Delmarva Expo was amazing and surf tourney is this weekend

Chad Bayless with a big black drum from the surf at Beach Plum Island State Park. Submitted photos

Welcome to May gang! The fishing is off the hook, the Delmarva Outdoors Expo was amazing, and the May The Fish Be With You surf fishing tournament is this weekend. DSF has the best tournaments! They have their own beer for this tourney compliments of Iron Hill Brewery, when you get your own beer you know you’ve made it, I have heard tell.

There is a lot going on in the great outdoors, get off the couch and get outside, but read this first, no need to rush.
The bluefish have been hot to not depending on the tide and location. They will come hot on the incoming tide at the Cape Henlopen fishing pier for a couple of hours and then shut down. You have to be there when it happens or follow Lighthouse View Bait and Tackle’s Facebook page to let you know when it goes off. If you get edgy about spot burning keep in mind that is a fishing pier, that is run by the bait shop there, so they are expected to tell people what is happening. I mean they can see people catch fish, so it is to be expected they would know.

The rest of the shops feed off second-hand reports from customers, and gleaning other shop Facebook pages. For that matter so do fishing “reporters”, even I do it at times, and I fish constantly. You can’t be everywhere at once.

The blues have been decent along the beaches moving up and down the coast. There are still big blues in the outer banks so I would not worry about them not being here in a week or so. They are still moving north for a while. Many have moved into the inland bays and up the Delaware Bay looking for food. You can hammer the smaller blues near Pot Nets Bayside and Masseys Ditch. Bunker chunks, mullet chunks, mullet rigs, and throwing metals and plugs are working. Some days one works better than the others, because fishing.

Francis Tier caught this striped bass in the surf.

The short striped bass action has been great in the surf, bays, and tidal creeks. The keeper migratory sized bass are still a hot catch in the upper Delaware Bay. Port Penn bait and tackle has been reporting some serious catches. Some decent keeper catches along the beaches have been random but happening. Bunker chunks for the win as bait. Use the heads, the big bass love those, they are the leftovers of the big bluefish. The bass will follow the schools and cherry pick the leftovers. The big bass (cows) can be lazy feeders.

Changes for 2020

The ASMFC is working on ways to protect the bass stocks so expect some serious changes for the year 2020 and it is about dang time. They just passed an addendum to get that started on Tuesday. If you don’t remember the striped bass moratorium ask an old salt. Not being able to even target striped bass for years helped rebuild the stocks and here we are nearly in the same boat again. We never seem to learn.

Flounder action is picking up in the Lewes canal and around the inland bays. Anglers are using minnows and gulp for bait. Jigging in the surf is producing the occasional flounder, even some windowpanes are still around. Jig the cuts in the surf to find flounder looking for food in the stirred up water. Sand fleas will work well for bait as well.

Black drum action is still happening off the beaches at Broadkill and Beach Plum Island state park. Clam or sand fleas for bait. Finding clam is a bit tough if you want fresh. Call shops ahead of time or hit the seafood shop, those you can at least eat if you skunk. DO NOT eat the surf clams from bait shops, unless you like getting deathly ill from seafood.
Fresh water fishing has been great, even the fly anglers are catching numerous fish. Shad have moved into the surf and the inlets. The bass will follow that run. They are good for bait too, just like bunker.

Big blues are all over the beaches in Delaware. Ted Proseus nailed this beast at the southside of the Indian River Inlet.

I don’t know about you all but the peepers are numerous this year. It is hard to concentrate outside in the evenings. The other frogs are very loud too, especially the ones in the PVC pipes for my outdoor torches. It is a weird sound when they start up in the pipes. I should make an outdoor frog organ.

Rich King’s outdoors column runs Thursdays in the Delaware State News.

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