Storms make surf fishing difficult

September 21, 2017

Hopefully this finds us well out of the storm surges and with the beaches in good shape. Before Jose showed up we had some issues with storm surge and the higher tides were flooding the beaches. That makes surf fishing difficult. Usually storms push fish ahead of them so we will see what Hurricane Jose brought us from the south. The precursor of the storm has been wind and rain, and by the time you all read this we will have gone through it.

Small snapper bluefish action has been the popular catch in the surf using mullet on mullet rigs, cut bait on top and bottom rigs, or Fishbites. Squid, clam and bloodworms are also working, because bluefish will eat anything. When we were on the point in Cape Henlopen State park over the weekend, Barney caught a thirty-seven-inch bluefish, the same monster-sized blues we see in the surf during the spring now. The big bluefish hit a chunk of bluefish - they will eat anything including their own kind.

Redfish or red drum are finally making an appearance in the surf and the area waters. The will hit cut bait, squid, and any crustacean such as green crabs or sand fleas. Clam is usually a popular bait, and we find they will readily hit mullet here in Delaware. Spot heads and kingfish heads are usually good bait as well. You can also live-line spot for red drum. These are the slot-sized red drum the bulls usually don't go much farther north than Assateague Island. A nice-sized slot redfish was caught in the Indian River inlet on a squid strip on a flounder rig.

Sea bass season is coming to a close, but only for a month until it will open again. There has been great action on the reefs and wrecks offshore. Anglers are pulling them in two at a time; decent keeper sizes with a lot of throwbacks. There are flounder and trigger around the wrecks offshore. Lots of triggers still out there and sheepshead. All are hitting clam on top and bottom rigs, most of the trigger are by catch for seabass anglers. You can target them with small hooks and clam, which the sea bass prefer. Squid is the next go-to bait and everything will hit squid, and in fact it is probably the cheapest bait - unless of course you are catching your own bait. Small sand fleas make great bait offshore; you just have to spend some time in the surf with a sand flea rake to fill a bucket.

The Cape Henlopen pier has been giving up a lot of spot and small croaker, the occasional keeper flounder among a lot of throwbacks. There are tons and tons of those little bait-stealing bluefish. Burrfish are being caught and recently an angler caught one over two pounds, which may qualify the angler for an IGFA all-tackle record. Dave Beebe, owner of Lighthouse View Bait and Tackle, will know when the paperwork comes back. wShort striped bass fishing has been fun on light gear in the Lewes Canal and tidal creeks or rivers using swim shads or bucktails. Anything that mimics a mullet is your best bet. They are also hitting sand fleas and bloodworms along the jetties of the Indian River Inlet. The structure in the Lewes Canal is holding fish and the shorts are schooling up with this cooler weather and water.

Crabbing is still good but you have to do some searching to find the crabs. The fluctuating temperatures have them on the move. They are feeding heavily for a long winter's nap.

While cast netting for mullet, a few anglers caught some pompano in their nets and butterfish are in the surf as well.

Have a good weekend and we will catch you in the sand box.

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