Delaware Fishing Report

The weekly Delaware Fishing Report offers information on when to fish, where to fish, which species are biting, and how to catch them. It is written by veteran Delaware angler Eric Burnley, Sr.

Delaware Bay

And the beat goes on. The drum beat at Broadkill Beach that is. Blacks to 30 pounds continue to take sand fleas and clams from shore and from boats fishing close to shore off of Broadkill Beach. Larger drum have been caught at the Coral Beds and other locations on the New Jersey side of the bay. Make sure you have your New Jersey FIN number before fishing east of the main channel in Jersey waters.

Black Drum

Blues from medium to large have been caught from the fishing pier at Cape Henlopen State Park on cut mullet or bunker. Metal lures have also been effective when the larger blues move close to the pier. The same fish have also been caught from shore east of the pier on the same bait and lures. The best time to fish either location is during high tide.


The Broadkill River has seen blues and flounder on minnows, cut bunker and metal lures. At times the blues outnumber the flounder. In the Lewes and Rehoboth Canal it has been mostly flounder and this has been a slow pick for keepers on minnows, shiners and Gulp!.

Striped Bass (Rockfish)

In the Upper Bay the rockfish action is described as spotty. Keepers have been caught by chunking with fresh menhaden at the Yellow Can, the Pipes, the 4L and 6L buoys. The Submerged Jetty off of Augustine Beach produced rockfish measuring 46 and 31 inches for one lucky angler who was fishing with bunker and bloodworms.

Catfish action remains good in the C&D Canal and all of the tidal rivers and creeks as well as along the shoreline from New Castle to Port Mahon. White perch and small rockfish are found in the same locations. Bloodworms and cut bait remain the top producers. Non-offset circle hooks must be used when fishing with bait above a line from the South Jetty at the C&D Canal east to New Jersey and north to Pennsylvania.

Inshore Ocean

Black Sea Bass

Wednesday was opening day for the black sea bass season and every boat that went out came back with a limit. A few captains decided to stay in port due to rough seas, but the waves laid down during the day and the ride home was nice.

Offshore Ocean

No report

Indian River Inlet

Keeper rockfish were caught here on Tuesday night at the South Jetty. Blues continue to feed on incoming water as do hickory shad, but usually at different times. Early last week the blues came through during the top of the flood. The shad were there during the start of the incoming. Shad like darts and small metals while the blues prefer larger metals.

The Army Corps of Engineers has erected a ten-foot high chain-link fence around the collapsed sidewalk on the northside under the Route 1 Bridge. As those of us who fish here know, this is the best spot along the Inlet for people, like myself, whose days of jetty jockeying are long past. The problem is pretty serious because the water has scoured out the sand under the sidewalk and this will require engineering studies before any repair work can begin. I have been in contact with Senators Carper and Coons’ offices and they are aware of the situation and have been working with the Corps to get it resolved as soon as possible.

A few flounder have been caught out of Indian River Bay on minnows, shiners and Gulp!. This is a slow pick at best.

Surf Fishing

Blues have been scattered along the ocean beach from Cape Henlopen State Park to Fenwick Island. Most are taken on cut mullet or bunker with a few falling for metal lures. As is always the case with bluefish, you have to be there when they come by.

Rockfish are also scattered along the same stretch of sand, but if you catch 100 blues you are lucky to hook one keeper rock. The same baits work on the stripers.


The Delaware ponds will be pretty high and muddy as will some of the tidal creeks and rivers after the heavy rains we suffered through. I know Red Mill Pond is close to its banks and, while never crystal clear, it is even more yellow that usual. If we can stay dry until the weekend, perhaps fishing will improve.

Safe Boating

Image promoting the use of personal floatation devicesThis is safe boating week and one of the biggest mistakes I see people make when running boats is not keeping a proper lookout. I can’t count the number of times I have come up from behind another boater who had no idea I was there. I must try to anticipate what he or she is going to do and more than once they have turned right in front of me. I keep my sounding device, (air horn) close at hand and make sure I am well away from the other boater so I have time to react to any sudden moves.

This can really be a problem in Rehoboth Bay during summer weekends when hundreds of people and boats get together on the sandbars and choke off the narrow channels that run between them. The only way to navigate there is to slow down and be prepared to take evasive action.

I am still seeing several citations written every week in the DNREC Police Report for people who do not have PFDs on children under 12-years-old. This law has been on the books for years and I was a member of the Delaware Wildlife Federation who pressed for the regulation after two children were lost at Indian River Inlet when their boat overturned. Please put PFDs on your kids and wear one yourself.

Eric Burnley, Sr. is a native Delawarean who has fished local waters for more than 60 years. Eric Burnley has been a full-time outdoor writer since 1978, with articles appearing in most national magazines as well as many regional publications. He has written three books, Surf Fishing The Atlantic Coast, The Ultimate Guide To Catching Striped Bass, and Fishing Saltwater Baits