Memorial Day Weekend Approaches The Fish Have Been Here

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Sharon McGee with her PB this year a 23 inch bluefish from the surf in Delaware Seashore State Park

The fishing has been excellent so long as you have the right bait, are in the right spot, have the correct gear for the fish you want to catch, during the right tide, the best time of day, and how you hold your rod.  There are so many factors to catching, because anyone can fish.  Most of the time it is just dumb luck, especially surf fishing.  You are standing along the edge of one of the largest ponds on the planet, hoping a fish swims by and decides to take your bait.  Finding that perfect spot to fish can be a challenge.  That is why we hope for the dumb luck factor.  There is a fine line between surf fishing and just standing there looking like an idiot.

reading a beach, surf fihsing, the cut, sadnbars, rip currents, delaware, sussex county
A “cut” shot from above by Matt Adams. You can see the distinct area where water flows out from behind the sandbars. That is the cut

    Fish the cuts at the beach, this is where the water washes out and forms a plume of sand, that  looks like a mushroom cloud.  That is the cut, where water, after crossing the sand bar area and washing up on the beach, drains back into the surf.  This is where the fish tend to gather and cuts can be exaggerated or subtle.  An extreme cut would be a rip current, we love fishing rip currents  
You can get a good luck at what a beach looks like under the water after an nor’easter at a dead low tide.  The profile the increased surf carves into the beach face is what the sand bars and cuts look like in front of you.  When you find areas where the water drains between the sandbars.  The swales drain there as well.  That is where good cuts are found. 

the point, cape henlopen state park, reading the surf, delaware surf fishing, dsf
Reading the beach at Cape Henlopen State Park after a storm these pronounced cuts are farther up on the beach.

    Fishing the cuts is easy, catching not so much at times.  Cast a line to the top of the cut and on each side.  In close and out far.  Move your gear around until you find fish or they find you.  Usually it is the latter, the fish will hit cuts as they move up the beach on the incoming tides and feed.  The cuts are were the water flushes out food in the sand (sand fleas, copepods, and sand worms).  Fish will hang in these areas and feed on the food being stirred up, dislodged from the sand, and tossed around by the currents. 

ds custom tackle, mullet rig, modified mullet rig, delaware, sussex county, diamond state custom tackle, local tackle, gear made for anglers by anglers, bluefish, gator blue, yellow eyed devil,
Suzanne Martin caught this bluefish at Cape Henlopen on a DS Custom Tackle mullet rig

   The surf has been active in random locations for bluefish.  Anglers are catching with mullet on mullet rigs,  bunker chunks, and even top and bottom rigs.  The latter are being destroyed by bluefish biting them off.  Stuck to the heavy line or wire leader rigs.  When a school moves into the beach area, switch to spoons and cast for them.  I prefer that action to just sitting there waiting for the fish to hit my bait.  
    There have been a few keeper striped bass caught on clam or bunker chunks in the surf.  From Assateague to Cape Henlopen.  black drum action is still great at Broadkill beach when the fish move in the action is great for about an hour or two and then it shuts down.  In the mean time anglers are catching random blues, striped bass, and dogfish. 

ds custom tackle, mullet rig, modified mullet rig, delaware, sussex county, diamond state custom tackle, local tackle, gear made for anglers by anglers, bluefish, gator blue, yellow eyed devil,
Marc Turner caught this bluefish at Fenwick Island on a DS Custom Tackle Mullet rig … photo from Fenwick Tackle

 There are plenty of northern puffers, burr fish, and sand perch to catch on top and bottom rigs but the blues are destroying those rigs.  Fish with both setups and see who hits first the blues or the fish the blues are eating.  Kingfish are now being caught at he beaches on sand fleas or bloodworms. Fishbites is going to work more and more as the water warms.

ds custom tackle, mullet rig, modified mullet rig, delaware, sussex county, diamond state custom tackle, local tackle, gear made for anglers by anglers, bluefish, gator blue, yellow eyed devil, striped bass, rockfish, line sider
Jose Sore from Alexandria Va hooked this 19lb rockfish with a whole bunker head off the Fenwick surf Thursday afternoon
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    Weakfish have been making a showing in the last week.   Decent sized weakfish are being caught along the Delaware Bay beaches near the cape Henlopen fishing pier.  They are in the twenty four inch range and fat looking.  Would be nice to see them come back.  If you catch one maybe release it?  That fish went through a lot to get to that size.  The ocean is one extremely dangerous environment to grow up in when everything is food for something else.   I’d prefer to eat one too these are perfect eating size. 

black sea bass, charter boats, delaware, sussex county, lewes,
Captain Keith Beebe … Insane morning, made the run to the sea bass grounds and had our 7-man limit (105) by 9:45am. One stop shopping for some great table fair. Lots of dates open! Call or text to book a trip and get in on the action! 302-249-4599

Black sea bass action has been excellent for the boats getting out there and finding the fish. Surface Tension Sport fishing run by Captain Keith Beebe has done well every trip.

lighthouse view bait and tackle, pier bait shop, cape henlopen state park, flounder, fishing pier, lewes, delaware, sussex county
From Dave Beebe … Austin from the Lighthouse View Bait and Tackle shop staff wandered out the other day and nailed a nice flounder on his second cast.

   Flounder has been excellent in the canal, might be a little cleaned out after last weekend.   Lot of boats hammering away at the flatties for a tournament.   There are flounder all over the Cape Henlopen fishing pier, the inland bays is picking up and the surf has decent action.  Pink gulp, minnows, and silversides have been the ticket for drifting.  Jigging the cuts in the surf work at the beach, also they will hit your mullet rig on the retrieve at times.  

clam for bait, sand lfeas, black drum, beach plum island state park, broadkill beach, milton, lewes, slaughter beach, prime hook beach, bowers beach
Mark Lucas … Had a good day yesterday broke off 3 black drum, 2 spit hooks and 2 keepers with my brother in law.

Drum fishing has been better for the boats than the surf, but the beaches are still active. Anglers putting in a good ten hours of time or hitting the beach when the bite happens are catching. Not everyone is catching it is fishing after all. Dan’s Tackle Box has been blowing through bushels of clams like crazy. Sand fleas have also been a good bait for drum. There are drum hitting along the ocean beaches but that i s random action, like the bluefish or striped bass. You have to be there when it happens.

blue claw crabs, inland bays, delaware, sussex county,
Lot of decent crabbing action.

Crabbing has been excellent around the inland bays, canals, and the Cape Henlopen Fishing Pier.  Couple more weeks and I will be satisfied the mud of winter is cleared out of them and start feasting.  We catch our own crabs and prefer them to be cleaned out a bit after a long winter soak in that inland bay mud.  Heads up inland bay communities the annual stealing of the crab pots has already started at Pot Nets Bayside. Mark your crab pots well. DNREC is aware of the issues and is keeping an eye out for crab pot poachers. Just checking a crab pot that does not belong to you is illegal. Leave other pots alone.

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The Moving Wall in Lewes, Delaware at the Cape May – Lewes Ferry Terminal

Memorial day weekend is upon us. We are moving beach clean ups to Tuesday for obvious reasons. One of them being fighting traffic to get home after a clean up is a nightmare on Sunday around noon.
please be careful this weekend, drive smart, stay safe, and have a great weekend. Water temperatures are back on the rise, but be careful if you are kayaking or staying in the water for long periods of time, it isn’t that warm yet.

Don’t forget to take a moment and remember those who gave their all. That is what memorial day weekend is all about, not BBQ’s, beaches and beers.

Fish On!
Rich King

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