We held our first surf fishing tournament on Saturday and it was a great time. I arrived at conquest beach around 4:30 in the morning and there were a few folks already waiting to register. The weather was not as bad as forecast, we never saw any rain. I signed them in and sent them out to the beach. We had thirty two people sign up from avid tournament anglers to first timers. Everyone was set up and started fishing by 7 am. The sun rose over the ocean and promised a beautiful day. This was the first gorgeous day we have had on the beach, it was perfect. The current was heavy at the beginning of the tournament and everyone was having a tough time holding bottom in some areas. Anglers were spread out from Key Box beach to Faithful Steward. David Okonewki helped me judge and we spent the entire day cruising the beach checking on the anglers. There were a lot of skates caught, but that did not discourage anyone since we had the skating rink calcutta. That helped make the day more interesting. There were two short striped bass caught, but not much else. Despite the lack of fish, it was a perfect day on the beach. The winners were drawn by a lottery, since we didn’t have any fish that scored. Unfortunately when you schedule a tournament in December it is hard to tell if the fish will abide. Last year at this same time there were all kinds of fish in the surf. I even added a few fish to the catch list that would never be in the surf just for grins and giggles. The winners were … John Rossell with first place at $400 …. Mike Alvisi won second place at $250 …. Michael McGreevy won third place at $100 …. due to the number of participants we cut the prizes down based on 50 anglers. I want to thank everyone for coming out and participating in our first surf fishing tournament it went very well and the learning experience was priceless, thank you for participating.
Sunday we held another beach clean up and started at the top of the list on Beach plum Island. Everyone met at 9 a.m. and I had a project the parks asked us to handle for them. The snow fences in the parking lot and the entrance driveway needed fixing. The parks can not hire their seasonal workers right now, so I was asked if our group would be able to handle the project. Of course we said yes, and Mike Smith from maintenance met us there with supplies and tools. Jeff Weaver, Mike Andrews,and I tackled the fences, while volunteers handled cleaning up the beach. We managed to fix all of the broken fences and posts in about four hours. A few folks were there very early in the morning and left the bags of trash they collected in the parking lot, which we had taken back to the parks to be dumped. Our volunteers picked up several bags of trash while they combed the beach. Thank you all for coming out and helping, we will resume next weekend (Saturday April 27th) in Cape Henlopen State Park at Herring Point. This weekend is Easter and I think we all deserve a break from jobs well done. Good to see people coming out to help that care about our beaches and the environment. People fishing on the beach even assisted our volunteers by cleaning their areas and thanked them for helping keep the beaches clean. Big thanks to them for following the example set forth by our volunteers. Just a friendly reminder, but keep in mind Beach Plum Island is located in a small quiet beach community and to watch your speed, there are many hidden driveways, so be careful driving through there. Keep a close eye for children and pets.
The spring this year has been great, up until the last couple of days, and it feels like old man winter wants to give us just one more reminder. We had sleet and snow the other night! Today and yesterday high winds were pushing a lot of water and debris onto the beach. There is still lots of grass and reeds in the water. Not the tug on a line we want and it gets messy. Just keep that in mind for the weekend. There will be more debris on the Delaware bay beaches than the ocean beaches. The winds didn’t carve the beach up too bad, so it should be nice out there with warmer temperatures. The surf temp has dropped a few degrees and that will make fishing a little less productive. Boats out of Lewes have been doing well catching tautog and a few anglers have caught at the Indian river inlet, green crabs for baits. There are short striped bass here and there in the surf and back bays onblood worms, shad in the Indian river inlet and Masseys Landing on the outgoing tides on flies, small spoons, and shad darts. A few keeper striped bass have been caught near Broadkill Beach from the surf and boats, but nothing to write home about. The northern areas of the Delaware River and Bay like Augustine Beach have been doing well in boats. Bunker chunking is the choice and bloodworms as well for baits. A few flounder have been caught in the Lewes Canal on gulp. Perch are still in the Broadkill river and smaller tidal creeks. Striped Bass are still moving up the coast from the Chesapeake Bay and we are hoping the surf temp will jump up enough to bring them closer to shore. Red Drum will show up as soon as the water temps jump up as well as black drum. Blue Crabs are starting to show up in crab traps, just a few here and there but they are starting up in the inland bays. Good signs of things to come, there are also minnows all over the place.
The full blood moon or pink moon occurred this week and we had a lunar eclipse. Unfortunately we couldn’t see anything thanks to cloud cover and rain. It was still very cool to see the moon rise a few times over the bays and ocean when the sky was clear. It is always a treat to see the moon rise when you are on the beach and then the stars come out as the night falls. Speaking of stars, the Lyrid Meteor shower started on the 16th of April and will continue until the 25th. The best night to view this spectacle will be the 22nd, but over the weekend you should be able to see several meteors. Fishing the beach at night and seeing meteors is an amazing experience everyone should try at least once. Well, from here on out the weather will just get warmer and nicer, we don’t anticipate old man winter will show his self until after the fall. The signs of spring are all around, trees are blooming, hummingbirds are being spotted, toads are all over the place. Despite the cold snap even the peepers are out chirping the night away. The Osprey Platform Mac and Kent Davis made is starting to see some action, we are hoping to see a nest built there very soon, there is a video they made of the birds using the platform. I hope everyone has a great Easter weekend with family and friends. We will see you in the sandbox.