September is normally one of the very best angling months of the calendar year. There are just so many choices of where to fish in a typical Indian summer-the beaches are normally starting to jump as the mullet work their way south, the flounder "stack up" once again before they scoot offshore, and the first of the tog season is right around the corner. It can also be a time of year when nights spent along the Continental shelf under skies ablaze with stars yields yellow fins and sharks galore and, if you are lucky, swords. But as Capt Pete used to say, "If you don't fish for them you ain't gonna' catch 'em." Things have been a little slower to get started after the tropical storm and we have sort of been in limbo for some of these fisheries to kick off, even though the NFL season has.
Anglers have continued to do well in the region of the ocean known as the "Old Grounds" near the shipping approaches to the Delaware Bay. Mixed bag catches of sea bass, flounder, snapper blues and a few scattered croakers were the norm. Many of the sea bass were "stoned" anglers report, spitting up small pebbles. Often fishermen saw this with the fish when big storms roll through as the fish try to "take on ballast" to keep from getting whacked around during the big waves. The normal combination of jigging bucktails laced with either a strip of Gulp! or a pennant of meat cut from a sea robin or smooth dog can turn the trip. Flounder ribbon is also particularly good as long as you have the requisite carcass from a legal flounder to match it. Capt. Carey Evans on the Lewes charterboat Grizzly reported a stellar catch on a recent trip with several fish decked in the five pound range. Local stalwart Bill Talbot also had a good trip on the same trip while I was cutting grass.
Just taking one for the team for you guys. The Katydid had some great trips on the flounder, scoring a good trip for Bill and Charlotte Hughes. On another trip they had a boat limit for flatties for Ernie Stone, Ron Mistietta, Rob Crossley, Chris Thawlie, Charlie Z, Chris Stippler, Brian Bartkus and Rob Wilson. The boat also had a big day on Thursday for a catch of 20 flounder and 32 sea bass. Evan Falgowski had a doomat fluke pulling the balance down to 7.82 pounds as he and his buddy fished in the ocean with bucktails laced with squid and shiners. Billy Talbot piloted the Lady Lou up into the murkier water of the bay with Jamie Switzer for a limit of flatties with two over six pounds. John Difillippo and Fran DiFillippo and with Capt.Mike Connolly landed a mixed bag of sea bass, flounder and blues on the Sea Note.
Tanya Dauett had a pretty 5.28 pound flattie on the Kelvin J with Capt. West. Surf fishing usually starts off this month and there have been a smattering of catches slipped from the suds. Prior to the Labor Day tropical storm some shots on snapper blues had been reported from the ocean beaches such as 3 R's, Key Box road and along the inlet. Since the storm things have not been a steady. I have seen a few mullet starting on their way south in the wake of the storm but they have been pretty sporadic for sure. Normally, the fish show up just long enough to lure me into finding the "at-the-ready" cast net bucket in the shed to race down to the beach and then vanish. Despite that there have been a few trout caught from Delaware Bay beaches. and even the odd pompano. Bluefishing for snapper blues along the surf has started to pick back up again as the water clears. More fall-like temperatures are in the offing for the coming week. Perhaps that will jump start the mullet again, and things will be off to the races on the beaches.