My thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Oklahoma, the devastation is surreal. Storm intensities will just keep getting worse planet wide, that is a fact we have been warned about for years by climatologists. I went fishing this morning and hit tons of spike trout on Broadkill Beach. Croakers are thick out there as well as shorty striped bass. I was getting eaten alive by gnats so I bailed and headed south, fished the Broadkill River from a few places saw some surface action but nothing produced, except more bugs. People have been asking what is the best bug spray for these things. I honestly don’t think one exists, except maybe a flamethrower, but that could be detrimental to my hair. The thicker you cover in bug spray seems to be the best for the no-see-ums, but that can be bad for you, I prefer Skin So Soft. We had a few scattered torrential downpours this afternoon, monsoon style rain for several minutes then the sun would come out. Now that is great way to get rid of the bugs, or just get them angrier and hungrier. I dropped by the Indian River Inlet on the North side and chatted with a few folks I know. Blue fish were jumping out of the water, shad were every where, and shorty striped bass. Weakfish are in there as well but not as prevalent as the other fish, personally I would prefer everyone release them carefully, so we have more next year. This was all happening on the incoming tide, and there were birds working the water from out front to the back bay area. Right now it is beautiful outside and I am sitting here by myself wondering why I am not fishing. My buddy Steve just sent that picture, the keeper striped bass are thick at the Inlet right now. Unfortunately I have prior obligations that I am about to totally blow off and go fishing instead. Swim shads and bucktails are ready to rock and roll. I will be interested to see if Massey’s Landing gets hot this evening as well, those fish move all over the bays. This weekend is going to be crazy with numbers of visitors … summergedon cometh. Armegeddonouttahere is a great response to that condition, known as … too many tourists are here I have to get. DSF will be on the beach all weekend, I will let you know where and when, drop by and say hello, stick around, fish with us, and we will teach you a few things. Stick around too long I will put you to work teaching others. Have a safe week and take your time getting down here, it has been predicted we will see a 30% increase in tourists this year. Tomorrow I get to go drum fishing in the Delaware Bay on a charter. They are out there in large numbers and big fish. I will have that report for you tomorrow, until then …
Governor Jack Markell signed House Bill 41 last week. Shark fins are not allowed to be sold, traded, or possessed with the borders of the state of Delaware. We do not a have a shark finning problem per se, but just by selling these fins on the market contributes to the ongoing global issues of shark finning. In other countries shark finning is the practice of catching a shark, removing the fins, and dumping the body overboard as waste. That is just sickening, especially to someone (me) whom is known as a tree hugger by close friends. Kudos to Governor Markell for signing this bill. We may be a small state but we have an excellent fishery, that is fished and followed world wide (thanks in part to this website). Delaware is the seventh state to ban the shark fin trade. I love to fish, as many of you already know, and catching sharks last year for DSU’s research was a blast. However, these animals are very important to our ocean’s ecology. Reductions in some shark populations have hit over 90%, and that is a sickening number. If that number were in any other fishery people would be freaking out for something to be done, like the striped bass. Thank you Governor Markell for signing this important bill, I couldn’t be prouder to be a Delaware Angler, than I am right now. You are welcome to share a spot in the sandbox with DSF any day. Thank you again sir.
It is raining … again. That has not stopped many from fishing, after all fish don’t mind getting wet. The weekend has been a blast. There are still large keeper striped bass showing up in the surf, inland bays, Delaware Bay, and out front. You just have to put in the time, bunker chunks and clam have been the preferred baits. Puffer fish are still in thick numbers and great sizes. Croaker are still showing up in the surf, as well as large rays. Spot are here as well, a few were caught on the Cape Henlopen fishing pier in the past few days. I haven’t seen or heard of any in the inland bays, but they will show up back here soon. Flounder are all over the place, minnows and chartreuse or pink gulp have been the best baits. Decent sized keepers, and the size limit will change soon. We will announce that information when it is made official. Trout or weakfish have been showing up in bigger numbers and sizes, pink plastics on lead heads are working the best. They are mostly in the Delaware Bay, Roosevelt Inlet, Lewes canal, Indian River Inlet, and bay beaches. Bluefish are in the surf, back bays, and out front. Massey’s Landing is producing blues as well as flounder, shorty striped bass, and shad. I would like to thank everyone for sending us reports and pictures to our DSF Facebook page, keep them coming. We are still dealing with wind on most days, probably my least favorite condition to fish. I can handle most weather, but the wind can be very annoying. I am sure the wind will lay down to a dead calm once the temps hit 90 degrees, you know, right about the time we need a good breeze. Murphy’s Law.
Friday I ran around, checked on a few areas and fished Massey’s landing for a bit in the early morning. A few bluefish and shorty striped bass were pulled from the rail. Mike was down there drowning bait for flounder, and kept hitting bluefish. I know, sounds horrible right? Try to catch one fish, and get something else instead. You can’t call that a bad day of fishing, just not the ones you wanted. Selective fishing can be a bear at times. Don’t let the fact you have not caught what you were going for ruin your day. Especially if you are catching fish. I know people that spend their entire time trying for that one that got away, and it ruins their day when nothing happens. You are on the water wetting a line, catching fish, life is good, chillax! Crabbing is getting better and better, lots of large full crabs out there. Clamming has been excellent as well. I am seeing a lot more oysters growing on bulkheads and rock piles around the inland bays. That is a great indicator of cleaner water, which will ultimately lead to better fishing. EJ and the boys at the Center for the Inland bays have been checking the areas they planted with eel grass and the reports have been encouraging. I have heard stories from back in the day about oyster beds, fields of eel grass, and clear water. If the bays could support eel grass again, and if it would come back in force, that would help the bays immensely. The inland bays once thrived with all kinds of life, it would be great to see that again.
Saturday I dropped by the Roosevelt Inlet after I fished Broadkill beach for a while at a private location, my favorite spot. There were over 50 boats in the Lewes canal and Roosevelt Inlet. Lewes Harbor Marina was having their annual flounder tournament. You could have walked across the Inlet without getting your feet wet, but all anglers were being respectful of one another’s space, for the most part. The big charter boats returning from day trips were very carefully working their way through the Roosevelt Inlet, so they would not disturb the anglers. Joe and Amanda Morris sent in this report after the tournament … The 2013 Canal Flounder Tournament held May 17th, hosted by Lewes HarbourMarina and sponsored by the Dewey Beach Lions Club, was a great success. The weather was beautiful and this year’s turnout was the largest ever. Bragging rights go to James Stanley for the winning 5.09 pounder. Charlie Booth
secured Second with his 4.24 pound fluke. Danny Schurman scored a 4.06 pound flounder for Third. Jesse Steele’s 4.04 pounder was Fourth. Gene Stalls got a 3.98 pound flattie that put him in Fifth Place. Mike Hoffman had a 3.94 pounder as Sixth, and Will Wiedmann(not pictured) wound up Seventh with his 3.93 pound fluke. Twenty percent of Tournament entry fees will be donated to Camp Awareness, conducted by the Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife. The program educates youth about proper utilization of the State’s natural resources, and strives to instill a sense of appreciation in young fishermen, hunters, hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts. Joe and Amanda Morris at Lewes Harbour Marina extend thanks to all who took part in the Tourney, and are already looking forward to next year’s event…. When I dropped by the shop everyone was out back watcching Joe filet fish. That man can filet a fish faster than most can bait a hook. He has some serious skills, it is humbling watching him work. When I need to filet a fish I take it to Joe, it is much easier than butchering a catch. Unless of course we are eating while in the surf or at the rail.
Saturday was the Cape Henlopen annual youth fishing tournament. I met up with Mikey Williamson, Conner and Tyler at registration. Jamie and Tyler Speraw were there as well, and it was nice to finally meet them. I have to say Facebook can be a very cool way to communicate. Jamie posted a picture of Tyler on the pier, and I responded, “I am here where are you?” the answer was … “Turn around” Of course they were right behind me, I was preoccupied with the new DSF junior Pro Staffers … Cheyenne Peet and Zach Kuhns. I had the kids signed up, geared to the teeth, and all the bait they could handle. The day was semi sunny to overcast, everyone was hoping the rain would stay at bay (literally). Flounder were caught all day and night before the tournament, I was hoping for some good catches. They were fishing the bottom of the outgoing tide into the slack. Not the best conditions to fish, but that is how a tournament works, you can’t choose the tide. I also met Tyler Keplinger, last year’s winner, great kid, and very polite. I have noticed a trend in kids that are outdoorsy, they are very polite and respectful of their peers. There are always exceptions to any situation, but for the most part these outdoor kids are doing it right. I think the fact they are hanging out with their peers on piers, fishing, contributes to this fact. Fishing creates a chance to teach kids to respect their environment, and not take things for granted. Take a kid fishing, it will change their life and your relationship with them. I had a blast yesterday with Cheyenne and Zach. Not only can these two fish, but they can banter with the best of them. They are going to have a great summer fishing for DSF, I just hope this old man can keep up with them (yes, that is a shot at myself, and an inside joke for the kids). Yesterday’s winners of the annual youth fishing tournament … Jason Burns with the last fish caught … John Connell with the first fish caught … Tyler Keplinger caught the largest legal fish a 20 inch flounder … Wayne Norris caught the most fish. Those were the four main prizes, however everyone who caught, and participated was awarded a prize. The main theme behind this tournament I came away with, take a kid fishing and they will appreciate the outdoors much more. You will have a great time bonding with your kids. I had a lot of fun fishing with Cheyenne and Zach, thank you both!
After the tournament we dropped by and saw CJ Jarrell of Striper King Gear (SKG) at the American Legion in Oak Orchard. He was working the Saturday flea market selling SKG and DSF gear. I wanted the kids to meet him, and grab them some food from the BBQ. We hung out for a bit and talked about fishing, big surprise there. CJ interviewed them, and then we headed out to take them home. I knew it would be nasty on Sunday with rain, I wanted to get them in the surf as soon as possible. I asked if they wanted to head back to the beach in a little while and try some surf fishing, the answer was an enthusiastic yes please! I took them home to gear up for the surf, I knew it would be nasty out there, and they needed warmer clothes and dry gear. An hour or so later we were in the sandbox. Alex Stevens and his crew were down there, so was Joe Taylor’s family, and Tim Sullivan was there somewhere. Reports were coming in fast … “The beach just lit up with skates, dogfish, and shorty striped bass get down here!” I geared up the kids, I wanted to see how they would handle surf fishing. Casting a 10-12 foot rod is much harder than a 6 foot boat rod. I had Zach use my new set up since he is athletic, I knew he would be able to handle the action of the rod. Miss Cheyenne fell victim to my old beater surf rod and reel, two year old fifty pound braid with half a spool, aka the beast. Probably the hardest rod to cast and control, she handled it like a champ. I was impressed, I could compare that rod to a broomstick with clothesline. After a few test casts on the beach towards the dunes, and almost catching a truck (my fault, and we would have thrown it back anyway), she was ready to throw bait. Usually when I give lessons, on the first day you will be lucky to wet a line for the first two hours. Casting is an important part of surf fishing and can be tough to get down. Cheyenne will be geared up soon to fit her abilities and size. I purposely put her with the eleven foot beater to see how she handled herself, I just didn’t tell her that, well … now I have. She rocked the surf like a champ, I was very proud of those kids yesterday. I hope they enjoy working with DSF.