One of my favorite trips of the year is several miles off the coast of Delaware starting in November. This time of year the stripers are on the move South along the coast as the water temperatures up North fall into the upper 40′s – low 50′s. Stripers and blues stop to feed off shoals and structure along the way leaving anglers a chance for some great action.
On Sunday morning we had a 15kt NE wind that was giving Andy’s 20′ Seacraft a run for it’s money while underway to the fishing grounds. We managed to pound through 3-5 footers and arrive at a well known shoal with working birds. Under these birds were low to mid thirties inch rockfish and big slammer blues with some dogfish mixed in. The birds would come and go leaving us with only our electronics to try and stay on the fish.
Tip: Don’t leave big fish to chase another school of working birds! We would setup on the up-current side of the working birds and drift through the school of fish until we drifted off the bite. The birds in our area would stop working but off in the distance were more birds going crazy. But instead of punching the throttle towards those birds we decided to idle around in a big circle to make the same drift again and it paid off. The bigger fish were not pushing bait to the surface but instead using the edge of the shoal as an ambush point to feed. Our same drift produced more good fish. We went chasing birds AFTER that bite petered out.
The fish were actively feeding on sand eels and what seemed to be medium sized baitfish. We used spoons for the blues and 7 inch bass assassins in pearl and white. The fish on the shoals are fast so it pays to go with a heavier jig or metal spoon in order to get down to them quickly. It was a good trip with blues to almost 15lbs, stripers to 35” and two keeper flounder. We also saw a whale spout in the distance.