Delaware Surf Fishing Report
It is time to hit the suds for spring surf fishing in Delaware and Assateague
It doesn’t take long, but when spring fishing springs, it goes off. We wait and we wait and we wait. You hear a rumor of a big fish, then another. Then, you see a picture, could that be real? Is that really a Delaware Beach?
Black drum run is on and just got started in Delaware. A week ago commercial netters were seeing a few in the nets up north. That is always welcome news to hear. So we start targeting black drum more, while targeting striped bass. Which in the surf is pretty much the same baits. Clam, crab, and sand fleas. Bass like bunker, but will eat the previous three as well. There are plenty of places to fish for black drum from Fenwick Island to Slaughter Beach. Everywhere in between, above and below. Put out a line, see what happens.
South of us in Virginia and Maryland sides of Assateague is great action for black drum catches in the surf. Once that starts down there, it doesn’t take long to move up here. In this case about a week. Fishbites sand fleas will also attract and catch black drum, even in the chilly water. That is just one fish we have been waiting to see. Striped bass have been swimming by our coast. Jersey beaches are stating up with better action. Not that we see that same action (surf blitz) but it helps guage what is here and still incoming. It also might motivate a trip or two to Jersey. Also just get out and fish, if that “blitz” happens, you want to be there, not read about it.
The striped bass action up north on the Delaware river and bay has been solid for many anglers. The Port Penn, Augustine Beach area anglers are doing well. Land based not as well as boats. But on the jersey side they are destroying large striped bass with jumbo bloodworms from the DOD area. I know a few guys getting them from land in Delaware, they just don’t want any company. I can’t blame them, this time of year when the bite is hot it is on for only a bit then shuts down. The short bass action is great all over the place on structure.
The aquarium at the southside inlet has been an off and on again hot spot for surf rats for weeks. Always is this time of year. Fishermen on a barrel edge, it is a lot of fun.
Walk the beaches, once you find a school just follow them. Watch the osprey. This time of year, if they are feeding in close to the surf they are probably pulling striped bass or bunker.
Under lights is a great place at night, Always fish any structure and moving water for striped bass. Plenty of structure to fish along town beaches. The canals in Bethany and Rehoboth are lit up from houses and street lights. Do some walking and casting. Same gear as you would use fishing the back bays. Bucktails and swim shads. Try some of the walk on fishing locations.
Around the inland bays by boat or kayak, fish the rock piles and mud banks. Swim shads or two ounce bucktails, single or in tandem. If single, don’t forget the coveted teaser leader. Fish hit that teaser first a lot. It creates food competition. Mud banks produce better as the tide is coming off the bank, or out of the grass when it is summer. The fish sit along the banks, waiting for baitfish to “pour” over the side from the receding tide. This time of year the live food is grass shrimp and mummichugs. Also crabs, other minnows, you name it, it all sits in those grasses.
Northern puffers should be here soon enough. They are the hot catch in Hatteras, that early catch a few days ago at Assateague, has a lot of fish behind it.
Northern kingfish already are here in small numbers and early. They migrate in to the coast not up and down the coast. Sand fleas, fishbites, squid are good baits.
Smooth dogfish are in the surf and of course skates. Sharks will be a while. Make sure you know the regulations for Shark Fishing in Delaware. We go through this every year. Hardest part is Identifying the shark. Easiest way is to assume they all have to be released since ninety percent of the time they are the protected species caught in the first place.
Flounder will be the next sought after fish. Virginia is already seeing flounder and some in lower areas of Ocean City. I would look in the surf for them along cuts. Jig with Gulp. You can try live minnows but the bay mummichugs will die in ocean water real fast. Which at that point is cut bait. Once the first flounder hits the pier in Cape Henlopen State Park, traditionally that is when the fishing really starts to kick in for flounder.
Where dem blue boys at?
It is weird but haven’t seen much gator bluefish action in the south. There has been some, but typical of a “normal” spring. Not like the gator blue spring that started up a few years back. I don’t think we are going to see much of that action this year. There will be large blue fish caught in the surf. Nothing like the past few years. Last year was really off. When ya stack’em like cord wood, eventually they run out.
White perch action is great in the waterways and Delaware Bay beaches. That hasn’t let off for a while. All the shops are stocking with bloodworms on weekends and through out the week. Lot of fresh bunker in shops too.
The charter and head boats are getting out more and soon will head for the coral beds for black drum. Check the local charters for availability many are filling up fast.
Water temperatures are leveling off with this rain and cool down. Masseys ditch is perfect striped bass temperatures, maybe a tad warm. Fluctuating roughly between fifty-six to fifty-two degrees between tides all week Fish don’t care around the inland bays, they are on the feed. Crabs are even producing rather well in the warmer shallow waters. Surface water temperature in Lewes is fifty-two degrees. The Delaware Bay beaches and waterways are great action.
Early morning (dawn) low and twilight high tides the next few days. At the Indian River Inlet.
Good luck out there!