By Eric Burnley Sr.*
Updated: December 6, 2013
DELAWARE BAY The rockfish bite continues, but for how long it goes, nobody knows. As of Wednesday they were still feeding at the Eights, Overfalls Shoal and Brown Shoal. Stretch 25 or 30 plugs are doing most of the damage. A few folks are drifting with eels or live spot and there has been some chunking in the upper bay around the 6L Buoy out of Collins Beach. My reports for that area were not as good as the action around the mouth of the bay.
Most of the fish I have seen were in the 20 to 30-pound class with a few 40 pounders mixed in the catch. Some boats have limit catches, others have a few fish and still others get skunked.
No report on tog fishing as everyone we spoke with is targeting rockfish. Once the rock head south, tog will be back on the menu.
White perch and catfish continue to bite in the tidal creeks and rivers feeding the bay. The same areas have not produced any keeper rockfish over the past week. Bloodworms for the perch and cut bunker for the catfish.
INDIAN RIVER INLET Still no rockfish of any number or size from the inlet. A few keepers have been taken at night on bucktails, shads and long-lined flies with most of the catch made up of shorts.
Tog fishing has also been slow. Those that are caught fall for green crabs fished in the rocks..
INSHORE OCEAN More and more rockfish are showing up along the ocean front. The Condos off of Bethany Beach, Hen and Chicken Shoal and at least one 42 pounder was caught a mile or less off of Three Rs Road. Trolling with Stretch plugs has been the ticket to success.
My tog reports were not very good last weekend because of the strong current produced by the new moon. I don’t know why, but the tides were unusually high and low during this moon.
Sea bass were caught offshore on a long range trip aboard the head boat out of Fisherman’s Wharf. If you want to catch a limit of these great fish to put up for the winter you will have to get out there before December 31
SURF FISHING Over the weekend, while I was out of state, rockfish were caught in decent numbers from Cape Henlopen to Fenwick Island. Since then it has been a slow pick for rock and a few puppy drum. Cut bunker has been the most productive bait.
FRESHWATER The water temperature in the ponds has been dropping and with another cold snap predicted over the weekend bass fishing is not going to improve anytime soon. Those largemouths that have been caught fell for a live shiner worked very slowly in deep water.
Crappie were caught from ponds, spillways and the Bethel Hole and Seaford spillway in Sussex County. Live minnows or shiners work best on these fish. Pickerel are in the same locations and will take the same baits.
CALL IT IN I recently spoke with a friend who saw a poacher put a short rockfish in his car after catching it at Indian River Inlet. My friend approached the violator to tell him the fish he kept was illegal only to be told to "Go away."
There was a time when I too would try to educate poachers about their illegal actions, but after being told to mind my own business too many times I have changed my tactics. In the first place it is my business when someone steals the natural resource I depend on for my livelihood and recreation. If I saw someone robbing a bank I would not approach that person and tell him he was committing a crime. He knows he is a criminal and so do the people who steal our fish and game.
Today when I see a criminal act by a poacher I call the 24-hour poacher hot line 800-523-3336. I have the number in the same folder as my fishing license and also in my wallet. We all need to act when we see poaching because this activity affects us all.
*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 two books, Surf Fishing The Atlantic Coast and The Ultimate Guide To Catching Striped Bass.