Reading The Beach To Surf Fish

Reading a Delaware beach to surf fish will help you find and catch more fish

 After a nor’easter or heavy wave storm surges. The beaches are all carved up and washed out, but that is actually a helpful tool for any surf angler. Especially in Delaware, it is tough to read a beach here.

reading the beach, delaware surf fishing, sussex county, delaware state park beaches, drive on beaches
Some swales are tens to hundreds of feet long. Extending well down a beach until the water reaches a cut.

 After storms during the dead low tides you will see all of the mini sandbars and cuts.  These will move and fill in as the beach fills back in, but right after storms is the best time. You are looking at what the bottom or sand profile looks like in front of you under the water. It is more exaggerated but that is roughly what the bottom looks like. This is when you hit mark on your GPS for the cut location. It will move a bit but they all are usually in the same spots. The swales you see after mild storms farther up the beach also represent what is in front of you.

reading the beach, delaware surf fishing, sussex county, delaware state park beaches, drive on beaches
A cut that has finished draining. Heavily exaggerated due to storm surge wave action.

From the carved contours” in the sand one can see how the troughs “move” or drain water. This is good to know for dragging spoons and plugs through cuts. Most cuts drain south.
This is what we call structure in the surf. Unlike storm drains and groyns (jetties). We rely on sand bars and cuts to find areas holding fish. It is comparable to finding shoals in a bay, except these are mini shoals.  
Bait fish, larger fish and crustaceans will explore these areas (cuts) that look like small rip currents. The water will have a plume shape or mushroom shape of sandy water pointing towards sea. That is the cut draining between wave sets. 

Related Articles
1 of 1,464
reading the beach, delaware surf fishing, sussex county, delaware state park beaches, drive on beaches
Cuts drain fast between wave sets

 
The cut is where you will find fish feeding on the unsuspecting baitfish and critters as they are washed around in these areas as the water drains.  
The cut looks like a gully and is the weaker area, where you see two waves collide with one another. The current from the draining cut weakens the wave in hat spot. This is how we get rip currents. Heavy wave action constantly draining, creates rip currents. Always fish rip currents. Just stay out of the water near them.
As the water is pushed across the bar under the wave. The bait fish and life are stirred up and washed out of the cut area.   That creates a buffet for feeding fish. Which creates another buffet for larger predatory fish.
Fish the top (front) and sides of a cut to find fish. Once you do find a bite, fish that area. Drag lures across a cut, preferably a couple cuts at a time. Water can be pushed out pretty far especially in a rip current. The “food” is being pushed out that far as well. Casting at about a thirty degree angle to he beach is really good for cuts.

reading the beach, delaware surf fishing, sussex county, delaware state park beaches, drive on beaches
Some swales are small and have multiple cuts or drains

I labeled the picture below to give you an idea of what the bottom looks like under and behind the waves.  You have to use your imagination a little. Also never ever drive across any swales and drain areas on the beaches before checking them. Easy way to sink to the vehicle frame real fast 

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.
2 Comments
  1. Darrell Ritchie says

    any word of the special fish license plates coming out? i looked online dmv de and didnt see anything

    1. Rich King says

      none yet

Comments are closed.