Get ready for the striped bass run

Stacey Adkins took first place and largest fish at the Chillaware Tournament. (Submitted photos)

And Poof! Just like that we are into fall weather. Mother nature didn’t waste anytime reminding us what time of year it is and the weather we are supposed to experience.

Last year at this time, we had these temperatures and nor’easters hitting us hard. Then it would warm up for a week or so, which will happen again this year.

Getting outside for some in this fall like weather is preferred. I know it reminds all of us that the fall striped bass run will start soon. Better get that gear ready.

The rockfish have been schooling up in the tidal creeks and back bays for weeks. They are fun to catch on light gear with swim shads, bucktails and even speck rigs.

Stefan Talabisco took second place at the Chillaware Tournament.

Small bluefish are abundant as far up as Augustine beach in the Delaware Bay, all over the inland bays and the surf. The redfish are random catches but we are seeing them in the surf, and the Oceanic Pier and Ocean City Inlet has had some decent action.

Charters ares still getting into tautog, triggers and sheepshead on the wrecks and reef sites. Flounder action has been decent out there as well.


The Chillaware Island Surf Fishing Tournament was a big success! We could not have done this without our sponsors and venue. Big Chill Beach Club, Big Chill Surf Cantina, Liquid Board shop, Crooked Hammock, WBOC Outdoors Delmarva, Diamond State Custom Tackle, Helly Hansen, Nage Fork & Flask, El Dorado, Fenwick Bait and Tackle, Taco Reho, and Karen Sergeson, Realtor from Keller WIlliams.

Despite the heavy surf conditions, there were a lot of fish caught just not a lot scored. Literally tons of small bluefish in the six to ten inch range. We might make bluefish count at ten inches net year. Lots of small flounder were hitting mullet, a few pompano, even one that placed. A nine-inch false albacore hit a mullet rig. There was a lot of small puppy drum or black drum, but none that qualified. We might lower that size limit next year as well.

Trucks lined the beach at 3Rs for the Chillaware Island Surf Fishing Tournament.

If we lower some of these size limits, the points scored will be astronomical. The weather was rather wet in the morning but the rain and blowing mist subsided late in the morning, we saw a small patch of blue sky for about ten seconds and the sun tried to make an appearance twice. Despite all of that everyone had a great time.

“We were surprised the water was so warm this time of year, we could stand in it and cast.”

I heard that a lot at the awards ceremony and after party. Those conditions are different every year, back in the day October was known as Rocktober since the striped bass would run by this time. That has changed and we are still trying to come up with a cool moniker for November. Wouldn’t you know it but Sunday was a beautiful calm clear water day in the surf. Which was great for the weekly beach clean up in Cape Henlopen State Park. That always happens after a tourney with rough conditions, and we even caught some nice blues Sunday that would have taken the calcutta and first place.

The event tent and promenade at Big Chill Beach Club was packed after the tournament. Everyone was trading stories (lies), playing corn hole, and having a good time. There was a line at the air pump at 3Rs about fifty vehicles deep so we waited a while to start the awards. Big Chill Beach Club served up some killer tacos and chowder. The can and crush bar were also pretty busy. Nothing like a cold orange crush or beer after a long day fishing a tournament.

The DJ cranked it up not long after people started arriving. Marissa Cordell and Shauna McVey took to the crowds and started selling 50-50 raffle tickets and tickets for the donated painting. The 50-50 money and raffle money was donated to Frets 4 Vets. Tom Baker was there to tell people about his organization. After it was all said and done we raised over four hundred and fifty dollars for Frets 4 Vets, also Nick Albanese donated fifty dollars of his winnings and we still have a portion of the food and bar proceeds to donate as well.

Caluttas are always a hit as usual, but I like to do things a little different and add some fun to the mix. Aside from the usual bluefish calcutta at ten dollars to enter, we had the skating rink and the dog pound. These were five dollar winner take all calcuttas. The most skates would get the skating rink and the most dogfish would win the dog pound. I asked a friend how he was doing while he was fishing … “This rod is for skates, and this rod is for everything else.” Great strategy.

2017 Chillaware Island Surf Fishing Tournament results:

•Stacey Adkins ­— 2 kingfish that added up to 27 inches for first place.

•Stefan Talabisco ­— a 13 inch bluefish for second place.

•Nick Albanese — a 13 inch bluefish for third place.

•Matt Mills — 12 inch kingfish for fourth place.

•Mark Nardontonia — 9 inch pompano for fifth pace.

The largest fish went to Stacey Adkins for a 14-inch kingfish. She won the Helly Hansen Jacket and the Tica Dolphin surf rod.

The Calcutta winners:

•Bluefish — Stefan Talabisco, $790.

•Skating rink — Don Deraska. $290.

•Dog Pound — Bill Shook, $270.

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

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