By Eric Burnley Sr.*
Updated: April 27, 2017
DELAWARE BAY Keeper rockfish continue to show up between the Yellow Can and the 6L Buoy. So far the catch has been scattered, but after the recent storm and the warming air temperatures more fish could leave the spawning grounds and head south. Cut, fresh bunker makes the best bait and chum.
Rockfish have also been taken from shore. Augustine Beach and the pier at Woodland Beach have seen a few big fish. Here too bunker is the top bait with some rockfish falling for bloodworms.
White perch fishing remains good in the tidal rivers and creeks as well as from the shoreline from New Castle to Port Mahon. Bloodworms remain the top perch bait.
Big catfish are found in the same locations as the perch. Cats are more likely to take cut bunker or chicken livers, but won’t pass up a tasty bloodworm.
Big blues have invaded the lower bay and are concentrated around the fishing pier at Cape Henlopen. Cut bunker and poppers have been responsible for most of the carnage. The best bite has been on incoming water. Blues have been caught from the pier, the beach and from boats operating between the pier and the Inner Wall.
Black drum have been caught on clams from Broadkill Beach. Most of these fish are in the 10- to 25-pound class.
A very few keeper flounder were caught out of the Lewes and Rehoboth Canal. The warming weather should encourage more flounder to feed. Live minnows, squid strips or a jig decorated with a Gulp! Swimming Mullet Nuclear Chicken should encourage a strike.
- ADVISORY: Summer Flounder Regulations: As of April 1, the minimum size for summer flounder in Delaware is 17 inches. The bag limit remains at four fish per day and the season runs for 365 days.
INSHORE OCEAN Tog fishing was a bit on the slow side before the storm. While a few boats managed to land a three-fish limit, many did not. Once the seas settle down and the water clears, tog should be on the feed. Any type of crab will work.
I still think there are blues and rockfish to be caught by trolling along the ocean front. Try pulling big plugs or spoons.
INDIAN RIVER INLET The bluefish didn’t show up here on Friday on incoming water. Perhaps they knew I was going to be fishing there. Now that the storm has passed, perhaps they will return. I promise not to fish here over the weekend.
A few small tog were caught here on green crab and sand fleas. Keepers were rare.
Small rockfish have been taken on bucktails. The occasional keeper falls for bucktails during night tides.
A very few keeper flounder were caught out of the VFW Slough. Live minnows have been the most popular bait.
SURF FISHING According to one report, the beach is in good shape after the storm. The problem may be lots of weed early in the weekend.
Big blues were caught along the beach with cut bunker the prime bait. Surface lures worked as well when the blues showed up in numbers.
Black drum also came within surfcasters' range. They preferred fresh clam.
FRESHWATER There should be plenty of nice trout in the stocked streams of New Castle County after the final restocking of the spring by DNREC's Division of Fish & Wildlife. Try baits such as minnows, earthworms and grubs.
Bass and crappie have been caught out of state ponds. Live minnows or shiners will work along with Senkos, crankbaits and jigs.
Another state record catfish was caught out of the Nanticoke River. The 25-pound, 5-ounce blue cat was taken by Gavin Spicer who was soaking bunker. The upper reaches of the tidal river and creeks also gave up big white perch on bloodworms.
IT HAPPENS SO FAST... There have been two recent tragic instances on the water in Maryland and Virginia, resulting in two deaths in the Maryland incident and another fatality in Virginia. Both involved watermen who had more time on the water than most of us will ever see. To say that they were experienced would be a massive understatement.
I believe what both occurrences had in common is how quickly they happened. I have been preaching for years that things on the water can go bad in a heartbeat, and if you are not prepared you can end up in serious trouble.
Please wear your PFDs at all times when on the water.
*Eric Burnley Sr. is a native Delawarean who has fished the waters of his home state for more than 60 years. He has been a full-time outdoor writer since 1978, with articles appearing in most national magazines as well as many regional publications. He has authored three books, Surf Fishing The Atlantic Coast ,The Ultimate Guide To Catching Striped Bass and Fishing Saltwater Baits.