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


By Eric Burnley Sr.*

Updated: Nov. 22, 2017

2017 Delaware Fishing GuideDELAWARE BAY We saw some pretty good tog catches made out of the bay on sand fleas and green crabs. White legged crabs were also used when they were available. As always, the Inner and Outer walls, the Ice Breakers and the jetty around Brandywine Light saw most of the action. A few tog were also caught over lower bay reef sites.

The fishing pier at Cape Henlopen State Park did see a few small blues and flounder caught, but this most recent cold weather may have chased them out of the bay. A Speck Rig decorated with bits of mullet or with a Gulp! swimming mullet has been the best bait for these fish.

In the Upper Bay, small rockfish and white perch have been caught from the shoreline and from the fishing piers at Woodland Beach and Port Mahon. Bloodworms have been the best bait.  Both piers have seen one or two keepers, but these are resident fish, not the ocean-run migrants.

Catfish are available from Augustine Beach and from the piers along the C&D Canal. Cut bunker is the top bait for the cats.

  • 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 The most recent reports I have came during the very windy weather last Saturday.  A few boats fished for tog less than three miles off the beach and had remarkably good luck. One charter boat with four customers had 16 tog and a keeper sea bass.
The reason they worked so close to shore were gale force west winds that made it very dangerous to venture out any further. Sand fleas, white leggers and green crabs were the best baits

OFFSHORE OCEAN No offshore reports this week. If the weather improves we could see a few boats try for swordfish.

INDIAN RIVER INLET About the only game in town during all this wind has been tog fishing at the inlet. Reports still indicate more and more keeper tog caught on sand fleas and green crabs.

We had a report on Monday that rockfish to 25 inches were caught at the back of the inlet. This area can be accessed from Bubblegum Beach at the entrance to Indian River Marina. White bucktails with a white plastic worm will be the most popular offering.

SURF FISHING Only a handful of anglers on the beach last Saturday and if they caught anything I didn’t hear about it. We remain on watch for the first of the migratory rockfish that could arrive any day.

FRESHWATER The weather has been so windy I haven’t seen anyone fishing on Red Mill Pond. When there are whitecaps on the ponds, fishing has to be less than enjoyable.

White Clay Creek should still have some fall-stocked trout and I suspect the fishing pressure is very light. To my mind this would be the perfect place to spend Black Friday and leave the shopping malls to those who value chaos over tranquility.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING Thanksgiving is the time to spend with loved ones and give thanks for what we have. Granted, some of our loved ones may be less than loveable, but try to make it through the day without causing any more problems.

This has been the worst fishing year I can remember, but I still was able to get out on the water and I still had some good times. I try not to complain because I know as bad as 2017 has been, 2018 could be that much better.

We are so fortunate to be able to access just about any body of water in the country and with the usual restrictions, still take home some fish for the table.

Fishermen come in all shapes sizes and all have certain fishing methods that they enjoy. Fly fishermen, offshore fishermen, carp, bass, trout, striper and countless other anglers all have fishing in common. All of these folks can find their favorite sport in Delaware and that is a very good thing and something for which I am very thankful.

 *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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