The aftermath of Bor’easter 2022 continues. The beaches are settling back nicely, with the safest shore break in Delaware in decades. Kids are already having a blast in the tidepools and small troughs. Surfers are in their glory right now.
Just be careful of the rip currents from the larger troughs. We have been fishing some very large “drains” up and down the beaches. The drain is the cut we look for to surf fish. This is where the food is stirred up in the sand. Water moves fast when the long troughs running behind the sand bars drain. There are so many sand bars, too. It will take several weeks but things will settle back to the beaches we had before - in the parks, not the replenished beaches in the towns - unless we get more heavy storm surges.
The fishing gang has been doing the storm surge rain dance every weekend. We like the structure and want to keep it. Fish feeding the structure would be a bonus. That has been random action, for such incredible structure. Maybe someone needs to tell the fish the flat surf is gone?
On the opening day for sea bass, the charters and boats that went out did well - filling the coolers with quality fish. Gas prices are probably going to tick up fishing trip costs soon. At least the action is good. It costs me $10 in gas to surf fish.
Flounder has been a slow start for the season, but catches are increasing. Anglers looking for bluefish at the flats in Cape Henlopen State Park’s fishing pier are also catching flounder on spoons and silver stingers - two popular bluefish lures, mostly in stock around the area. Those blue will tear up some gear.
When the bluefish showed up after the storm at the Cape Henlopen fishing pier, it was packed. It didn’t take long after the first post by Lighthouse View Bait and Tackle and we were all headed to the pier. They are fat offshore bluefish, not those spring skinny blues. Anglers are catching them as far up as Bowers Beach and farther. I don’t think these will stick around long.
Usually the gator bluefish action in the surf is a few days, one and done. Then we had that blitz a few years ago, but that hasn’t happened again. These blues were blown into shore by the storm. They will head back out unless they decide they like the food we have here.
Migratory striped bass are being caught in the surf at Assateague as well as black drum and bluefish. That action was really good for several anglers putting in the time. The beaches at Assateague all have the exaggerated structure, the only difference being that structure is normal there and not here in Delaware.
If you fish before dawn for striped bass in the surf, you will increase your chances in Delaware.
Delaware black drum action is up in the Delaware Bay but everyone is sea bass fishing. Call around for any charters to the coral beds for drum. Surf fishing is random catches.
A friend of mine was using his SUP near the northside beach in Delaware Seashore State Park. He watched a pod of dolphins chase fish into the tide pools and troughs then ambush the bait on the other side. Pretty smart for a stupid fish.
The structure is so crazy right now, with huge drains that large fish will visit like the buffet line. Crustaceans and small fish are all stirred up in a large pool that is draining a trough all at once into a rip current. The fish have the feed bag on. That is one of the problems, competing with easy food sources.
The other issue is you have to fish out in front of the outer sand bar. In some cases that is 100 yards out. There are fish in the troughs, too. The fish wash across the bars and end up in the troughs. The big drains or tide pools become an aquarium.
Wading across these troughs is dangerous in some spots. I was in one at eight feet deep easy a few days ago and now it is five feet deep at high tide.
The beach profile will slowly shorten up and the surf will form back up to the usual profile, we just hope with more structure than usual.
The drive-on beaches that are open are in decent shape. Navy Crossing might be closed for a while. It lost a great deal of sand. The old cypress knees are exposed, too, with some very cool shapes to go see.
Delaware State Parks administration has a great opportunity to educate the public on the importance of airing down to protect the beach. Some of the drive-on areas are really skinny at high tide. With the closed drive-on beaches (nearly half), maybe use the closed beaches as a (needed) excuse to regulate the flow of vehicles. Otherwise massive traffic is going to really make it rough out there for the not so regular beach driver. Tow companies are going to make some money. Last weekend was wild - the storm let it all out, crazy was everywhere.
To the kayakers: Just a heads-up, but you need the proper safety gear to go out in fog. I watched people go out to the walls in less than 50 feet of visibility to catch a fish. Not smart at all, especially in dark clothing, with dark kayaks and no safety flags or lights. Replacing your safety flag with your politics is a wild way to get hit by a boat, flying the same flag. Irony.