Time for the start of the second season
Almost the end of summer season and then second summer starts. That’s the season the locals crawl out of our summer hibernation caves and venture out on the weekends looking for food and fun. Seriously, most of the locals try to avoid the weekly beach chaos. By the time Labor day rolls around we are stir crazy. The point will open and we can finally surf fish one of the beaches in Delaware.
This past weekend beachgoers were treated to something we usually only see in the fall and winter. Nor'easter-like conditions at the beach. Minus the bone-chilling cold and severe rains. We have a northeasterly blow with a northeast swell. These waves chewed up the beaches, creating a cliff of sand all the way down the coast into Ocean City, Maryland and beyond. Even New Jersey saw the effects of this swell.
Surf anglers had to climb up and down a four foot cliff to get to the water or surf. Water was washing up to the cliff and over. The wash is full of short striped bass on all beaches, feeding on bait fish and sand fleas. If you paid close attention you could see the fish moving through this white water surf wash. Anglers were catching short but healthy looking fat short striped bass. They are starting to school up a little more feeding and preparing to join the main Atlantic Migration in the fall.
Not only sand fleas but mullet are also starting to emerge from the tidal creeks and bays into the surf. That will increase and soon the flats at the Cape Henlopen pier will come alive with huge schools of mullet. Get your cast net game on point, great way to take advantage of a lot of free bait. The flats around the inland bays are already loaded with mullet schools.
Surf fishing has been excellent the past few days even during the heavy weather. Short bass are being caught more readily. Spot, kingfish, sand perch, pufferfish, burrfish, bluefish, croaker, pompano, and of course the dreaded Jersey Flounder, the skate. DS Custom Tackle top and bottom rigs combined with Fishbites has been catching fish better than other rigs. The Fishbites flavor of choice, bloodworm, which is also the most popular formula, the red or chartreuse. Real bloodworms have been the preferred bait as of late, because they work, and Fishbites have been hard to find. I was recently added to the Fishbites Pro Staff. The company assured me they are working on the stock issue with all the distributors. "No one expected the fishing to be this good this year." A little tidbit for anyone who uses Fishbites: You can extend their life by refrigerating them after use to store for the winter months.
Flounder fishing has been a lot of throwbacks to get a keeper around the inland bays and Cape Henlopen Fishing Pier. Gulp and minnows for the bait of choice. Offshore anglers tend to use larger baits on bigger jigs. Cut mackerel fillets work well, even whole squid; the small squid not the tube.
The pier in Cape Henlopen State Park has been on fire for the spot bite on the incoming tides into the outgoing tides. Spot is not only great bait but very good to eat. These fish have also been helping surf anglers rack up points in DSF's Summer Surf Fishing Slam Series. Ten spot can rack up eighty points real quick.
Bluefish schools moving along the beaches have Spanish mackerel in the mix. Spoons or any shiny metals retrieved fast will hook up a mack on the attack.
Just cast to the schools and see what happens; it’s hard to predict what will hit. The blues are good size for eating and the carcasses are good for crab traps for bait. Crabbing is still excellent around the inland bays, as is clamming.