Flounder have arrived striped bass are soon to run

flounder, DSF, delaware surf fishing, indian river inlet
Flounder caught by Chris Ragni

It has been an eventful few days.  I met CJ of Striper King Gear on Beach Plum Island the other night for some surf fishing and chillaxing in the sand.  He was grilling chicken and taters and they were excellent.  I was torturing everyone on the DSF Facebook page with food and grill pictures.  The weather was gorgeous for a few days, and felt like summer.  Unseasonably hot would be a good description, we are not accustomed to high temperatures last week I was hugging the heater to stay warm.  This week I was barefoot in the sand, and that has been a while.  Last year I was barefoot in the surf at the beginning of March.  The fishing has finally picked up, and people are starting to catch.  Chris Ragni hit a nice keeper founder the other day on a minnow and squid combo.  Not my choice in a restaurant, but it sounds good to the fish.  He also won a DSF T shirt for the first keeper flounder picture of the year.  Chris also managed to catch nice windowpane at the Indian River Inlet.  The usual hot spots are starting to produce flounder, and we will see an increase in the frequency of catches.  Mike Jordan and his buddies fished the outer wall and haystacks producing 4 nice keeper tautog on green crabs.  The day before the boys came up donuts, so the fishing has been spotty at best, but put in the time and you will catch fish.  Fishing, to me, is for relaxing and enjoyment, if catching becomes the priority, it can ruin your time out on the water.  I spend hours at a time just wetting a line, and enjoying the day.  Most of the time I don’t catch a thing, and I could care less.  I can spend hours just casting the same plug over and over, just going through the motions can be relaxing, even therapeutic.  When I dropped by Massey’s Landing yesterday, Mike was sitting in a chair at the rail.  I said to him does it get any better than this, and he just laughed and laughed.  Catching is a bonus, fishing is an experience, and for some a way of life.  Calm down, relax, and fish.

windowpane flounder, winnter flounder, delaware surf fishing, indian river inlet
Windowpane by Chris Ragni

I had a great fishing trip the other afternoon into the evening.  I met my buddy Mike at the Indian River Inlet.  We chatted for a minute, he had been surf fishing all morning, and lost a striped bass on  the retrieve.  He has been learning the ins and outs of surf fishing, and the hardest thing to do is land a fish in the surf.  Bad timing with the currents and waves can take your fish, or give it the opportunity to throw a hook.  He did catch a ridiculous amount of skates as did Larry Phillips.  We certainly have skates in the surf.  I am working on a few recipes for this year.  I want to surprise the Monday night meeting crew with an interesting meal.  After chatting, Mike said to follow him, and off we went.  Around the corner to the Coast Guard station.  I was invited to fish the rail again from within the compound.  I have to tell you this is a total kid in candy store moment for me.  Standing on top of the bulkhead we all try to fish from a boat or long line. I am literally standing on top of the fish that feed on the bulkhead wall.  We were at the bottom of the outgoing tide and waiting for the incoming.  We figured it would be the perfect time for fish, incoming tide, just before dusk.  We watched a seal play in the inlet for hours chasing fish.  I do not know if it was the one that was stuck in the rocks the next day.  Kudos to the MERR stranding team for rescuing that little guy.  There are a plethora of seals here this year., the hay stacks are covered with them.  A few boats were fishing the inlet drifting for striped bass.  We saw Captian Chuck Cook of First Light Charters working the rocks out front and drifting the inlet.  Something that may be more difficult this year after the inlet is dredged for sand to cover the north side beach.

tog, tautog, haystacks, outer wall, delaware surf fishing, DSF,
Tautog caught by Mike Jordan
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While Mike and I were chatting at the rail, a large fish hit the corner.  That pretty much ended all the conversations and small talk, it was time to fish.  I am product testing plugs from Guides Secret lure company.  Mike had a bass assassin, the same he used last time we fished the Coast Guard station.  I tossed that plug all night and had many follow ins, but nothing hit.  Mike managed a few shorty striped bass, mostly inside the marina.  One of his fish appeared to be covered in sea lice.  They were very small and it was hard to tell, I should have grabbed one for someone to check out at the school.  I was busy fishing, and didn’t have anything to store the critter.  We also didn’t want to stress the fish out any longer keeping it out of the water.  We took it as a good sign of things too come, and Mike was just happy to be catching.  I did notice at dead low tide, that you can see the bottom at the bulkhead.  There was 3-4 feet of water at best and then a nice sandy bottom.  When the new bulkhead was installed it changed the currents at the inlet, and that changed the contours of the bottom.  Last year I could not see the bottom where we were, I guess it has filled in with sand.  We fished for a few hours, and were joking about the last trip there.  Thick fog came in so fast last year we couldn’t see the bridge within seconds  and barely the lights above our heads.  The temperature dropped 20 degrees very fast, we were cold, and wet.  I joked about wanting to film driving over the bridge in the fog at night.  Eventually we packed it in and headed home.  Mike, once again thanks for a blast on the rail, I love fishing that area.

striped bass, coast guard indian river inlet, DSF, delaware surf fishing, sea lice
Mike with a shawty srtriped bass he caught at the Coast Guard station

Yesterday CJ was on Beach Plum, and Kristen was in Cape Henlopen.  She saw a huge cloud moving across the bay and told CJ you better hunker down that is headed your way.  Not ten minutes after setting up CJ said it went from beautiful, to a meat locker.  The fog came in fast with a cold wind and dropped temperatures 20 degrees in seconds.  I was on my way to Beach Plum and could see the fog moving onto land.  Prime Hook’s marsh looked wild with the fog moving across and vapor coming from the water.  It definitely made for some cool pictures.  By the time I arrived the fog had cleared a bit, and then it would increase to white out conditions.  Eventually the fog engulfed route 1 and the rest of the coastal areas.  I had the chance to film driving over the Charles W. Cullen bridge in the fog.  Looks like the movie Tron or something out of a rock concert.  The break in the weather will probably slow the fishing down.  The striped bass are up north still, but will be moving soon.  Our resident striped bass are moving around, I am hoping to see some shad soon as well.  We have a lot of baitfish here, the streams, cuts, guts, and sloughs are packed with minnows.  Crabs are starting to show up in pots, but that is in the past couple of days.  Personally I wait until at least the first molt or the second.  I don’t like to eat muddy, skinny crabs.  Everyone have a safe trip down this weekend.  It is raining now but will clear up later today.  A nice weekend, just a bit chilly.  Look on the bright side … it is snowing above New York.

Fish On!!

Rich King

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