Surf Fishing, The Original Social Distancing

I’m still going fishing, because I can, I want to Social Distance, and it is mostly a solo activity.

We all learned a new phrase this week, social distancing. Many of us already do that daily, when we go fishing. You don’t call fifty of your buddies or even ten to go surf fishing. Ten friends might show up near you by the day’s end. But if you are really trying to get some down time in the surf. You tend to go by yourself, or maybe with a a buddy or two. Possibly take the family for the day. When people show up we tend to migrate elsewhere. Even when you are fishing, you are still solo despite company.
Now with the new state of things, being away from other people or social distancing is important. Besides staying home, I can’t think of a better way to do that than go fishing.

striped bass, rockfish, surf rats, delaware surf fishing,
Graf’s social distancing skills are lacking but fish are friends.

Since we can get out and about, the bars and restaurants may be closed, but the bait shops are open. Les Clemmer Owner of Icehouse Bait and Tackle, “I have bloodworms coming tomorrow and unless the national guard locks my doors, we are open.” If you know Les, then you now that is about all I can share of what he said.
There are also fish out there to be caught. Striped bass are starting to school up locally and rumors of migratory fish are stirring. We had a mild winter, it is time to get in the suds and toss a line. Delaware State Parks and Assateague Island is open to drive on and surf fish. So far and there are plenty of other land based areas that are not in parks.

DS Custom Tackle Surf rig
DS Custom Tackle Surf rig

If you want to avoid (social distance) any stores for bait. Sand fleas are abundant at the surf’s edge, especially at low tide, just dig a few inches. Use a real shovel those little ones will keep you there all day digging.
You will find enough to fish the area, it may take a few scoops. Put a couple of the big fleas on a DS Custom Tackle surf rig with the six aught owner hook and throw it out there. These rigs are also available at Icehouse Bait and Tackle, and Dan’s Tackle Box. You should be fine with a four ounce pyramid sinker this week. Sand fleas won’t drag your gear around like a bunker chunk in current.

striped bass, delaware slot limit, rockfish, woodland beach, kent county
Cory McCans and Bryn Stephanie with a 32 inch striped bass he caught at Woodland Beach Monday
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Speaking of bunker, if you are looking for fresh bunker hit up Port Penn Bait and Tackle up north. Richard King has been catching bunker readily the last few days. “We are seeing some near keeper bass in the bunker nets.” There are keeper striped bass in the area waters up north. Bloodworms was the bait of choice for Cory McCans at Woodland Beach today. “The wind was kicking and I had been on the pier fishing with my girlfriend for about three hours and hadn’t had much luck. It was getting pretty cold and we were just about ready to call it quits but decided to freshen up our bait and give it one last cast. A few minutes later The rod bent over and the reel started screaming. It put up a fight but I got it to the surface and realized there was no way I was going to pull it up on the pier and risk it breaking off. I ran it back to the rocks and a local who’s name I believe was Joe helped me wrestle it up onto the shore and a few others helped measure. Shout out to Joe for all his help if he’s reading this!”
Great example of making that last cast and putting in the time.
I had to ask, did you keep the fish? Bryn Stephanie “He didn’t keep the fish he let the guy who helped him wrestle it in take it . The guy said he was just at the grocery stores and all the meat was sold out so he was thankful to take it to cook up for his family.” Sometimes even social distancing can be a great social experience.

bunker, port penn bait and tackle, kent county, delaware river, augustine beach
Bunker in the net caught by Richard King owner of Port Penn Bait and Tackle

Rat Wrangling …
The surf fishing in Delaware is seeing plenty of “rats”. The smaller striped bass that school up this time of year and hunt the surf edge. Theey are up and down the beaches but concentrated around the southside and northside Indian River Inlet beaches. At night at the coast guard station is great action. Ted Proseus has been doing well on his white surf bullets. “Cast after cast I am hitting a fish. I have snagged a few monster bunker too, Hoping for some big fish deeper”
Kevin and the boys are hitting lots of surf rats on white artificials. Bass assassins are killing it in the surf on the falling tide.
Graf Eggers has been using his dads old custom rid with light gear and having a blast.

striped bass, rockfish, surf rats, delaware surf fishing,
Kevin Golden Jr with a surf rat

Despite all the craziness going and whatever your feelings. One thing is for certain if you are going to practice social distancing, fishing is a damn good way to accomplish that and have some fun. I’m going somewhere every day this week. If too may people show up, I’m going somewhere else. Perch fishing is good as another option. I would also float a boat and fish for flounder around the inland bays.

Be safe and smart out there,
Fish On!
Rich King

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