Delaware Surf Fishing Report
It was very wet here a few days ago, Friday we were hit with monsoon style rains, and the state flooded. Many people in Delaware had instant waterfront property. That didn’t stop a few people from hitting the water, and doing a little fishing. It did make travel conditions rough for the weekend.
Read Cape Gazette's Visitors' Guide to
Now we are having a heat wave, but it is nice on the water. Saturday I met the Surfrider Foundation of Delaware and Barefoot Wine Beach Rescue Project crew, and volunteered for their beach clean up. We picked up a great deal of trash off of the Tower road walk on beach access in Delaware Seashore State Park. These folks do a great job of keeping people informed of beach issues, and help out when they get together. I had a great time meeting people, and doing my part to help clean the beach. We always clean the beaches as much as possible when we are out there surf fishing, as do many people I know. We always take out more trash than we brought with us, and dispose of it properly. Please remember to carry in and carry out, there are recycling facilities near all of the parks. That same afternoon I met Dave Eastburn’s family and his crew on the beach. He and the kids were chasing down any trash that washed up on the beach. Good to see people taking care of the beaches while they are out there. It was great to see Dave now that he is back from overseas, he went from the desert sand box to his favorite place, the surf in Delaware. There has been a lot of good fishing these past few days.
Dan Keim braved the rains on Friday and was catching trout (weakfish) at the Indian River Inlet. He was also spear fishing the other day and said the rock wall is full of black puppy drum, sheepshead, tautog, and triggers. Yesterday he managed to hit a few triggers. He also said the inner wall at Cape Henlopen is loaded with croaker. There has been a lot of activity at the inlet the last few weeks other than fishing. Tomorrow tautog season begins, July 17 until August 31, the creel limit is five and keeper size is fifteen inches. That should increase the fishing activity down there tenfold. The North pylons for the old bridge have been taken down and the Southern pylons are almost to the water’s surface. Soon they will be gone and the view will change forever. We will have to see how that affects the fishing and water flow at the inlet. The dredge is also now at the inlet just below the marina entrance, and soon will be pumping sand onto the northern surfer’s beach. The dredging is necessary to remove the sand built up in the inlet, however many feel the inlet jetty needs to be fixed, or the sand will just wash back into the inlet. Beach access will be closed as the dredging continues up and down the coastal beaches. Once a beach is replenished it will reopen, I do not know an exact date, that keeps changing. I do know it will change the surf fishing for a while, whether that will be a good thing, or not, will remain to be seen. Usually dredging and replenishing the beaches makes the fishing worse. The beaches have been carved out from the recent storms. There is a drop off that has smoothed out, but the beach is much higher than the waves breaking on the shore. Most if not all of the troughs and holes have been filled in with sand. When you look at the water you will notice that the clean water is very far out there, and that is the area holding most of the larger fish. However many croakers, spot, kingfish, skate, ling, and large rays have been caught in the surf. In some cases you hardly have time to sit down the fish are hitting so fast. Bloodworms have been the best bait, but Fishbites, clam, squid, and small sand fleas have worked well. Mullet rigs are doing good when there are bluefish, bust mostly have been producing skate and small sharks. Dave and I observed two guys shark fishing the other day and when they tried to beach the sand tiger they caught we stopped them. One of the anglers complained he needed his hook back, Dave cut the line and told him to put the shark back in the water. They were about to drag it up the beach and do the whole photo session thing, also not legal with a prohibited shark species Beaching a these sharks is not legal in Delaware, and I know the rules are very vague on that subject. I am working on a clarification of the rules, when we fished for sand tigers last year for DSU, no shark was to be beached, unless the permits were on hand. The rules state that you have to release the shark in a manner that will insure its survivability. The issue with beaching is the fact large sharks can crush themselves from their own weight when beached, due to the fact they do not have a skeletal structure. Just a heads up, and I will have a better clarification from the state and DNREC soon. If you do not know the species, then let it go. Showboating while catching sharks on the beaches is not a good thing to do either, it does not do any good for the sport of surf fishing.
Bluefish have been far and few between in the surf, but they are out there. My buddy Boots was catching spot the other day, rigging them up, and casting them out as far as he could. He had a huge smack from a blue, and reeled in half of a spot with a large clean bite out of it, actually all that was left was the head. So the blues are probably cruising the shallow areas looking for all the spot, croaker and kingfish they can eat. Speaking of kingfish. Before I met up with Dave Eastburn and his family the other day Dallen hit a nice thirteen and a half inch kingfish. The other day Jenny Blackstock caught a citation kingfish at Conquest Beach. The kings have been thick in size and number this year, and they are great eating. Some f the kids with Dave’s crew were using a two and half foot pink Barbie pole and pulling in spot two at a time. It was great to see the kids tearing up fish they were having a blast. Dave eventually had to take a break from running between the kids’ rods keeping them baited, and casting for them. I got into the mix, helped for a while, which that can definitely wear you down, but is worth every minute. There have been a lot of kids fishing this year, catching for the first time, and you can see the excitement in their smiles. They are definitely hooked, pun intentional. The surf has been producing good catches and everyone is having a blast. The rays are out there in full force and James Blackstock’s neighbor on the beach the other day caught one the size of a car hood. There are a lot of fish out there. Even cusk eels are popping up all over the place. Rig one of them up, or a small spot and see what is chasing them. A few bluefish schools even moved in close enough to cast to the other day, but none of us had spoons, I will be remedying that today, my gear is a mess.
Flounder are showing up in all of the usual spots in the bays, surf, rocks, rails,and piers. Massey’s Landing has seen some nice keepers produced … spot, chartreuse gulp, and minnows have been the best baits. White or chartreuse Gulp on a jig head in the surf is working well, you just have to put in some time casting. Black puppy drum and even red puppy drum have been caught at Massey’s Landing as well. The old grounds and site ten have been hot for the past few days, with many keepers produced on almost every drift. People are filling the boxes with nice sized flounder. The Indian River Inlet has been good for flounder on spot mostly, live or even strips. This is just a personal preference of mine, but if you are going to use one fish too catch other fish, make sure you are fishing to keep. Catch and release is great, but using another animal to catch another animal just for fun, kind of defeats the purpose of helping to increase fish stocks. This is just my opinion, and one reason I prefer to use artificial baits and lures. Also if you are using bloodworms be sure to dispose of the package properly, including the algae they are stored in, so as not to introduce any invasive species into our tidal waters. Invasive species has become an issue in many areas, and doing your part to prevent this will help. Slot season for striped bass started July first and will last until August thirty first, twenty to twenty six inch fish may be kept two fish per angler. This is for the Delaware bay and its tributaries only, that includes the Roosevelt Inlet and the Lewes Canal starting at the train bridge. The outer and inner wall has seen some nice slot fish, and many a resident striped bass has been caught at the Indian River inlet. Most have been just shy of twenty eight inches, and that area unfortunately does not qualify for slot season.
The bite out front has been great for many of the off shore charter boys. From John French of Overboard Sportfishing … “Well, to start this off- the weather was wonderful for a change instead of the normal weekend conditions we’ve been fighting this year. So flat yesterday you could skip a stone to Europe! 7/13 We leave the slip, start heading east to that small unheard of spot… the hot dog. As I go back to rig wind- ons, and someone pulled out a big no no. Yep, a banana. Need I say more? One pull that didn’t come tight that day. 7/14 We run south, through pea soup. Lines in around 30fa trolling E now. Plenty of life and let me tell ya, I have never seen SO many turtles out there! Didn’t even have every line in long, snap bang dolphin in the boat pulled a couple more in for the box. Back on the troll were greeted with Mr White. Eat and run, never came tight. Well either him or his cousin was hungry a little bit later on. I think this cat tried to mash every bally in the spread. Slim hooks him on a big medium bally on an 80wide wwwwwwwwb and Dan cranks him in for his first ever white Marlin release and at boat side, this fish was lit. Beautiful but GREEN! Slim and I had to double up for a clean release, in the pond of course…. two hands on the bill and still giving me a fight! Lol no revival necessary as he was happy to dart off. Oh yeah, we had two skippys and a lot of small dolphin bites. .. don’t think they could get their mouths around the baits! Anyway, we had some great customers this weekend and some excellent fishing yesterday. Congratulations to Dan his first white boy. ” … Thanks John sounds like a fun time aside from the banana!! Josh Witmer was out front yesterday and brought in two nice dolphins … “It was a beautiful day on the water. Started trolling inshore and worked our way to 40 fathom line and then trolled back. Had some short bites too, probably peanut dolphin. We were away from the fleet all by ourselves. Awesome day on the water “
Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research, Inc needs your help to feed the many juvenile osprey we have received this season. This species eats fish almost exclusively, and these hungry young patients have been feasting their way through our supply.
You can help! We would greatly appreciate donations of whole fish (18″ or smaller, fresh or frozen) to help these feathered hunters recover. The osprey’s favorites include spot, perch, trout, scup, panfish, shad, catfish, and bluefish. We will gratefully accept them at Tri-State’s Frink Center for Wildlife any day between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Please spread the word so we can give these osprey a second chance at life!
Tri-State Bird rescue is located at 110 Possum Hollow Road, Newark, DE 19711, the phone number is 302.737.9543
It has been a great time in Delaware’s tidal waters this week and will continue. Remember it is summer time, so the traffic can be a bear, plan your trips, pay attention and be careful out there. The accidents this year have been numerous, stay off those phones, you can update your status when you arrive. I would like to thank everyone for supporting DSF, and sending in pictures to the DSF Facebook page. It has been rewarding seeing kids out there with their first catches having a great time. Soon I will start a photo contest on DSF with different categories suggestions are definitely welcome. I will announce when it will start soon, the subject for the contest, and the rules. If you want to send in pictures just email them to us, or post to the DSF Facebook page. There is a contact link at the top right of the website for emails or send to … email@example.com. I also appreciate everyone supporting our sponsors, without them this site would not be possible. Speaking of sponsors, Love Creek Bridge Marina now has gas available and pontoon rentals with a captain. Fill up your boat, drop it in for the day, or hire a pontoon and spend a hands free day on the water. Also check out Dave Marshall Fitness and Tennis for great summer deals on memberships, they have a nice pool to cool off on these hot days. Don’t forget to drop by Whoa Daddys in Long Neck for free ice for your coolers when your headed out for the day, mention DSF and get an extra 10% off their weekly pizza special. Starting this week (Thursday) you will be able to read the DSF reports and see pictures in the Cape Gazette’s Beach Paper, a great visitors’ guide to what is up in our area. I am very excited to be working with them this season, and look forward for more to come.