There is something special about being out on the beach at night, especially in the middle of the summer. The heat of the day fades into the coolness of the night and the beauty of the starlit sky coupled with the sound of the crashing waves washes away the worries of the previous day. I do a lot of fishing from my boat, but every now and then it is refreshing to get out on the beach at night. It’s a place where there are no worries about charters, no noisy outboard motors, no competitive anglers — it’s just me, the surf, the sand and if I’m lucky a couple fish, too.
We are blessed here on Delmarva with a lot of beaches that are open to surf fishing. From Cape Henlopen to the north to Chincoteague to the south, and the many miles in between, there are countless opportunities for anglers to enjoy fishing from the sand. If you are a newbie to surf fishing, summer is a great time to get out there and try your hand at it. This time of the year there is typically a lot of different types of fish in the surf, and some of them are very good eating. Kingfish (sea mullet), for example, are one of my favorites, and a favorite of many others as well. They will readily take small baits like squid, bloodworms, and even fish bites. Croakers, spot, small bluefish and even flounder are common catches in the surf this time of the year as well. Surf fishing isn’t for everybody, but if you have never tried it I suggest you get out there and see what it’s all about. Who knows, you might discover a new passion.
Here in Ocean City, our fishing was unfortunately interrupted this past week by Hurricane Bill. Boats were unable to get out, and the storm surge and huge waves rocked our local beaches. Fishing was pretty good before the storm however, and I did receive some reports. As of this writing, things are just now getting settled back to normal. The next couple days are forecast to be very nice, and it will be interesting to see how the storm has changed our fishing. But for now, let’s take a look back at some of the reports from this past week.
At Harbor Bait and Tackle, Bev reports a few smaller sharks are being taken from the surf along with skates, rays, croakers, blues and kingfish. A customer said he caught a 19-inch croaker off the beach. It seems that a few more legal flounder are showing up in the Thorofare and in the East Channel. Triggers and stripers are being taken from the Inlet. Flounder and stripers are coming from the Route 50 Bridge. Croakers are throughout the back bays.
JJ at the Oceanic Pier reports the flounder bite has been really good this week with lots of flatties over the 20-inch mark. The croakers are heavy, too, but they come and go, will bite good for a couple of hours then disappear. The best bait for them is bloodworms. Angler are starting to fish for tog again with some good results even though most togs are undersized. At night time under the lights, the blues are still thick, running through in big schools. Got-Cha Plugs are the ticket. The pier is still open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
John at AllTackle reports the flounder size is picking up this week. He said the west channel by Hooper’s is really turning on. The east channel is also producing a lot of keepers. The croaker are still thick in the bays with the size of the fish getting better, some croakers are over 15 inches. The 9th street pier is the hot spot to fish for croaker from the shore line, bloodworms and fish bites are the best baits. The offshore wreck and reef fishing is still red hot with anglers scoring big with big flounder. The white marlin bite is still the best seen in years and continues to be consistent. He is also starting to see lots, and I mean lots, of false albacore.
At Buck’s Place, Cindy reports it’s real slow on the surf, some sharks, skates, croaker, blues, and flounder. The bays are producing larger flounder and lots of keeper croaker. She had a report come in that there were weakfish in the 14- to 20-inch range being caught in the Inlet. Offshore, the flounder fishing is still good on the wrecks and reefs. The white marlin bite is still real good, plus there are reports that there are tons of false albacore being caught, plus some dolphin mixed in.
Denny at Oyster Bait and Tackle reports still catching lots of flounder in the east channel. Surf fishing slowed after the storm last week, but a report did come in of a decent kingfish bite on bloodworms. Offshore the flounder fish still continues to be good at the reefs and wrecks. And finally the white marlin, dolphin, and false albacore bite is still good.
Captain Steve of the “Happy Hooker” bay party boat reports the fishing has been good for flounder as long as the water is clear. He had some really good trips this week with lots of keepers, due to clean water. The croaker bite continues to be good also with the size of the fish the largest of the year. He will continue to run flounder trips till the season ends on Sept. 13. After that, he will still run trips for other species. Check us out at the Talbot Street dock for times and availabilities.
Captain Victor Bunting on the “Ocean Princess” reports that he is still picking away at the croakers. Most of the trips over the past week have been pretty good, however he still has the slow day every now and then. Croakers have been ranging in size from 9 inches all the way up to 16 inches, however most are in the 9- to 12-inch range. Hopefully Hurricane Bill has not messed things up too much and he plans to get back out there tomorrow and have another good day.
Captain Todd, on the “Restless Lady” reports going out last Saturday, Aug. 22, to some inshore lumps, just a half-day trip. Lots of spanish mackerel, bluefish and false albacore. Good size swells thanks to Bill. Inlet was a little dicey coming back in, nothing that hasn’t been seen before, just have to pay a little more attention to what’s going on.
I had some really good trips this week on my boat, one worth writing about was a flounder trip in the bay, with Dr. John Heywang from Teaneck, N.J. Doc has fished with me for many years now, and he’s a very colorful person, always good for lots of laughs with lots of unbelievable stories of his life’s adventures all over the world. One thing about Doc is my mate and I always get to fish some on the charter which is a treat for both of us. We headed out to the south jetty first to do a few striper drifts with great results. We made four drifts with three stripers, all were undersize but they all gave the Doc a good fight. After that, we headed up the bay for some flounder fishing, all I can say is the bite was off the hook. I think it was the best flounder bite I’ve seen all summer. We ended up with seven keepers between us and must have thrown back over 25 shorts.
Hopefully, it will continue to be this way for the rest of the season which ends Sept. 13. I will still book flounder trips till then, plus I’m also booking south jetty striper trips, inshore, lite tackle shark trips. I’m also booking now for the fall striper season, plus all the striper tournaments during the fall. Give me a call on my cell at 410-430-5436.
Well that about does it for this week’s fishing report, remember if you have a report or pictures you would like in the “Coast Dispatch” or on www.oceancityfishing.com shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally a few things about what’s going on here at Talbot Street Bait & Tackle. Our hours are 7 a.m.-7 p.m., seven days a week, and we do have live spot for sale, along with other great baits and tackle. We also are booking bay, Inlet, wreck, inshore, and offshore charters on my three different boats. Plus we have a great half-day “family adventure”, fishing, crabbing, clamming, and sight seeing for only $375. So stop by the Tackle Shop or give me a call at 410-430-5436 cell or 410-289-FISH(3474) and lets talk fishing.
The fishing is better then its been in years, so get out there and fish. Who knows? Maybe I’ll be writing about you next week.
(The writer is the owner and operator of Skip’s Charters and Guide Service.)