Some fine fishing and a special treasure on the beach

By Rich King
Posted 6/15/23

Finally a nice weekend for fishing and outdoor activities. The stores that survive on summer and the like are certainly glad. The weather has been fun for dodging storms, then we had all that smoke. …

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Some fine fishing and a special treasure on the beach


Finally a nice weekend for fishing and outdoor activities. The stores that survive on summer and the like are certainly glad. The weather has been fun for dodging storms, then we had all that smoke. Then more storms. Wednesday was windy windy windy. The weather does stir up the fish and other things, like treasures.

Weakfish are coming out of the Delaware Bay around all the bay beaches. It’s nice to see those back in edible size. Yes, let them go to grow, but also they are wonderful to eat. It’s a hard choice but yearly we are seeing more in larger sizes. I hope that trend continues.

Flounder catching has been great around the Cape Henlopen fishing pier. Check with Ryan and the boys in Breakwater Bait and Tackle for a daily report. They are now renting surf carts. The walk-on anglers are discovering there is more room on the weekends to set up and actually fish. You just need a surf cart or set up a 5-gallon bucket for the day. I’m in the process of building a cart. This one has an electric assist, too, which is nice. Some of the surf carts in Florida can hold as much gear as my truck.

The inshore and bay fishing for flounder has been good. These mild temperatures are certainly helping. I am loving the mild spring, and my gardens are as well.

Bluefish are around the surf and random catches — nice snapper blues to the larger spring skinny snappers. DS Custom Tackle modified mullet rigs are putting in some work. “The crews in the shop are making these as fast as they can,” said owner David Okonewski. “The blues finally showed up more this year and we are keeping up with the demand.”

Spoons, Deadly Dicks and Stingsilvers are great metals to throw for bluefish. Skip the soft plastics, they can destroy those. If you are looking for a great soft plastic, at an amazing price, check out Old Skool Tackle Company, Bryan Dolph makes a quality, durable product.

Shout-out to all the state park rangers. It was busy last weekend at the beaches for you all. Kudos to it all running smoothly. Well done on the patrols, too. Many surf anglers were impressed. School’s out and the June bugs are in town and man what a difference a week makes. I’ve never seen more stuck vehicles, and dune runners. You all have a tough job I do not envy.

Surf fishing has been decently random catches for this time of year. Kingfish frequency is increasing — bring on the tacos. Croaker are showing up. The rest of the usual suspects are biting and possibly some cobia.

Casual surf fishing abides for many, and they are even catching fish. “I asked the guy at the shop to make me up a rig guaranteed not to catch anything. I didn’t want to get out of my chair today. We caught the only fish and it was a 28-inch bluefish,” said a casual surf angler I spoke with last week. Meanwhile, people are on the beach trying to catch fish. That’s how the fish bites — random. Apparently going out and not wanting to catch is the secret.

Sheepshead and triggers are showing up at the inlet jetties. They are on the wrecks by now, too. I love trigger, it’s a good eating fish. Sand fleas are the best for bait for both fish.
Where are the pompano will be our next cry. They are big in the OBX right now.

Some nice striped bass are still around. We haven’t seen much of drum. Offshore fishing is still on fire.

So, about that washed-up treasure:

One day last week, maybe the day after that heavy storm surge that washed out the beaches, Joey and his dad were in Delaware Seashore State Park, him to fish and his dad for some metal detecting. They do this often after and during stormy weather. The May storms that rearranged the beaches produced a beautiful Byzantine follis for Joey’s dad. But last week he found that coin everyone wants — pirate loot.

“I turned and saw Dad dig, pause for a second looking in his hand. Then he ran off the beach like he was after a fire. Dad is 84, he doesn’t run like that, ever. I figured he must have found something good and I went back to reeling in my line. Then I went back to the car and Dad was there, a little out of breath, but a huge smile on his face. He showed me what was in his hand,” Joey said.

I got a text from Joey last week, it’s just a picture. Holy cow, would you look at that? Man, I hope that is real, I sent him a message back. I told him I would reach out to a few people and ask.

They came out to the house. I took some pictures and got to hold the coin. It is solid silver. There is no doubt, it has to be a real Spanish Reale, I said. I know just the guy to look at this, let me make a call.

Joey and his dad connected with Dale, owner of the DiscoverSea Shipwreck Museum in Fenwick, last week and he confirmed this is a Piece of Eight or a cob from the 1670 to 1700s. Dale suggested it could be from a passenger of the Faithful Steward or from somewhere else. This is that pirate treasure we all want to find, right up there with a gold doubloon.

Joey told me later, “I got the detector for Dad years ago and when he first started using it, I would throw regular coins out when he wasn’t looking so he would find something. Then he found that follis, and he thought I had put it there. Yeah no dad, I am throwing you quarters. Who would have thought he would find this, too?”

I have a metal detector I play around with but I never go to places like Coin Beach. I always figure it is all searched out and I don’t have the time. But this Piece of Eight washed up during that last storm surge or the one before. And Joey’s dad was there to find it in under a couple hours of looking.

Much like fishing, that is how it works. That is why you see detector enthusiasts out during and after storms — every wave could bring in a treasure.

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