The weirdest Labor Day weekend ever

September 15, 2016

The end of summer season started with a potential hurricane. It was definitely one for the books. People either didn’t come down or left town Saturday. Either way it was still crowded and the only thing to do was watch the storm. Most of these folks only see nor’easter-like conditions on the internet in pictures and video. Many saw it up close and personal for the first time and were … well, awestruck would be a good description. The power of Mother Nature is amazing. People came here for calm seas and clear skies, instead they got a tropical storm-surf that ripped through like a nor’easter, though much of the weekend was sunny. We dodged a bullet for sure, it could have been much worse. The after affects with storm surge are the biggest issue. So if you are upset you didn’t come down, you didn’t miss much. You couldn’t drive onto a beach for a couple of days and some were closed longer.

All beaches are now open to drive on; it took a couple of days for the tide to calm down and stop washing over the sand. The swales are still wet so be careful. Do not drive through wet sand. Fenwick Island was the last area to open on Friday afternoon. The point looks just fine, but gets a little thin at high tide. Access roads are going to be loose and fast with all of this heat. There are tide pools in front of the beaches that will fill in as the waves reshift the sand. Loose sand will be fast and you can sink quickly so be careful walking. Now for the big questions, how is the fishing?

The short answer is fishing is pretty much back to the way it was before the storm. The water is dirty and waves are still heavy in the surf. You need at least four ounces to hold bottom, even with top and bottom rigs and probably up to five with mullet rigs. The water is sandy and silted up so it looks dark. It should calm down in a couple of days. Kingfish are hitting squid, bloodworms, cut mullet chunks, or Fishbites bloodworms or crab formula. Bluefish are hitting mullet, fresh or frozen and stores have fresh, call ahead. Mullet are along the beaches in Cape Henlopen and the flats in Rehoboth bay. Large cob mullet are in schools around the inland bays. There are so much baitfish in the surf and Indian River Inlet you could walk on it. You are competing with the baitfish to catch fish, best to match the bait if you can.

Croaker action at the Henlopen Pier went back to the same as before the storm hit. There have been some nice-sized keeper croaker catches. Spot action is okay, and flounder are sporadic. Weakies are hitting at night, but are small. As the water clears up, fishing should get better. There have been some decent-sized weakies at the Indian river inlet at night. Croaker action along the rocks is okay, with a lot of sea bass mixed in using bloodworms or squid. Short striped bass, bluefish and shad action are good at night on flies, spoons, or swim shads.

The water temperature dropped to almost seventy degrees at Massey’s Landing, but the July-like weather is going to jack it back up. We went from seventy eight degrees to seventy and back to seventy eight in seven days. The beaches are still a cool seventy-four degrees.

The worst thing so far are the flies!  Everyone keeps asking why are the flies so bad?  The marshes flooded, which killed off some things like fish, crabs, and marsh critters. Lots of decomposing junk in the marsh creates more flies. Then you get a nice hot day with a west wind and you are covered in flies.

Today the wind was heavy at one point and the flies were still horrible. They are chasing people off the beach. Even a dead calm is bad because the flies don’t get blown away from the water, but the west wind is the worst. South and southwest winds will be an issue Saturday. The DFM will be about an eight this weekend (Damn Fly Meter).

Lizardfish are hitting more frequently in the surf and the back bays. They are brown and look like a fat needle fish with a lizard face, and a mouth full of really sharp teeth. Not much for the table, but it is something to catch and add to the life list.

Should be a decent weekend to do some fishing, crabbing or lounging. I would expect a crowded weekend for people making up for last weekend. Traffic is already pretty thick and picking up.

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