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

Still a few keeper rockfish in the upper bay, but most are well below minimum size. The jetty off of Augustine Beach, the 6L Buoy and the Bull Pen are a few locations where rock may be found. Bunker chunks remain the best bait.

Small rock and white perch are in all the tidal rivers and creeks, the C&D Canal and along the shoreline from Reedy Point to Port Mahon. Bloodworms have been the top producer. A few big catfish are in the same areas and will hit bloods or cut bunker.

White Perch

A few flounder have been taken on squid and minnows at the Crossledge. It is a slow pick, but this could improve as the water continues to warm.

Kings and blowfish have been caught at the Broadkill Slough, sites 5 and 6 and the Shears. Bloodworms are the best bait, but squid will also work.

The fishing pier at Cape Henlopen State Park saw a few keeper flounder and lots of shorts. A jig with Gulp! or a top-bottom rig baited with squid and minnows have been the most popular attractors. Croaker and spot have also been taken from the pier, but these are small fish and will hit bloodworms.

The Lewes and Rehoboth Canal and the Broadkill River have given up flounder to five pounds, but to say the bite is slow is a major understatement. Mike Pizzolato and I fished the Canal on Wednesday afternoon and in three hours of fighting the wind against the current we had one short flounder. The few other boats fishing with us had the same result. Squid and minnows caught our one fish.

Inshore Ocean

The MV Twin Capes was added to the Del-Jersey-Land reef last Friday, June 15. It slipped beneath the waves at 11:55 and is now located at 38 30.882/074 30.848.

Keeper sea bass and some ling were caught here during the week. Jigs or clam have been popular baits along with squid strips.

A few flounder have been caught at Reef Site 11 and over the Old Grounds. As with flounder fishing everywhere, the action is slow at best. Bucktails or jigs decorated with strips of fresh fish or squid strips seem to do as well as anything else.

Offshore Ocean

The tuna action slowed this week. Yellowfins and bigeyes are still in the deep with a few bluefins caught over the inshore lumps. Trolling spreader bars seems to draw most of the strikes.

The first white marlin was caught out of Ocean City, but no one has caught a marlin this year out of a Delaware port.

Indian River Inlet

Flounder fishing remained very slow at the Inlet and in Indian River Bay. The VFW Slough and Massey’s Ditch were the best locations with squid and minnows the most used bait.

The night shift at the Inlet caught a few keeper rockfish and at least one in the slot that had to be released. Black or purple plugs or sand fleas were the top baits.

Hickory shad are around on incoming water and will hit darts or small spoons.

Surf Fishing

Kings remain the best bet for surfcasters, but they are few and far between. Skates and sharks make up most of the catch from the beach.

Northern Kingfish

The weekends find the beach packed so if you want to fish the best bet is to be on site by dawn and plan to leave by 10:00 AM. Evenings are also less crowded. Bloodworms will be the best bet with FishBite Bloodworms a close second.


The ponds and the upper reaches of the tidal creeks continue to produce bass. Fish a falling tide in the tidal creeks and rivers. Early or late day excursions in the ponds seem to produce better results.

Fish Smart

So far 2018 has been pretty disappointing for many anglers, myself included. The big blues didn’t show up in the numbers we saw in 2016 and 17. Sea bass fishing has not been anywhere near expectations and flounder are hard to come by.

The days of running out to your favorite spot any time of the day and dropping in any bait and expecting to catch something are long gone, if they ever existed. In today’s fishing world you have to fish smart.

The smartest thing to do, if you want to catch fish, is charter a boat that has a good track record of producing for their customers. Yes, it is going to cost money, but you only get what you pay for.

Many of us have our own boats and enjoy getting out on the water with friends and family. I know that’s what I like to do. Since you are now in effect a charter captain, you have to think like a charter captain.

First, study the tides and currents in the area you wish to fish. Most of the fish we target feed on a moving current. I like to fish the last half of the incoming and the first half of the outgoing when working in shallow water such as the Lewes and Rehoboth Canal or Indian River Bay. When bottom fishing in deeper water the last of the outgoing into the first of the incoming will also work. Just try to fish both tides.

Next, keep track of the moon phase. Full and new moons bring stronger currents that can hinder deep water fishing. The wind direction must also be accounted for, as I found out on Wednesday while trying to fish with the wind against the current.

Using all this information plus reliable reports from people who are on the water, or those who clean fish, you should be able to find a location, technique and time of day when you will have the best chance of connecting with a fish.

Eric Burnely, 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