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

The Upper Bay reef sites continue to see some trout on peeler crab and the occasional rockfish on the same bait. Croaker are a more common catch at these locations and they will take bloodworms, Gulp!, Fish Bites and squid. Croaker have also been taken on the same baits at the Woodland Beach Pier.

Atlantic Croaker

Augustine Beach and the shoreline from New Castle to Port Penn will see white perch and catfish on bloodworms and cut bait. All of the tributaries will hold the same fish. Slot rockfish are a bycatch to this fishery.

In the Middle Bay, the reef sites and the bases of lighthouses have seen trout and slot rockfish on peeler crab and bucktails decorated with Gulp! swimming mullet. Flounder have also been caught on this structure with minnows, squid, Gulp! and jigs all playing a role.


Lower Bay structure such as reef sites, the Inner and Outer Wall and the Ice Breakers hold a variety of fish. The walls have tog and sheepshead plus some triggerfish. The reef sites see good catches of croaker and kings although these are generally small fish. Flounder are also found on the reef sites along with triggerfish. Small bluefish are a rare catch.


The fishing pier at Cape Henlopen State Park has had good fishing for spot, croaker and kings. Bloodworms, Fish Bites and squid have been the most popular baits. Flounder are caught from the pier on live minnows or Gulp! on a jig fished close to the pilings.

I have not heard a great deal from the Lewes and Rehoboth Canal or the Broadkill River. I did have one report of a slot rockfish caught on cut bait fished on the bottom in the river. Croaker are also caught in the Broadkill River on bloodworms and Fish Bites.

Indian River Inlet

SheepsheadVery little change at the Inlet. A few keeper tog and the occasional sheepshead on sand fleas fished in the rocks. I did have one report of small blues and rockfish caught at night under the lights at the Coast Guard Station.

The night shift is still catching the rare rockfish from the jetties. This is a special fishery and the only way to learn it is to do it.

Surf Fishing

Clark Evans at Old Inlet Bait and Tackle told me the kingfish action is pretty good if you are in the right place. I told him, “That’s the problem. I’m never in the right place.”

Inshore Ocean

Black Sea Bass

The sea bass fishing is great. Boats are still getting limits and this is the end of July. The Del-Jersey-Land Reef seems to be the hot spot. Dolphin have also moved into this location.

Flounder fishing is fair at the Old Grounds. Most folks are catching 20 to 25 fish to cull out four keepers. Sea bass are mixed in the catch so you keep busy with drop and reel action.

At Fenwick Shoal the Spanish mackerel are still hitting small spoons trolled behind torpedo sinkers or #1 planers. Some blues are caught along with the mackerel.

The wrecks there hold triggerfish.

Offshore Ocean

The yellowfin tuna action is good in the canyons and at the Hot Dog. Some boats have gone to chunking with butterfish while others continue to troll.

White Marlin

The offshore area will be very busy this week as the White Marlin Open will take place from August 2 to the 6. They usually have over 400 boats entered in the contest.


Other than some folks fishing White Clay Creek and the Brandywine River I am not getting many freshwater reports. Smallmouth bass, sunfish and fallfish seem to be abundant in those waters. I also don’t see many anglers on the ponds I drive by here in Sussex County.


Unless you have been caught out on open water in a thunderstorm you have no idea what fear is. The sky is black, the rain comes on the horizontal and the wind is so loud you can’t hear if the motor is running or not. The only good thing is you will have time to prepare because the big, black cloud will be pretty obvious before it hits.

The first thing to do is get all hands in PFDs if they aren’t already wearing them. Next, have the crew get as low in the boat as possible. You want that center of gravity low to make the boat handle better. Drop all antennas.

The rest is up to you. Forget where you were going. Your course is now determined by the wind and the seas. Head into the waves on an angle and maintain your speed so the boat will crest the waves without pitch polling. I know you are scared to death, anyone who isn’t is nuts, but the crew’s safety is in your hands so you have to get it together and keep as cool a head as possible.

Thunderstorms don’t last forever. You will come out on the other side and then you can head for home.

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