Capture of 358-pound swordfish is biggest news of the year so far
The biggest fishing news so far this year is the capture of a new state record 358-pound swordfish by Kurt Lorenz aboard Candy’s Reel Choice with Captain Pete Floyd. Some records are set by accident, and while luck always plays an important role in any fishing trip, the crew of Candy’s Reel Choice was well prepared for this encounter.
Floyd has been pursuing swords and other deep-water denizens for many years going back to his days at Barbara Porter’s South Shore Marina before he moved the Skipjack to Lewes. While no longer a full-time charter captain, he remains one of the best captains and anglers to ever fish out of a Delaware port or anywhere else for that matter.
In other offshore news, the marlin bite has been strong for boats running out of Delaware and Ocean City, Md. As good as it is here, boats from Virginia Beach and Oregon Inlet, N.C., are recording exceptional catches.
In the past week, one Virginia Beach boat released 49 white marlin and another had 50. The technique used for these spectacular numbers is called live lining. The boat backs up to a school of bait that has balled up due to a marlin feeding frenzy and dips or cast nets as many of the small fish as possible. These live baits are then dropped back to the feeding marlin, resulting in multiple hookups. The boat backs down and quickly releases the hooked fish. In some circles this is known as a Palm Beach release, because it was made famous in sailfish tournaments out of that Florida port.
While live lining is responsible for exceptional marlin release numbers, the more conventional trolling techniques are also racking up eight to 10 whites and blues a day. Considering a .500 batting average is pretty good for most trolling bites, that is a shot at 16 to 20 billfish a day.
Closer to shore, the flounder action at the Old Grounds, sites 10 and 11, and the rough bottom between B and A buoys remains very good. Keep in mind the water at Site 11 and the Old Grounds is between 80 and 90 feet deep so it takes ideal conditions to keep a bait in the strike zone. A strip of fresh meat on a jig head has produced the best results.
Croaker are beginning to move out of the bay and stack up along the beach. The Croaker Canyon a mile or two off the Old Coast Guard Station and the rough bottom in front of the Bethany Beach Condos have been very good and will only get better. I am beginning to see reports of bigger croaker around the Outer Wall and hope they gather in larger numbers where I can reach them in my small boat.
The Broadkill River is still full of big spot. I have made three trips in the past week and all have been successful. We are fishing from the creek mouth behind Broadkill Beach to the Duck Blind about a half mile downstream toward Lewes. The fish are biting on all stages of the tide with bloodworms the undisputed best bait.
On the beach it is sill a mixed bag of small stuff, but soon (I hope) we will see big blues and rockfish as they move down from the north. Currently the mullet run is underway and I would expect to see smaller blues and perhaps a few false albacore drawn to the surf.
Mullet are also running at Indian River Inlet attracting some three- to five-pound bluefish. A few jetty fishermen are cast-netting mullet then live lining them back to catch keeper flounder. Boaters are using live spot for the same purpose.
National Hunting and Fishing Day
On Sunday, Sept. 15, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. the Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife will hold a National Hunting and Fishing Day celebration at Mallard Lodge on the grounds of DNREC’s Aquatic Resource Center east of Smyrna. This is a family-friendly event with lots for the kids and adults to see and do.
There will be displays and demonstrations of various outdoor activities including hunting and fishing as well as dog demonstrations, canoeing and tours along the marsh over a boardwalk. Families are encouraged to bring a picnic lunch and plan to spend the day.
The GPS address is 4876 Hay Point Landing Road, Smyrna. When traveling up from Lewes, take the Route 9 exit just before Dover Air Force Base and enjoy a leisurely drive through Little Creek and Leipsic before going around Taylor’s Gut and finding Mallard Lodge on your right.