Surf fishing excellent for all the usual summer suspects
And POOF! Just like that summer is over. But there are still plenty of warm days ahead of us and lots of fish to catch. Though a mild end to the season, this holiday weekend wasn't without the usual crazy. Boats beached in federally closed sections and cars stuck on the beach. The worst was people running around the dunes at the closed section of point – and when confronted, telling people, “It’s okay we are local.” No, no it is not. The bayside area of the point is closed until October for shorebirds. One would think the tourists would be the issue, but not in this case.
One angler over the Labor Day weekend had the catch of a lifetime. For this time of year a rare catch to boot. Mark Bowman caught a forty-two-inch striped bass at the Indian River Inlet. They were fishing for shad and bluefish, then caught this beast. “Just caught the biggest striper of my life! 42 inches let my 2 kids reel in what I thought was shads and blues then I asked my 13-year-old daughter Grace, “wanna reel this fish in?” She got it close and I see it looked like a Cobia, soon as it got close took Drag! I grabbed the rod! Catch and release.”
The surf was hot at the point once the fish got the memo it opened. Seriously the first few days at the point the fishing was bleak, and oddly enough it picked right up on September first. The feds let parks open the point a few days early since the first fell on a holiday. Everyone was beyond excited to get back to our favorite place to surf fish.
Surf fishing has been excellent for all the usual summer suspects. This year in particular it has been much better than years past. More fish to catch? More structure for fish to feed around? I can't call it but this year has been excellent compared to the past few years. People caught fish all summer long. The old adage no one catches fish in the summer was destroyed this year. The crew was on the point Sunday and locked into a nice juvenile thresher shark. The big threshers will pup near the surf, and the babies are hungry right from the get go.
Pompano in Delaware caught surf fishing the last few days are much bigger than usual. They won’t be headed home once summer is over. No creel limits, eat all you want. These are the biggest ones we have seen in Delaware’s surf. Perfect size to grill and eat. Right at the beach, just clean the fish and grill. Gut it first, and clean it out. Wash out the cavity well and outside of the fish with cold water. Then slice the skin in a criss-cross pattern. You can season any way you want. If the pompano is big enough filet it, but cooking whole is the best bet, especially with the smaller ones we are also catching in the surf. These bigger pompano are still easier to cook whole.
Anglers are catching them on the ocean beaches the most, but some have been caught at Delaware Bay beaches. Surf anglers at Broadkill Beach and Beach Plum Island state park have caught a few. Fishbite bloodworms work well with small hooks. DS Custom Tackle top and bottom rigs work great. Sand fleas and shrimp work well for pompano too, in Florida shrimp is the preferred bait.
Flounder fishing was tough this year for many anglers. It was good in some areas and horrible in others. Meaning plenty of throwback fish were caught, but keepers were minimal in many cases. Offshore action was better for larger fish and one day it was hot and the next day was not. Minnows and Gulp for bait around the inland bays and canals. Offshore was larger jig heads and cut bait strips. I'm still waiting for someone to fish with the big bladed rigs like they do in Jersey for true doormat flounder. It is NOT a doormat unless it is over ten pounds and even that is considered small by most standards.
The summer may be over but we have plenty of fishing and fun ahead. Known as second summer to the locals, now we can come out of our summer hiding and move about the beaches easier. It isn't the tourists that everyone hates; it is the ridiculous amount of traffic, and they happen to be a large contributor.
We all know no matter what anyone did with the roads, the summer weekend traffic could never be alleviated, you just deal with it as best you can. Now we rest, relax, and fish. Until next season have a great fall and winter. Tune that gear for next year's adventurers in the sand box. I have a new hobby for winter, magnet fishing the creeks and canals.