Whales Spotted off Dewey Beach


humpback whale, dewey beach, rehoboth beach, july 20th, whale watching in delaware, sussex county, lower slower, atlantic ocean, bunker pods, porpoises, dolphins, birds working water
Sarah Dougherty … Here’s a photo of one of the whales taken by F. Neil Dougherty

Yesterday on my way to the beach, I received a message on the Delaware Surf Fishing Facebook page from Sarah Dougherty  , “Happening now: Two whales clearly visible off Swedes St., Dewey Beach.  Heading toward Rehoboth, get to the beach! ”   I posted the information on the DSF Facebook page and told everyone to keep an eye out, seeing a whale with the naked eye that close to a beach is a rare treat.  People were sharing the post like crazy and tagging friends to be on the look out.  Angela Fresconi posted …  “We saw one in Rehoboth about 45 mins ago! It was heading south but then turned and headed way out into the ocean.”  By the time I made it to Cape Henlopen to use Herring Point as a look out area, the whales had already headed farther out to sea.  After looking over the ocean for a while, I aired down and went to the beach, to continue with a day of entertainment and fishing.



b buoy, flounder, atlantic ocean, delaware, sussex county, fluke fishing
Dave Eastburn Sr. with a flounder from 12 miles out

The fishing in the afternoons from the surf have been horrible.  This is par for the course for this time of year.  Friends were fishing early morning just before the sun came up into the early morning and were catching all kinds of fish and sea life.  You have to go very early in the morning, or late in the evening.  That hot, bright, mid day sun pushes the fish deeper.  If you can cast far and get to deeper water beyond the sand bars then you will have a better chance during mid day.  This is not to say you won’t catch fish, yesterday the clouds moved in and helped cut the light back, but we didn’t stay much longer.  Basically you never know so you have to try.  The fishing is normal, meaning fishing is just that, fishing, catching is what is off this time of year from the surf in the mid morning to late afternoon.  However if you stick around long enough you will catch a show on the weekends.  Yesterday in a matter of thirty minutes we saw:  The rangers waiting for someone to come back to a vehicle that was jut parked on the beach, apparently they went for a walk before they decided to leave; A guy get stuck on the access ramp without a surf tag; and a few people drive on and put a four-foot ultralight rod out for their actively fishing gear, buried the butt of the rod in the sand, and then went swimming.  By the way never turn your back on a wave, you might get face planted into the sand.  Yes that was entertaining as well.  I know all of these things and much more annoy people but sometimes you just have to laugh when you see this much going on in such a short span of time.   Today there was myself and one other truck on the beach for three hours, weekdays are nice and quiet.


actively surf fishing, delaware beaches, pose fishing, sussexcounty, you're doing it wrong
Ultralight bass rod in sand for actively fishing

The best advice I can give you for dealing with the non fisher folk is this, ignore it or call the rangers.  The latter of the two may or may not pan out to your satisfaction, and even if they kick that group off the beach, someone else is going to fill in that spot.  What do I do in these situations?  Well … ignoring it is the easiest.  These people are having fun and could give a tinkers damn that they are ruining your fishing experience, they don’t care.  Don’t let that ruin your day.  What I usually do is offer to put out a line for them (one of mine) that will actually hold bottom and has bait on it, now I have even more room to fish and no lines to worry about tangling my gear.  Most of the time you meet some interesting people and they might even feed you a burger or hotdog with an ice cold beverage.  The few and far between that get insulted that you even asked, well they are like that in all aspects of their lives.  Do not let that ruin your day, karma will prevail at some point.  I received over fifty messages on Saturday alone, asking for the park ranger’s number.  You can call and it is preferred that you do, but if they are busy elsewhere, the odds of them showing up in time to witness what you are seeing is very slim.  Also if those folks see the rangers coming, then they will “tighten” up their act just long enough to pass the drive by inspection.  The rangers don’t have time to sit on top of everyone all day to make them follow the rules.   So that being said, you have those choices as far as I see it.  In my experience it is better to meet the neighbors than to shun them.  You will have a bad day, and they will still have fun.  The third choice is to get to the beach at pre-dawn, fish, and then leave by about 10 Am and find something else to do or elsewhere to fish.  Because the fishing is going to be worse as the day progresses,unless it is overcast.  That is when we go for the boat ride and find fish.


bergal, cunner fish, tautog, haystacks, delaware bay, sussex county
Bergal caught at the haystacks
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Flounder action has been crazy for the boaters, the surf not so much but they are there, and all day in the wash area eating sand fleas.  The boats are hammering flounder from the Lewes Canal to the Old Grounds.  The reef sites, wreck sites, and Delaware Bay has seen some nice catches.  Nuclear chicken gulp has been the hot bait or minnows.  Jigging has been very good in the canals, inland bays, inlets and similar shallow areas.  Drifitng is doing well in deeper waters.  If you are really deep it is best to just try to sit on top of a wreck or reef site.  Jigging with croaker strips was working well for Tom Hudecheck and I in the Harbor of Safe Refuge.  There is a ton of croaker out there and a small half ounce jighead with the smaller gulp was producing a lot of croaker.  So we striped one out, and used it for flounder bait. I went out on Friday for a tautog trip on opening day with Tom Hudecheck and we ended up flounder fishing for the rest of the day.  The morning tautog bite was non-existent for all of the boats out there, several didn’t even try that long.  We did catch a lot of bergals and small sea bass.  I managed one flounder at the haystacks on sand fleas.  We were hoping for trigger fish as an alternative or by catch of tautog fishing but that didn’t happen either.  The water was seventy-two degrees on the incoming tide and almost seventy-five on the outgoing tide, too warm for tautog, but we had to try on opening day.  We fished all over the Harbor of Safe Refuge and spent a good twelve hours out there.  It was  great day and now that I have stopped swaying we can go out again.  Tom did catch a nice striped bass near the Henlopen pier structure, but it was just shy of the slot limit, that season lasts until August thirty-first.


henlopen pier, striped bass, slot striped bass fishingin delaaware bay, sussex county, lewes
Tom Hudecheck with a close to slot limit striped bass at the Henlopen pier structure

Off shore action is picking up, Joe at Lewes Harbor Marina told us on Friday, that last week was slow off shore.  We stopped by to have the flounder cleaned, because when you want a perfect filet you go see Joe.  In the last few days I have seen  a decent amount of yellow fin tuna catches, so that is picking back up again.  Mahi is still a hot catch and they are showing up as close as the old grounds and I have heard B buoy as well.  Keep a rod at the ready when you are out there for some quick bucktailing action.  The boys on the Katydid last week nailed a nice Mahi at the Old Grounds.  My buddy Saad Soliman was on board and said … “We saw this big Mahi come to the boat and everyone pulled their weights off their lines and started casting”   Because that is what you do when a mahi comes in to check out your boat.  You never know what you will run into off shore.  The flounder fishing out there has been excellent this year.


The haystacks at dawn, delaware bay, ice breakers, outer wall, tautog fishing, sussex county, harbor of safe refuge, breakwater light house, shoals hen and chicken
The haystacks at dawn

Croaker action has been hot everywhere, seriously if you are in a boat and can’t find a croaker, you haven’t left the dock.  We were marking so many the other day the fish finder looked like a video game.  The schools are huge and in some cases are making it hard to get to the bottom to catch flounder.  When we fished the Lewes canal recently the croaker were hammering the jigs we had set up for flounder.  We switched to smaller hooks and started banging up croaker.  You catch enough of them they make a great meal.  You can also filet up one and cut it into long strips and use it on a jig head.  Just hook it once near the end of the strip and bounce that on the bottom.  The flounder love to eat the croaker strips, as do some of us anglers.  Spot are still showing up in minnow traps around the inland bays.  Crabbing has been getting better and better.

Fish On!!

Rich King


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