See you in the sandbox

June 5, 2014
Mason Baldwin with a li’l puffer from the surf.

After cooling off earlier in the week, the temperatures jumped back up to normal and we had a beautiful weekend. May was a fun month with some interesting weather and great fishing.

So far, June has not been disappointing either. The surf has been producing bluefish on cut bait and whole mullet. Puffers are hitting Fishbites and bloodworms while a few keeper striped bass have been caught on bunker chunks. Flounder are close to the surf feeding on sand fleas, and a live minnow will also  produce. Croaker are thick in the surf now as well as kingfish on Fishbites, bloodworms and crab formulas. A few drum have been caught on fresh surf clam.

Beware of rip currents

It is rip current awareness week and NOAA has been putting out a lot of information to keep people aware of the dangers of these currents. For a surf angler it is a great place to fish, but not for swimming. Keep a close eye out for rip currents if you venture into the water; this is one reason it is preferred that people swim in an area with lifeguards. Fighting a rip current is never a good idea, but if you swim with the current you can break free. On the other hand, fishing a rip current is a great idea. Fish both sides of the rip current and in front of it if you can; that is where you will find fish feeding on the critters stirred up out of the sand from the strong currents.

Sea bass back in action

Sea bass action slowed down for a few days and has slowly picked back up, and the boats out of Lewes have been doing well. The Delaware Bay is filling up with flounder and sea bass, and all over the place there are croaker. Broadkill Beach has been a hot spot for croakers with bloodworms. The drum action has been great out on the coral beds and the Broadkill area. Woodland Beach has seen a lot of croaker action from the pier and boats. There are still striped bass being caught farther up the bay on bunker chunks. Not sure how long that action will continue, as the spring run is about to end. The Roosevelt Inlet and Lewes Canal are still hot for flounder and weakfish, and a lot of nice-sized tiderunners are being caught mostly on soft plastics like Pink Zoom on a 2 ounce jig head. Nothing like a day of lazy drifting on the canal, and this weekend gave us perfect weather to do just that. Spot are showing up everywhere including the Inland Bays. Massey’s Landing is seeing bluefish and flounder running the ditch. Bubble Gum Beach at the

Indian River Inlet has seen bluefish, shad, flounder and short striped bass.

Crabbing is picking more every day. Love Creek and Herring Creek have been good, as have been the shallower areas of the inland bays. People are filling crab pots and trotlining is starting to produce – as long as you put in the time and find crabs. I have seen a few monster crabs on the pier poles at Massey’s Landing and in people's baskets. That is not a great place to crab, but the fact that they are on the poles shows they are around. The Cape Henlopen pier is starting to produce crabs more frequently, too.

Night fishing at Cape

We fished the pier the other night and had a nice takeout dinner of Chinese food. While I was stuffing myself with egg rolls, there were fish coming over the rail left and right. I arrived just before dusk. While I was waiting for Scott and Aahron Jost, some guys walked onto the pier with a ton of gear and bait. They asked me a few things about fishing the pier; it was their first time there so I gave them a quick rundown. I told them the best way to fish the structure or pier poles (where the fish feed on the smaller critters that live on or around them)and how to fish the lights at night. They geared up and were pulling in flounder after only five minutes. Needless to say, they were very excited. It was fun watching these guys hammer flounder and croaker like no tomorrow! There were some nice blues caught earlier that day; in fact, a few guys coming off the pier told me their buddy had a nice croaker on until a bluefish slammed it during the retrieve and bit it in half. They said the entire pier immediately switched to cut bait and started catching both gator and smaller blues. Spot were also coming over the rail all day long with lots of croaker in the mix on bloodworms and Fishbites.

Great day in the sandbox

Saturday morning I took some folks to the beach for a little surf fishing. We went to Faithful Steward crossing and set up the gear. I had an array of bait and showed them how to cast and explained how to read the beach to find a good fishing spot. I also explained that finding a good spot doesn't always mean you will catch fish, since we are fishing the Atlantic pond, after all. That is one huge body of water to just sit on the edge of the shore and fish. We rescued a couple of horseshoe crabs while we were there and picked up some trash. I really dislike finding trash on the beach, and watching a Mylar balloon wash up really drove me crazy. We didn't catch anything and neither did most of the beach from the early morning into the early afternoon. I took our new friends back to their vehicles and they left knowing what to do next time they get in the surf. A half hour after we left, the beaches started seeing bluefish, puffers, kingfish, dogfish, skates and rays. The old "you have to be at the right place at the right time" scenario strikes again! It happens. That’s why it’s called fishing and not catching. That morning while we were drowning bait, a buddy of mine was hammering bluefish at the Indian River Inlet for about forty five minutes until the bite turned off at the south wall. Others were catching fish in the bays, canals, and the beaches south of our location. It was a great day in the sandbox.

Let go of the sharks

The offshore bite has been good for yellowfin, bluefin, and even a few big eye tuna. The shark action has been heating up offshore with blues, makos and threshers, but we have not seen much of that action from the surf. Please keep in mind that most of the sharks you catch from the surf are usually the prohibited species and are not to be removed from the water. Sand tiger, dusky, and sandbar sharks are prohibited species and ninety-nine percent of the time these are the sharks you will produce from the surf. If you cannot identify the shark, then let it go, either cut the line or get in the water and remove the hook. I have done that a few times with large sand tigers and it is definitely a pucker factor off the scales. I will tell you that story another time -- it was a real experience being waist deep with a ten foot sand tiger shark.

Speaking of sharks, a 221.5 pound thresher was brought to the docks in Lewes last Monday. Delaware Family Fishing’s captain Brian Wazlavek had a charter Sunday Night, and Josh Chubbs caught the 79 inch (measured to the fork) shark about 14 miles off the Delaware coast. Mike Trestka and mate Aahron Jost assisted in landing the thresher, the first brought into Lewes this year. As always The fishing is hit or miss but still a good time when you are with friends and family.

Hope everyone had a great week and we will see you out there!

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