Delaware Seashore Fall Surf Fishing Classic

The summer season is marked by Labor Day weekend, and the beginning of second summer. One event that keeps us all on track with the coming of fall is the annual Delaware Seashore Fall Surf Fishing Classic.

This year was no exception. The tournament usually marks the end of the summer season and transition to fall fishing. Over the last several years summer fish have stuck around longer. The variety of catches makes for a fun tournament. You can win just by targeting kingfish all day, or go for the bigger blues to rack up points.

The largest bluefish is always worth a couple of thousand dollars, so you definitely want to enter the bluefish calcutta.29dsn-outdoors-column-photo

This year we had a huge dose of fall-like weather, especially on Saturday to remind us of days to come.

A few days before the tournament anglers were catching a huge amount of kingfish on Fenwick Island beach, and all could score in the upcoming tournament. The same fishing was occurring near Conquest Beach, but with bluefish. Anglers were catching snapper blues that would have easily qualified, and beaten the bluefish that took the calcutta this year.

Knowing all of this information, many anglers were excited to get set up and start slamming fish.

Problem was a system was moving in and would be here for the weekend, because it is tournament time. The difference was, we were looking forward to this system, northeast winds pushing water toward the beaches. That makes for perfect conditions to push bait fish and larger fish towards the beach.

That was the theory and we planned accordingly. Mother Nature stuck to the plan, but with her own little differences. There were plenty of fish pushed toward the beach, they were just all the wrong size.

We caught so many undersized fish it was unreal, people were catching a hundred fish a day, all too small. Most of the bluefish were a half-inch too short. If the fishing had held up the way it was a few days before the tournament, the judges would have been very busy.

There are lots of puppy drum in the surf, the little black drum. We caught a ton of those little guys.  The spot are huge, in fact if they could have been scored I would have cleaned up in points.

There are a lot of flounder stacked up along the beaches, feeding for that final winter push back to deeper waters.

There should be some decent action jigging for flounder along the surf edge and the cuts. Using large sand fleas on a hook with little to no weight works well; just cast it into the wash behind the breaking wave and let the current do the rest. You have to hold onto your rod when you do this.

There are a lot of short striped bass in the wash or white water along the surf edge. They are feeding heavy on bait fish and sand fleas. The fishing has been decent in the surf and we hoped it would be hot for the tournament. Either way it was fun way to end the season.

One thing you can always count on for a tournament is the weather to turn to the worst. We always hope it doesn’t, sometimes we get lucky, and it is a perfect weekend.

Wouldn’t you know it not an hour after the tournament was over the wind laid down and the waves were much calmer. Then everyone started catching all kinds of fish that would have scored, another typical by product of tournaments. The fishing is always better right afterward or the next day, which is good because I have a lot of bait left over.

Results

First: $800 and Bronze Figure, Justin Lynch, 76 points

Second: $600 and Bronze Figure, Darren Purcell, 68 points

Third: $400 and Bronze Figure, Scott Aiken Sr.. 62 points

Fourt: $200 and Star Rod and/or Reynolds Rack, Tie 60 points, Brad Wolters and Will Shahan

Fifth through 20th place were awarded prizes.

Women’s Division

First: $200, Rod and Reel and Trophy, tie 15 points, Lorretta Schickner and Katelyn Gore

Second: $100, Rod and Reel and Trophy, Tie 12 points, Deb Palm, Joan Fortner, Anita Chandler, Kelsey Cycyk

Kids Division

First: Surf Rod and Reel and Trophy, Jason Cain, 30 points

Second: Jetty Rod and Reel and Trophy, Joey Griffith, 12 points

Grand Slam Prize: None

Biggest Bluefish Calcutta, $2,500, Ryan Lewis 17 inches

Biggest Fish of Tournament, Gary Wilson, 21-inch flounder

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