Less crowded on land but still busy in the surf

By Rich King
Posted 9/8/22

The summer season circus hath ended. The shoulder season is always busier and busier but it is definitely less crowded. Those of us with the offseason aka peasant surf tag can now use the beaches on …

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Less crowded on land but still busy in the surf


The summer season circus hath ended. The shoulder season is always busier and busier but it is definitely less crowded. Those of us with the offseason aka peasant surf tag can now use the beaches on the weekends. The real fishing, as some would say, is about to start. All that really means is less people are on the beaches faking it and those out there now are actually trying to fish. OK, most of them are actually fishing.

The Point opened and she looks good. There is a big swale down the bayside beach so you have to pick a side when you drive around. The bayside is closed to The Point lookout parking lot until Oct. 1. No, it is not OK to walk through it if you are local. We heard that a dozen times over the holiday weekend — I won the pool.

The sand is a little soft in spots for driving, so it would be a good idea to air down more. Low tires, no fires. Don’t be a clown, air down. There were a record number of vehicles stuck over the weekend. It looked like Coastal Towing made bank.

The fishing has been decent for this time of year. The surf has been active enough with spot and kingfish. The calmer crowds will help increase catches. A less active beach produces more fish. Also you can move around on a less crowded beach and find better spots. Having spot options help make for a better day. The water is a little warmer now and the upwellings calmed down. Bloodworms have been hard to get and, at the rate things are going, might be done in a couple of years. The collection of them in the winter has put a real damper on the populations, according to many of the collectors. Fishbites is your best alternative.

Flounder fishing has been OK around the inshore areas. Decent bite offshore, too. The action in the surf is picking up for flounder. They are feeding more this time of year to fatten up for the winter migration offshore. Jigging for them in the surf works very well. Many surf anglers will catch flounder as they retrieve mullet rigs checking their bait. Most of the flounder in the surf are along that ledge and in the cuts hunting for food.

Bluefish catches are increasing along the beaches. The Indian River Inlet wall has been producing some decent bluefish sizes. Massey’s Ditch has blues running through her constantly hitting all the spearing in the water. There is a lot of food in our waters. The mullet have yet to move into the bay but that should happen soon if not already. Any day now.

Sheepshead are being caught around Massey’s Ditch on structure with sand fleas — the Indian River Inlet walls and all of the reef and wreck sites. Decent structure and sand fleas will produce sheepshead this time of year. Triggers can usually be found in the same areas. There’s a lot of small tautog at Massey’s Ditch, but fun to catch between all the oyster crackers.

Offshore fishing has been good and with the weekends slowing down might make for some less crowded days on the water. I’m kidding, it is never less crowded here on the weekends on the water when the fish are biting. Just a little less crazy. The Massey’s Ditch show over the weekend was like a scene out of “Caddyshack.” The second the enforcement boat leaves, the crazy shows up to entertain. This dude drove a huge boat right though all the traffic and people waiting for the ramp. He would honk and run his boat at people to move — pretty wild.

The ribbon fish or cutlass fish action offshore is everywhere. Fun to catch, and good to eat if you can deal with cleaning them. At least they can be a go-to for a day on the water if the fishing goes south.

The Saltwater Fly Anglers of Delaware club fishes the flats at the Cape Henlopen fishing pier, usually every Wednesday evening. Check their website for a schedule. This is a great group to teach you all you never wanted to know about fly fishing. The winter fly tie meets are excellent, too. Hope to see those start back up this year.

Short striped bass will be on the hit list soon enough. I’m getting the ultra light gear ready for constant action in current rips around the inland bays or the canal. Summer slot season might be over, but the action is still fire and just gets better into the fall. The white swim shads will be flying here soon enough.

The next run will be red drum and honestly, after last year, we are really looking forward to this year. Usually it is a one-and-done day run. You hear about a few caught and it never happens again. Last year, we had full-on bull red drum action for two-plus weeks. I’d love to see that again.

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