Cape Gazette
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Delaware Surf Fishing

Spinner sharks, spades, and triggers what’s next?

By Rich King | Jul 02, 2014
Boy Scout Troop 231 from Royersford PA, pose on the pier before learning how to fish. Shown are Oscar Graniese, Danny Fetterman, Jonathan Brull, Andrew Lewis, James McCarraher, Nick Lanahan, Mitch Miller, Nate Wydro, Connor Boyle and John Taylor.

Fishing has been decent depending on where you look. Look for croaker, spot, kingfish, skates, cownose rays, butterfly rays, and lots of sharks. The surf has been quiet for the most part, well maybe not that quiet but definitely a little slower than normal. A few small bluefish have popped up here and there. Hard to say what are the best beaches, but at least the horseshoe crabs have calmed down a bit. Last week that was all we were catching at the beginning of the incoming tide. Squid, Fishbites bloodworm formula, mullet on rigs, and bloodworms have been the choice baits. A spinner shark was caught in the surf last week on a mullet rig; turned out to be pretty much the most exciting catch in the surf. There were a few great whites sighted off the Cape May coastline near some of the offshore wrecks. It’s been an exciting year for sharks so far; either more are popping up or they are just being seen more. It’s hard to tell. Either way the shark craze has really bugged a few people out. Remember, they (the sharks, that is) live in the ocean. So it’s no surprise that they’re there.

Floundering about

Flounder fishing has picked up at the old grounds and the buoys; nice sized flatties, and they are still in the inland bays, Massey’s Ditch, Lewes Canal, Roosevelt Inlet, Broadkill River, Cape Henlopen fishing pier, and even the surf. Minnows have been the best baits, and if you can catch some small spot they work great. Gulp is still working, but the live baits are producing better. Catching flounder in the surf takes sand fleas, small spot, or jigging bucktails with squid strips or cut bait strips, just beyond the breakers.

They are in close, feeding on the surf creatures. You have to remember most of the fish in the surf are in real close, and usually people cast way beyond the fish. Granted sometimes the fish are farther out, but for the most part in the Delaware surf they are almost at your feet just as the drop-off starts. The water temps have been averaging seventy three degrees in the mornings at the beach. Delaware Bay and inland bays have been warming up rather quickly.  

The Delaware Bay has seen a lot of croaker, kingfish, spot and weakfish. The usual oyster crackers, skates and dogfish are ever-present, but still a nice tug on a line. Flounder are around and some bluefish. For the most part people have been using cut baits, Fishbites and clam pieces as baits. And of course lots of sharks cruising around. Never too hard to catch one of those sand sharks, but remember: Just leave them in the water.

Crabbing is picking up

Striped bass have been caught near the inner and outer walls. The slot season for rockfish starts July 1 until Aug. 31 in Delaware River, Bay and their tributaries (DE waters only). Only 20 – 26 inch fish may be retained. For the Lewes Canal these slot limits are legal from the train bridge (just above the drawbridge) to the Roosevelt Inlet, and obviously the Broadkill River and Canary Creek are tributaries. Trigger and spadefish are starting to show up and soon the walls will be packed with them in the bay. Another good spot to fish (if you have a kayak) is the structure from the old pier at the Cape Henlopen fishing pier. That structure holds a variety of fish throughout the summer.

The Lewes Canal has a lot of croaker all over the place; small baits and Fishbites are doing well. Crabbing is picking up, and in fact it must be real good for one or two individuals in the Pot-Nets area because they keep jacking the crab pots over there. That is poaching, and hopefully when the fines change it will start to deter a greater number of these thefts.

The offshore bite

The offshore bite has been hot in most of the canyons; it just depends when and where you go, just like inshore fishing. Bluefin, yellowfin, big eye, mahi mahi, blueline tilefish, white marlin, blue marlin – summer fishing for the offshore fleets has heated up and the boats are doing well. And note that the White Marlin open is not that far off.

I’m hoping for some decent fishing this weekend. And with the east winds pushing water this way, it might just happen. Though any old salt here will tell you, “wind from the east fish the least, wind from the west fish the best.” Unfortunately that west wind also brings flies and gnats! The good news is that I found a spray that absolutely stops gnats in their tracks and it will be available in our online store on Monday. There will also be a product review posted by then as well.

Take me fishing

The other night I fished with Corby, Scott and Aahron; the boys and I were gnat free all night while everyone around us was doing the dance. You know, the one where people start moving around in all directions like a crazy person once they can no longer take the bugs.

Fishing with the boys was a blast. Corby snapped off a plug on his first cast from a bail malfunction. We spent an hour trying to catch it with other lures. Eventually it just popped up in front of us. From the boat traffic wakes we figured it was sucked up into a lower unit. I snagged it, he rigged it back up, tossed it into the canal, and caught a bluefish on the first cast at the Roosevelt Inlet. Teamwork!

I did a little fishing today with Ben Smith and Donald and met his family the other night. It’s always a blast hanging out with new people. The kids have been catching croaker, flounder, spot, and dogfish, they went on a charter or head boat and surf fished Lewes Beach. His nephew Joe won the boat pool with a nine inch croaker.

Ben still has that grin on his face when you mention the state record striped bass he caught, and believe me, he mentions it often. Never talk trash with a state record holder! Good times.

Tomorrow I am helping the SGYAA teach kids and their parents how to fish, then spending the rest of the day teaching a troop of boy scouts how to fish at the Cape Henlopen Pier. It is going to be a busy day of instruction, but it is always rewarding to see kids get into fishing. Get outside and take them fishing.  Hope everyone has a great weekend – I’ll see you out there … somewhere.

Fish On!

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