Sunday Funday The Return Of The Whelks

Easter Sunday Funday was for surf fishing and giving back to the sea.

If you found a whelk shell on Gordons Pond yesterday, we put them there. There is a unwritten “rule” in Delaware State parks to not remove shells from the beaches. Also known as low impact beach combing. Pick it up, look at it, put it back. This “suggestion” is also printed on the free bags given out in all of the Delaware State Parks. That ironically people use to collect shells. It isn’t an enforced “rule”.
Over the past year I cleaned out all the sheds, shops, etc. When I found a whelk shell it went into the pile, and the pile grew.

w impact beach combing
The scene after a couple hours, lots of whelks spread down the beach

A friend of mine looked at the whelk pile one day and said … “Look at all those homeless hermit crabs.” She had a very good point. These shells are also used by octopus. Every time I found a whelk shell while surf fishing. I would toss it in the truck and it would wind up somewhere. Why collect them? “Crafter” Friends … “Hey next time you see a whelk shell can you grab me one.” only to never get it to that person (I don’t deliver). Eventually whelks were everywhere on the property. Time to take these all back for the homeless hermit crabs. We don’t need them bumming rides in th Wawa parking lots or asking for five dollars to get to Dover.

knobbed whelk, smooth whelk, leave no trace, low impact beach combing
The tub of whelks waiting for the right moment.

Easter Sunday I put all the whelk shells in a big container and headed to the beach. The pile was taking up half a parking space near the shop. There were over a hundred and fifty whelk shells of all sizes. I may have kept the one I like for taking photos. My crafter friends are about to get angry.
Of course it is Easter Sunday we know the beaches will be busy so do we go to the least busiest beach? Nah.
We went to Gordons pond. Surprisingly hardly any vehicles on the beach, tons of people walking. We head to surf fish near the Firewatch towers, just north of the Marine One Landing Pad.

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Andrew and I set up to surf fish. We wanted to check out the Fishbites catfish bait in the surf. It is for freshwater, but it is a shad formula and works in brackish for big catfish, I was curious to see if striped bass will chew on it. We didn’t catch any fish, but we did meet a lot of people. Sand fleas are emerging too, we fed them to a few fish. I spent a good hour and half looking for a broke off plug

w impact beach combing
Watching people react to the whelks while surf fishing

We put the tub of whelks on the beach between the rods and waited until the foot traffic slowed down. There were a lot of people out. It was headed into the noon hour. Andrew and I dumped the whelks into the surf edge and then watched the show.

Andrew and I dumping the whelks back into the sea


A pile of whelks will move north in a couple of hours and spread out. The fun part were people’s reactions. Only one person asked us if we put the whelks there. (He saw us dump the tub an hour earlier). People would freak out, select a nice one, and then walk off. We would explain the park’s preference to those that asked about the whelks, that was up to them.
Most of these whelk shells made it back to the sea. At one point the scene was a Kodak moment.
Guys Pro Tip … If you want to meet women at the beach, take a 150 whelk shells. I’m just sayin’

  • w impact beach combing
  • knobbed whelk, smooth whelk, leave no trace, low impact beach combing
  • w impact beach combing
  • w impact beach combing
  • w impact beach combing
  • w impact beach combing
  • w impact beach combing
  • w impact beach combing
  • w impact beach combing

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