Fishing’s still OK after Hurricane Dorian’s storm surge

Lizard fish have some serious little sharp needle like teeth. This little guy is about 6 inches long. They show up this time of year. Submitted photos

Hurricane Dorian’s storm surge was a little rough, ate some beaches up a tad, but the fishing was not too bad. From land, boats were not going out in that slop. The beaches survived, are a lot flatter with wide surf. They look like Assateague and New Jersey beaches. Something many of us surf anglers wish would remain. There is a lot of structure in the surf to fish. The waves and wind will rebuild the beaches soon enough. Probably just in time for the next nor’easter.

Last weekend was decent fishing despite the heavy surf. The conditions this weekend will be a little nautical but nothing like last week. The surf is wide, you don’t have to cast far to catch fish. Spot, croaker, puppy drum, lizard fish, cusk eels, sand perch, pompano, short striped bass, “cocktail” bluefish, and the occasional odd ball catch. Skates, rays and sharks are always hot on any cut bait. The smaller fish are hitting Fishbites bloodworm formula, sand fleas which you can dig up in the surf, and small pieces of cut bait.

Mullet rigs are working for the bluefish. The DS Custom Tackle Modified Mullet rigs are on point to save your bait. The hook that holds the mullet in place works wonders. We have caught a couple of fish on the same mullet.

Speaking of mullet, schools have moved into the flats of Cape Henlopen State Park at the fishing pier. Anglers are filling 5-gallon buckets using cast nets. The mullet will move along the surf and bluefish, weakfish, and striped bass will be on their sixth feeding. Just about every predator will feed on mullet. Flounder will push the mullet schools up fast to the surface.

Mullet can be used on mullet rigs, chunked up for bait, and some anglers will filet them and use the strip on a hook, or on jigs and bucktails. The fish out there are feeding heavily on mullet right now, it is that time of year. Match the hatch so to speak, you fish with what the fish are eating. Lures that mimic mullet will work well now, especially the surface poppers that create that action of a jumping mullet. Predators get curious with noise and action.

Pompano caught by the Thornton family on DS Custom Tackle top and bottom rigs and Fishbites bloodworms at Fenwick Island surf fishing. “These rigs are great, they catch fish!”

Bluefish schools are moving up and down the beaches. Have a spoon or stingsilver at the ready. There are still Spanish Mackerel mixed in with the bluefish schools, and schooling on their own.

Offshore anglers are still doing OK for flounder but that has been tough. Many are going for sea bass instead. The tilefish fishing has been good for the deep droppers. Inland flounder fishing is still tough around the inland bays for keepers. The Delaware Bay has a decent croaker bite and a lot of smaller weakfish.

Pond hoppers are doing well with bass and pickerel. Bluegills for the win for the kids. Fly anglers are enjoying the constant action in the sweetwater. They are also doing well in saltwater with all the small fish. Believe it or not you can fly fish the surf at the beach, and catch fish. The Saltwater Fly Anglers of Delaware Club members have been doing well in the flats at Cape Henlopen.

Northside beach at the Indian River Inlet is under repair but open. The surfers are enjoying longer waves due to a flatter surf break.

War On The Shore

The War On The Shore surf fishing tournament is Oct. 5 in Cape Henlopen State Park. Get singed up for a shot at the $10,000 first prize. You can find information on Delaware Surf Fishing’s website.

Beach combing after Hurricane Dorian’s storm surge is amazing. We are finding handfuls of beach glass, you just have to know where to look. The rocky areas that wash up on the beaches are the best spots. Every time a wave washes across the rocks new treasures are exposed. We walk in circles around our rods in the rocks finding sea glass while waiting for a bite.

Spot and croaker were being caught two at a time in the surf last Saturday and Sunday.

Hunters are enjoying the woods again trying to fill the freezer with venison. The only issue is the chiggers this year are out of control. I don’t want to walk through the woods or the fields any day this time of year. Get gallons of deet, then wash down as soon as you get out of the woods or grasses.

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

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