Outer Walls and Ice Breaker rockpiles, as well as on Bay artificial reefs and wrecks.