Delaware Surf Fishing report

juvenile flounder, cast nets, dsf, delaware surf fishing, bethany canal, bait fish
Juvenile flounder caught by Tom Minio while cast netting for bait in the canals.

The past weekend and week was a great time fishing and meeting new people.  I spent Friday and Saturday at Bob’s Marine for an in house boat show and then visited the March Of Dimes fundraiser with the Reel Friends Surf Fishing Club.  The fundraiser did well for the MOD and it was great to see everyone!  That night Scott, Aahron, Kim and I hit the beach for an evening of surf fishing.  We set up and proceeded to relax in the sandbox.  Bunker chunks, clams with Scott’s secret sauce, and fishbites.  We knew we had better chances of catching smaller fish such as kingfish, croaker, puffers, and spot.  They have been thick in numbers in the surf lately.  We tossed the larger baits in hopes of a large drum or striped bass, even a bluefish.  Blues have not been in the surf much at all lately, just heavy in the Indian River Inlet.  We hit a few dogfish, and a bunch of horseshoe crabs.  Aahron even snagged a tangled up fishing line with a crab trapped in it so we carefully removed the line and freed the crab.  It was a good time for all and very relaxing.  We finished up around 1 a.m. and I headed back to the homestead, satisfied with a decent night in the surf.  I was ready for the next day to fish the surf and wanted to get some rest.  We did see Captain Brian Wazlavek of Delaware Family Fishing heading south and called him to see how his day had been.  he was headed to IRI marina to rest up for the Shark tournament in Ocean City the next day.  We asked him to do a wheelie, so he circled the boat a few times (close enough), and we wished him luck in the tournament.

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Jenn Bradford’s Husband witha nice weakfish from the surf at Broadkill Beach

Sunday I met Mike Lawrence and some of his friends from Dover Airforce base and we all fished Keybox beach access.  What an interesting day that turned out to be, we saw a lot of people fishing and having a great time.  I baited up one rod with bunker chunks and the other with fishbites.  The bunker rod had a knockdown and I was hooked into a large ray.  This was some serious entertainment for all the kids on the beach.  It took a while to land that mini monster, just as Scott and Aahron arrived.  I showed the kids the ray, they were all freaking out, and then let it go unharmed  After which everyone around us started loading up with big baits to try and catch something that large.   One gentlemen down the beach was trying to cast a baitcaster and having a very hard time.  Scott and Aahron went down there, showed him what he was doing wrong and give him instructions on how to cast correctly.  By the end of the day he was casting rather well.  We like to help people when we can so they can have a better surf fishing experience.  He really wanted to hook into something and later that day he caught a few croaker.  It is always good to help out your less experienced neighbors have a great day in the surf.  Small fish may not be everyone’s bag , but he and the kids had a blast.  We saw Captain Brian Wazlavek of Delaware Family Fishing returning that day and called to see how he did in the Ocean City Shark tournament … “Sandbar was real small, blue between 80-90 pounds, dusky roughly 110.  All were safely released ”  He wasn’t up for pulling another wheelie, tired from a long day of fishing.  Meanwhile on Broadkill Beach, Kara and Dave Okenewski were having a great time catching croaker, it was their first day in the surf this year.  Later that day she sent me their experience … “Good morning to you. I have quite the amateur fishing story for you.  My husband David and I have been fishing in Delaware since we moved here back in 2005. We have caught many fish but NEVER off of a sandy beach. We never had any luck. Piers – no problem.  Lakes?  Piece of Cake!  But surf fishing… not our best subject in Delaware.  So we went to Broadkill beach yesterday for fathers day. “Today will be the day” I told David.  We set our poles and wait.  At first we try the very dramatic “fishing show” posture of holding the rods with fingers on the lines.  Well, we got tired of that, and decided to use the PVC holders.  After a few minutes (and some convincing on my part to David that it was neither the tide nor the wind) we had nibbles.  This is the bay, Good LORD, who knows whats out there!? We lost some but finally, I tried the over dramatic YANK to ‘set the hook’.  And it worked!  Terrified, excited and running on adrenaline alone, I reel as fast as I can.  I am clenching my teeth together with my eyes closed.  Before I know it, David is yelling at me to “STOP”because not only have I reeled in my first fish, but its dangling BEHIND me off the rod!!  I was very ‘into the moment’ so much so that I pulled the fish out of the water with the tip of my rod high in the air, the fish flopping behind me.  Fellow fishing families were happy, but couldn’t help but chuckle at the over-zealous rookie. We have been watching your posts and getting our hopes up, knowing one day we will catch something off the surf.  We could not have done it without inspiration from you. Thank you.  Lesson of the day: Always reel with your eyes open or you will miss your fish “  Kara caught her first fish from the surf, she is hooked now, and very excited to get back out there.  Also during the weekend Jenn Bradford, her husband, and young son were fishing with some top and bottom rigs I advised them to use with squid, clam, or chicken for bait, and they hit a nice twenty four inch weakfish, on chicken.  She was surprised that chicken could be used for more than just catching crabs.  They never had much luck in the surf, following this site and the DSF Facebook page has helped them immensely.  I always love hearing how DSF is helping people fish Delaware’s tidal waters and even catch.

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Aahron Jost tossing a line out on Herring Beach in Cape Henlopen State park

Monday I took Aahron fishing on Cape Henlopen pier.  I knew the spot, croaker, trout (weakfish), kingfish, puffers, and flounder have been heavy there, and he wanted to get in some fishing.  He has been visiting his dad and was stuck at home all day.  We hit the pier around 2 p.m. and it was rather full of anglers, mostly near the end.  He had a top and bottom rig I made up for him and baited up with fishbites.  I was throwing a silver spoon, hoping for a random trout or bluefish.  The folks near the end were hammering croaker and spot two at a time.  Aahron manged to hit a few spot before we had to pack it in and go to the Monday Meeting at DDC.  I ran into Bill Smith, he just got back from changing clothes after the torrential down pour we had that afternoon.  Earlier he was killing flounder with gulp, and got right back into them in no time.  While chatting with me he was catching flounder so fast Aahron’s jaw dropped.  I just looked at him and said “That man forgot more about fishing than most of us will ever know”.  Aahron learned a lot just watching him fish.  It is always a pleasure watching a master angler catch, and you can always learn a thing or two.  Before we packed it in I ran into my buddy Ron, he had been there all day and had a cooler full of croaker, spot, and puffers he caught on bloodworms.  The boys he was near even caught a few shorty stripers and a keeper flounder.  Small spike trout were thick out there as well on bloodworms.  He was very excited since he just started fishing the pier and said he would be back.  There were many people crabbing having decent luck as well.  The Cape Henlopen pier is a great place to fish, especially if you want to take a kid fishing.  Ron wnet back yesterday and was hammering the spot and croaker on fishbites.

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northern puffer fish, blowfish, cape henlopen fishing pier, dsf, delaware surf fishing, bloodworms
Northern puffer fish up close and personal.

The Lewes Canal has been hot all week for flounder, croaker, and kingfish.  Tom Wise was drifting the canal with some friends and their kids over the weekend.  He noticed fish were banging up the gulp and line he had rigged up for flounder so he switched the kids up to top and bottom rigs.  They did great on the croaker and trout, the kids had a blast, all caught on fishbites.  He did rig up another gulp to catch a flounder.  The kids wanted to keep hitting on the croaker and he was happy to oblige them, but he knew he could catch a flounder.  Tom has some serious skills when it comes to flounder fishing.  Not long after, his buddy caught a nice 22 inch keeper, the first in his life.  Not a bad day on the water for everyone aboard.  He said the kids had the most fun, and were catching croaker and small trout right up to the point they had to leave.  Of course ever since the flounder size was lowered everyone is still catching below the limit sizes, Murphy’s law strikes again.  A few keeper flounder have been pulled from the back bays and Massey’s Landing.  The other day I dropped by there and checked the water temperature and it was 69-70 degrees, today (Wednesday) it was 68 degrees.  The cooler nights, wind, and heavy rains have cooled down the water and really stirred it up.  The water was dark today, and should clear up in a few days.  The Indian River Inlet was rather dirty the other day as well.  Bluefish have been hot there and even a few keeper striped bass have been caught.  The run has slowed down, but there are still resident bass out there. A few bluefish have been caught in the surf, but nothing like we normally see this time of year.  Hopefully that will change soon, or it will be croaker, kingfish, puffers, and spot for the the rest of the summer.  Skates, rays, dogfish, and sharks are a given this time of year.  Keep in mind most if not all the sharks you catch in the surf are prohibited species, and must not be removed from the water.  “If you do not know let it go”, is a good motto to follow with sharks in Delaware waters, and do not pose or take a picture with one, that is considered possession, and is worthy of a fine.  Removing the hook in knee to waist deep water can be tricky, cutting the leader is best in that case.  The hook will rust and dissolve in no time due to the saltwater.  The sea bass and cod bite out front has been hot as well you will need a boat for that trip worthy of the sea.

The 2013 Great Delaware Kayak Tour, Delaware River, Delaware Bay, dsf, delaware surf fishing,
Jeff Wildonger trying out the new kayak for The 2013 Great Delaware Kayak Tour

Between all of these fishing adventures I have working on the website, the DSF online store is fixed.  I have added the pink DSF hoodies and surf fishing lessons!  Schedule yours today, they start in July. I have also been getting ready for The 2013 Great Delaware Kayak Tour.  The money raised is being donated to Justin’s beach House, and so far Jeff Wildonger is up to $1500 thanks to several friends and businesses.  I will follow him down the coast with the truck, and he launches Friday morning.  You will be able to follow him on The 2013 Great Delaware Kayak Tour Facebook page, the DSF Facebook page, and I will have updates on the DSF website.  For me this will be a mini vacation, and a chance to explore some of the northern fishing areas more thoroughly.  This trip is something Jeff has always wanted to accomplish, and I am honored to be included.  There is still time to donate to Justin’s Beach House on behalf of the tour, and they always accept donations regardless of an event.  I would like to thank everyone who has been very helpful with his preparations.  Jeff will document his trip with video and pictures, and of course I will be doing my thing from land.  I get to fish while I await his arrival, not too bad a deal, too bad we can’t eat the fish.  The southern wind could be an issue for him the first few days and he will have to pace himself, but he will not let a little wind get in his way of completing this trip.  He is certainly determined, I can hear the excitement in his voice when we chat on the phone.  The temperatures outside have been very cool at night and after the front moved in today the temps really dropped.  The weekend will warm up and be very nice for all you anglers, with cool nights to boot.  Great time to do some over nighters on the beach, just keep in mind you have to actively surf fish all night.  Get out there and have some fun, the weekends as of late have been dicey weather, do not let that stop you from having a good time.  See you in the surf next weekend when Jeff lands on Fenwick Island.  Until then …

Fish On!!

Rich King

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