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Bluefish are getting bigger … see spot run!

striped bass, bethany beach, surf fishing, fenwick island, bloodworms, rockfish, rock the rocks, delaware fisherwoman,

Henry Busby with 2 nice striped bass from the surf … photo by Hank Busby

Fishing is picking back up in many areas.  Spot are showing up in the Roosevelt inlet and a few other locations including the surf.  Not in huge numbers but they are out there being caught on fishbites bloodworms for the most part.  They are definitely here early.  Large striped bass are in the surf but it takes some work and time to catch one with bunker chunks or bloodworms.  Indian River inlet has produced a few striped bass and the Lewes Canal.  Farther north they are still showing up at Augustine beach,Reedy Point, and the Woodland pier areas. Right place at the right time is the general consensus for these catches.  Flounder have been heavy at the Henlopen Pier on minnows and pink or chartreuse gulp.  Mostly on the incoming tide and the night bite has been very good.  When fishing the pier, try to fish close to the pylons or structure, the larger fish are in there feeding on the smaller fish that use the pylons for cover and food.  Jigging along the bottom works very well.  The Lewes Canal and Roosevelt Inlet has produced their fair share of flatties.  The Inland Bays are also heating up in most of the popular places like the VFW slough.  Croaker have shown up much earlier this year, several have been caught at the Henlopen pier.  It has been a crazy spring with the frequency of catches increasing.  Weakfish are still being caught in the six pound range in the Roosevelt Inlet and Henlopen pier.  Would be nice to see more of these released so they can continue to spawn future stocks.  Just my opinion.

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Shane Porter with a 22 inch flounder from the Indian River bay near Masseys Landing

The bluefish bite has really turned on this week.  Large blues are being caught at the Henlopen pier in the six plus pound range.  Indian River Inlet is seeing a huge amount of them there, as well as shad, mostly on the incoming tide.  I know some folks in Jersey that can’t get away from the bluefish that are hammering their coast right now.   This is definitely a better showing than last year.  The water warmed up faster this week (surf is averaging 55) and the fact we have sand fleas in the surf is helping bring fish closer to the beaches.  The fleas make for excellent flounder bait in the surf.  Puffer fish are still heavy at several beaches.  The obligatory skate and dogfish are still abundant as always.  One thing that is here in abundance are the gnats!  We were eaten alive at Beach Plum last weekend, nothing like a dead calm day to bring out the bugs.  We have a lot of rain headed this way tomorrow.  The winds have stirred up the water and the grass is abundant on the Delaware bay beaches.

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Puffer fish caught by Kevin Baldwin … photo by Amy Baldwin

The only bite that has really died off in the surf are the big drum we saw a few weeks ago.  Most of these fish are farther up the Delaware Bay at the coral beds and the boats have been seeing decent catches.  Some are still showing up in the surf but not like we experienced a few weeks ago.  Surf clam is the best baits for them and bloodworms.  Ben Smith was fishing Beach Plum the other day and saw a dead one on the high tide line that was easily eighty pounds.  Hopefully not the victim of a bad catch and release.  Also keep in mind that the drum creel limit this year is three per day statewide.  Hopefully we see some better weather this weekend and the water clears up quickly.  I visited the Saltwater Fly anglers of Delaware last night during their monthly meeting.  Chris Erby did a great presentation on kayak fishing for Delaware Paddlesports.  It was very informative and I am looking forward to getting the kayak out there this year.  I seem to have less and less time to fish these days.  I dropped by to announce the Coastal Conservation Association Delaware Chapter meeting for June 2nd and give the club a brief talk about why we need the CCA in Delaware.  This meeting will be held in Lewes behind the Wawa at five points in the clubhouse at the housing development.  This and all meetings will be a good time for anyone who is interested to come out and learn about the CCA DE chapter for themselves.  Everyone have a safe and fun weekend.

Fish On!!

Rich King

Posted in DSF, Fishing Report, Surf Fishing News

Banging up the black drum all day

horseshoe crabs, spawning season, delaware bay beaches, beach plum island, ricks bait and tackle, old inlet bait and tackle, Bills Sport Shop, Striper King Gear, Delaware fisherwoman, bretheren of the coast

Horseshoe crabs paired up in the surf on Beach Plum Island

We have had some exciting fishing here the past few days.  First and foremost there are sand fleas in the surf.  Which is great news since they are a food source for many fish, and great bait if you do a little digging.  You don’t need an expensive sand flea rake, just use a minnow net and hold in in the wash when the water is retreating from a wave.  Usually you will find several in the net, or do a little digging and you will also find plenty.  Our favorite at times is to get the kids to collect them, but some (kids) tend to freak out when we put them on a hook.  Definitely a different way to explain nature and the food chain.  Horseshoe crabs are starting to make an appearance in the surf up and down the Delaware Bay beaches.  Please be careful handling them if you happen to catch one, do not pick them up by the “tail” and hold them by the shell to release.  If you flip them over in the sand at the surf they will crawl back into the water.  We caught several the other day including two that were paired up, or mating.  The birds and the bees and the crabs in the trees?  Anyway spring has definitely hit us in full force these past several days.  Pollen is turning everything yellow and my allergies are in overload.   The best part about all of this the surf warmed up finally and has been averaging fifty two degrees in the mornings.  The fishing has certainly amped up thanks to these conditions, more food and warmer water.

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sand fleas in the surf

Over the weekend we were fishing Beach Plum Island State Park.  On Friday night James and his crew were out for striped bass when they started hitting black drum on bloodworms.  When they called I figured, okay, no big deal a few drum showed up over a week ago and that dead 25 pounder washed up on Broadkill Beach last week.  So naturally I thought they were just catching little black drum, nope, they were huge!  The boys sent me a few pictures and I was pleasantly surprised to see upwards of sixty pound drum from the surf.  I told them I would be there in the morning and had a hard time sleeping that night.  I almost loaded up and went out then, but the bite turned off around ten that night.  I was meeting Mike and a few people to fish the next morning anyway.  Marathon fishing is fun, but I also enjoy a good night’s sleep.  I met Mike Andrews and the boys the next morning and we set up to fish for striped bass, and some big drum.  Everyone was talking about the night before and the fact it was an evening bite.  “Did you hear about last night?”  My phone was blowing up from everyone I know wanting to know what was happening.  I turned it off, I wanted to fish and relax, I had a long week working in the salt mines.  We knew the bite would be on in the evening, but we wanted to get some time in the surf, and hope to get a striper for the State Surf Fishing Striper Wars.  It turned into a skate and horseshoe crab fest that morning.  We all left around one p.m.and I headed to town to reload for the evening excursion.

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Aahron Jost with a black drum form the surf at Beach Plum Island State Park

I met Scott Jost, Aahron Jost, and Corby Fulton later that afternoon, and we set up for the evening bite.  We had plenty of bunker, bloodworms, salted clam, and not so fresh surf clam (2 days old but still alive).  The boys were there about five minutes ahead of me and just getting started.  I set up my gear, baited with bunker looking for a striped bass, and proceeded to wait.  Within five minutes of casting out the telephone pole (Scott’s 14 foot surf rod) it bent to the ground real fast.  Our neighbors are yelling get your rod, because we were all sitting there chatting away.  Honestly how often do you get a hit that fast in the surf?  Aahron jumped for the rod and stated to reel it in, you could see the excitement on his face.  He horsed in a nice thirty to forty pound black drum, we took some pictures, and released the fish.  They rebaited the hook and cast out again, WHAM!!  Rod bounces a minute later, and Aahron reels in another forty pound black drum.  At this point he has an ear to ear grin and horsing in these fish has already tired him out, but he is ecstatic.  Scott was very proud of “the boy” to say the least.  Our neighbors are hitting one of these fish every five minutes, it was chaotic to watch.  That is what Corby and I did, we watched this whole scene of fishing madness for about an hour and a half.  We were just on the edge of where all the fish were hitting.  There were a lot of jokes going around at that point.  Aahron reeled in two more drum and shook one off in the surf.  The largest was roughly fifty pounds.  While all of this was going on there was a sixty pounder caught farther north on the same beach.  It was dubbed that night as the drum blitz of spring 2014.  We had a great time and Aahron Jost caught his first black drum and largest fish from the surf all in one outing.  We stayed until about eleven p.m. and then headed out.  While at the air pumps Aahron handed the tire guage to us and said … “You get the tires, I got all the fish”  We all looked at him and laughed … Good thing we like that kid!

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Corby Fulton with the assist landing a drum with Aahron Jost

So besides the drum line this weekend, which is still happening up and down the Delaware Bay beaches and the ocean beaches.  The black drum have also been caught from Fenwick to Cape Henlopen, including Dewey Beach.  A few were caught at the Indian River Inlet, so I would not be surprised to see a few show up at the ditch at Masseys Landing and the Inland Bays.  Just a heads up but the creel limit on black drum is now sixteen inches and three fish a day per angler in all Delaware tidal waters.  Bluefish have been hot and heavy at times at the Cape Henlopen Pier and upwards of five pounds.  They are showing up on all of the beaches averaging twenty inches.  Saturday at the Indian River Inlet shorty striped bass were heavy for close to an hour in the early morning.  Steven Williams was catching one after another on 1/4 ounce bucktails with a white worm.  When he switched to a one ounce bucktail and got under the striped bass, there were nice sized blue fish to boot.  It was a crazy weekend for fishing.  Flounder have been all over the bays, Lewes Canal, and a few in the surf.  Chartreuse or pink gulp have worked well and minnows.  The largest flounder so far I have heard about was just over seven pounds, that is a nice little doormat.  Tautog has been great at the outer and inner walls and just about all of the sites in the Delaware bay.  The Indian River Inlet is seeing a good frequency of tog catches, and of course green crabs for bait.  Puffers were being caught over the weekend on fishbites bloodworms and squid.  Mostly on the ocean beaches like Delaware Seashore State Park.  I am sure we will see them in the inland bays very soon.  Striped bass are still in the Delaware bay and heading out soon after spawning, as well as the Chesapeake bay so we should see a good bite from them for a couple more weeks at least.  Hope every one has a great weekend, and we will see you in the sandbox.  Go fish a catch!

Fish On!!

Rich King

Posted in DSF, Fishing Report, Surf Fishing News

Restrictions on harvesting river herring, shad and striped bass

Anglers reminded to observe restrictions

on harvesting river herring, shad and striped bass

DOVER (May 7, 2014) – As fishing season in Delaware waters unfolds, DNREC’s Division of Fish and Wildlife reminds anglers of harvest restrictions for river herring, shad and striped bass:

River herring fishery closed statewide

River herring, a popular baitfish, may not be kept if caught in Delaware waters. Anglers must have a valid receipt from a state or jurisdiction where harvest is still permitted to possess river herring.

Delaware river herring closure regulations took effect in February 2012, closing the recreational and commercial harvest of river herring (also known as blueback and alewife herring). The closure was made to bring Delaware into compliance with Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) requirements. Maryland’s river herring fisheries are also closed statewide, including Maryland’s portion of the Nanticoke River. New Jersey has closed its river herring fisheries in the Delaware River and Bay.

In the past, recreational anglers targeted spawning river herring from the state’s waterways for use as bait in the striped bass hook-and-line fishery. With Delaware’s river herring fisheries closed, recreational anglers are no longer permitted to catch river herring and use them as bait for stripers. Signs informing the public of the fisheries closure are posted at various fishing locations. For more information, click on river herring regulations.

Shad fishery closed on Nanticoke River and its tributaries

Recreational anglers and commercial watermen are prohibited from keeping American or hickory shad from the Nanticoke River or its tributaries. The Division of Fish and Wildlife closed the shad fishery on the Nanticoke River system in 2000 due to their depleted population, while continuing restoration efforts since by stocking American shad fry hatched at the Nanticoke Shad Hatchery each spring.

Shad can still be harvested from the Delaware River/Bay and its tributaries, as well as the Indian River Inlet and Inland Bays. The recreational daily limit for shad from those waters is 10 fish in any combination of American and hickory shad. Care must be taken when identifying shad from river herring. To compare the differences between these species, please click on the shad guide.

Catch-and-release required for anglers fishing striped bass spawning areas through May 31

Anglers are also reminded that during spawning season for striped bass in Delaware, which began on April 1 and continues through midnight on May 31, it is unlawful to keep any striped bass from the Nanticoke River or its tributaries; from the Delaware River and its tributaries to the north of a line extending due east beginning at and including the south jetty at the mouth of the C&D Canal, or from the C&D Canal or its tributaries. Anglers are required to practice catch-and-release fishing during this season with no harvest allowed in these areas.

In addition, regulations require anglers fishing on any striped bass spawning ground with natural bait to use a non-offset circle hook. The Division of Fish and Wildlife recommends that circle hooks always be used when fishing natural baits because of their proven ability to reduce hook-and-release mortality for striped bass and other fish species. The circle hook’s design usually results in fish being hooked in the mouth, simplifying hook removal and reducing injury to the released fish.

Also, as fish begin entering the spillways this spring, anglers are reminded that using any type of net to catch fish in tidal water within 300 feet below a dam or spillway is illegal, with the exception of using a landing net on a fish caught with hook and line.

Most anglers are required to have a Delaware fishing license, which are sold online, at the licensing office in DNREC’s Richardson & Robbins Building, 89 Kings Highway, Dover, and by license agents statewide. To find the participating agent nearest you, or to purchase a license online, visit Delaware Licenses. For additional information on Delaware fishing licenses, call 302-739-9918.


Posted in DSF, Fishing Report, Surf Fishing News

Delaware changes in summer flounder, black sea bass regulations


DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife announces

changes in summer flounder, black sea bass regulations

summer flounder regulations, cape henlopen pier, fluke, ricks bait and tackle, lewes harbor marina, old inlet bait and tackle, hookem and cookem,

Summer flounder at Henlopen Pier

DOVER (May 2, 2014) – Recreational anglers catching summer flounder in Delaware waters will be able to keep smaller fish this season when regulation changes take effect on Saturday, May 11. The changes allow anglers to keep four fish per day with a minimum size of 16 inches, with no closed season. Under the previous regulations, the minimum size for keepers was 17 inches. 

In another change, the minimum size limit for black sea bass remains 12.5 inches, while the possession limit decreases from 20 to 15. For 2014, black sea bass season will run May 19-Sept. 18, and reopen Oct. 18-Dec. 31.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) approved a regional recreational summer flounder harvest limit that requires the states in the Delaware, Maryland and Virginia region to have identical summer flounder regulations. Delaware’s regulatory changes provide added opportunities for anglers while managing the flounder population at a sustainable level.

ASMFC also approved measures allowing the continuation of a regional management approach for black sea bass intended to maintain the fishery at a sustainable level.  Southern region states from Delaware to North Carolina are required to match the federal rules.

Recreational anglers who fish, crab or clam in tidal or non-tidal waters statewide must have a valid Delaware fishing license. A resident annual fishing license costs $8.50 for ages 16 through 64. Higher license prices apply to non-resident anglers. Anglers under the age of 16 and residents age 65 and older are not required to purchase fishing licenses in Delaware.

Most resident and non-resident anglers age 16 and older are required to obtain a Delaware Fisherman Information Network (F.I.N.) number. The free number is included as part of a Delaware fishing license purchase. License-exempt anglers, including Delaware residents 65 and older and individuals who do not have an individual license fishing on licensed boats, may visit www.delaware-fin.com or call 800-432-9228 toll-free to obtain their free F.I.N. number.

Delaware fishing licenses are sold online, at the licensing office in DNREC’s Richardson & Robbins Building, 89 Kings Highway, Dover, and by license agents statewide. To find the participating agent nearest you, or to purchase a license online, visit Delaware Licenses. For additional information on Delaware fishing licenses, call 302-739-9918.

For more information on fishing in Delaware, click on 2014 Delaware Fishing Guide. The guide also is available in printed form at DNREC’s Dover licensing desk, and from license agents throughout the state.


Posted in DSF, Fishing Report, Surf Fishing News

Wacky weather for fishing

lewes canal, striped bass, pink gulp, Atlantic migration fish,  light tackle

Steven Thompson and his sidekick Duke with a ice keeper striped bass from the Lewes Canal

Everyone having fun with the latest weather?  The flooding up north is going to create some nasty water for the next few days.  The beaches were carved up a bit the other day, but then smoothed back out we just have a steep slope in some areas to the surf.  Good news is most of the grass and weeds have washed ashore which will make fishing a little easier.  The dirty water will put a bit of a damper on catching.  Last weekend we held a beach clean up in Cape Henlopen State Park on Herring Point beach.  The group collected a lot of trash and I appreciate everyone for helping.  We will resume beach clean ups in June, I have a busy month in May and won’t be free on the weekends to do these for a month.  The State Surf Fishing Striper Wars started today and the Delaware team is fishing the entire month of May, we will be concentrating on fishing.  Unfortunately today was not a good day on the water but some of the team were able to get out and give it a shot.  When you are out and about fishing in any areas, please, if you see trash please pick it up, there is enough trash in our oceans and all beaches world wide to keep people busy for a longtime.  The fishing last weekend was not too bad.

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32 inch striper caught on Sunday April 27th at 3R’s on the outgoing tide– by Mark Evans of Ocean View, DE…. bunker for bait

Flounder are still in the Lewes Canal, Inalnd Bays and the Henlopen Fishing pier.  Minnows and pink gulp have been the best baits.  Steven Thompson was fishing the Lewes canal on Sunday trying for flounder with light tackle when he hit a large keeper striped bass.  He was assisted by a near by boater and after landing the fish was cheered on by everyone on the deck at Irish Eyes.  I am sure he was excited to land that fish.  Mark Evans of Ocean View DE, was fishing 3Rs over the weekend and landed a nice keeper striped bass from the surf on bunker, the smile onthat kid’s face is priceless.  A lot of shorty striped bass were caught on all of the beaches and the henlopen pier on bloodworms over the weekend as well.  People were hooking up fish left and right while we were combing the beach for trash.  Steve Smith caught a huge kingfish in Cape Henlopen on Fishbites clam flavor Sunday afternoon.  It was close to fourteen inches long, which would have qualified for a citation.   Striped bass are still being caught up and down the Delaware Bay and River.  There were a lot of Catfish at Woodland beach this weekend caught on bunker chunks.  Shad have shown up in the Christina river near the Newport boat ramp on nightcrawlers, I have heard some are at the Indian river inlet but have not been able to confirm that with any pictures.  Perch are still thick in the Broadkill River on bloodworms and grass shrimp.  Tautog are starting to move in the Delaware Bay and the Indian River Inlet green crabs are the choice bait.  Crabbing has been picking up in the shallower back bay areas, and will continue to get better.  The fishing is certainly picking up, now we just need mother nature to calm down with the crazy storms and weather.  This has been one wild spring for weather changes, the temperatures have been bouncing around.

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DeNest – “The Osprey Project” … Osprey are taking an interest in the new nesting platform Mac and Kent Davis set up near Slaughter Beach

Sunday I went on a trip with Captain Brian Wazlavek on the Lil Angler II of Delaware Family Fishing.  We rode up the Delaware Bay at four in  the morning.  Normally I would have taken a nap until we arrived at our destination, but I had my fair share of coffee so I stayed up the entire trip.  While we cruised up the bay, I watched us pass the big ships at the anchorage and then the crescent moon rose over the water.  always a treat to watch the sunrise while bouncing around in the swells.  We were pushing water and it was spraying past the boat.  I kid you not at one point a fish flew by the window that got caught up in the wash from the boat bouncing into the swells.  Then fish were jumping around in the wake at about the same time.  That flying fish was quite a surprise and I am almost positive it was a bunker.  It had an interesting look on its face.  We found a nice spot to fish on some structure  away from the bazillion boats that were up there and started drowning bait.  We spent the morning into the afternoon working bait and trying a few different spots.  We never caught anything, and neither did anyone around us, but it was nice to take a trip on the water.  Fishing is always fun with a good group of people and the boys had a great time.  Catching is a bonus and I was prepared to release any of the females that have been caught up there recently.  Let the big girls go to make more little stripers for the future of our fishery.

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Fiddler crab seen at the Lewes Canal at low tide.

DSF apparel is now available at Adkins Produce at 32008 Long Neck rd. (on the corner of route 24 and 5).  Drop by there to pick up T shirts, hoodies, long sleeve T’s, kids shirts, pint glasses, and stickers.  I am working on a few more locations for our apparel soon to make it easier for everyone to get their DSF gear, and you can always order it from the online store.  Cabella’s new store up north was a madhouse today with very long lines for their grand opening.  Speaking of new stores, there is a new bait and tackle shop in Long Neck.  A-Lure Bait and Tackle in the Palmer shopping center suite 15, 32369 Long Neck road.  They will be opening on Saturday at 7 a.m. and are still getting the store put together, but check them out if you are in the area for fresh bunker.  Hopefully the water will clear up buy the weekend enough to make fishing a little easier, right now you would need to hit a fish on the head to do any catching.  Hope everyone has a great weekend, and be safe out there driving.  We had a lot of accident last weekend in Delaware.  Slow down and pay attention, put the phones down, nothing is more important than arriving to a destination safely.

Fish On!!

Rich King

Posted in DSF, Fishing Report, Surf Fishing News

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