Delaware Seashore Fall Surf Fishing Classic 2016

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Dawn Patrol on Sunday getting ready to set up

The annual Delaware Seashore Fall Surf Fishing Classic was this weekend hosted by Old Inlet Bait and Tackle.  The tail end of the summer fishing season and transition to fall fishing is marked by the tournament. Over the last several years summer fish have stuck around longer, and the fall fish show up later, which allows for a better variety of catches adding more fun to the tournament. Strategies can be key to win a tournament like this since there are several options.  You can win just by targeting kingfish all day, or go for the bigger blues to rack up points. The largest bluefish is always worth a couple of thousand dollars, so you definitely want to enter the bluefish calcutta.  Going for flounder in the surf all day can put up some points fast too.  No matter how you decide to fish the tournament the weather will govern those choices.  This year we had a huge dose of fall like weather, especially on Saturday, to remind us of days to come.

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Saturday Sunrise

over-all-winners-of-the-delaware-seashore-fall-surf-fishing-classic-2016-darren-purcell-second-place-justin-lynch-first-place-scott-aiken-sr-third-place-smallA few days before the tournament anglers were catching a lot of kingfish on Fenwick Island to 3Rs fishing beaches. Just about all of the fish would have easily scored in the tournament. The same fishing was occurring  from Key Box to Coin beach, (north pocket), but with bluefish.  Anglers were catching snapper blues that would have easily qualified, and beaten the bluefish that took the calcutta today at seventeen inches. Knowing all of this information many anglers were excited to get set up and start slamming fish. Problem was a system was moving in and would be here for the weekend.  Why? Because it is tournament time. Except we were looking forward to this system, with northeast winds pushing water towards the beaches. Perfect conditions to push bait fish and larger fish towards the beach. That was the theory that usually holds true, and we planned accordingly.  Mother Nature stuck to our plan, but with her own little differences. There were plenty of fish pushed towards the beach, only problem is they were just all the wrong size. We caught so many undersized fish it was unreal, a lot of anglers caught fish left and right, all too small. Most of the bluefish were a half-inch too short.  If the fishing had held up the way it was a few days before the tournament, the judges would have been very busy.  The weather was the killer in more ways than one.

Saturday Update 


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Jim Davis with a short striped bass from the wash. They are in there thick right now

Saturday the weather was rough, northeast blow conditions with heavy waves pushing against the beach.  Hoping for that big fish push, but the other issue was that big blow.  The wind was much heavier than predicted and the waves were as well  Casting into the wind was a challenge.  In the morning we had a light breeze, and then around eight or so somebody hit a switch and the wind just turned on.  Meanwhile due to heavy waves and current we are already having a difficult time holding bottom with a five ounce pyramid sinker on a top and bottom rig.  Mullet rigs were barely holding with eight ounces.  Eventually everyone grabbed sputnik sinkers for mullet rigs or went with all top and bottom rigs with six to eight ounce sinkers. The waves and wind action by noon picked up even more, and increased steadily every half hour.  By two in the afternoon we had enough.  Eight ounce sputnik sinkers were washing up on the beach, no one could hold the bottom.  It looked like the summer googan season with lines all over each other.  Once a sinker would lose hold, it would just wash up on the beach in about three waves, about fifty yards down the beach.  It looked like we were trying to fish the inlet from conquest beach.  We packed the trucks, bailed, went home, and recharged.  Day two was next, and couldn’t be any worse than Saturday.

Saturday Update on Facebook

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Henry Busby with a double shot of croakers. They were hitting, but too small to score.

There are lots of puppy drum in the surf, the little black drum, we caught a ton of those little guys. The spot are huge, if they could have been scored I would have cleaned up in points. There are a lot of flounder stacked up along the beaches feeding heavily for that final winter push back to deeper waters. There should be some decent action jigging for flounder along the surf edge and the cuts. Using large sand fleas on a hook with little to no weight works well, just cast it into the wash behind the breaking wave and let the current do the rest. You have to hold onto your rod when you do this. There are a lot of short striped bass in the wash or white water along the surf edge. They are feeding heavy on bait fish and sand fleas.  They are hitting top and bottom rigs with bloodworms and mullet rigs.  You had to hold your rod to keep from tangling your rigs up but the fish can be caught. No point in targeting the short stripers for the tourney,but they are fun to catch.  Problem was they kept hitting rigs being retrieved or when they would wash up in the surf. The fishing has been good at the beach.

Sunday Sunrise … 


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Women’s Division
1st Most Points: Tie .. 15 Points Lorretta Schickner and Katelyn Gore

Today was decent, the morning was nice and calm, except the waves were still up, but not huge like Saturday.  We were holding bottom with four ounces on top and bottom rigs and six ounces on mullet rigs.  Everyone went shopping after the tournament yesterday for sputnik sinkers.   I’m pretty sure most shops are cleaned out.  The fish were biting today better than yesterday but they were all the smaller sized non scoring fish.  We caught a decent amount of bluefish,black drum, kingfish, striped bass, and saw a couple flounder caught down the beach.  Everything was too small.  The day got warmer which was so much better than yesterday.  Seriously, Saturday some of those waves looked close to eight feet by the time we left.  Today was a dead calm compared to that.  About eleven forty-five Jay Droney our judge, dropped by and told us to get our score sheets together.  That’s when the wind died down even more, and the waves started to lay down.  At noon the tournament was over, and right around noon thirty, people started catching scorable fish, another typical by-product of tournaments. The fishing is always better right afterwards or the next day. Which is good, because I have a lot of bait leftover for tomorrow.

Fish On!!

Rich King

2016 Delaware Seashore Fall Surf Fishing Classic 2016 Results

Most Points: $800.00 + Bronze Figure
Justin Lynch 76 points

2nd Most Points: $600.00 + Bronze Figure
Darren Purcell 68 Points

3rd Most Points: $400.00 + Bronze Figure
Scott Aiken Sr 62 Points

4th Most Points: $200.00 + Star Rod and/or Reynolds Rack
Tie 60 Points Brad Wolters and Will Shahan

5th thru 20th Place Points awarded prizes.

Women’s Division:
1st Most Points: $200 + Rod & Reel + Trophy
Tie 15 Points Lorretta Schickner and Katelyn Gore

2nd Most Points: $100 + Rod & Reel + Trophy
Tie 12 Points
Deb Palm, Joan Fortner, Anita Chandler, Kelsey Cycyk

Kids Division:
1st Most Points: Surf Rod & Reel + Trophy
Jason Cain 30 Points

2nd Most Points: Jetty Rod & Reel + Trophy
Joey Griffith 12 Points

Grand Slam Prize – None

Biggest Bluefish Calcutta – $2,500
Ryan Lewis 17 inches

Biggest Fish of Tournament
Gary Wilson 21 inch Flounder

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