By Eric Burnley Sr.*
Updated: Sept. 29, 2016
DELAWARE BAY Once again we find ourselves trying to write a fishing report after a week when fishing was impossible. Folks were able to get out last weekend and some fish were caught, but the rest of the week was between a blowout and a washout.
White perch and catfish were caught in the tidal creeks and rivers along with some short rockfish. Bloodworms attracted the perch and rock while chicken livers and cut bunker worked on the cats.
The Upper Bay reef sites did not produce many fish. The occasional flounder was caught on squid and minnows and there were a few croaker taken on bloodworms, clam and squid.
In the Lower Bay the story was about the same. A few croaker, kings and blues on the reef sites and from the shoreline at Broadkill and Bowers beaches. The fishing pier at Cape Henlopen State Park saw flurries of croaker and spot, but no continuous bite.
INSHORE OCEAN Flounder and sea bass were caught at the Old Grounds, reef sites 10 and 11 and at the Del-Jerseyland reef. Sea bass season is closed until Oct. 22 so those fish will be returned. Flounder season remains open and only time will tell if they are still around.
OFFSHORE OCEAN White marlin action was very good in the canyons as it usually is at this time of year. Dolphin and wahoo were around and I believe all of these fish will still be there if and when the seas settle down.
INDIAN RIVER INLET Small blues were caught here on Wednesday and they should continue to be available after the storms pass by. No word on any keeper rockfish, but with the mullet run underway some of these fish could make an appearance.
SURF FISHING Blues, kings, croaker, sand perch and flounder were all taken from the beach before the storms. Once the seas calm down these same fish should still be caught.
FRESHWATER We have had a lot of rain and this is going to make most of the ponds pretty dirty. On the plus side, perhaps the scum will be gone.
Tidal creeks and rivers will also be high and dirty making for difficult fishing conditions.
THINK When I worked for IBM the company’s moto was “Think.” I thought that was interesting for a company in the business of inventing products that did the thinking for you. So far no one has invented a boat that will think for the operator and that was made very clear by two fatal boating accidents that occurred recently.
The first occurred on Long Neck when a jet ski and a pontoon boat collided. The rules of the road provide that one boat always has the right-of-way when two boats meet. The boat that has to give way must do so in a manner that leaves no doubt in the other captain’s mind as to what is going on. Apparently, this did not happen here and result was a fatality.
The second accident happened in Florida. Here the rules of the road had nothing to do with the incident since a rock jetty always has the right-of-way.
A group of young guys out for an evening of fun at a waterside restaurant left in a boat after dark. At some point they hit a rock jetty and all three were killed. This may not have made the national news except that one of them was a promising and celebrated baseball pitcher.
I can still remember what is was like to be young and indestructible. Most of my foolishness happened behind the wheel of a car and in looking back I realize that luck not brains was what saved my life.
There is nothing anyone can do to bring these people back. They are gone forever. What each of us can do is think before, during and after we get on our boats. Have a float plan. Let people know where you are headed and when you expect to return. Take a safe boating course. And always were your PFD.
*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.