Fishing Report and Beach Closure updates


Portuguese man o war, delaware, sussex county
Man O War floating on the sea, the tentacles can be seen behind it and there are small white dots in the water around it are salps … photo by Cindy Fry
delaware beaches, sussex county, man o war, tunicates, salps
Man O War seen on the sea, looks like balloon from farther away … photo by Cindy Fry

So by now you have all seen and heard about the Portuguese Man O’ Wars that are washing up on our beaches.  The count is now up to five so far, the first one Kevin Baldwin found on Faithful Steward.  The rest were found at Cape Henlopen and Fenwick Island state parks, and Bethany Beach is in the lead with two found by the dune line.  Best bet is if you  are worried about these creatures is to keep in mind the east winds will push them in this direction.  Today was a Westerly wind and the flies were horrible but there weren’t any Man O’ Wars washing up in the surf.  Aside from all the shark sightings and what not, the Man O’ Wars are the latest”scare”.  We are wondering what will pop up next?   You do not have to worry about these (Man O’ War)  as much as many think, but it is good to keep an eye on your surroundings.  The ones in the water will look like a clear balloon floating on the surface of the water.   Cindy Fry sent this picture of one they saw off shore.  You can see the tentacles that hang below the air bladder.  It looks like a balloon floating on the water.

salp, tunicate, dlaware beaches, sussex county
Tunicate or Salp on my fishing line yesterday

Lots of people have been asking what are these squishy jellyfish like creatures stuck to my fishing line. They are tunicates and more specifically salps.  They are  barrel-shaped, clear and feed on plankton.  Salps can contract and push themselves through the water by squirting water through their body cavity.  Sometimes they will from long stingy colonies, but for the most part they float alone near the water’s surface feeding.  They are washing up in abundant numbers on beaches and clogging lines on fishing rods.  When they get jammed up in your spool it can create casting issues.  The best way to clean the reel spool is to scrape them off as they come down the line. It is not an easy task and can make for an annoying day fishing.  I know a lot of people who just called it quits instead of dealing with them clogging their lines, I did the same thing eventually.  They can be very annoying on braided line, especially when you cast and the wind backlashes a few globs onto your face.  Thankfully they don’t sting, and just taste bad.  They have washed up many times like they are now in the past and it is rather common.  I have seen them many times throughout the years.  They are harmless and mostly just annoying.  The east winds are pushing these closer towards and onto shore so keep that in mind when you  head out. So it is a  now a toss-up between west wind and flies, or east wind and salps.  Kind of a tough choice in some cases.

mahi mahi, bull dolphin fish, dorado, the canyons, atlantic ocean
Corey Joseph with a Bull Dolphin or Mahi Mahi

Fishing has been great off shore for the tuna, mahi and tilefish anglers.  The canyons and surrounding areas have been hot.  Mahi are even showing up as close as B buoy and the Old grounds.  Keep that in mind when you are out flounder fishing.  Casting a few bucktails or bass assassins will help on the hook up for mahi out there.  You just have to get them to the boat, a little chum will go a long way according to a buddy of mine.  Shark fishing has been hot for mako, thresher, and the other big boys.  Many have been releasing the sharks they catch.  Speaking of sharks .. STOP  beaching the prohibited species.  People are getting scared and eventually some group is going to complain to the state and beyond and we will never be able to catch sharks from the surf again.  If you  don’t fully know how to shark fish from the surf, don’t.   Some people think if you are tagging sharks for NOAA you have carte blanche to beach them, that is false.  Delaware State law trumps NOAA tagging procedures.  I have seen many beached sharks this weekend.  Just because you don’t think it will harm the animal doesn’t mean it won’t.  Also just because you think it was only out of the water for a few seconds and it will be fine, that is still breaking the law.  It is kind of like walking into a bank and only taking a dollar, might not seem like a big deal but it is still against the law.  I don’t make the rules, I just try to remind people about them.  If you don’t like that I suggest you stop posting pictures on social media.  That is just stupid, and you will get caught.  To give you an example, these guys caught and tagged a shark this weekend and told people it was cool they were tagging the shark.  They did this in front of over a hundred people, who were all taking pictures and posting them on Facebook.  DNREC was sent over a dozen of these pictures, that is how they were caught and fined.


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burr fish, cape henlopen state park, atlantic ocean puffers
Jeff Elser’s Burr Fish

Flounder fishing is getting hotter and hotter.  The Katydid out of Lewes has been doing very well off shore and in the Delaware Bay.  All of the normal spots are producing decent flounder catches. Speaking of spot, they have not shown up yet, but I have seen a couple of pin fish in the past few days.  Trigger fish are showing up at the jettys in Atlantic City so they are probably at the haystacks and walls in the Delaware bay at the Harbor of Safe Refuge.  We usually don’t see any catches for those until people are tautog fishing which opens on July 17th to August 31st.  Kingfish have been hot in the surf in the early early mornings, you have to hit the surf very early or later in the evening.   a nice overcast day will help too for the afternoon fishing.  Today I saw the biggest burr fish I have ever seen caught in the surf.  I was fishing with Chris Elser and his boys Jake and Jeff when one of the lines went slack and Jeff reeled in a huge Burr fish.  We were using sand fleas, lot of empty and chewed up sand flea carapaces on the water line.  Fishbites bloodworms have been working well for croaker, kingfish and spike trout.  Little sandfleas are doing well and we even found a few soft shell ones that just molted recently, those are like candy.  The boys fed a lot of fish today and we only hooked up on the one burr fish.   I am hoping to get some slot striped bass fishing in here real soon, they are fun to catch and much better on the edible side in my opinion.  They have not been marinating in that water as long as the big ones.


Section of 3Rs beach closed due to beach erosion
Section of 3Rs beach closed due to beach erosion
Seabeach Amaranth sign, Cape Henlopen, delaware, sussex county, protected plants
Seabeach Amaranth sign at Cape Henlopen

We saw some pelicans at 3Rs yesterday hunting for fish.  The northern section is still closed due to beach erosion and unless we get a huge influx of sand there magically, I imagine it will remain closed for a while.  Maybe the state should pump some of that relocated sand to that area of the beach instead of the north side.  Then again I don’t like replenishment.  The picture does not do it justice the beach is flat to the dunes and covers with water at high tide.  There is also a closed section at Gordons pond, but that does not prevent you from driving the entire beach.  There is a section of dunes that are closed further from the dune bases than normal for Seabeach Amaranth a federally protected plant.  The nice thing is that plant is a good indicator of a healthy ecosystem.  Hope everyone had a great fourth of July weekend.

Fish On!!

Rich King



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