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


By Eric Burnley Sr.*

Updated: April 28, 2016

2016 Delaware Fishing GuideDELAWARE BAY The number of big rockfish in the Upper Bay decreased as the spawn seems to be over. Rock in the 15- to 20-pound class were still taken from shore and from boats. Augustine Beach to Port Mahon saw a few rock caught from shore on cut bunker and bloodworms.  Boaters fishing the Yellow Can, Red Can, Bull Pen and the channel edge from the Power Station down to Blake’s Channel encountered rockfish on bunker chunks.

White perch and catfish have been caught from bay beaches and from the shoreline of the tidal creeks and rivers. Bloodworms have produced most of the perch while the catfish will take almost anything you put in the water including bloodworms, cut bunker, chicken livers and homemade stink baits.
In the Lower Bay, the Outer Wall and reef sites 6 and 7 saw limit catches of tog caught on green crab. The weather has limited the number of days boats can leave the dock, but when they do sail the tog fishing has been pretty good.

Black drum were caught from the shoreline at Broadkill Beach with clam, bunker and sand fleas the top bait. At least one large bluefish was also taken from this location with cut bunker the most probable bait.

INSHORE OCEAN To the best of my knowledge, no one made it out here over the past week. The problem has been the weather. Once the wind machine shuts off I am sure boaters will find tog on the inshore reef sites and perhaps some rockfish moving up the beach.

INDIAN RIVER INLET A few tog were taken out of the rocks on green crabs. The cold and windy weather has limited the number of anglers fishing here and once we get some sunny, warm days I am sure more tog will be caught.

Small rockfish and blues plus a few hickory shad are taken during incoming water. The blues and rock will hit bucktails while the shad take darts and small spoons. My guess is the steady diet of northeast wind will bring in plenty of bait and sooner or later large rockfish and blues will follow along.

Still not much to the flounder fishing in the back bays. Cold and rough water is the problem and while it seems as though these conditions are going to last forever, they will go away sometime before Labor Day.

SURF FISHING At least one keeper rockfish was caught from the beach last weekend, but the big news has been the number of black drum caught on sand fleas. While black drum are not unheard of from the ocean beaches, there were more than normal taken last weekend with Herring Point seeing several. How long this will last is anyone’s guess, but if I were planning to fish the surf this weekend I would make sure I had a bag of fleas with me.

Small rockfish were caught on fleas and bloodworms. Larger rock should be here soon and might take sand fleas as well. A few blowfish and kings were mixed in with the rock.

FRESHWATER I am sure the recent weather has cut down on the number of anglers working the streams in New Castle County, so the trout population will still be pretty high. Worms, minnows and grubs are the most popular bait while spinners are the top producing lure.
Bass and crappie continue to take lures and baits in the ponds. Live minnows and shad are the top baits while crankbaits and soft plastics make the best lures

PFDs (LIFEJACKETS) My wife and I stopped by the Lewes Boat Ramp on Sunday just to see how many folks were going out in conditions I felt were questionable at best. I was surprised to see quite a few boats being launched and recovered. Most appeared to be trying out their equipment for the first trip of the year while others were planning to fish. Most ran up the Broadkill River, some fished in the Lewes and Rehoboth Canal while a few made short, wet trips into the open bay.
A father-and-son team caught my eye. They were launching a jon boat with the son handling the lines while the father backed the trailer into the water. I would guess the boy was 7 or 8 years old and had his hands full with the bow line, but managed to get the boat under control and pull it into the dock.  By now his dad was out of the truck and helped the boy secure the boat while dad parked the truck.

Upon returning, the father put a PFD on his son, they got into the boat and headed out.

You may see nothing wrong with this picture, but I feel the father should have put a PFD on the boy before letting him go out on the dock.  Things were pretty busy and if someone had come in a bit too hard and hit the dock, the boy could have easily fallen into the river. He also could have fallen trying to control the boat with the bow line. Had he hit the water with a full moon current running out he could have easily been lost.

I also have to ask: Why, when the father put the boy in his PFD, didn’t Dad put one on as well? To me, by his father not wearing a PFD the kid is going to think, "I can’t wait until I am grown and don’t have to wear a PFD." This is not the message we should be sending to our youth.

If a child sees his parent wearing a PFD, he or she is going to associate this with growing up and acting responsibly. Kids should be wearing a PFD any time they are in a situation where there is even the slightest chance they may fall overboard. This certainly includes being on a floating dock at a busy boat ramp.

 *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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