A Weekend of Fishing in the Elements

Fishing has been fun this weekend despite the weather and winds.  Friday before it got too nasty out Scott, Ed and I went to the outer wall to do a little tog fishing.  We were on Scott’s boat and it was the first trip to the wall, we had three hundred and fifty feet of anchor line.  Scott said we have enough line to hit site six, but once we passed the ice breakers or haystacks, we decided it was bit too rough to head that far out.  So we opted for the outer wall.  Now since I woke up late and forgot the toggle we would need to anchor to the wall, we had to figure out a plan.  How do we tie up to the wall without a toggle anchor?  Now in case you are wondering what is a toggle anchor, it is a line with something tied to it you can throw into the rock wall,  cleat to your boat, and after you anchor the boat in front, to hold your position.  All you have to do is throw a line to the wall with something attached to the other end, and get it jammed in between two rocks to make a tight connection.  Sounds easy right?  Well it is not as easy as it sounds and we didn’t have a thing to use for a toggle.  

bluefish, diamond state tackle, modified mullet rigs, conquest beach, delaware seashore state park, atlantic fish
Robert Booz … Caught 6 blues at Conquest drive on using your modified mullet rig, here’s one hooked with the trail hook. These rigs will be available from Diamond State Tackle by the end of the week.

Anything works, I know people that put cement in beer cans to make toggles and just peel the can away when it dries and attach the rope.  Some even use old car or engine parts, whatever will work.  Being the “let’s not litter the ocean” person that I am, I said maybe there is already a rope there floating along the wall we can use.  It turns out we got lucky and found one.  We dropped anchor, backed up to the floating line and after some mild cussing … okay, a lot of cussing, we managed to grab the line without dashing the boat to pieces on the rock wall.  Once secured, we started to bait up our tautog rigs with green crabs or sand fleas, the bait of choice.  I had visions of giant record setting sheepshead to catch.  First line dropped in and Scott catches a giant oyster cracker.  Okay, at least it was a fish and in the  first minute, but would set the tone for the day.  That was pretty much all we caught for the first hour, and I managed one small sea bass as well as some oyster crackers, we released the kraken as the phrase goes, despite the fact they are tasty.  The horn from the Harbor of Refuge  light house was sounding all day long, eventually you tune it out, until you get back to land, and swear you can still hear it in your sleep.  Once slack tide hit the fish turned off, and we decided it would be a good time for lunch.  We dove into the food Ed brought along and had a nice picnic near the outer wall. This is the first wall that creates the National Harbor of Refuge built on a shoal known as the Shears.  Not to be confused with the inner wall known as the Delaware Breakwater.  We continued to fish for the rest of the afternoon through a few rain sprinkles.  Friends were fishing the inner wall and sent us pictures of a keeper striped bass they caught, we waved thanks to them, and not with our hands.  Once the water started moving again, Scott hooked up with a tautog, but it was about two inches short of the legal size.  After watching the sky get darker, we decided to head in since it looked like Prime Hook was covered in clouds.  We uncleated the line, pulled the anchor, and headed back.  Once we arrived at the Lewes boat ramp the sky opened up and it poured, for the next twenty four hours. We made it back just in time and saw a few folks heading out to the wall to brave the elements, catching oyster crackers.  Despite not catching any keeper tautog we all had a great day on the water and learned a few things, mostly that toggling a boat to the wall can be a real chore.  It was our first time doing that, obviously.

Saturday the surf was a bit angry looking, but despite the heavy seas and rain, there were fish biting.  I was supposed to meet the Bluedogs surf fishing team at Bethany beach near the York crossing.  I wanted to wait out the rain and meet up with some other friends at the south inlet campground, but the rain never stopped.  I bailed on all of my plans after I stopped by the Indian river inlet and was soaked within minutes of getting out of my vehicle.  Hopefully I can catch up with the Bluedogs soon enough they are a fun group of guys to fish with in the surf.  Bluefish, shorty striped bass, kingfish, spotted hake or ling, and some puffers have been mostly caught in the surf.  Skates, rays, dogfish, and sharks are always a given.  Mullet have been the best baits for the bluefish with a few flounder here and there on the retrieve of mullet rigs.  Bloodworms, the real ones are working better than the fishbites, and squid is always a go to this time of year.  Make sure to dispose of your blood worm packaging and seaweed properly.  Basically the fishing has not changed much from last weekend, and clam will start working better for striped bass.  Small bluefish,shorty striped bass and a few keeper bass have been caught at the Indian river inlet.  Some shad are in the mix as well, on small spoons, flies, and darts.   Flounder for the most part are over for the inland bays, and some are still being caught at ocean sites and the surf.  Sea bass season starts back up on next Saturday the eighteenth of October, and I know a lot of people are looking forward to that starting, I have been invited to a few trips already.  Short striped bass are schooling up all over the inland bays still and the rock piles at the Indian river inlet.  Croaker are still in there as well and some monsters were caught at the outer wall the other day.  Triggers, puffers, and sheepshead are still being caught by people togging the walls.

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We had a great weekend despite the rain and I am looking forward to fishing this week, at night in the surf and the inlets.  The water temperatures are steadily dropping close to shore and the inland bays.  The boys fishing out in the ocean are finding a lot of mahi mahi.  The boys up north in Jersey and New York are seeing lots of bait fish in the surf and back bays, more so than they have seen since hurricane Sandy.  That is always a good thing, we just need that bait to move south and bring the big fish with them.  Large bluefish in the ten pound plus range are up there and headed this way as well.  looking forward to hammering a few gator blues in the surf.  They are always a blast to catch from shore.


I was at IRI on Saturday just checking out the water and waiting on a friend to give him his reel back he had fixed.  The water was moving really fast and the breakers were heavy.  I didn’t see any boats even try to go out front.  The Indian River Inlet north side campground is coming along nicely.  Pavement is in the RV areas, roads, curbs, and sidewalks are being built.  Won’t be long now and that place will have a whole new look.  There are new bath houses being built, and we have a new bath house for the parking area, which will replace the port-a-johns. and that will be a blessing for the bays.  Bath houses don’t flip over and drain in high winds.  One thing I was surprised to see at the Lewes boat ramp was a trash can at the top of the boat ramp.  That would be nice to see at all of the state boat ramps, but I have no idea who put it there, it doesn’t look very official.  I have noticed less trash hanging on the rails at the Indian river inlet and that is a good thing.  Whether that is from the parks cleaning it up, or people showing more respect and not leaving trash behind I do not know, but is still a good thing to see, or I should say not see.  Hope everyone had a good weekend and we will see you in the surf.  I hope everyone likes the new video format we have added to the site I like making these, so expect a lot more on our U tube channel.

Fish On!!

Rich King

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