Conditions are calming down into the fall transition

By Rich King
Posted 10/4/23

How can you tell the storm mess is kind of over and everyone is fed up being indoors? The Indian River Inlet fills up with 150-plus anglers on a Tuesday, by early morning. It looked like a Saturday …

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Conditions are calming down into the fall transition


How can you tell the storm mess is kind of over and everyone is fed up being indoors? The Indian River Inlet fills up with 150-plus anglers on a Tuesday, by early morning. It looked like a Saturday afternoon in the off season.

It’s good to have conditions back to normal, well sort of. The coastal flooding, pushed a little more by the full moon high tides, has flooded us for days along the coast of Delaware. It is minor coastal flooding but it is just a little weird to have a lot of water everywhere on such a nice day. People who complained Ophelia was hyped up finally realized had she sat here and hit like predicted, we could have been much worse off. Always be prepared because you never know.

Crews are currently rebuilding the dune system at the north beach in Delaware Seashore State Park to protect the Charles W. Cullen Bridge approach and Route 1. Sand is being trucked in to rebuild that system until they can fire up the sand bypass system with the dredge crane. Pump, baby pump! Just keep it in the surf zone for surf fishing structure, and surfers need decent waves.

The beaches did fine after and during the Ophelia remnants. We have a lot of structure to explore. The town storm drains are exposed just in time for fall surf rat wrangling. The sudden temperature drop triggered the striped bass to school up and put on the feed bag. They are thick with white perch and spot in the back creeks. The fun part of fishing after a nor’easter? Finding the fish.

Anglers were yanking tautog and sheepshead out Tuesday like crazy for a little while. I was only there for an hour, so who knows after that, could have been worse or better. I would have taken either from what I saw happening currently. Fish were hitting hungry.

We spent an afternoon marsh hopping in flooded areas along the Broadkill River. We got plenty of white perch, spot and short striped bass, all on bloodworms or Fishbites bloodworms. Even the Ronco put in some work. You can go places you can’t normally when you have an extra two feet of water. A little bit of “hold on to your seats, imma try sumtin” helps, too. Also by the end of the day, Lewes isn’t that far, we can walk home.

With the drive-on beaches being closed for such a long time we always look for alternatives. There are plenty of places to fish aside from driving onto a beach. Even if you want to surf fish, walking on is easy and accessible. The problem was and remained the flooded beaches, which at that point walking on was the only way to go. Granted, at low tide they are not flooded but they are wet and too sloppy to drive on in some places. With the extended coastal flooding, it has taken a while for half the drive-on beaches to open. I pulled that muscle nerve thing again walking in sloppy wet sand, while surf casting rip currents, but I don’t care.

I have yet to hit the surf and see what is happening out there. I know much has changed as far as species hitting and frequency. Red drum are still around Assateague and probably here. Time will tell. Target everything. Pompano are still here and all the summer suspects. I just have to go see how much. A few flounder were pulled off a beach the other day. Things are calming down into the fall transition.

Sheepshead and tautog have been the hot catch at the Indian River Inlet on green crabs or sand fleas. Collecting fleas isn’t too hard right now, the surf zone is calmer and not too wide.

Birders, there is a pink flamingo presently at Assateague Island — Florida man lost his parakeet.

The salt line has fish and crabs in places they normally aren’t in brackish waters. That massive tidal storm surge helps, too.

Anglers who boat in Jersey waters, you have a new PFD rule starting Nov. 1 to May 1. All occupants of any vessel under 26 feet must be wearing a secured PFD at all times. This includes all watercraft, kayaks, etc. If you striped bass fish from a boat in Jersey, but port in Delaware, yes this will apply. Honestly I don’t see why they have to tell people this. I always wear one. Seems like common sense to wear something that can save your life on the water.

It is going to get real cold here after the weekend. That will change everything, to a degree. Pun intended.

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