How To Read A Delaware Beach For Surf Fishing

Delaware beaches have unique surf fishing structure, and it is almost nonexistent too. Driscoll Drones got a picture I have been waiting for to show you more about reading the beach. This is Dewey Beach at high tide April 13th at 3 PM. I used a town beach so no one can whine about spot burning. You should fish town beaches too, just saying.

When you stand on the sand the surf looks much different than this overhead view. But if you know what you are looking at from the sand in comparison to above it will help you decide how or where to set up your gear. The long pipe is set up for the coming replenishment project, you can see it into the water.

The “cuts” or run outs are where the plumes of white water are on the surface. From land it looks like a plume or mushroom cap. The longer the plume the longer the cut or drain action.

In the picture above you see the plumes of sand from the draining wave’s water action in the “cut” or run out. The sand ledge that drops off of when you wade into the water is the edge where the water starts (green) and the sand stops (brown). That is where many fish will hunt for food. Flounder will lay along that area and hit unsuspecting, distracted baitfish and crabs as the water stirs up the surf zone. The fish highway is out in front of this area as well.
When you are standing on the surf fishing beach and looking down the water line and surf zone. You will see the small bumps (piles) of sand and the beach looks “scalloped” shaped down the beach above the wrack line. The dips in the scalloping are the small cuts or run outs. Delaware’s surf has very small structure, but it exists. The fish highway is much closer to Delaware beaches than most beaches.

Look for the plumes of whitewater and sand in front of those cuts. The longer the plume, the longer the draining action of the cut, fish there. These areas are where the rip currents usually form up. If you find a rip current remember where that was and always fish those areas. Now to set up to find fish in these cuts is the next trick. Not every cut holds fish but every cut holds bait to feed fish, some more than others. Look for sand flea pieces in the wrack line of the cuts.

Casting into different areas of a cut is key to find fish with bait. Casting lures you want to do at an angle.

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Now you need to find fish once you are happy with your selection of an area to fish. By the way you won’t be happy with this area, or any area unless it produces fish.
Casting out a few lines helps figure what fish and where they are feeding in the cut area. We cast short, long and medium and all around the cut. Incoming tide the current is moving north. Outgoing tide the current is moving south. Cast more to that side once you know the direction the water is flowing.

IF you are casing lures, cast along the beach at about a thirty degree angle to cross cuts and holes for better chances. This does not owrk well on a crowded beach unless you know your neighbors.
Obviously you can throw straight out, but the fish will hang along cuts and feed. Your spoon or lure will mimic unsuspecting baitfish in the cut’s plume.

Surf fishing is fun and can be discouraging when you aren’t catching. Keep in mind you are standing on the edge of the Atlantic ocean. That is one big damn pond. Fish always move looking for food and with the tides, so just have some patience and clam down.


The structure at Assateague National Seashore is night and day compared to Delaware. Some areas there are a cornucopia of structure; cuts, sand bars, double sand bars, holes, and triple drains with rip currents all in one area. It makes for a lot of choices to surf fish.

Fish On!

Rich King

Reading The Beach To Surf Fish

Finding The Cuts

Read The Beach Find More Fish

Delaware Fish Identification

Fish Highway

Catching Flounder In The Delaware Surf

Surf Fishing 101 if you are just learning.

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