Friday the surf fishing was excellent. Many of our friends had a great time, and Jason Duncan sent me a report … “Fishing today was ridiculous. That is all.” Suzanne Martin said she and her crew “We hardly had time to set the rod in the holder and it was fish on!!” That has been the surf for the past few days, pockets of all different species and sizes of fish. Cut and whole mullet has been great bait, as well as spot. Fishbites still the “go to” for the surf and everywhere else. We have been catching spot and using them for bait in the surf and bays. Several people have live lined spot catching blues, shorty stripes, and trout. Sand fleas are killing tautog everywhere, the fish have been small, undersized, but plentiful. I visited Massey’s Landing Saturday afternoon, and everyone was hitting tog. I saw a beautiful Sheepshead caught and a Pinfish, on sand fleas. Flounder have been here and there, but definitely slowing down. Many small ones were in the surf on all beaches, especially the point. Pompano and redfish are still abundant on all beaches. Blues, shorty stripers, and shad in the Indian River Inlet. There have been nice trout, small blues, croaker and spot at Beach Plum Island and Broadkill Beach. Jeff Johnston hit a 25 inch trout … “Lewes canal…incoming water on cut spot” Everyone is excited the trout are back in such great numbers, and different sizes. Next year could be an interesting year. Especially with the warm waters we had this summer, and what has made it up the coast, weird is a good description for some catches. Redfish are thick in Delaware waters, everyone I talk to is amazed at the numbers people are catching, and releasing. Combined with the trout numbers there are a lot of fish in our waters.
Friday night I fished Broadkill beach with Greg Betts, Cari Flowers, Wes Betts (Greg’s son), and Matt their neighbor down the street. They were using fishbites on top and bottom float rigs, I had the same. Wes was learning to fish, and this was his first time in the surf. He caught a spot not long after setting up, his first fish ever. He was excited and hooked, pun intended. We used the spot for chunk bait, same rigs, but I changed up to a 6/0 circle hook in hopes of good sized trout. Later in the night, Cari caught a conch which was eating a razor clam, and that was the joke of the evening, try saying that 3 times fast. Then Wes’s surf rod bends, and he has something huge on his line. 4 seconds later my rod bends to the sand, fast, I grabbed it and reared back on the rod. I already know we have a huge skate or ray. I yell over to Wes, “We have the same fish” … he yells back, “I caught it first, its mine!!” Kid learns fast. He broke off, then she dug in, and I sat there for 20 minutes trying to get our gear back, no luck. Regardless of a light catch, we had fun, Wes caught his first fish ever, and it was a beautiful night. We watched the moon rise over the bay, it started with a orange “glow”, and looked almost like smoke out at sea with a fire underneath. Stars were everywhere, and the floating cities (ships) were all lit up. The sounds of the waves lapping along the jetty, and the moon rise. I saw a shooting star on the way back to the fridge, too close to carry a cooler, easier to just make a quick trip. What a horrible place to live.
Saturday I was supposed to visit the Fenwick Island Fishing Club for their yearly surf fishing tournament. I had a family emergency to attend to instead, and I have had a rough few days around here, I missed meeting all of you and I am sorry for that. I had to go inland to Georgetown. So since I was near the Sussex County Airport, I went to the Wings and Wheels Festival. It was cool watching old “timey” planes try and drop powder bombs on a target. The Disabled American Veteren’s flight team had the Panchito, a B-25J Mitchell Bomber with them. I saw this plane flying over my families neighborhood all day, which caused my curiosity. Big, shiney, silver, twin prop, bird in the sky. I checked out a few planes and cars, then headed to Long Neck to meet with admin 1. I dropped by Massey’s Landing as well, saw the 2 eagles from Raccoon Thicket Island fly over. People were catching, as much as they were fishing, storms were coming in, but just missed us, and boats were in and out of the ditch. I killed some time talking strategy with admin 1, and then headed to Old Bay restaurant, for an impromptu car show. Zach King called and said the cobra car club was meeting there, drop by if I was in the area, this is by far my favorite hot rod, and there were some nice ones, even a Old Dodge truck as well. All in all, it was an interesting day. The night was reserved for a fire on the beach and more fishing on Broadkill, the 15 mph winds and 50 degree temperatures killed that desire quickly.
Sunday I woke up to heavy wind, cold temperatures, and the bay was very rough. Broadkill Beach waves were large, and breaking in sets. The sunrise was null to void, but a bit of a glow on the horizon. Rain was spitting, turned to a drizzle, and then it just let loose for a while. No fishing this morning, I went back to bed, indoors was much nicer. I was heading to Coast Days 2012 at the University of Delaware College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment. I went back to school today, and I could have spent days exploring exhibits. There were a lot of very informative talks about the research being done there, on the research vessels, and at the Georgia Aquarium. The displays in the campus labs were interesting, from using a cross bred phragmites plant for waste sludge clean up to save time and money, and using other plants to make oil for bio fuels. There was a beautiful live coral reef tank on display, something I used to do and miss, growing my own corals. There were displays in tents from all of the area coastal organizations, Shipping organizations concerned with ports. DNREC had a huge tent loaded with information and displays.
At the Center for the Inland Bays tent, EJ had a table with the oyster replenishment program, and an aquarium loaded with fish and big oysters. He was out collecting this morning in the rain for the display specimens. One of the fish in that tank it turns out is a mangrove snapper. I talked to Jen, Roy and Chris for a bit, and then went exploring. I finally had a chance to meet people from the MERR Institute. Lots of organizations concerned with our bays and waterways were represented. I talked to a lot of people that already knew about DSF’s site, or I have met in my travels around the fishing community, and I appreciate the compliments. The Saltwater Fly Anglers of Delaware had a display set up, and Joe Schmoyer had a wild looking mantis fly, the one he started in the winter. I hung out with those guys for a bit, talked fish and donuts. There was a huge food court set up, with all kinds of seafood. I visited the boats, checked out the research vessels, toured the big ships, met more people, and then I had to get home. Information overload for an afternoon. I look forward to next year, and to continue some conversations with many people I met today. Doug White, Ocean Information Center (Oceanic), told me about some programs he is working on, and his blog site … oceanbytes.org. We both agreed it is amazing how much information is out there, just not correlated anywhere. I could have spent an entire weekend at a festival like this, learning about our coastal waterways, the research being done, and the programs that are here to help. Mind blown, day over, back to Broadkill Beach, and the temps are dropping.
Speaking of dropping temps check out Bill’s Sport Shop and Irish Eyes Of Lewes, DE’s Striper tournament. This tournament will be well worth participating.