Delaware Surf Fishing Report April 15th 2022

The fish species variety is picking up as are the catches.

It’s been a hot minute of nothing but white perch and the winter fish. Then things warmed up a bit and the short striped bass started schooling and feeding heavier several weeks ago. That has been fun, but we always want more action. Warmer weather makes for longer days to fish, and a desire for more variety. These last two eighty degree days really popped off some better fishing. This really helped the water temperatures increase too. Use the Nowcast Water Surface Temperatures For The Delaware Bay And Coast To check the Delaware and Chesapeake bay water surface temperatures in real time. Inland bays started bouncing a solid ten degrees between tides a couple days ago. Keep an eye on Masseys ditch temperatures with the USGS station.

Masseys ditch water temperatures this past week. USGS survey station

Black drum catches really picked up on Wednesday for several anglers. The drum are headed to the Delaware bay to spawn, many are fat and loaded with roe. Think about catch and release to help the breeding stock. How Old Is Your Black Drum
Assateague … Dave Moore Shark Whisperer charters, ” The day before was no action, then today (Wednesday)I had the best day in a long time. When it slowed down, it was a fish every half hour.” a well deserved day for Dave. He puts in the time, is out there nearly daily during these seasonal runs, and when it happens he hopes he is in the right spot. He and his crew caught and released eighteen drum on Wednesday. A few others did about the same, releasing up to eight black drum per person.

black drum, assateague, spring run, surf fishing, fishbites sand flea formula
David Moore with a black drum from the surf at Assateague on sand fleas and sand flea fishbites.

Buck’s reported that a few people dropped by the shop that caught and released several black drum on Wednesday. They were out of bait and headed back out. Meet me at Bucks! They are loaded up for the season already.
The best baits have been sand fleas tipped with Fishbites, Sand Flea, Shrimp, and or crab formulas. Some are using the Fishbites’ red package fast acting formulas which are designed to dissolve faster in this colder water. The long lasting formulas will work, but do not dissolve as fast in colder water. Lot of these drum are hitting the Fishbites Sand Flea long lasting regardless. You can see the pieces in the drum’s mouth in Dave’s pictures.

black drum, assateague, spring run, surf fishing, fishbites sand flea formula
David Moore with a black drum from the surf at Assateague on sand fleas and sand flea fishbites.

Delaware started seeing a few black drum catches this past week, and that will increase this weekend. Along some of the Delaware bay and ocean beaches. On the New Jersey side as well. It will increase due to more fish arriving here and more anglers actually fishing and targeting drum. Sand fleas are great bait, but clam or softshell crab works well too. Those drum are looking for clams, crabs, and fleas along the Delaware beaches. Sand fleas are in the first ten inches of sand on the cooler days, start digging.

You don’t need to crowd a Delaware bay beach for black drum fishing. They are headed from point A to B to C, and then the coral beds in the Delaware Bay eventually. Catching them along the way happens on all the beaches. Most surf anglers on the ocean beaches do not target black drum, they are tossing bunker chunks for striped bass. Meanwhile at Assateague Island, that is all ocean beach, just with different structure. Find a spot along our beaches holding sand fleas, that will help you find some black drum. I’m sitting on a back porch, rod watching north of Broadkill Beach right now. Any day now!

Summer flounder are making an appearance in the Lewes Canal and similar waterways. Also people are finding small flounder in crab pots around the inland bay communities. These are feeding on all the minnows, crabs, and grass shrimp around the crab pots. My best inland bay flounder catches were near baited crab pots. That action is just getting started we will probably see a small keeper flounder over the weekend. South of us in Chincoteague they are catching keeper summer flounder more and more frequently. I would also look for them in the surf soon jigging cuts if not already. You will find windowpane flounder in our waters right now too near the surf. The Delaware bay beaches will be a good place to start jigging for flounder along a beach.

black drum, assateague, spring run, surf fishing, fishbites sand flea formula
One of David Moore’s black drum from the surf at Assateague on sand fleas and sand flea fishbites.

Migratory striped bass are in the Delaware and Chesapeake bay. There was a tournament on the Delaware river last weekend and a lot of large fish were landed and released. These guys do a proper tournament I am told, looked like fun. Lot of big fish were caught, released, and entered. Many striped bass in the Delaware River are caught on whole bloodworms with 6/0 circle hook high low rigs this time of year. One reason some anglers prefer the jumbo bloodworms, big hooks, big bait, big fish. Otherwise they are using bunker chunks. I know a few guys that like to use green crabs in the surf for striped bass.
The long liners at the Indian River inlet have seen some decent catches at the rail. Time to do some sand fleaing for bass in the rocks too.

delaware river, striped bass, rockfish, linesider, bloodworms
Jeff Frame with a Delaware bay striped bass at 41 inches, Jersey side.
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The short striped bass action or surf rat wrangling has picked up more around beach structure and inlets. Find a school and follow it up and down the beach, just walking and casting. Small bucktails in tandem, swim shads, or spoons do the trick. The infamous white swim shad is good, but matching mummichog colors is good too, that is what they are eating around the inland bays.
Delaware Walk On Surf Fishing Locations There are many places to just park and walk the beaches looking for fish on structure.

Paddle tail soft plastics and Fishbites curly tail grubs work well too. This is the best time of the year for soft plastics since the bluefish are not here to destroy them, yet. I would not hold my breath for a shoreline bluefish invasion as years past, it is done. We will see the few maybe caught, if that, and then that will be it for close to shore.

Northern puffer caught by Tony Evans in the surf on bloodworms.

Northern puffers are arriving. Okay so only one was caught the other day, but one schooling migratory fish caught helps indicate there are more inbound. Northern puffers do not travel alone and it is about time they showed. Usually they are here mid to the end of April depending on water temperatures.
Bloodworms on top and bottom rigs for short striped bass was the best rig and bait. That or any of the fast acting Fishbites will work for the puffers too. Small pieces of shrimp or even whole grass shrimp in the surf. They will eat small pieces of squid. Chicken of the sea is a great meal, even the tail is tasty and crispy. The OBX saw many of these weeks ago so this is about right on time for Delaware.

Tautog action along the walls and inlets is picking up. “We have been catching mostly short tog, guy down there got a small keeper earlier.” Tog angler I spoke with yesterday at the Indian River Inlet. Charters are gearing up for tautog trips. The fifty bridge in ocean city and the inlet has some small keeper tautog catches on structure.

The Delaware river shad anglers are getting really excited. Daily reporting on the Big D river water levels and temperatures on the Delaware River Shad Fishing Reports Facebook page. Boat ramps were cleared and cleaned of debris these anglers will be out in force this weekend.

Besides rat wrangling and occasional drum action, the surf fishing has been clearnose skates and spiny dogfish. These are not sharpnose sharks they are dogfish. Water is still a little too cold for any sharks. Start targeting a variety of fish with different baits to increase your hook up chances along the beaches. On the calmer days the water is nearly crystal clear.

White perch in the Broadkill river, and other waterways is still a hot catch and fills a cooler. Bloodworm, grass shrimp, minnows, or perch jigs for the win.
All of the bait shops are loaded to the gills with baits and gear.
I am digging the new label for DS custom Tackles drum rig this year. These are available in all of their store partner shops and online. Time to get the band back together.


Have a great weekend!

Gotta go … Fish On!
Rich King


Identify Your Catches With our DE Fish ID Page.

DS Custom Tackle Drum rig and Fishbites formulas for Black Drum

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