Striped bass, bunker plentiful in back bays

SUSSEX COUNTY – The weather has been dropping water temperatures and bouncing them around like a ping pong ball.

Inland bays finally calmed back down to a 4-degree fluctuation between tides.  That fluctuation at one point was 11 degrees for a couple of days. This hasn’t bothered the fish too much –  just slowed them down a bit.

A puffer fish caught by Suzanne Martin at Cape Henlopen.  (Sussex County Post/submitted photo)

A puffer fish caught by Suzanne Martin at Cape Henlopen. (Sussex County Post/submitted photo)

Schooling striped bass are all over the back bays feeding along the grass banks. The inlet has seen a lot of shorts and even an occasional keeper.

We’re still waiting for shad to hit the inlet in full force but a few have been seen.

Bunker are schooling all over the back bays, and you might look for some large bass or even bluefish following them. That is usually easy to tell. Especially if the bluefish are chasing them around, because the water will look like it is boiling.

Those big blues, like last year, are in the surf and Delaware Bay, but soon they could move into the inland bays. That is one possibility. It is impossible to tell if these fish will hit us like last year or not.

Crabbing has been excellent and with the bluefish showing up it is great time to get some good table fare and crab bait in one fish.  Blues are great crab bait and last a little longer than bunker.

Northern puffer fish, or blow toads, are showing up in the surf and I would expect to see them soon around the inland bays. They are hitting bloodworms and small pieces of cut bait or squid. Also known as chicken of the sea, pufferfish make a tasty meal but are a little tough to clean.

The marsh grasses are finally starting to turn green, trees are popping leaves, and the fiddler crabs are scurrying everywhere. They are another good bait if you can catch a few – flounder inhale them.

More from Rich King can be found at

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