Eat those Pompano!
A summer season endeth, and a second summer beginneth! That’s right! Every year we get a “locals” summer when the beaches are dead quiet on the weekdays and only the weekends are little crowded, but nothing like the summer. The fishing usually picks up by now as well with all the cocktail summer blues in the surf and surrounding waters. They move into the inland bays as well in large schools. A two-ounce silver spoon is all you need to bail bluefish all day long. They are especially fun on an ultralight rod.
I get a lot of messages this time of year. Can we eat these pompano? What kind of fish is this, can we keep them? You certainly can, they are delicious, and probably one of the easiest fish to cook, because cleaning them is simple. Just gut the pompano and clean it out well with cold water. Then slice the skin in a criss-cross pattern. You can season them any way you want. If they are big enough you can filet, but cooking whole is the best bet with the smaller ones we are catching in the surf.
There are a lot of recipes online. Just put a little salt and pepper on the pompano and throw it on the grill. Salt the inner cavity as well, it is that simple and fast. The meat will flake right off the bones after about 20 minutes on the grill. If you are baking them it might take a little longer depending on your cooking temperature. Coating pompano in butter or olive oil and spice to your preferences, is a great way to bake it. It is a sweet meat fish. Every year we see more and more pompano. I would highly recommend trying them for dinner. This summer we have seen a lot of them caught in the surf.
Our favorite place to surf fish is finally open. The point in Cape Henlopen State Park opens back up every year just in time for some great surf fishing. Spoons for bluefish, or cut bait and mullet rigs. Puppy drum are hitting Bonafide bait, Fishbites and sand fleas. There are a bazillion tiny sand fleas in the surf, the fish are just on the edge of the dropoff, feeding on fleas and all the bait fish. Tossing spoons for the little blues is fun especially on the 3-foot ultralight rods. I mean if you are going to catch tiny blues on a spoon you might as well have some fun. I even had an 8-inch blue hit a 4-ounce gator spoon. We have fun when the blues feed.
The porpoises are feeding like crazy all around the point. There was a lot of pompano caught on the ocean side of the point in the mornings and we were catching spot, etc., on the bayside. Aside from all the surf fishing, there is a lot of entertainment watching all the boats and activity on the water.
Dave Beebe at the Cape Henlopen fishing pier says the spot action has been hottest on the incoming tide. Anglers are doing well on bloodworms. The heat has been affecting the fishing in the flats. He recommends fishing the early morning and late evening high tides. Decent flounder action for some keepers and the blues are around the pier. Even people who don’t normally fish are catching fish, so that is always a good sign.
The mahi action offshore has been on fire for the last few weeks. You definitely need to go hire a charter before that action subsides.