Finding perfect spot to fish can be a challenge
The fishing has been excellent so long as you have the right bait, are in the right spot, have the correct gear for the fish you want to catch during the right tide, at the best time of day, and know how you hold your rod. There are so many factors to catching, because anyone can fish. Most of the time it is just dumb luck, especially surf fishing. You are standing along the edge of one of the largest ponds on the planet, hoping a fish swims by and decides to take your bait. Finding that perfect spot to fish can be a challenge! That is why we hope for the dumb luck factor. There is a fine line between surf fishing and just standing there looking like an idiot.
Fish the cuts at the beach. This is where the water washes out and forms a plume of sand that looks like a mushroom cloud. That is the cut, where water, after crossing the sand bar area and washing up on the beach, drains back into the surf. This is where the fish tend to gather and cuts can be exaggerated or subtle. An extreme cut would be a rip current. We love fishing rip currents!
You can get a good look at what a beach looks like under the water after an nor'easter at a dead low tide. The profile the increased surf carves into he beach face is what the sand bars and cuts look like in front of you. When you find areas where the water drains between the sandbars. The swales drain there as well. That is where good cuts are found.
Fishing the cuts is easy … catching not so much at times. Cast a line to the top of the cut and on each side. In close and out far. Move your gear around until you find fish or they find you. Usually it is the latter, and the fish will hit cuts as they move up the beach on the incoming tides and feed. The cuts are where the water flushes out food in the sand (sand fleas, copepods, and sand worms). Fish will hang in these areas and feed on the food being stirred up, dislodged from the sand, and tossed around by the currents.
The surf has been active for bluefish in random locations. Anglers are catching with mullet on mullet rigs, bunker chunks, and even top and bottom rigs. The latter are being destroyed by bluefish biting them off. Stick to the heavy line or wire leader rigs. When a school moves into the beach area, switch to spoons and cast for them. I prefer that action to just sitting there waiting for the fish to hit my bait.
There have been a few keeper striped bass caught on clam or bunker chunks in the surf from Assateague to Cape Henlopen. Black drum action is still great at Broadkill Beach. When the fish move in, the action is great for about an hour or two and then it shuts down. In the meantime, anglers are catching random blues, striped bass, and dogfish. There are plenty of northern puffers, burrfish, and sand perch to catch on top and bottom rigs but the blues are destroying those rigs. Fish with both setups and see who hits first - the blues or the fish the blues are eating.
Weakfish have been making a showing in the last week. Decent-size weakfish are being caught along the Delaware Bay beaches near the Cape Henlopen fishing pier. They are in the twenty-four inch range and fat looking. Would be nice to see them come back. If you catch one maybe release it? That fish went through a lot to get to that size. The ocean is one extremely dangerous environment to grow up in when everything is food for something else. I'd prefer to eat one too … these are perfect eating size.
Flounder has been excellent in the canal, might be a little cleaned out after last weekend. Lot of boats hammering away at the flatties for a tournament. There are flounder all over the Cape Henlopen fishing pier, the inland bays are picking up and the surf has decent action. Pink Gulp, minnows, and silversides have been the ticket for drifting. Jigging the cuts in the surf work at the beach, also they will hit your mullet rig on the retrieve at times.
Crabbing has been excellent around the inland bays, canals, and the Cape Henlopen Fishing Pier. Couple more weeks and I will be satisfied the mud of winter is cleared out of them and start feasting. We catch our own crabs and prefer them to be cleaned out a bit after a long winter soak in that inland bay mud.
We would like to welcome Chief Boatswain's Mate Nicholas Muskalla back to Indian River Coast Guard Station as our new Officer in Charge (OIC). Nick was stationed here a few years ago and he is a great asset to the USCG. I'm looking forward to him being stationed here for a few years. He is replacing Chief Boatswain's Mate Donald Holcomb, good luck in your new assignment. "DJ" was a great person to work with and very instrumental in Delaware Surf Fishing's efforts to raise/collect gift cards of the Coast Guard station Indian River during the government shutdown. The community rallied together and in about 5 hours dropped off over $14,000 in gift cards that we collected at the Crooked Hammock and gave to the station the next day. These were all distributed locally and then sent to sector to help with the other stations in our sector. Kudos to the community for helping the coasties!
There is a unique and free surf fishing tournament for the summer.
The DSF Summer Surf Fishing Slam Series is a free tournament to fish, for any and all surf anglers from Broadkill Beach to Fenwick Island. This includes the bay beach at Cape Henlopen State Park Fishing pier, no pier fish count. There isn’t an age limit. You don’t have to be on a drive-on beach. Fishing times are from 7 a.m to 7 p.m.. Anglers take pictures of their catches with the Delaware State fishing ruler, with a time and date stamp. You email your catches to email@example.com.
Also there will be a playing card announced that day, and it has to be in the picture as well. For example the card for that day might be a jack of hearts. Decks of cards cost about a dollar. Simple to do and simple to fish. You can sign up at www.stubcentral.net.
Anglers can place from first to twentieth place. Prizes are gift card(s) donated by the businesses sponsoring the tournament. There are 11 chances to fish the DSF Summer Surf Fishing Slam Series all summer long. Fishing time is 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.: May 18, June 1, June 15, June 29, July 6, July 20, August 3, August 17, August 31, Sept 7, Sept 21.