Fishing is picking up in Sussex

Gov. John Carney and Dustin Wilkins holding the Governors Cup. Submitted photos

We had a break from bad weather and now there has been more flooding up north. Expect the waterways to be stirred up by the weekend. Hopefully they will clear up, but that remains to be seen.

The fishing has been picking up all around Sussex County, which is good new for anglers and bad news for the fish that make it to the dinner table.

The surf has been picking up for kingfish, the lower beaches have been producing a little better than the northern beaches. Fenwick Island just finished with their beach replenishment so that should help increase the catching. You won’t have to time your fishing with the tide to avoid the sand plume.

Pompano have been random catches and will hit everything a kingfish will eat. Larger kings have been hitting whole mullet on mullet rigs one day, and only hit cut bait the next day, so be prepared to try both.

Bluefish, the little cocktail blues, are around the beaches hitting mullet rigs or cut bait. They are decent enough size to eat and the smaller ones make great bait, for more bluefish. Keep in mind if you use a fish for bait that counts against your catch limit for the day.

Croaker action has been decent at the pier and great offshore in the Delaware Bay reefs and structure. Fun catching them on ultralight gear and great for the table. The surf has been slow for any croaker action, but the inland bays at the Indian River Inlet has seen some hot croaker action.

Lot of baby hammerhead sharks in the surf, the little 2-foot ones. Be mindful of them if you catch one … release them quickly and without harm.

Cape pier catches

This is a great time of year to take kids to the Cape Henlopen fishing pier to catch spot and small sea bass and whatever else is biting. If you need a rod and reel they rent them at Lighthouse View Bait and Tackle. Flounder fishing has been decent there with some keepers and many a throwback. Kingfish, spot, blowfish, small striped bass, bluefish, sharks, and big cownose rays have been caught at the pier.

Offshore and inshore reef and wreck fishing has been good for flounder, trigger, sea bass, tautog, kingfish, and bluefish, just to name a few. Check out the charters and head boats in Lewes. They are always putting people on the fish with either half day or full day trips.

Stephan Talabisco with a bluefish from the surf caught on a DS Custom Mullet rig.

Tilefish has been a great catch offshore, just takes along trip overnight for the best results. Tuna, mahi and billfishing has been good. If you followed the White Marlin Open there were some quality fish brought to the scales this year.

Fly fishing documentary

Delaware Surf Fishing and Gifted Alchemy are hosting a screening of the 90-minute feature length documentary “Finding Joe Brooks” on Wednesday, Aug. 22 from 7-9 p.m. at Lefty’s Alley & Eats in Lewes. All proceeds will be donated to Joe Brooks Foundation for Conservation and Outdoor Education a non-for-profit organization serving the outdoor community. Tickets can be purchased for $10 through Eventbrite:

Ticket purchasers are encouraged to have dinner at Lefty’s prior to watching the film.

“Finding Joe Brooks” is a tale of love and redemption about the man who popularized fly fishing through his writing, mentored the legendary Lefty Krey, and is now commonly referred to as ‘the father of modern fly fishing.’ Born in Baltimore, Brooks combined his passion for fishing and writing by becoming the outdoor editor for the Baltimore Sun and culminated it as the fishing editor for Outdoor Life magazine.

His personal story is one of inspiration because Brooks turned his life around after suffering the devastating effects of alcoholism. His marriage to Mary Ainslie gets credit for being the key to his miraculous personal transformation as well as his enduring influence on the sport of fly fishing.

Pending state record cobia

John Burbage with his 79.4-pound cobia.

We have seen a lot of cobia catches over the past several weeks from the Chesapeake Bay bridge-tunnel area to a couple of miles in front of the Delaware beaches. Several of these fish caught could have easily qualified for the new Delaware record. This past weekend John Burbage landed a 79.4-pound cobia not too far offshore in front of a Delaware beach. He and his son Jack caught a few quality cobia that day, but this beast tipped the scales to become the new pending state record.

John was fishing alone in his skiff and Jack and his buddies were in another boat so they could cover more territory.

Until recently Delaware did not have a cobia state record category. It was added last year and the required minimum qualifying weight to establish Delaware’s first state record for a cobia is 45 pounds. John Burbage spanked that requirement by 34.4 pounds. The other “cobies” he and Jack caught would also probably qualify for the record. There is also a live release award for cobia now as well, that is based on length and not weight.

Cobia citation and minimum weight requirements:

Live Release Award

Adult: 48 inches minimum

Youth (age 15 and under): 42 inches minimum

Sport Fishing Tournament Award

Adult: 45 pounds minimum

Youth (age 15 and under): 33.5 pounds minimum.

Governor’s Cup Classic

The fifth annual Delaware Governor’s Cup Sporting Clay Classic at Owens Station in Greenwood was won by Dustin Wilkins. He shot 50 out of 50 targets nailing a perfect score. Owens Station is a great facility if you haven’t checked it out before you need to get out there.

It is a top notch facility for trap shooting. They host a number of fundraisers throughout the year for people to compete for prizes and help raise money for organizations. You can also just head out there and shoot clays for the day.
The classic raised money this year for the Boys and Girls club.

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

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