Best fishing in the mornings and evenings
The Reel Friends Surf Fishing Club held their 5th annual March of Dimes at the Beach fundraiser on Father’s Day weekend. As first responders, fire, EMT, and rescue, these folks put their lives on the line daily to help strangers when they are most in need. Reel Friends are a great group of people with whom I’ve had the pleasure to fish and hang out with in the past few years. They’re like one big family.
Sue Sokira organizes the March of Dimes at the Beach event every year and she does a great job. There were a lot of cool items donated for their silent auction. I donated a DSF hoodie, sea glass pendants, and four pint glasses. I help the group any time I can, and I’m always impressed with them and what they do for our community. Needless to say I had a blast hanging out with them. I will keep you updated on all of their upcoming events. We all had a great time in the surf this weekend.
Water like chocolate milk
Thanks to the cloudburst and winds, the water looked like chocolate milk on Father’s Day weekend. It looked like the river at the Willy Wonka Chocolate factory! Fishing the surf is never very productive when the water is that dirty. Skates, dogfish, and rays are always there, but most of the fish tend to stay away from the stirred-up water. The northern park beaches at Cape Henlopen were the worst. Farther south at Fenwick Island and Bethany Beach the water was bit clearer and fish were being caught. Kingfish, puffers, spot, croaker and even a pompano that was foul hooked. Bloodworms have been the best bait for those fish. Fishbites bloodworm formula is still working decently. The pompano are early this year; we usually don’t see them until August or the end of July. The water is warming up faster and is now averaging seventy degrees. A few flounder have been hit in the surf on sand fleas and chartreuse Gulp. Short striped bass are being caught on bunker chunks or cut mullet. Bluefish have been slamming mullet rigs. The best fishing has been in the mornings and evenings. We are into the summer fishing mode, so fish early or later as it is too bright and hot in the afternoon. This goes for the bays as well. You will still catch on the tides in the afternoon, but you will do better in the early mornings and evenings.
The inland bays have been seeing more flounder catches. Croaker and spot are thick in the back bays as well; you just have to find them. Bluefish are hitting the Indian River Inlet mostly on the incoming tides and early in the morning. That will change as the tide cycle changes as far as time of day. Shad have been there as well as some short striped bass and a few keepers. Crabbing is getting better once you find them by trot lining or crab pots. Both are doing well in the bays. Chicken necking has also been successful in most areas and is always a fun way for the kids to crab. Whether you do it off a pier or a boat, it will produce and make for a fun day on the water. The Henlopen pier has slowed down for keeper flounder but the fishing has been decent on the incoming and high tides. Clamming is producing mostly the larger chowder or chucklehead clams. Harder to find are the little cherrystone steamers, but they are out there.
Croaker, flounder popping up
A smooth hammerhead pup was caught near Burton’s Island the other day, and lots of dogfish are being caught in the inland bays. The Delaware Bay has been producing a lot of croakers for the charters, and flounder are popping up at the sites and the ferry wall. The Delaware Bay beaches are seeing a lot of croaker action on bloodworms. Dogfish, skates and rays are always out there. A few keeper striped bass have been caught as far up as Augustine Beach at the wall. Woodland Beach is seeing a lot of croaker action and so is Port Mahon fishing pier. Dave reports that he has been catching a lot of large cownose rays at Port Mahon. Short striped bass are hitting bloodworms as well when fishing for croakers, and catfish are hitting just about anything. The Broadkill River has seen some nice flounder and weakfish action, but the weakies are hitting the most at the Roosevelt Inlet and Delaware Bay beaches. A one or two ounce jig head with pink or white Gulp swimming mullet works well for them. Chicken soaked in peeler oil is always a good go to bait for weakfish. The big drum are not in the surf anymore but the boats are still seeing a few good catches.
Offshore fishing has been hot for bluefin and yellowfin tuna, mahi mahi, the occasional big eye, and a variety of sharks. The canyons have been the usual hot spots, and that bite can change daily as far as location. Lots of whales, turtles, and other wildlife are being seen on these trips, and that is always a treat even if the fishing is slow. Nothing like a long day at sea -- you never know what you will see. Mackerel have been thick in areas and make for great bait. If you get into them you can fill a bucket or two very quickly. Sea bass have been decent, but did slow down in the past few days.
Beach fishing good for beginners
If you are going fishing here for the first time, all of the beaches are good places to try. For beginners, however, we do not recommend the front walls of the Indian River Inlet. The back walls below the coast guard station on the north side near the marina, and the south wall above the condos are more beginner-friendly. The rest of the inlet is tough to fish from land if you are not used to fishing a large wall with fast-moving water. Massey’s Landing has a nice fishing pier located at the end of Long Neck road. When you fish the ditch, the structure around the piers and the edges of the rock walls are both good to try. Fish will move through there in large schools and you just have to be there when it happens. The Cape Henlopen fishing pier is also a great place for beginners, as there is a lot of structure. Holt’s Landing has a pier that is decent for fishing and usually you can catch flounder, croaker, and spot. The Roosevelt Inlet in Lewes is decent fishing for a variety of species. You can also fish the public dock at Canalfront Park in Lewes. You never know what will be moving through the canal.
By the way, Don’t forget the DSF discount cards available online at www.delaware-surf-fishing.com and at the following locations: A-Lure Bait and Tackle: 32369 Long Neck Rd, Millsboro, 302-200-0469; Adkins Produce: 32008 Long Neck Rd., Millsboro, 302-945-9700; Delmarva Board Sports: 19470 Coastal Highway in Rehoboth, 302-260-9008, and in Fenwick at 39084 Harpoon Road, 302-260-9008; IceHouse Bait and Tackle: 110 New Rd. in Lewes, 302-645-0600, and Whoa Daddy’s: 34814 Long Neck Rd. Unit 5 in Millsboro, 302-549-1536.