Reel Friends and pompano in the surf

reel friends surf fishing club, cape henlopen state park,
Reel Friends at the 5th annual March of Dimes at the Beach

The Reel Friends Surf Fishing club held their 5th annual March of Dimes at the Beach fundraiser Father’s day weekend.  These folks are first responders, fire, EMT, and rescue.  They put their lives on the line daily to help perfect strangers at their worst moments.  They are a great group of people I have had the pleasure to fish, and hang out with the past few years.  They are like one big family when they get together at the beach.  Sue Sokira organizes the March of Dimes at the beach event every year and this year with no exception she did a great job.  There were a lot of cool items donated for their silent auction, I donated a DSF hoodie, sea glass pendants, and four pint glasses.  I help the Reel Friends any time I can, they make a lot of sacrifices on and off work.  I am always impressed with them and what they do for their community.  Needless to say I had a blast as usual hanging with the Reel Friends.  I will keep you all updated with all of their upcoming events.  Fishing with them all weekend was a great time in the surf.

OC airshow, indian river inlet
Sunday evening spotting planes from the OC airshow

Thanks to the cloud burst we had this week and the winds before that the water looked like chocolate milk this Father’s Day weekend.  You could compare it to the river at the Willy Wonka Chocolate factory.  Fishing the surf is never very productive when the water is that dirty.  Skates, dogfish, and rays are always there, but most of the fish tend to stay away from the stirred up water.  The northern park beaches at Cape Henlopen were the worst.  Further south at Fenwick Island and Bethany Beach the water was bit clearer and fish were caught.  Kingfish, puffers, spot, croaker and even a pompano that was foul hooked.   Bloodworms have been the best baits for those fish.  Fishbites bloodworm formula is still working decently.  The pompano are early this year, we usually don’t see them until August or the end of July.  The water is warming up faster averaging seventy degrees.   A few flounder have been hit in the surf on sand fleas, and chartreuse gulp.   Short striped bass are being caught on bunker chunks or cut mullet.  Bluefish have been slamming mullet rigs.  The best fishing has been in the mornings and evenings.  We are into the summer fishing mode, fish early or later it is too bright and hot in the afternoon in the surf.  This goes for the bays as well, you will still catch on the tides in the afternoon, but you will do better in the early mornings and evenings.

striped bass, indian river inlet
Clay Harrison with a short striped bass near Indian River Inlet

The Inland Bays have been seeing more flounder catches.  Croaker and spot are thick in the back bays as well, you just have to find them.  Bluefish are hitting the Indian River Inlet mostly on the incoming tides and early in the morning.  That will change as the tide cycle changes as far as time of day.  Shad have been there as well as some short striped bass and a few keepers.  .  Crabbing is getting better and better once you find them either trot lining, or crab pots are doing well in the bays.  Chicken necking has done well in most areas and is always a fun way for the kids to crab.  Whether you do that off a pier or a boat it will produce and make for a fun day on the water.  The Henlopen pier has slowed down for keeper flounder but the fishing has been decent on the incoming and high tides.  Clamming is producing mostly the larger chowder or chuckle head clams.  Hard to find the little cherry stone steamers, but they are out there.  A smooth hammerhead pup was caught near Burton’s Island the other day.  Lots of dogfish are being caught in the inland bays.

pompano in delaware, bethany beach
Pompano caught in the surf at South Bethany … Photo from Robert Bochanski

The Delaware bay has been producing a lot of croakers for the charters.  Flounder are popping up at the sites and ferry wall.  The Delaware bay beaches are seeing a lot of croaker action on bloodworms.  Dogfish, skates and rays are always out there.  A few keeper striped bass have been caught as far up as Augustine beach at the wall.   Woodland beach is seeing a lot of croaker action and so is Port Mahon fishing pier.  Dave has been catching a lot of large cownose rays at Port Mahon.  Short striped bass are hitting bloodworms as well when fishing for croakers.  Catfish are hitting just about anything.  The Broadkill river has seen some nice flounder and weakfish action.  The weakies are hitting the most at the Roosevelt inlet and Delaware Bay beaches.  A one or two ounce jig head with pink or white gulp swimming mullet works well for them.  Chicken soaked in peeler oil is always a good go to bait for weakfish.  The big drum are not in the surf anymore but the boats are still seeing a few good catches.

hammerheadshark in delaware, smooth hammer,Burtons Island
Smooth hammer pup .. Nicholas Shortlidge … near Burtons Island

Offshore fishing has been hot for bluefin and yellowfin tuna, mahi mahi, the occasional big eye, and a variety of sharks.  The canyons have been the usual hot spots, and that bite can change daily as far as location.   Lots of whales, turtles, and other wildlife is being seen on these trips, that is always a treat even if the fishing is slow. Nothing like a long day at sea, you never know what you will see.     Makerel have been thick in areas and make for great bait, if you get into them you can fill a bucket or two up quickly.  Sea Bass has been decent, but slowed down the past few days.

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If you are going fishing here for the first time, all of the beaches are good places to try.  For beginners we do not recommend the front walls of the Indian River Inlet.  The back walls below the coast guard station on the north side near the marina, and the south wall above the condos.  These are more beginner friendly fishing areas for the walls, the rest of the inlet is tough to fish from land if you are not used to fishing a large wall with fast moving water.  Massey’s Landing has a nice fishing pier, located at the end of Long Neck road.  When you fish the ditch the structure around the piers is good to try and the edges of the rock walls.  Fish will move through there in large schools and you just have to be there when it happens.  The Cape Henlopen fishing pier is a great place for beginners, lot of structure and decent fishing.  Holt’s Landing has a pier that is decent for fishing and usually you can catch flounder, croaker, and spot.  The Roosevelt Inlet in Lewes is decent fishing for a variety of species.  You can also fish the public dock at canalfront park in Lewes.   You never know what will be moving through the canal.

Don’t forget the DSF discount cards are available at the following locations …

A-Lure Bait and Tackle …302-200-0469 … 32369 Long Neck RD, Millsboro DE

Adkins Produce … 302 945-9700 … 32008 Long Neck rd. Millsboro DE

Delmarva Board Sports … 302.260.9008 … 19470 Coastal Hwy Rehoboth Beach and the Fenwick Island location … 302 260-9008 … 39084 Harpoon Road, Fenwick Island, DE 19944

IceHouse Bait and Tackle … 302 645 0600 … 110 New Rd, Lewes, Delaware

Whoa Daddys … 302 549-1536 … 34814 Long Neck Rd Unit 5, Millsboro, Delaware

Fish On!!

Rich King

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