Lousy weather causes unusual fishing situation

October 13, 2012

Right now you have a better chance of catching a fish from the surf than from a boat. To say this is an unusual situation would be a major understatement.

The reason is not a lack of fish in the bay or ocean, but the continuing lousy weather. When it doesn’t rain, the fog sets in, and when the fog lifts, the wind blows. Not ideal conditions for trailer boats. The larger charter and head boats still go out, but they are finding the sea rough and the fish less than cooperative.

A few small boats have been able to tie off to the Outer Wall, and after taking a beating the best they have done is a few keeper tog. Sea bass and tog have been caught from boats fishing ocean wrecks and reefs, but once again, the fishing was not very comfortable.

The surf has been producing lots of small blues for those fishing with fresh mullet. A mix of croaker, kings and trout have been taken on the same bait. Two of the more productive locations have been Broadkill Beach and the Roosevelt Inlet.

On Friday I fished the surf at Cape Point, where I watched everyone around me catch blues while I kept the fish well fed. I saw a thresher shark landed and released and saw sturgeon free jumping between the beach and the Outer Wall. At least the weather was beautiful.

The weekend forecast is not looking too spiffy. Saturday will be the best day, with 10- to 15-knot winds and 2- to 4-foot seas. Sunday goes back downhill with 4- to 6-foot seas and 15- to 20-knot winds. And so it goes.

DMS Surf Fishing Tournament

The Delaware Mobile Surf-fishermen held their 6th Annual Surf Tournament last weekend, and it was a resounding success. The weather on Saturday was perfect, and many fish were caught and many points were scored. Sunday was a bit dreary, but the spirit of the contestants was not dampened.

Winners are determined by the number of points they score. Points are awarded by measuring the length of a fish, with longer fish scoring more points. Every species has a minimum size to qualify. Bluefish, the most common catch, must be 14 inches long in order to receive a score. Other fish must meet the legal length limit, with flounder at 18 inches and trout at 13 inches. During the tournament, 447 fish that met the minimum size were caught. Many smaller fish were taken as well. Most of the fish caught were released.

Of course, the scoring fish were not distributed evenly. The better or luckier anglers caught more fish than the poor souls like me who couldn’t catch a cold in a rainstorm.

The final results were: First Place, Gary Born with 224 points; Second Place, Mike Walker, 189 points; Third Place, Bob Zar with 145 points. Ladies Division: First Place, Paula Gallagher with 78 points; Second Place, Allison Stuart with 49 points; Third Place, Lynn Downs with 45 points. Kids' Division: First Place, Mason Flaherty with 82 points. Second Place, Jordon Buckm with 16 points, Third Place, Kenneth Latch with 15 points.

The largest bluefish was caught by Joshua Pasaus and measured 18.5 inches. The largest fish was a tie, with Ana Cotter and Steve Petkus both catching 18.75-inch flounder. Prizes included cash and merchandise. Many local businesses donated prizes, and the Hertrich Family of Automobile Dealerships provided a beautiful new pickup truck for anyone who could break the world record for bluefish. No one did.

In addition to the prizes for the most points or largest fish, DMS hosted a Saturday night get-together and a Sunday Awards Party where copious amounts of food were served. They also held a few raffles where those who did not score high enough for an award had a chance to win some pretty impressive prizes. All in all, a very successful event, and DMS is looking forward to next year.

Doe seasons

It looks like I am not going to get out for muzzleloader season, but I have high hopes for the upcoming doe seasons. They begin Monday, Oct. 15, and run until Dec. 15. Most of the season is in three-day segments from Friday to Monday (no hunting on Sunday) with the December season running for six days from the 8th to the 15th. Check the Delaware Hunting and Trapping Guide for the exact dates.

  • Eric Burnley is a Delaware native who has fished and hunted the state from an early age.  Since 1978 he has written countless articles about hunting and fishing in Delaware and elsewhere along the Atlantic Coast.  He has been the regional editor for Salt Water Sportsman, Field and Stream, Outdoor Life and the Fisherman Magazine.  He was the founding editor of the Mid-Atlantic Fisherman magazine.  Eric is the author of three books; Surf Fishing the Atlantic Coast, The Ultimate Guide to Striped Bass Fishing and Fishing Saltwater Baits.  He and his wife Barbara live near Milton, Delaware. Eric can be reached at

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