Drum fishing in the Delaware Bay with Captain Brian

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Andrew Tawes of Outdoors Delmarva with the first drum of the night

Last month we had a speaker for a DSF Monday meeting, Captain Brian Wazlavek of the Delaware Family Fishing charter service.  He spoke to the group about drum fishing in the Delaware Bay, and some of his techniques.  Covering gear, currents, bait, and the fish themselves.  It was an impressive presentation.  He spent a good hour explaining the way he fishes the bays and why.  I don’t want to go into too much detail, it would take a few pages to cover everything.  Besides, the best way to learn is to go fishing with with the Captain.  At the beginning of Captain Brian’s presentation he passed out half of a playing card to everyone.  He told me he was going to give away 3 spots on a future drum trip he had planned.  I didn’t tell the group, he asked me not to, it was a surprise.  Secretly I was hoping I would win a spot on this trip, and as luck would have it I did.  The other surprise for the trip he didn’t tell me … we would be fishing with Andrew Tawes and Chuck Regner of Outdoors Delmarva.  Mac Davis and Scott Jost also won spots on the trip, and we were stoked.  Free fishing trip, and we get to be on TV.  I knew we were going to have fun, and I have been looking forward to seeing the Outdoors Delmarva boys again.  Mike Parker was blast to work with in the past, and I was hoping to build that same relationship with Andrew Tawes and Chuck Regner.

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Carmelo’s drum

I met Scott Jost and Mac Davis at Irish Eyes on Tuesday the 21st of May.  We had some food and a cocktail to celebrate the trip we were about to take.  The boys were excited, and have been looking forward to this for over a month.  We grabbed our gear and headed to the boat.  Captain Brian, and Jonathan Masten his first mate were prepping gear.  Andrew and Chuck from Outdoors Delmarva were already there, and we were waiting for two more customers.  Scott and Carmelo showed up soon after and we left the dock, heading out of the Lewes Canal towards Roosevelt Inlet.  We were headed to the coral beds, and I think everyone on the boat was excited as a kid at Christmas.  The ride through the canal and over the bay is always fun.  there are a lot of things to see on these trips.  After a half hour or so we were in the area the Captain wanted to fish, and he dropped anchor.  Jonathan gave us a safety lecture on the way out about what we needed to know in case of an emergency.  Mac, Scott and I just looked at each other, and then looked at the shoreline.   We were very close to houses we know, we could walk home if need be … became the joke for the evening.  Safety is no joke on a boat listen to the safety lectures, I kid about everything when we are having fun.  Especially when we are fishing, the smack and stories start to fly.  For the record the Doc won for the wildest story told, several times, don’t ask, we were not telling fairy tales, and I can’t get that one out of my head.  Jonathan had the gear and bait ready to roll.

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Scott’s drum

I forgot what it is like to be on a charter, you don’t have to do anything if you don’t want.  I could have sat there all night, let Jonathan do all of the work, except reel in the fish.  Honestly it was easier to stay out of the way, and let him do his thing.  He and Captain Brian work like a well oiled machine, I was impressed.  Andrew and Chuck were taking footage on the way out, did some interviews, and whenever we thought we had a fish.  We could hear a few drum under the boat once in a while but for the most part in the early evening we were catching spotted hake and horseshoe crabs.  I felt for the OD boys, they wanted footage and drum fish were not producing.  That can be frustrating as I have learned doing my own video and photography shots.  Waiting for that perfect moment is a little annoying at times, but very rewarding.  The jokes were flying and it is a good thing most of that is not on audio, I hope.  I took a ton of pictures of the sunset, and watched the gear soak.  Everyone was having a good time.  The neighboring boat turned out to be my buddy Greg, and we chatted with him for minute.  Captain Brian even put him on a spot he thought would produce.  Mac was bouncing around saying … “Just wait til the sun goes down, then it is on!!”  We had a few hard hits but only skates at this point.  The sun had set.  The boys were dying to catch a fish, Andrew and Chuck needed footage.  Murphy’s Law was in full effect, and then a rod bounced and the reel screamed. FISH ON!!


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My drum … released

Andrew Tawes grabbed the rod and prepared to reel.  He did not need to set the hook, we were using circle hooks, and they set themselves.  Jonathan gave us a demonstration on that earlier in the day.  Andrew was fighting his fish, Chuck was filming him, I was filming them, and Mac was filming all of us. It must have been a sight to see now that I think back.  We probably had as much camera gear on board as fishing gear.  Jonathan was guiding Andrew around the back of the boat to control the fish, and he (Jonathan) did an excellent job.  When Andrew landed that fish, it weighed in at 36 pounds, and we immediately put more lines in the water.  Then we dealt with the catch, and took some pictures.  After all we want to catch more fish, they are there, and it is a charter.  After that excitement died down were all standing around talking with Captain Brian telling stories, a rod bounced, and I pounced, it was hit hard and fast.  I started reeling and pulling back on the rod.  Jonathan had to remind me I was not surf fishing, good point.  This drum did not want to be retrieved.  I would get it near the boat and it would take  off again.  Jonathan guided me around the back of the boat, keeping an eye on the line.  He kept saying don’t touch the drag, I kept saying I know, I know, I know, and we would all laugh.  I think it took 26 minutes to land the fish.  Chuck even stopped filming at one point, it was taking that long, or I was taking forever.  When Jonathan netted the fish and landed it on the deck it was HUGE, weighing in at 57 pounds, 48 1/2 inches.  The boys took pictures and I released the drum, I had no intention of keeping any fish.  I prefer catch and release most of the time.  The next day Captain Brian called the next day to tell me I qualified for a catch and release citation from the state of Delaware.  Cool!)  I backed off the gear and let the rest of the boys try for a fish, I know Captain Brian likes everyone to have a chance to catch a fish on his boat.  That is the desire of any good captain.  Everyone catches, and I already had mine, only fair to let the next person catch a fish.  Scott and Carmelo each caught a drum that night and Mac and Scott  caught skate, and hake, but had a blast anyway.  I think Mac had more fun filming the landings.

We fished until 11 p.m.and then had to get back to the marina, the Doc had patients in the morning.  Otherwise we would have stayed out all night.   Andrew and Chuck had killer footage and were very pleased.  We were having a blast telling stories all night.  I was glad we all were able to fish together it is a great way to get to know people.  Finally getting some down time to fish was a bonus for me, catching that drum was priceless.  I told Andrew and Chuck I would send them the pictures I had, they did the same for DSF, and soon we would take them to the sandbox for some surf fishing and fun in the sun.  Andrew and Chuck, it was great fishing with you boys, and I look forward to your next visit.  The Outdoors Delmarva episode will air June 1st Saturday at 7:30 p.m. on WBOC.   If you ever want to have great time on a drum charter hire Captain Brian Wazlavek of the Delaware Family Fishing charter service, and take the Lil Angler II for a great time, you will not be disappointed.  If you mention to the Captain you heard of him via DSF he will add an hour to his drum trips, you just have to mention you saw his service on DSF.  Captain Brian, thank you for a great trip I had an excellent time.  Have fun out there, go fish a catch, and be safe this holiday weekend.

Fish On

Rich King




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