Hundreds Of Dead Bunker Lining the Delaware Coastline

These fish are dead, but not just from a low oxygen kill

During the warm up many people were seeing a lot of dead fish on the beaches. These are bunker, or menhaden. The comments on social media local pages are hilarious. Just because it looks blue doesn’t make it a bluefish kids. Use our Delaware Fish ID page to help with that we use real pictures, not cartoons.

Dead bunker or menhaden washed up on Beach Plum Island state park

Anyway. The bunker schools are massive this year. “We are getting tons of bunker jammed up in our lower units trying to move out of the creeks to go fish. To the point we have to lift our engines. We haven’t seen this many bunker in a long time”Delaware commercial anglers told me. “We had to call DNREC and tell them you might want to come down and check. There are dead bunker from the middle of the bay to the ocean. The rocks at Port Mahon were full of dead bunker. We pulled two totes of bunker today with seven and a half inch nets and some much larger striped bass than usual. Just so you know the Delaware striped bass commercial anglers prefer the fish in the twenty eight inch range. They are preferred by the fish buyers for market. They don’t want the big cows. It is one reason they fish for them this time of year.

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The wrack line is full of dead bunker or menhaden washed up on Beach Plum Island state park

DNREC checked it out and says we had a fish kill. I will buy that partially. Because after watching seals and birds wear out a school off Beach Plum Island State Park a few days ago. I think it is more than just a fish kill from low oxygen levels. The fish in the back water creeks are suffocating, I can buy that for sure based on what the commercial guys are seeing at boat ramps. But the bunker schools in the open bay and ocean are not. They are being hammered by seals, fish, and birds. The discarded dead fish are then washing up on or beaches. The whole fish being found are dead from being pushed towards land and suffocating out of water.
If you look at some of the pictures online or go out there. The amount of seals here this year seems more than ever. If you’ve never seen it, watch people trying to fish around seals in Massachusetts where these mammals are taking back their beaches.

Dead bunker or menhaden washed up on Beach Plum Island state park

In conclusion I think this fish kill is both low oxygen levels in the back water creek areas up north and wildlife on the blitz feed as well. Both natural causes. Watch Bunker Pushed To The Beach By Dolphins

I would one hundred percent fish behind these schools with bunker chunks. The beaches are covered in free bait. Large striped bass are lazy feeders and will follow schools to feed on the chunks left by the seals and birds. This is why bunker heads are perfect for striped bass bait. They do the same thing with large bluefish schools.

Bunker Impale Of The Year



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