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 fishing at Lower Bay reef sites has been pretty good. It is a mixed bag of blues, croaker, spot, sheepshead, triggerfish, flounder and trout. Blowfish and oyster crackers are also in the mix. Sites 6, 7 and 8 have been the best bets. Everything from clam, to bloodworms to FishBites have attracted these fish.

The Outer Wall has given up some fine sheepshead to 13 pounds. Sand fleas and green crab remain the best baits. Most folks anchor the bow and tie off the stern with a grapple hook into the rocks. Then it’s just fish and wait. Small tog and oyster crackers are the by-catch.


In the Upper Bay white perch and catfish remain the top targets. Tidal rivers, creeks and the shoreline from New Castle to Port Mahon have been the top spots with bloodworms and peeler crab the top baits.

The fishing pier at Cape Henlopen State Park continues to produce spot and croaker on bloodworms or FishBites. A few flounder have been caught on live minnows or Gulp! by those willing to work for their fish. Small blues are always around and will take most baits.Black Sea Bass

Inshore Ocean

Sea bass fishing has been very good at the Del-Jersey-Land Reef with squid, clams, FishBites and Gulp! all working on these fish.

Limit catches have been the norm and the bite should continue for a while. The Old Grounds and coral patches between A and B buoys still hold a few flounder and sea bass.

Fenwick Shoal has a slightly larger class of bluefish along with a few Spanish mackerel. Trolling with small spoons has been the best technique.

Offshore Ocean

Plenty of dolphin and a few white marlin in the canyons. Boats are catching limits of good-sized mahi then deep dropping for tilefish to fill the box.

Indian River Inlet

Other than the run of small blues through the inlet on incoming water, fishing remains slow. The blues may be caught on small metal lures or bucktails.

The occasional flounder is pulled from the rocks on a bucktail tipped with a minnow or Gulp!. Tog, sheepshead and triggerfish have been caught here on green crab or sand fleas.

BluefishDrifting the inlet, the VFW Slough or Massey’s Ditch can be good for flounder. The pier at Massey’s Ditch has seen some flounder and tog.

Surf Fishing

A surf fishing tournament last weekend saw lots of small blues measured. The winner of the Bluefish Calcutta, Robert Thompson, walked away with $1,930. The largest fish other than a blue was a 16.75-inch flounder caught by Ann Marie Stuart and it was worth $750.

Other than blues, the surf has seen pompano, kings and spot. Sand fleas and bloodworms have been the best baits.

FreshwaterBlue Catfish

It seems the bass fishing in the ponds has been better with good-sized fish caught on Senkos, frogs and live minnows.

Large blue catfish to 18 pounds have come from the Nanticoke River. Most are caught on cut bait, but at least one hit a swim shad.

In the lower Brandywine and Christina rivers tiger muskies and keeper rockfish have been caught. Cloudy days are best with plugs and live baits the most effective.

After the Storm

We will be looking at all sorts of warnings and watches for Friday, Saturday and Sunday as well as a probable drop in water temperature. If the water temperature in the bay and ocean drop more than one or two degrees, that will kill fishing until the fish adapt to the new temperature or move to a place with a more comfortable climate.

It may flush more bait out of the tidal creeks and rivers to run along the coast. This could draw rockfish and blues inshore.

It is all conjecture until the seas and winds settle down and anglers get back out on the 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