DNREC : FISHING REPORT

by Dave on July 30, 2008

Straight from DNREC, a local fishing report!

Delaware Fishing Report

 Updated: July 24, 2008

By Eric Burnley Sr.*

DELAWARE BAY A flurry of flounder activity occurred last Thursday and Friday in the area of the 9 and 10 buoys, Brown Shoal and the Starsite Reef. Over the weekend hundreds of boats descended on the fish and by Monday all the keepers were taken and the flounder that remained had sore mouths.

 Those who can fish the reef sites by jigging directly over structure have been able to scratch out a few keeper flounder (19½ inches) while anglers fishing over open bottom have a difficult time catching anything large enough to keep. Strip baits cut from squid, bluefish, sea robins, dog sharks and mullet also have been effective. Cut the strips at least 6 inches long to attract larger fish. Some anglers insist on using flounder strips for bait. If you do, make sure you have the rack the strip came from on the boat. Apropos the 19½ -inch legal limit, several people have discovered the hard way that flounder parts without the rack can cost a lot of money.

Live spot has been another flounder catcher. They may be purchased from tackle shops or caught on very small hooks baited with pieces of bloodworm. The area between the Ferry Wall and the Cape Henlopen Fishing Pier has been productive for catching spot. Triggerfish and a few sheepshead were caught off of the Outer Wall on sand fleas and crab. Tog too have been taken from this structure on the same baits.

We keep getting reports of trout caught in the upper bay with the best action after dark. Peeler crab on a top-bottom rig or used to sweeten a bucktail or Speck Rig has been the top bait at locations such as the Cross Ledge, the Flat Top or Miah Maull Shoal. After dark is also the time to target striped bass around the Outer Wall. Live spot, live eels, black Bomber plugs and swim shads have all produced keeper rockfish.

INSHORE OCEAN The Old Grounds and the area around B Buoy continue to give up sea bass, but most are well below the 12-inch minimum size. Flounder have been caught in the same area on strip baits and live spot.

Shark fishermen are playing catch and release with browns and duskys in the same area. A few makos have been caught a little further out beyond the Lightship.

Tog fishing can be good if you can find a wreck or reef that has not been hit recently. According to reports I received the #11 Reef Site is so infested with commercial fishing pots that it is impossible for a recreational angler to set and anchor or make a drift. The #10 Reef Site closer to shore has been reasonably good for tog fishing.

Trolling between A and B buoys produces bluefish, bonito, king mackerel and false albacore.  The action can be pretty good when trolling with small spoons, feathers and plugs.

OFFSHORE OCEAN This is the best fishing in our area right now. Bluefin tuna, many over the 100-pound mark, have been caught by trolling, jigging and chunking. Dolphin and a few wahoo have also been taken. All of the inshore lumps have been active, but seldom on the same day. If you fail to catch anything at Massey’s Canyon, move to the Tea Cup or the Hambone or any of the other shoals inside 30 fathoms. The best biting has been from dawn to noon so an early start to the day is required.

Yellowfin tuna have been more active beyond 30 fathoms. Trolling has worked best from here to the canyons. The canyons have seen a few billfish and I expect to see much more activity in the deep during the next week or two as the White Marlin Open approaches.

INDIAN RIVER INLET Big flounder continue to be caught here with most falling for live spot. The action is far from fast, but if you put in a lot of time and are in the right place there is a possibility you might catch a keeper. Where is the right place? Your guess is as good as mine. The slough by Burton’s Island, Massey’s Ditch and the inlet have seen some nice fish and would be good locations to try.

Rockfish action has been spotty at best. Live eels and live spot fished after dark provide the best opportunity for a keeper. A few stripers were caught on sand fleas drifted in the rocks.

During the day blues run through the inlet on incoming water and will hit just about anything that moves.  The problem is finding a safe place to fish along the rail.

Fishing in the rocks with sand fleas or crab may produce a tog or sheepshead. This is a job for very patient anglers as bites are few and far between while snags are common.

THE SURF High waves and strong currents have made surf fishing a difficult task, but with more moderate conditions that will improve. Kings remain the best bet for beach fishermen and bloodworms are the top bait. Expect to catch your share of skates and smooth dog sharks in the process. Two weeks ago I caught a hogfish—a first for me out of the Delaware surf.

FRESHWATER Noxontown Pond has been hot this summer for big bass, crappie and pickerel. The bass are taking soft plastics and minnows. The pickerel are in the far end of the pond where the lily pads are thick and they too prefer minnows. One angler reports trolling until he found a concentration of crappie and then setting the anchor to jig them up.

Lums Pond produced a 21-inch largemouth for an angler fishing a nightcrawler under a bobber. Paper Mill Pond has seen some bass action with shiners under a bobber a good bait. Becks Pond has also had some nice bass caught with the same shiner and bobber set up.

Smallmouth bass have been caught in the tidal portion of the Christina River near Hershey Run where the White Clay and the Christina join.  Tiny Torpedoes, white Bomber Fat Os, Rebel Weed Craws and Rebel Crick Hoppers all work well on the smallmouth. The Market Street Bridge in Wilmington has also seen some smallmouth action on the same lures.

Downstate, the Nanticoke River has been the best location for bass fishing with an outgoing tide early in the morning the best time to be there. Senkos and pig and jigs in dark colors work best on the bass. Chipman’s Pond in Laurel is seeing some bass action early in the morning on Senkos.

* Eric Burnley, Sr. is a native Delawarean who has fished the waters of his home state for more than 60 years. He has been a full-time time outdoor writer since 1978, with articles appearing in most national magazines as well as many regional publications.  He has authored two books, Surf Fishing The Atlantic Coast and the Ultimate Guide To Catching Striped Bass.

Comments on this entry are closed.

[CoastalSussex] on Twitter[Coastal Sussex] on Facebook[Our] RSS Feed[Our] Email