It has been a rough couple of months in the French household. Two of my good friends from Maryland talked me into a Sunday trip to the Delaware coast to see if we could find some big gator bluefish. I headed to Germantown to meet Fishbait, and then we picked Tuna up in Annapolis. We arrived at Cape Henlopen to find a high slack tide (the bite had been on incoming) and a soaking rain paired with 15-20 MPH northeast winds.
As the locals scurried for cover, we ventured on the the pier. Fishbait managed a short flounder on jigged strips of spot. Unfortunately, the blue crabs were thick. He was reeling up crabs refusing to let go of his strips, while Tuna and I (soaking bunker for chopper bluefish) were getting picked clean within minutes of getting a fresh bait in the water. The conditions were miserable. My PVC pants kept my legs dry, but the PAIR of rain jackets I had on soaked through within the first hour. After about 2 hours of misery, I headed into the nice restroom facilities at CHSP and used their hand dryer to try and dry out my gear. By the time I finished, Fishbait and Tuna decided to wrap it up. We headed to Indian River Inlet to be able to fish while using the bridge as some cover.
This was my first time at IRI, and it was challenging. There was heavy bird activity, but also very heavy current and we had the NE wind in our face. It was very difficult to cast into the working fish. However, it was more productive than CHSP. We fished from 1 to 3, and I managed two 12-14 inch bluefish and a half dozen similar sized hickory shad. At 3:00pm, my buddies (who are connoisseurs of buffets) decided that they wanted to hit up The Bonfire, an all you can eat crab legs and prime rib buffet in Ocean City, for the early bird.
Now, I am a big man, and I like to eat. But, for some reason my stomach shrinks just before a buffet meal. I had a mixed bag of some prime rib, BBQ, and chicken, but only got seconds. Meanwhile, my buddies pounded 8 and 6 plates of crab legs each before getting to the prime rib. Once again, I was shamed. However, it was a good meal, and we decided to try and hit the Route 50 bridge catwalk in Ocean City on the way home, as there was a brief break in the rain.
It was a good decision. Fishing the north side of the bridge on incoming, I managed two bluefish and a half dozen shad right next to the channel in some calm water. A small gator (about five pounds) managed to cut my 25 pound fluoro leader as well. I retied and we saw some birds working towards the center of the bridge. We ran over and had a full scale blitz on our hands- mostly hickory shad with some 2 pound class bluefish mixed in (18-20 inches) feeding on glass minnows/silversides. For the next 40 minutes, it was non-stop catching with 3-4 shad for every bluefish. As we were completely sucked into the blitz, a torrential rain hit and we got drenched. Once we got our 30 fish limit of blues between the three of us, we bolted leaving them biting. I got back around midnight last night, exhausted and wrinkled like a prune, but very content with the trip.
Gotcha plugs (I went with the one ounce silver mylar with a red head) and a red and white bucktail were both effective. I went to the bucktail when I got tired of hooking shad with treble hooks.