Striped Bass In The Delaware Surf

Striped Bass are showing up in the Delaware surf and a few other waterways.

Friday the thirteenth is supposed to be an unlucky day, but not if you were surf fishing this morning. The boys are back in town for their annual surf fishing excursion. They do this every year. This is the same crew that was surf fishing together when Ben Smith hammered the Delaware State Striped bass record in 2012. On a cold, rainy, overcast day, just like today. This is the best weather to fish for striped bass. Whether you are going for that twenty hour soak, or tossing lures. Had a feeling we might see some bass soon at the beach that is why we ran the beaches yesterday.

The boys were fishing with bunker chunks, and got this striped bass among a lot of dogfish. Good luck finding fresh bunker no one is stocking that right now. You might be able to snag and drop a few or maybe pick up some shad and use them for bait. You can always try a favorite go to a friend of mine swears by surf fishing for migratory striped bass, green crabs. Either way be glad some of these fish came close to shore. That fish in the picture is the smaller size anglers are seeing in the schools that showed up last week offshore. That many anglers are saying are now out beyond the EEZ, ducking insdie on occasion. Some of them came home instead for a visit.

striped bass, rockfish, delaware surf fishing, delaware seashore state park, line sider, bunker chunks, 20 hour soak
Ryan Halverson with a 24 inch striped bass caught in the surf Friday the 13th on bunker chunks.
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The back creeks, canals, and rivers are seeing some rather large striped bass all of a sudden. My theory, based on science and a little fact, striped bass that are born of these waters, return to their natal rivers to spawn. All striped bass return to spawn where they were born. We had a solid enough 2011 class of fish that all the hopes of rebuilding the stocks were on, many of these are those fish. These aren’t spawning, but they know these waters hold food.

We have plenty of resident striped bass here year round, but every year most join the fall migration. Once they become of age to do so, these bass become anadromous, meaning they spend most of their lives in the ocean. Then they return to their natal rivers every year to spawn. If the striped bass from the Inland Bays and Delaware Bay make it that far through a gauntlet of anglers during their lifespan of thirty years, they will come home every year. They aren’t spawning now, but these fish know these waters and are probably looking for food in familiar territory. That is my theory on why there are migratory bass in our back waters and along the beaches. How many fish? I have no idea, but we are seeing much larger catches that are not resident fish.
Many anglers are saying this is one of the better seasons they are seeing for striped bass. Which is odd, because the older seasoned anglers are saying the exact opposite. Anglers today should do some research and read up on some history.

striper wars, dick russell, striped bass moratorium, 1980, the eighties
Striper Wars An American Fish Story by Dick Russell available on Amazon

The “Old Salts” now, some of whom were the young bucks then are the guys that fished up to and went through the moratorium in the 80’s. When striped bass were shut down completely. “Thirty-five years ago this January, a five-year moratorium on the taking of striped bass went into effect in the state of Maryland. Other states, including Massachusetts, soon followed suit with regulations resulting in a near-total shutdown of fishing for the vaunted species across the 11 coastal states where it migrates.”
The excerpt and this article was written by Dick Russell, he is the author of Striper Wars: An American Fish Story. A book every angler should read.
Read his article in The Vineyard Gazette … “Words of a Fisherman: Time to Let Stripers Be “ and you should really read that book. The article shows just how dangerously close we are to the same conditions that put striped bass in a five year moratorium. Many anglers I know today weren’t even alive, I was in high school. We couldn’t fish for striped bass for five years, we fished for other species, and chased girls.

Fish On!
Rich King

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