Storms stirred up waters but beach fishing is still OK

Blue runner caught in a creek in the inland bays on a jig head by Chris Driscoll. Submitted photos

Back-to-back tropical storms, one of which was a hurricane first. The waters are stirred up but surprisingly clear. The drive on surf fishing beaches look good, they took a bit of a beating and flattened out but they will build back up.

The point took a little bit of a beating but it is just changing its shape naturally. Watch yourself if you are fishing the beach, check the wrack line from the last tide to see how far up the water is coming. That will give you an idea of where it is good to park.

Even during the heavy storm surge before Florence made landfall, people were catching bluefish and kingfish in the surf. The inland bays and creeks were full of water but anglers were able to find schools of short striped bass with bluefish in the mix. The best lures are 2-ounce bucktails tied up in tandem, or dark swim shads that mimic mullet or mummichogs.

Look for school of bass and blues along the grass and marsh banks feeding on baitfish in the grasses. Especially on an outgoing tide, the bass will sit there waiting for food to drop out of the grass. Cast to the edge from a boat away from the edge. Stay out of the schools, cast to them, or you will spook them and break them up and they will keep moving.

Weird stuff from storm

Offshore has been good if you can get out there … that just started happening. We have seen some weird stuff pushed in by the storm and some of the normal weird. Man O wars washed up on several Delmarva beaches. They are dangerous due to the sting their tentacles can produce. The sting is unlike a jellyfish and needs to be treated differently.

The point is covered in rocks, a great area to look for sea glass.

“The University of Hawaii recommends you rinse with white vinegar and apply heat. This method will remove any clinging nematocysts and deactivate the venom.” Then seek medical attention.

We see more and more of these each year washing up on the beaches when we get a good easterly blow for more than 24 hours. Offshore anglers see them out in the ocean constantly. On the beach they get mistaken for a balloon or bag and people collecting trash will pick them up. Be careful and use gloves for any beach combing or trash collections after a storm.

Mullet are near the Cape Henlopen State Park fishing pier and Lewes beaches. Once the park opens the back side of the point we can catch them in those areas too. Check the creeks and sloughs for mullet at high tide. The flats at new road in Delaware Seashore State Park will be full of them too. A good calm evening is the best time.

The spot action at the Cape Henlopen fishing pier has been great even during the storms. Incoming into high tide has been the best action. Bloodworms, Bona Fide baits, or fishbites have been the preferred baits. Flounder action is still good there for some keepers, with a lot of throwbacks. Short striped bass, bluefish. blow fish, and weakfish are also being caught. Recently a sheepshead was caught from the pier.

Inlet fishing

The inlets in Ocean City and Indian River have been producing short bass, bluefish, tautog, trigger, sheepshead, and croaker, just to name a few. Flounder have been caught here and there but that is slow, even on the sandy bottom areas. Some decent rockfish at night under the lights.

Some of the pompano and blue runners that were in the surf moved into the inland bays during the storm surges last week. Probably to get out of the rough water and maybe to find warmer water.

Skates and sharks have been hitting heavily on the beaches and everywhere else. The more cut bait you use the more you will catch skates and sharks. That is the only issue using whole mullet for bluefish.

Beach combing for sea glass has been excellent and will continue to be throughout the winter. Storms that stir up the beaches will expose new treasures every low tide cycle. Look in the areas that rocks and shells collect, but you will find sea glass all over the beaches if you look hard enough.

This weekend is looking great for fishing and just getting outdoors, anglers should be able to get out on the boats and hit the reefs and wrecks. Fishing inshore and from land will be fine.

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

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