Rain, rain go away! It has been a seriously wet summer, and we barely dry out before it happens all over again. Fish couldn’t care less – they’re already wet – but personally I would rather be dry. I don’t mind the rain, but the wind is a whole different story. We are experiencing fall-like temperatures, and many are starting to think about the fall run. Striped bass will show up in Delaware as they do twice a year, and the fishing will be a whole new ballgame. I am looking forward to catching rockfish, but for now I am content with the lazy days of summer on the beach.
We had an interesting week in Sussex county. The weekend traffic was insane with everyone getting in those last minute vacations. It’s been crowded out there, the beaches were packed, and last night (Monday) the Rehoboth Boardwalk looked like a Friday night. Great to see everyone having fun, but be careful and smart when you are on vacation. Accidents do happen and when things go bad, they tend to happen fast.
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Just be safe and play things smart; the phrase “look before you leap” comes to mind. There are a lot of motorcycles and bicyclists on the road, please keep an eye out for them. Weather and Traffic updates are always available on the Delaware Surf Fishing Facebook page. We try to keep our online community as informed and up-to-date as much as possible.
I want to thank everyone for all the pictures they send, it’s very cool to see all the kids catching and having fun as a family. Labor Day weekend is coming up in three weeks, after which many of us can stretch our legs and move about the county with less traffic. The summer season is a blast, but even those of us who live here need a break once in a while. Then winter will be upon us, of course, and we can all get back to complaining about the cold and dreaming of summer.
Surf fishing not that great
Surf fishing has not been that great in the past few days. Many people were catching five days ago and then everything just kind of shut down. That is not to say there aren’t fish out there; people have been catching, but the frequency has slowed down. Theories range from the weird weather to possibly the dredging. The surf temperature was seventy-four degrees on Monday and seventy degrees last Friday. Fluctuations could be to blame, with the winds shifting and pushing fish out with the water. There are many possibilities. For the most part, though, many of us are just content to sit on the beach staring at our rods and decompressing.
A few puffers, skate, kingfish, flounder, striped bass, spot, little dogfish, bluefish, croaker, cownose rays and sharks (toothy units) were caught on the ocean beaches. The Delaware Bay beaches have been the best places. Beach Plum Island, Broadkill Beach and even farther north such as Augustine Beach. The Cape Henlopen pier has been producing the usual catches that the bay beaches are also seeing. The baits have been Fishbites, bloodworms, clam, cut bait such as mullet and spot, and sand fleas. The best baits seem to change depending on the mood of the fish on that particular day. Fishbites have still been outfishing most of the live baits. Minnows, spot, and gulp have been great for flounder in all areas, beaches, bays, and out front. Site Ten and the old grounds have been great for flounder as well as the Indian River Inlet and Massey’s Landing.
Keeper bass popping up
Keeper striped bass that qualify for the slot regulations have been popping up all over the Delaware Bay and even the bay beaches. Live spot seems to be the best bait for them, but a few have been caught on bloodworms. Small plugs. spoons, and crank baits work well too, you just have to put in some work. A nice thirty-two inch striped bass was caught over the weekend at the Indian River Inlet by Daulton Rigney. There are some nice keeper-sized resident rockfish this year too, and a few shorties have shown up in the surf as well over the week. The fall run will happen sooner than you know it, and we will be able to give you a rough idea when that will happen.
Summer is still here despite the teaser fall-like weather we are experiencing. There are redfish (puppy drum) still around, but not the numbers we saw last year. However there are more keepers being caught. The Inland bays, Indian River Inlet, and Massey’s Landing have seen some nice catches, as well as some smaller reds in the surf.
Speaking of the back bays, the crabbing has not been that great this year. The Schusters did manage a bushel-and-a-half the other day, but it was some work. Crab pots are not as full as many would like to see, and again we blame the crazy wet weather. Clamming, however, has been excellent – just avoid the jellyfish. Wearing thick pants helps, but that can be cumbersome in the water. Sandy Lowes and Melissa May were clamming the other day and doing well, however Sandy was welted up from jellyfish stings afterwards. I always use meat tenderizer on the sting area, and the backside of a butter knife to help remove any of the remaining pieces of the stingers (nematocysts).
Black puppy drum are still everywhere, caught mostly with clams. Massey’s landing, Indian River Inlet, the back bays and the surf have seen catches. The action out front has been great for flounder, sand tiger sharks, trigger, spade fish, and black sea bass. (Out front meaning not too far off shore, as compared to going forty miles or more out to the canyons, hotdog, and hambone.) The bluefin and yellowfin bite has been hot out in those areas on the chunk and the troll. Mahi mahi are showing up in nice sizes and in good numbers. Even a few wahoo have been pulled recently as well.
Ocean City’s White Marlin Open is this week. Good luck to all the anglers and the 262 boats that entered this year. I have a lot of friends on different boats, and the crews are all excited. Hopefully I can get down to Ocean City Md. for one of the weigh-ins this week. As of Monday night, The Tarheel is in first place for the largest tuna at 226 pounds caught by Rick Stavola. The Incorrigible is in first place for the largest dolphin (mahi mahi) at 29.5 pounds caught by Greg Fullers. No Quarter is in first place for the largest shark: A 133.5 pound mako caught by Mike Peet. You can keep up with the tournament results posted daily at the White Marlin Open website. I have some friends who went out last night to fish for tuna, and I hope to hear from them soon. They aren’t in the Open – I just want a good dinner.
Time to talk boating safety
Since we’re on the subject of boats, let’s cover a few things about boating safety. This weekend a young man dove out of a boat into two feet of water and was airlifted from Massey’s Landing. Just because you cannot see the bottom of the bay doesn’t mean it’s not there. In the summertime our waters are stirred up and murky in the back bays. Seeing the bottom is a luxury this time of year, and it’s just not a good idea to jump out of a boat unless you know exactly what is below. Diving into unknown water is particularly dangerous. You could be in six inches or six feet of water, and, in the bay, not be able to tell the difference. Please be careful when jumping from a boat, or better yet, just don’t! If you have a boat with an inboard engine, it is recommended to vent the engine compartment. This weekend the folks at Love Creek were treated to a loud boom when someone started their boat and it blew the engine cover into the air and a good twenty yards across the marina. Always check the engine and lift the cover to vent fumes that may have built up over time.
A dog was rescued this weekend from the surf at conquest beach. This dog was missing from Dewey Beach, and was confused with one that jumped or fell out of a boat at the Indian River Inlet. The dog that fell into the Inlet was not recovered. It is a good idea to put a life jacket on your pet (yes, they exist) or keep it on a leash. There are some great tips on the trips with pets website for boating with your animals. Always remember that boats do not have brakes! When things go wrong on the water they can happen very fast. Even the most experienced have made mistakes, and accidents do happen, so take it slow and be safe, especially when you are in unknown waters.
Foo Fighters and mad love to DSF fans
Yesterday (Monday) I surf fished with Dave Eastburn and his family. Afterwards, he took them to the Rehoboth Boardwalk and ran into Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters. Dave Eastburn has been a great friend and follows this site when he is overseas, as do many of our men and women in the Armed Forces. I am very proud that DelawareSurfFishing.com is able to help these folks keep up on an area they love and to which they still feel connected. Thank you all for your service, and I’m thankful to everyone who follows the DSF Facebook page, the website, and who sends pictures and updates. Your efforts help everyone, and even drives many of you nuts who can’t be here all of the time.
I receive lots of pictures of kids holding their first fish, and their parents just gushing with pride. The fact that they’re holding a small fish doesn’t matter; it’s the birth of the love for a great pastime we all share. Remember when you caught your first fish? It means a great deal to me to know the efforts of DSF are appreciated. I see and hear that everyday, and I just wanted to say thank you to everybody. Sometimes I hear complaints that we post the weather, traffic updates, and places to eat. I try to keep everyone updated on local current events as much as possible. I need to get around as much as the next person, and I like to know the weather I am about to deal with, and we also try to help sponsors with announcements of specials at their businesses. This Saturday I watched as the entire DSF online community came together to help a man and his dog stuck on the beach, as the tide started to claim his vehicle. I was sent a picture of a truck stuck in the wet sand asking DSF to get the word out for help. People in the neighborhood (Broadkill Beach) showed up to bring food and water for the man and his dog and to help dig out his vehicle if they could. People five states away posted that they wished they were here to help, and watched the updates with nailbiting anticipation, hoping for a positive outcome. Word spread like wildfire, and a big thanks to J.S. Bennett & Son, Inc. (302-539-7519) for pulling the truck from the surf and sea. Put that number in your phones! I am proud of DSF and all of you for caring and trying to help your fellow anglers. I never imagined DSF would become so big, so popular, and reach out to so many people. Thank you all!