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

I gave the slot rockfish a shot on Tuesday morning at the oceanside of the Outer Wall. My friend Doug Elliott and I launched from the Lewes Boat Ramp around 7:00 AM to catch the incoming current and ran straight to the wall on a flat calm sea. The ocean waves were running about three feet and breaking against the rocks making for perfect conditions to find rockfish. What wasn’t perfect was the water temperature, almost 80 degrees.

Striped Bass (Rockfish)

I was casting a black back Rebel WindCheater to the rocks and Doug was jigging a Gulp! decorated bucktail on the bottom trying for flounder. I did manage to catch a small blue while Doug caught nothing.

We moved to the Shears and then to sites 8 and 5 looking for croaker and finding lots and lots of spot. FishBite bloodworms were the only bait we used.

The slot rockfish action seems to be pretty slow in the upper bay as well. I did get reports of some caught at the Submerged Jetty off of Augustine Beach and the Yellow Can on bunker and at the Woodland Beach pier and the Leipsic River on peeler crab.

White Perch

The more common catch from Augustine Beach to Woodland Beach has been white perch and catfish. Bloodworms, FishBite bloodworms and cut bunker have been the best baits.

The reef sites in the bay are still producing spot, croaker, flounder and blues. Some keeper trout have also been taken, although shorts are more common. Trout to 25 inches have been caught from the jetty at Bowers Beach on peeler crab.

The Lewes and Rehoboth Canal and the Broadkill River hold flounder and some rockfish, but not for me or my friend Mac McNaught. We fished the Canal with jigs baited with Gulp! on Friday, August 16 from 6:00 AM until noon. Once again, we were fishing the incoming current because I have had no success on the outgoing. I caught a really big oyster cracker that I thought was a flounder until I saw it and Mac didn’t have a strike. At the end of the day we ran out into the bay and fished in nine feet of water opposite Plum Beach Island catching small trout and spot on bloodworm FishBites.

The fishing pier at Cape Henlopen State Park continues to give up lots of spot on bloodworms or FishBite bloodworms during high tides. The flounder action around the pilings slowed down last week.

Triggerfish have been caught at the Outer Wall and the Ice Breakers on sand fleas and green crab. Croaker and trout were taken in the same location on the same baits.

Blues in the one to three-pound class are popping up in various locations in the Lower Bay. Trolling spoons or casting metal lures or jigging with metal lures or bucktails will quickly fill your ten-fish limit.

Inshore Ocean

Cohen Betts with a mackerel The Flounder Pounder Tournament produced an 8.6-pound flounder caught by Dylan Montgomery on the El Nino with Captain Nino Aversa to take the $100,000 first prize.

Flounder fishing remained good in the ocean considering how many boats were trying to win that $100,000.

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.

Small dolphin are inshore and holding around anything that floats. A few larger fish are also roaming these inshore waters. Casting cut bait or small bucktails to the buoys or other floating objects will attract the dolphin’s attention.

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 canyons are seeing plenty of billfish and dolphin along with a few bigeye and yellowfin tuna. Getting out early and having lines in before sunrise is the best way to catch the tuna.

Deep-dropping is holding up well. Limit catches of tilefish is the norm for most boats that have good numbers.

Indian River Inlet

A nice 2.5-pound trout was caught from the northside of the Inlet on Wednesday by Caleb O’Keefe on a speck rig. The fish earned Caleb a Junior Delaware Fishing Citation. A few sheepshead have been caught on green crabs or sand fleas and the occasional triggerfish is taken as well.

The bluefish run tapered off a bit last week. This may be due to the high water temperature.

Flounder are still caught by anglers fishing close to the rocks. As I said before, this takes a captain with a steady hand on the wheel.

A few more flounder have been caught from the back bays, but here too the water temperature is high. Look for the deepest holes you can find and work them early and late in the day.

Surf Fishing

No change here. Fishing remains good for kings, croaker and spot from the beach on bloodworms or FishBite bloodworms. The best time to fish is dawn or dusk when the bathers are not present.


Finally saw some photos of successful bass fishermen who caught their fish early in the morning. They worked vegetation in a Delaware pond with surface lures.

Striped Bass Meeting

On Thursday, August 29, there will be a meeting at 6:00 PM in the DNREC Auditorium 89 Kings Highway in Dover where the public will be asked for comment on management measures for striped bass proposed by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. The proposed measures include reduced quotas for commercial fisheries, and changes in bag limits, minimum sizes, and slot size limits for the recreational sector. Input on mandating the use of circle hooks when fishing for striped bass with bait is also being sought. The last few meetings on fisheries issues have been poorly attended. In fact, at the last one no one from the public bothered to show up. Please, if you have an interest in striped bass make plans to attend this meeting.

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