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 weather has been horrible for the better part of the week. I was complaining because the stores were setting out Halloween stuff in September and it looks like Mother Nature got the idea and sent Halloween weather a little early as well.

White Perch

The last reports I had before the storms indicated the white perch and catfish were still available in the tidal creeks and rivers as well as along the shoreline from New Castle to Port Penn. The weather didn’t bring too much rain so the creeks and rivers should remain clear and fishing should be about the same. Bloodworms and cut bait are the standard.

A little further down the bay there were trout and rockfish at the lighthouse bases on bloodworms and cut bunker. A few of the trout were over the 13-inch minimum size, but most of the rockfish failed to make the 28-inch size limit.

In the Lower Bay, the Outer Wall and the Ice Breaker produced quality sheepshead on sand fleas and green crabs. A few keeper tog were caught from the same structure on the same baits.

More bluefish were found in the Lower Bay schooled up and chasing rain bait. These are not large fish and will hit small metal lures or bucktails. If your metal lures have treble hooks, replace them with singles.

I do know of one 20-inch flounder caught from the Lewes and Rehoboth Canal on a live bluefish. A few short rockfish and some spot and croaker have also been taken from there.

Before the weather set in, spot, croaker, kings and trout were caught from Broadkill Beach on bloodworms and Fish Bites. Blues were taken on cut mullet.

Indian River Inlet

A good number of tog were caught from the inlet rocks. The problem is most were too small to keep. Sand fleas and green crab have been the best baits. These same baits will also attract the occasional sheepshead.

Blues have passed through the inlet on incoming water along with some shad. Metal or bucktails for the blues, shad darts or speck rigs for the shad.

Small rockfish are caught on bucktails while those who work the nightshift occasionally find a slot fish on live eels.

Flounder are in the inlet, but it takes a good deal of patience and tackle to get them out of the rocks. Working a jig with Gulp! or a live minnow is one technique that will work.

Surf Fishing

Surf fishing continues to provide good action. Jim Haug won the Delaware Mobile Surf-Fisherman’s Surf Fishing Tournament over the weekend with 377 points. That is a lot of points considering the weather and the surf conditions.Northern Kingfish

While no red drum over 40 inches were reported there have been some in the 24-inch range caught from the beach.

Kings, spot and blues make up most of the catch from the beach. Mullet, bloodworms, Gulp! and Fish Bites seem to be the top baits.

Inshore Ocean

Fishing was good before the weather turned nasty. Limits of flounder and black sea bass continued to come in from the Old Grounds, B and A Buoys and the Del-Jersey-Land Reef.

Fenwick Island Shoal produced Spanish mackerel and bluefish for those who trolled small spoons 30-feet behind a trolling sinker or # 1 planer. The wrecks on the shoal hold triggerfish.

Offshore Ocean

Chris Huk, Pete Campbell and Mike Lewis ran to the deep where they first caught five yellowfin tuna between 65 and 70 pounds on the chunk. They then set up for swordfish and on the first drop had a hook up. The sword ran to the surface where he jumped several times. It took a hour and a half to being him to the boat. Back at the dock he weighed 415 pounds.Swordfish

The tuna fishing has been very good in the canyons. Most of the catch has been yellowfin with double digits taken on the chunk.


Not hearing much from downstate pond anglers. As I drive around, I notice plenty of green scum on the ponds so I think the fishermen are waiting for that to clear up a bit.

I do get reports from folks fishing the Brandywine and White Clay creeks. They are catching panfish and a few largemouth and smallmouth bass on nightcrawlers and spinners.

Think Before You Go

I get notices from the Coast Guard when ever they go out on a search and rescue operation. Just this week they had to search for a 27-year-old woman who was lost off the North Carolina Coast when the canoe she and two men were in tipped over in the ocean.

Canoes and kayaks have become very popular in recent years and both of my sons fish from kayaks. In fact, my oldest son Ric, is the editor of Kayak Angler magazine.

The problem with these boats is they can tip over without much help from the seas. Both of my boys have experienced this and both were lucky to have other anglers nearby to help them.

If you fish or just like to ride around in a kayak or canoe, please don’t go when the weather is anything but perfect. Stay away from inlets. My youngest son got caught up in the inlet and his kayak flipped over. Friends helped him back in the boat, but two brand new rods and reels were lost.

Just consider the size of the seas and the size of your boat before you go out. And always wear your PFD!

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