Rats To Blues We Saw A Lot Of New Fish Today


short striped bass, surf fishing,delaware, sussex county, 3rs, southside, rockfish, surf rats
Short striped bass (rat) action in the surf today

The alarm is set for five in the morning, but you are already up contemplating where to go and what to use, the excitement keeps you awake.  Then the alarm goes off while you’re in the shower. This is everyday for me this time of year.  Where do we go, what do we try for etc.etc.  Today was no exception aside from the fact I knew where I wanted to go and what I wanted to catch.  Dem blues, we want dem blues.  So  I hit 3Rs at six this morning hoping to get into the blues and figured there would be rats for the taking to occupy our time.  We got skunked at 3Rs and moved over to southside for a bit, and hammered some rats.  We knew where we wanted to go next and had to kill some time.  That bite wouldn’t start for a few hours.  Meanwhile I am trying to do Delmarva Outdoors Expo work on the fly.  We hit a local hot spot for breakfast and proceeded to the next destination … Cape Henlopen State Park fishing pier.


delaware surf fishing, signature series surf rod, PC Rods, custom built fishing rod, delaware, sussex county
First yellow eyed devil on the hook!

The last three or four days the bite for the big gator bluefish has been hot right around noon.  We don’t know why, usually a bite is an hour later and corresponds with the tide.  Dave Beebe and I discussed it and couldn’t figure out why and nor did we care.  We were knee-deep into a sick bite, but I am getting ahead of myself.  We arrived at nine thirty, and knew the bite would not be on for a while.  The water was a dead low tide but starting to come in slow.  Casting and retrieving was a chore you could see the bottom of the flats two hundred yards out.  We waited, somewhat patiently, I even hit up my phone hotspot and did some interweb work while we waited.  Eventually we wandered down to the beach next to the pier and watched the pier action, there wasn’t any yet.  Noon has been the hot time, and we weren’t close to that yet.   We walked the beach and fished for a while, not having any luck at all.  Eventually we decided maybe the bite won’t go off today, let’s go get some snacks and drinks at the shop.


bluefish, yellow eyed devil, gator bluefish, delaware, sussex county, cape henlopen state park
One of the eleven blues I landed today.

When we were walking off, I saw my buddy Gage, his rod bent to the sand as soon as we got to him.  The drag was screaming and he was holding on with all he had, there was no doubt what was on the line.  While I was taking a quick video of his fish and some pictures of the landing something in my head said, hey dummy, cast a line out there.  Gage was using mullet and bunker, I had a three ounce silver gator casting spoon.  I launched it as far as I could throw.   WHAM!  The spoon barely hit the water and I had a yellow eyed devil on my line.  The fight was nothing short of epic, eleven times in forty-five minutes!  The first fish threw the spoon just at the edge of the surf.  I was disappointed, but quickly tossed  that spoon back out there. WHAM!  Fish On!  I landed that beast with zero issues and the hook was barely in its mouth, that is why you always keep the line tight.   This happened over and over again for forty-five minutes.  Cast catch a fish, cast catch a fish.  It was awesome.


bluefish, caape henlopen fishing pier, delaware, sussex county, gator bluefish, yellow eyed devil,
Gage Taylor with his catch at 11.9 pounds.
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Eventually the people on the pier came down to the beach.  Dave Beebe and the boys from the shop showed up and it was a regular fishing fest.  We had a blast talking trash, fishing shoulder to shoulder, and yanking in fish after fish.  You can do that in a crowd that knows how to fish and cast.  Meanwhile the whole area came hot, except the pier saw the least action.  The day before Dave said the pier had the most action. You just never know where the hot spot is going to be and it changes daily.  Tomorrow when we go back it could be totally different.  You just never know, and we will be up all night wondering about the next trip.  Waking up before our alarms, again.


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Taylor Deemer fish on! with Dave Beebe in background.

Once the bite shut down after about two hours, it was moving up and down the beach.  We called it a day and said our goodbyes.  Just as we were leaving I got a message from Matt Adams and he was holding a yellow eyed devil he just landed at Dewey Beach.  Apparently after this bite shuts down Rehoboth and Dewey beach heat up with some serious action.  Even 3Rs came hot later this afternoon.  We were spent, tired, sore, and hungry.  The day was over and I had one fish to get cleaned at Lewes Harbor Marina.  I kept the one that got gill hooked, no way it would have survived a release.  I let the others go, I only can eat so much fish.  No one needs ten bluefish at this size.  I would prefer to catch these for a long time and from the looks of it we could see this action for a while (years).  These fish are spread from New Jersey to Virginia.  We will have to wait and see how that plays out each year, for now I am happy hammering the yellow eyed devil in the surf, action the likes of which we haven’t seen in over forty years.


needle fish, delaware, sussex county,cape henlopen fishing pier, lewes, delaware bay, harbor of safe refuge
Needle fish caught by Tommy

Earlier this morning we watched the osprey pulling bunker and short striped bass out of the surf. One took off with a needlefish, now we know there are needlefish here and they were at Cape Henlopen chasing our spoons.  Tom managed to catch one on a spoon.   Right after we were talking about how hard they are to catch due to their bony mouths.  Apparently when it tried to hit the spoon it snagged itself in the head.  So we have needle fish in now.  Dave Beebe told me two croaker were caught at the pier a couple of days ago.  So now we have croaker in as well.  That is really early, but hey there are kingfish here too.  I will take it, we could use some serious variety for spring fishing.  Now we just need the big migratory bass to run the coast line and we will see that action.  These bluefish could push that action away or dominate it this year, as it has the last couple of years.  We will have to wait and see how that plays out this year.

Fish On!

Rich King




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