Spot, croaker appear along beaches, fishing pier
Just like that we are in the swing of summer. However someone forgot to keep the heat on last weekend. It was chilly and we had some very rough seas. That didn't stop many from trying to surf fish. Going out on a boat was a no-go, but a few did try. It was rather nautical over the weekend. It did keep the crowds down at the beach it was like a very busy weekday out there, especially on Sunday.
The fishing has been decent for this time of year. Spot and croaker recently showed up along the beaches and the Cape Henlopen fishing pier. The spot are the perfect size for striped bass or trout (weakfish) bait. The croaker are on the small side as well but will get bigger as the summer progresses.
Kingfish have been frequent in the surf using Fishbites’ bloodworm formula or real bloodworms. Top and bottom rigs with small sharp hooks for the win. Sand perch and weakfish are also hitting those baits. The sand perch are small, and make decent bait for larger fish like flounder.
There is a lot of bait fish in the surf and sand fleas. Match the food on the surf to catch more fish. Small sand fleas are good for kingfish, sand perch, croaker, and spot. Flounder like the bigger fleas. The spot you catch also make good bait for the larger predators such as striped bass, bluefish, and flounder. You can catch bait twice in the surf while catching fish, and fishing for bigger fish. That is a lot of fishing and possible catching options.
Crabbing is getting better and better. The "mud' has cleared most of the crabs from a long winter's nap. Now we feast. As you know, I clean my crabs. Pan searing a few in white wine with garlic stuffed in the center of the crab is an excellent dish. Grilling them with butter in the center at low heat for about a half hour makes for a different flavor. You can even smoke crabs. We have the advantage of eating crabs so often sometimes you want to just experiment with flavors. Try some in spaghetti gravy, it is excellent. These are all done with cleaned crabs. Tell your Maryland friends.
Delaware State Parks limited the number of surf tags available in 2019 to 17,000 tags. They have fewer than 2,000 left. If you are planning on getting a tag you might want to get it now. There are only four locations that have them available. Down here in Sussex County, you can get them at the Cape Henlopen State Park office and the Indian River Life-Saving Station Museum.
Flounder action has been slowing down in the canal. Anglers are catching upwards of thirty throwbacks before they manage a keeper just at the right length. The numbers of keepers are getting lower for the inland bay areas as usual. Offshore the keeper flounder action is picking up. Gulp has been the bait of choice or minnows for inshore.
Weakfish are still being caught at a decent rate. The "smaller" fish from last year are a little bigger this year and we are seeing decent catches up to five pounds. Once you find a school the catches are frequent until the fish move on with the tide. You can sit there or you can chase the fish and become a tide runner yourself or chaser, I should say.
The rough seas last weekend washed several deceased marine mammals onto the beaches. A whale, turtles, and dolphins. Most were recovered and buried; a few washed back out to sea. The onshore blow will not only push fish to our shores, but also whatever is floating on the water as well. Even things bobbing along the bottom.
The third DSF Summer Surf Fishing Slam Series is this weekend. The leader board for the overall has been filling up.
Anglers … points
Michele Trotter: 70 points
Jesse Williams: 39 points
Bill Orth: 33 points
Gary Stefan: 17 points
Ralph McBride: 16 points
Jonathan Martin: 16 points
The offshore action has been picking up for tuna, sharks, tilefish and the usual suspects. The boats just need a good weekend to get out there.