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

Either the slot rockfish season is not generating a lot of interest, or the folks fishing for them are keeping really quiet. In either case I am not getting many reports of success. The few I do get seem to be from boaters fishing with bunker at the Yellow Can or the Submerged Jetty at Augustine Beach or from shore anglers using peeler crab at the Woodland Beach Pier.

White Perch

The Upper Bay and its tributaries hold white perch and catfish in good numbers. They have been caught from New Castle to Woodland Beach on bloodworms, bunker, FishBite bloodworms or clams.

Miah Maull Shoal and the Crossledge have seen some flounder and trout on peeler crab, minnows and squid strips. Keeper trout have been caught from shore on peeler crab at Bowers Beach.

Northern Kingfish

The reef sites in the Lower Bay hold a variety of fish. Kings, spot and croaker dominate, but keeper trout have also been taken. Bloodworms, FishBite bloodworms, squid strips and clams have all produced the desired results. A few flounder to seven pounds have been caught from the reef sites. Jigging with bucktails decorated with Gulp! or live-baiting with spot have been the best techniques for catching flounder.

Blues are roaming all over the Lower Bay. Some are caught on the reef sites and some are caught jigging bucktails or trolling spoons around breaking schools of fish.

The fishing pier at Cape Henlopen State Park has seen continued good fishing for spot on high tide. Flounder to 18 inches have been caught by those who learn how to work live minnows close to the pier pilings.

The Lewes and Rehoboth Canal has seen decent flounder fishing. Live spot, Gulp! on a bucktail or speck rig and live minnows have all accounted for keepers in the cooler. Both tides seem to be productive.Summer Flounder

Inshore Ocean

Flounder remain the big draw in the ocean. Charter boats continue to return with boat limits and some private boats do the same. Head boat customers who have experience are able to catch their four-fish limit.

Blues and Spanish mackerel are holding up at the Fenwick Shoal. Trolling with small spoons behind a sinker or planer has been the top method for catching these fish.

King mackerel are available from close to the beach all the way out to the inshore lumps. Most are caught by trolling spoons or plugs. To the best of my knowledge, no one in Delaware has tried live-bait trolling.

Offshore Ocean

The White Marlin Open was won by a Delaware boat. The Fish Whistle with angler Tommy Hinkle brought in a 79.5-pound white marlin on Thursday and it held on to win 1.5 million dollars. The Fish Whistle runs out of Indian River Marina. This is the second time the Fish Whistle and Tommy Hinkle have won the White Marlin Open having accomplished the feat in 2008. They become the first team to win twice in the 46-year history of the event.

Indian River InletBluefish

The best action here continues to be blues in the one- to two-pound class that move through on incoming water. Use metal lures for best results. On occasion there will be some hickory shad with the blues. Try shad darts 12 inches behind a torpedo sinker if you metal lures get ignored.

A few captains have mastered flounder fishing very close to the inlet rocks. The rocks do not forgive mistakes, so the learning curve is very sharp.

There have been a few keeper rockfish caught at night from the rocks at the jetty. Live eels, sand fleas and white plastic shads have been the go-to baits. Small rock are available under the lights at the Coast Guard Station.

Surf Fishing

Kings, croaker and spot have been taken from the beach on bloodworms or FishBite bloodworms. The best time to fish is dawn or dusk when the bathers are not present.


Bass anglers are fishing early in the morning with surface lures around vegetation to capture bass before the fish go deep during the hot part of the day.

Red Mill Pond has turned green, not its best color. I pass several Sussex County ponds on a regular basis and I seldom see anyone fishing them.

Pontoon Boats

Pontoon boats are wonderful fishing boats on inland bays, lakes and other protected waters. They are not designed for ocean waters or even the Delaware Bay when it gets rough.

Please don’t tell me how you run through Indian River Inlet all the time and fish the Old Grounds on a regular basis in your pontoon boat. I know you do because I see you out there and I say to myself those people are living on borrowed time.

Pontoon boats are not designed to handle large waves. The large, flat deck over the two or three tubes will hold the bow down and the waves will run over the boat. This is going to cause the boat to capsize as those three pontoon boats recently did in Ocean City, Maryland. Thankfully, no one was lost in those accidents which is close to a miracle since two of the boats were overloaded.

Please, keep your pontoon boat inside the inlet. Enjoy all that room, those cushy chairs and the shade under the top. Just don’t go out in the big water.

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