Horseshoe crabs are still spawning in the Delaware bay

The surf is producing kingfish, croaker, flounder, puffers, skates, dogfish, sharks (toothy units), and rays.  A few keeper striped bass are still popping up in the surf, and at the Indian River Inlet.  Bunker chunks for the surf, swim shads and bucktails from the walls.  Plugs and poppers work well in the surf  if anyone wishes to cast all day.  The boys in Jersey have seen the frequency of catches slow down as well, and are hoping for another boost in fish numbers from the tail end of the spring run.  The weather has not been kind for fishing in some areas.  However the last few days have been gorgeous on the Delaware beaches and bays.  Fishbites, bloodworms, squid, surf clam, and bunker chunks have been the best baits.  I have been catching spikes (small trout/weakfish) on spoons, lead heads with pink soft plastics also work.  Chartreuse gulp has been great for flounder and some trout.  Josh and his boys went out yesterday in the Indian River bay and hammered puffers, chicken of the sea … good eating.  The drum bite in the Delaware Bay has been great.  Mac Davis made a video of the drum I caught the other night with Delaware Family Fishing on the Lil’ Angler II, with Captain Brian Wazlavek and Outdoors Delmarva.  It took me over twenty minutes to land that drum.  How Mac managed to edit all the smack talking out of his video is beyond me, there was a lot.

tagged horseshoe crabs, migration of crabs, pickering beach, delaware bay, DSF, delaware surf fishing
Horseshoe crabs spawning at Pickering beach photo by James Blackstock

I have spent the past four days flipping over horseshoe crabs every morning at the crack of dawn on Broadkill Beach.  Usually before I get set up to fish I check the shoreline, and do a little beach combing, find cool sea glass pieces, pick up trash, and flip crabs.  This is my moment of Zen, every morning.  If you see a live horseshoe crab please flip it over.  You do not have to pick it up, just flip it over and it will head back to the water.  I have probably flipped over close to 600 horseshoe crabs, and in most cases carried them to the waters edge.  DO NOT pick them up by the tail (telson) this appendage is used like a rudder and to help them right themselves.  If you break it off they cannot maneuver.  The eggs are all along the shoreline, they look like little tiny beads.  Closer inspection will reveal there are millions of eggs in the water lines left in the sand from receding waves.  An important food source for many shore birds including the Red Knots.  Some of the crabs have been tagged, if you find one write down the information, phone number, and call in the details.  This information is collected by the state, and I spoke with Chris Bason Executive Director for the Center of the Inland Bays today, he is going to send me information they have collected.  He said it seems like more people are calling in tags this year, and encourages everyone to keep that going.  All of the northern Delaware bay beaches are covered with horseshoe crabs, in some cases so thick it is hard to get to the water’s edge.  Delaware bay beaches are the spawning grounds for these creatures and they will be finished soon.  If you find a tagged horseshoe crab please call in the info, and try to flip any live ones over.  If you catch any in the surf or the bays take care removing the hooks.  This is going to be a nice week for fishing into the weekend, and I hope everyone has great time out there …  Life is a beach, fish it.

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Fish On!!

Rich King

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