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 hottest thing right now is black drum fishing in Delaware Bay. The Coral Beds off of Slaughter Beach have seen fish to 60 pounds on fresh clam baits. The Captain’s Lady out of Bowers Beach had 14 out of 22 hooked on Tuesday night. The best time to fish is late afternoon into night. Due be careful of evening thunderstorms.

Black Drum

A few more keeper rockfish have been caught in the upper bay and lower river. Cut bunker has been the best bait with bloodworms and mullet also used. The submerged jetty off Augustine Beach, the pier at Woodland Beach and the shoreline at Green’s Beach have all produced a few keepers.

In the Lower Bay, Broadkill Beach has seen a mixed bag of blues, black drum and short rockfish. The drum want clams as do the rockfish. Blues like fresh bunker or frozen mullet.

Flounder fishing in the Lewes and Rehoboth Canal and the Broadkill River is, at best, a slow pick. Live minnows along with jigs baited with Gulp! have worked on the few fish caught. The occasional weakfish has been caught in the Broadkill River by flounder fishermen.

BluefishThe fishing pier at Cape Henlopen State Park has seen short runs of big blues with the best action on incoming water. The beach to the east of the pier has had the same luck. Cut mullet or bunker and silver spoons have worked when the fish are there.

A boat fishing near the pier on high tide caught two keeper flounder and three big blues on bunker and minnows. Flounder have been caught from the pier on bucktails rigged with Gulp!

Inshore Ocean

Sea bass fishing has been steady, but not spectacular. Most boats working the Del-Jersey-Land artificial reef are finding plenty of fish, but having to cull the keepers from all the shorts. Anglers are using squid or clam, but with the sea bass feeding on sand eels I think a Diamond Jig would work as well.

Offshore Ocean

No offshore ocean report this week.

Indian River Inlet

2018 Delaware Fishing Guide Cover

There were a couple of good runs of rockfish at the inlet on Sunday and Monday mornings. The bite started around 2 a.m. and lasted until dawn. SP Minnows, Bombers and similar swimming plugs in black or purple were the best baits. On Sunday morning the bite began at the bridge and went down both sides of the inlet to the North and South Pockets. On Monday morning it was confined to the North Pocket. As of Wednesday morning the fish had not returned.

The hickory shad bite continues to be very good on incoming water. These fish are lots of fun to catch on light tackle and will hit small spoons or shad darts. I find then too boney and strong tasting for my palate, but they make a great bait for rockfish and blues. Remember the limit is 10 fish per day.

A very few flounder have been caught out of the VFW Slough on live minnows or Gulp! We even heard of one flounder caught from the inlet rocks on a white bucktail with a white worm.

Surf Fishing

Fishing from the beach remains a hit or miss operation. On Monday I fished Herring Point from the bottom of the ebb into the flood. I was using surf clams and they only lasted on the hook about five minutes. I did manage to land one 24-inch black drum. I saw a 6- to 7-pound bluefish and short striper caught on either side of me.

On Tuesday I went back to the same location with my clams and some bunker. This time I used two rods, one with each type of bait. I never had a bite. Towards the end I was rebaiting every five minutes and never pulled in a hook with even a small bit of clam or bunker remaining.

This seems to be the pattern up and down the beach. A black drum here, a rockfish there and a few blues around. Just enough to keep me coming back.


I know Red Mill Pond is high and dirty and I expect most of the other ponds are in the same condition. The bass, pickerel and crappie are still there, but it may take a live bait to draw a strike.

The upper reaches of the tidal creeks and rivers will also show the effects of the Monsoon Season. I still have reports of good white perch fishing with bloodworms the top bait.

Boating Safety

Last Friday I attended a press conference on the subject of boating safety. The number one cause of death from boating accidents is not wearing a Personal Flotation Device (PFD). Something like 80 percent of all drowning victims were not wearing their PFD. This is why I have such a hard time understanding why so many people I see on the water don’t wear theirs all the time.

On a positive note, no children have drowned from boating accidents since the Delaware law requiring all kids under the age of 12 to wear a PFD while on the water.

I still recall the incident that brought this law into being. A grandfather had two of his grandchildren out on a nice day and when he tried to enter Indian River Inlet his boat flipped over. One child was trapped in the cabin. The other was swept away and never found.

I was a member of the Delaware Wildlife Federation at the time and we pushed hard for the legislation. I believe it failed the first year, but was passed the second year.

Please wear you PFD and make sure all the children on board wear theirs.

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