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Delaware Fishing Report
When, Where, What and How They're Biting


By Eric Burnley Sr.*

Updated: Feb. 11, 2016

2016 Delaware Fishing GuideDELAWARE BAY We had gale-force winds and now subfreezing temperatures with gale force winds so I don’t think anyone is going out on the open bay anytime soon.  The water temperature in the bay is right on or below the lower limit for rockfish and tog which would be the only fish available.

In the upper bay and the tidal creeks and rivers white and yellow perch should be on the move. We found out last year that yellow perch make their spawning run even when the water is frozen, so if you really want to fish and you have enough clothes to wear to prevent hypothermia, pick up some small minnows and have at it with these neds.

INSHORE OCEAN I spoke with Captain Scotty Gold on the Rehoboth Star out of Indian River who told me he fished for tog last Saturday and Sunday.  The bite was slow on Saturday, but better on Sunday. A few other boats may be running for tog, but many are on the hard getting their Coast Guard inspection and making repairs. I suggest you call your favorite captain and find out his or her schedule.

INDIAN RIVER INLET The latest storm covered Route 1 with sand and water, but I doubt there was any serious damage to the inlet. I also doubt there are any fish being caught or anyone even fishing in this weather.

SURF FISHING Super high tides did little damage this time so if and when some fish make an appearance the beach should be fishable.

FRESHWATER I expect the ponds will be frozen over by the weekend so they will be out of commission until the thaw. The tidal rivers and creeks should be fishable with perch, pickerel and crappie the primary targets.

STILL MORE (AND MORE) LITTLE THINGS Having the correct sinker for the job at hand is important - that's this week's little thing about fishing. Over the years I have seen people use the wrong sinker on many occasions and the results are seldom, if ever, good.

Let’s start with the bank sinker. I would guess it is the most popular style and will work in most fishing situations, but not in every one.
While perfect for fishing from a boat over all types of bottom either anchored or drifting the bank sinker is generally not used from the beach if there are large waves or a strong current. The same properties that allow it to drift along with ease also allow it to drift along with ease when you want to keep your bait in one location.

Enter the triangle or surf sinker. This weight is, as you may have guessed, shaped like a triangle with a pointed end to aid casting and flat sides and top so it digs into the sandy bottom. There are several variations of this design including the Hatteras with a more rounded end, but still has a flat top and my personal favorite, the tongue sinker. This one is shaped more like a tongue than a triangle with the inside hollowed out so it pushes the sand up like small bulldozer.

Trolling sinkers are shaped like a torpedo and are usually placed ahead of a lure such as a spoon. A ball bearing snap swivel must be used with this rig to prevent line twist. Back in the day a one or two-ounce trolling sinker was used ahead of a Tony 141 spoon to catch bluefish out of Indian River Inlet.

Split shot are usually less than an ounce and used when you just need a little weight. I use one or two ahead of my live minnow when fishing for flounder in shallow water.

Since sinkers spend most of their life on the bottom they will occasionally encounter something that will convince them to stay on the bottom. This is why you should always have a good supply of various weight sinkers with you.  When fishing away from my boat I carry sinkers in plastic coffee cans stored in my tackle bag. The plastic cans don’t rust and they will hold a surprising amount of weight.

 *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.

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