Surf fishing this year is the best we’ve seen in some time

Spot has been the heavy catch at the beach … Scott with fish googles. Submitted photos

The water temperatures are still on point. Masseys Ditch is reading an 8-degree fluctuation between tides. Topping out at 78 degrees at low tide and as low as 70 degrees on the high tide. That has been the temperature around the inland bays for the past week. The upwelling helped keep the waters cool around the inland bays.

The temperatures in the surf are averaging 73 degrees. The offshore surface temp is 72 degrees at buoy 44009 off Bethany Beach. The Delaware Bay is even cooled off at 72 degrees. These cooler temperatures are keeping the fish close to shore with all that food in the surf. Surf fishing has been the best this year than we have seen in a while.

The surf is producing spot, kingfish, croaker, weakfish, sand perch, cusk eels, bluefish, pompano, lizard fish, and short striped bass. Skates, rays, dogfish, and sharks are a given. Fishbites, real bloodworms, and sand fleas are doing the best for baits. Squid does well but will attract more skates and rays. The fish are in close along the ledge in the surf feeding on sand fleas and critters. Obviously some areas or cuts are better than others. DS Custom Tackle’s top and bottom rigs are producing a lot of fish, great rigs made here in Delaware. Shop and support local!

The southern beaches from Keybox to Fenwick seem to have all the pompano action, which is more random now. The northern beaches seem to have a hotter spot bite. Cape Henlopen fishing pier is on fire for spot on the high tides. They are even catching at low tide but the higher water spreads the fish along the length of the pier more.

Anthony Purdy and Ticen Willey with the bluefish they caught with their crew the other night at the Indian River Inlet. These are everyone’s fish, not just the two kids.

The croaker bite according to the anglers fishing center is on fire in the Delaware Bay now. Croaker are fun to catch and a good amount of them make a great meal. They will hit every traditional bait we use, bloodworms, squid, fishbites. The croaker action at the Indian River Inlet has been OK but not on fire.

Flounder, depending on who you ask, has been great to just turrible!! The offshore action has been OK but anglers are not producing like last year. The offshore action is better than the inshore action. The inland bay action is multiple upon multiple short fish before you get a keeper.

The Cape Henlopen fishing pier has decent flounder action, but lots of throw backs. They are in the cuts in the surf, you just have to jog for them. You can use a single drop flounder rig with gulp or a minnow. Put it right in the cut and hold onto the rod, you will have to reset your line constantly.

DS Custom Tackle Top and Bottom pill float rigs catching more and more fish.

Weakfish action has been hot for the short spike tooth’s but there have been some decent sized caught at the Indian River Inlet and Roosevelt Inlet on the incoming tides. Live lining spot is one way to nail a big weakfish. They will also hit spoons, and soft plastic jigs, pink being the preferred color. Love seeing the state fish coming back. If you catch a 5-pounder as hard as it is to do, let her go. They are the breeders, we need to survive to grow more fish.

Michael Jordan at White Marlin Open

The White Marlin Open is in full swing and we have seen some decent fish come to the scales. There are 604 boats competing for a purse of $6.1 million. Watching the scales online has been fun this year. If you haven’t heard, Michael Jordan’s boat is at the WMO and he is as well. Everyone is waiting to see if they go out and get a fish. The scales are crowded this year because of that.

The bluefish action in the surf has been hot when the fish swim by you spot. Have a spoon at the ready. DS Custom Tackle Modified Mullet rigs are perfect for the smaller blues. The blues will hammer a bait in the surf from all directions. The modified mullet rig is designed to keep the mullet in place for more hook-ups and use less bait. With the fish hitting form all angles that holder hook is catching the occasional fish too. “I have been bailing blues two at a time almost every catch today” .. J Dillon.

The Indian River Inlet has been on fire for bluefish on the incoming tides. Anglers are bailing a lot of decent sized summer snappers. Great for the table and the carcass is perfect for the crab pots.

Weakfish though small are plentiful in the surf and the Delaware Bay.

Cobia are in the Delaware Bay, netters are picking them up as far north as Fowlers Beach. It would be a good idea to look for bunker schools and look for cobia following them around the bay. Delaware has yet to set a creel limit for cobia, but it is coming. Probably not until next year. The hardest part of catching a cobia is to get them to hit a bait when you are sight fishing for them.

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

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