Delaware Surf Fishing Report May 18, 2023

Fishing has picked up for a variety of species giving anglers more options to target

Tautog season is closed and sea bass just opened. Nine days before the season closed a state record tautog was caught. New State Fishing Record Tautog Caught Near Indian River Inlet Confirmed By DNREC Long cast from the beach for the sea bees, but ya never know. |
There is a better variety of fish here now. Sand perch, kingfish, spot, puffers, burr fish, flounder, weakfish, and of course skates, rays, and dogfish. Sharks will make the next appearance. All of these fish are in the surf and surrounding waterways. The Summer Baby Bluefish showed up this morning.

Summer baby blues in the surf Thursday morning caught at Cape by Barney.

Water temperatures around the inland bays are holding between 68 and 62 degrees between tides. Cooled off a bit last night which is helpful. The surf is about 62 degrees and cooler north of us. The Delaware Bay is 67 degrees this morning.

Most anglers are targeting the larger fish; striped bass, black drum, and bluefish. The latter being the least caught. Drum action has dropped off south of us and is mostly the Delaware Bay area beaches and coral beds. Migratory striped bass action remains random but people are catching fish. Probably the best striped bass action the surf has seen in a long time. The predawn hours have been the best times to get out and target striped bass, but people are catching fish mid day. Bluefish are random catches and this morning there are those tiny summer blues here already at Cape Henlopen. Sand flkeas are the preferred baits but clam and bunker chunks will work as well. Fleas will target everything usually. Fishbites Sand FLea or the Blue Crab for some extra scent.

rockfish, striped bass, delaware surf fishing, sussex county,
The plug Jamie found and started casting and caught a 33.5 inch striped bass

Some catches have the best stories, Jamie Lawson gets the catch story of the week. You never now what you will catch and some times you just run down to the beach and forget you don’t have half the gear you thought you had. Jamie Lawson … “We went to the beach so unprepared too. No bait and I got my fishing license last minute, last night. I was the only one with one so the only one that could fish. Going through our tackle box I pulled out the biggest plug I could find and jokingly said we can use this right!?! Rick said yeah if you wanna catch some Striper… and then we did.
So glad we didn’t switch to a rig and sand fleas.
From the beach to the table. We prepared the Striped bass Oscar style; Crab, Béarnaise, garlic, mashed potatoes and asparagus.”
One of the curses of living at the beach is you run down to the beach on a whim to fish and then you look in the back of the truck. Whooooops. We need some stuff, so you improvise.

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Striped Bass Oscar style … Crab, Béarnaise, garlic, mashed potatoes and asparagus.

Flounder action is picking up around the waterways. Drifting minnows of soft plastics like Gulp or Fishbites Fight Cub. The canals and inlets are holding keeper flounder. We aren’t picking through as many small ones just yet. The Cape Henlopen Fishing pier has seen some flounder action. Jigging is producing flounder in the surf along the ledge and in the cuts. Reading the beach to find the ledge is easy enough. Then you just fish that drop off area and the cuts. Flounder will hunt along these areas looking for baitfish, crabs, and sand fleas stirred up by wave action.

Rangers at sunset last year at the point. These folks have a tough job give them a break this year. They didn’t choose the reservation system life it chose them.

Crabbing is much better now that the water is warming faster. This slow roll into summer through spring has been wonderful for fishing and just being outside. I am not looking forward to the hot summer days. There are a lot of fish here early We are waiting to see how long it takes for those pompano in OBX to head north.

The reservation system has one advantage. Since parks FINALLY put a limit on reservations, that changes everything. The beaches will be the least crowded ever on a weekend this summer. Like there will be room to ACTUALLY fish.
The issues have always been the limits for reservations (now set) as the main issue, that created a second issue; how do they enforce this. We will see how that plays out this summer. Parks as usual is relying on the public to follow rules. Be nice to the rangers. They didn’t choose the reservation system life, it chose them.

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