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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

These reports reflect conditions before the tropical storm passed by. Inshore waters were still stirred up on Wednesday but should be settled out by the weekend.

Atlantic CroakerIn the Upper Bay, white perch and catfish remain the best bet in the tidal creeks and rivers as well as along the shoreline from New Castle to Woodland Beach. Bloodworms, clams and FishBites will work on both cats and perch with cut bunker and chicken livers favorites with the catfish crowd.

In the Middle Bay, there are croaker, spot and trout on the reef sites. They will go after squid, clams, bloodworms or FishBites. Anglers working at night around the bases of the lighthouses or any rock structure find keeper-sized trout and slot-rockfish. Peeler crab is the bait of choice here.

Summer Flounder

In the Lower Bay, flounder have been caught at the reef sites, out of the Lewes and Rehoboth Canal, from the fishing pier at Cape Henlopen State Park and close to the rocks at the Inner and Outer walls. Live minnows, squid and Gulp! have all produced flatfish.

SpotThe fishing pier at Cape Henlopen State Park and the Lower Bay reef sites also produce spot, croaker and kings during high tides. Bloodworms or FishBites have worked best on these fish.

I have not had any reports of slot rockfish in the Lower Bay, although I feel certain some have been caught. Early morning or late evening would be the time to cast small plugs, live eels or bucktail close to structure if you would like to connect with a keeper rock.

Inshore OceanGray Triggerfish

Flounder fishing was very good before the storm and indications are it has returned to that level since the seas settled down. The Old Grounds and hard structure near B Buoy have been the best locations. Inshore wrecks have produced flounder as well as triggerfish and tog.

Tuna chunking was hit or miss and may take awhile to return as the storm will mix-up the water.

King mackerel, blues and Spanish mackerel were caught at Fenwick Shoals on trolled spoons.

Offshore Ocean

The White Marlin Open is underway with no billfish on the board as of Wednesday. There are 433 boats in the tournament with over six million dollars in prize money up for grabs.

White Marlin

Indian River Inlet

Slow fishing was the norm at the inlet during the day. Those who know how to work the rocks for flounder pick up a few keepers. Those who do not, lose a lot of rigs.

A few blues are caught on metal and bucktails during incoming water.

Flounder fishing in the Back Bays is about normal. There are lots of shorts and a few keepers. The best fishing will be very early in the day before boat traffic becomes a problem. Live minnows, squid and Gulp! remain the best baits.

I have seen a few reports of croaker and spot at the Inlet and in the Back Bays. Bloodworms or FishBites will work on these fish.

Surf Fishing

Slow is the word I hear most often when asking for a surf report. A few spot, kings and croaker have been caught on bloodworms, clam, squid and FishBites, but it is at best a slow pick. Serious surf fishermen should be on the beach at daybreak and off by 10 a.m. Being able to cast at least 100 yards is another benefit.


There has been a lot of rain and some areas of Delaware saw flash flood warnings, so I think the ponds and creeks are going to be pretty high and dirty this weekend.

Head Boat Fishing

With flounder fishing so good right now the only way some of us can reach the fish is to get on a head boat. This is a reasonably priced alterative to buying a new boat or even going out on a charter.

When you fish on a head boat, refer to last week’s message and do what the mate tells you works best. Use the same weight as everyone else to prevent tangles and make sure, if you bring your own tackle, it is up to the job. Gear that is too light is going to tangle with everybody around should you get a shark or ray.

Bring a cooler for your fish. Remember, you can only keep four flounder, so a 100-quart Igloo is a bit too large. Make up or buy some rigs before you get on the boat and be sure you have plenty of sinkers. Ask what size you need when you call in your reservation. Run out of either rigs or sinkers and the cost of fishing will go up.

Get to the boat as early as possible. Try to get a spot on the stern or bow. Boats drift for flounder so amidships is going to put you under the boat on half the drifts.

The local head boats are catching flounder right now so make a reservation and hope for good weather.

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