Delaware's Great Outdoors: Heatwave bringing good fishing to Delmarva

By Rich King
Posted 6/9/21

Reading a beach for cuts will help you find more fish and catch more fish at the beach. Fish sit in these cuts or hunt along the beaches looking for food in these areas. Recognizing them at different …

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Delaware's Great Outdoors: Heatwave bringing good fishing to Delmarva


Reading a beach for cuts will help you find more fish and catch more fish at the beach. Fish sit in these cuts or hunt along the beaches looking for food in these areas. Recognizing them at different tide cycles is a challenge in Delaware. We have subtle surf structure.

Casting to specific spots in a cut is important. Both sides and the top of the cut are the preferred areas to start. Fishing all sides around the cut helps find where the fish are feeding. Then you can concentrate on one area and adjust as the tide shifts. Fish will hang near cuts or they will move with the tide from cut to cut, feeding the whole time.

As the tide shifts, so will the direction the fish move. Fish tend to swim against the current. It makes it easier to breath for oxygen exchange with constant fresh water. Waves filling swales and draining creates current. The Delaware River and Bay create unique currents along our coast line.,

From the view on the DelDOT cam at the Charles W Cullen Bridge’s north tower, you can see that huge cut. As you look up the coast, the cuts are less pronounced even at low tide. We have unique beaches when it comes to finding structure for surf fishing.

If you are fishing a pier, it is important to have a pier net. Either a very long handle or the throw nets that look like giant crabbing rings on ropes also known as bridge nets.

Summah time! It sure seems like it already. My grass is August crunchy already. I don’t have real grass. I have that real native natural junk that just grows around here. Watering and mowing is optional and proportional. So we water less so we can fish more.

The summer fish are here on and offshore. That has all picked up more, from tuna offshore to sand perch in the surf. No pompano but we aren’t in the dead of summer yet. However not too far south of Delaware, some have been caught below Virginia already. Nothing will surprise me at this rate if we don’t see them in the next few weeks. The heat wave helped jack up the water temperatures and turned the fish on more.

The Damn Fly Meter is now an app in the Google Play store and will be out soon for iPhone. You can also access it on Delaware Surf Fishing’s website. The app works from New Jersey to North Carolina. Know how bad the flies are before you go to the beach.

The flounder bite has gotten better for this time of year. The Cape Henlopen Fishing Pier and Lewes area are seeing more catches with better sizes. Check with the boys at The Lighthouse View Bait and Tackle Shop for the latest catch details. The spot bite is starting to turn on and we have croaker. Some sand perch are being caught, the occasional bluefish and short striped bass. A large weakfish was caught a week ago.

Flounder action is slow around the Inland Bays and not surprising. There are a lot of boats around now and honestly the amount of sand bars that have choked out and buried the mussel beds are not helping the aquatic life thrive.

One bonus is the oyster farms. Fish near them. The structures (cages) are creating great habitat for baitfish and fish to feed on baitfish.

Fish near crab pots too. Just be careful unsnagging from any of these devices. It is illegal to remove an oyster cage or crab pot. The Inland Bays needs some reef structures placed in several areas. Then dredge all these sand bars out of here so you can use the bay beaches instead and fish in the middle. Right now it is nearly the opposite. The bays would flush more with fresher water and have better fishing, crabbing and clamming. More room for all the credit card captains to get stuck less too.

Spot are being caught around the Inland Bays now too. Great bait for flounder. Catch a small spot then live line it for a large flounder. Those mummichugs are great for small flounder. But if you want big fish, you need big bait. Larger spot are perfect. Peeler crab in large chunks works well too. Jigging with gulp is the easiest and you can create a larger presentation for bigger fish. Only downside to spot is transporting them and keeping them alive. Croaker are around the Inland Bays as well. Delaware Bay is going to start seeing them all over the reefs soon enough.

Most of the charters are concentrating on sea bass and doing well. Anglers going all the way out for tuna are having luck that just got started. Check your favorite charters for availability. Head boats are fun too, if they aren’t packed. The better days to fish are the weekdays. Less crowds and less competition on the bite. I fish weekdays and mow my crunchy grass on weekends.

Black drum are still hitting on the coral beds on clams mostly. I’ve seen very little of them in the surf down Sussex County way. Few have been caught north on the bay beaches.

A buddy of mine likes to kayak fish for drum. I do not recommend kayak fishing for black drum on the Delaware Bay unless you really know how to kayak. It isn’t just jump in and go fish for a drum. Know your waters and gear.

The surf fishing has been heavy on skates and dogfish. A lot of small weakfish. Kingfish is the hot catch for the table. DS Custom Tackle has a new color float that the fish seem to really dig. A chartreuse and pink pill float. With their own circle hooks, they are a deadly little rig. Fishbites, bloodworms or sand fleas for the win.

Spot is picking up and they just got here recently. They will increase in number and size. Now we wait to see how long we hit the threshold and wind up with a creel limit for spot and croaker. When I tell people recreational anglers are the most detrimental to a fishery this is a great example. Spot and croaker aren’t heavily commercially sought coastwide like the other fish in decline that commercial anglers get blamed for.

Beaches have been packed on the nice weather weekends. Rangers are cracking down on the rules, not just actively fishing. Make sure you have all your gear and follow all the rules. The No Hook nation is even kind of fishing now a days.

I’m still using a Zebco for short striped bass, love the looks that gets. Even better with the dollar spinner that is whacking fish. They are really fun on those summer cocktail blues. I put 20-pound test so I can wear it out more. Braid gets chewed up by the reel. Now we are going to do a Zebco surf fishing tournament sponsored by DS Custom Tackle. Stay tuned.