New state record for golden tilefish seems likely

September 2, 2017

It looks like Delaware will have a new state record golden tilefish. Tom Schanno from Halethorpe, Md., caught a 46.5-pound golden tile out of 500 feet of water at the Baltimore Canyon while working a Butterfly jig from the boat Indian Giver out of Indian River Marina with Capt. Tom Perna from Alexandria, Va. The final word on this, as with all state records, has to come from DNREC’s Fish and Wildlife Section.

Deep dropping has become more popular as the number of tuna and dolphin in the canyons has not been up to par in 2017. While a few folks target only billfish, most people who spend a lot of money to go fishing in the deep would like to take home some meat. This is especially true for charter boat customers who drop as much as, if not more than, $1,500 a trip. Fortunately, NOAA put a seven-fish-per-person limit on tilefish, golden and blueline combined, to prevent overfishing.

Hunting seasons

I have never used a bow and arrow to hunt deer simply because I have never taken the time to become proficient in their use. I also do not have the time it takes to bag a deer with this weapon.

I do, however, have several friends who make full use of archery season, and they tell me the vegetation in the woods is really thick this year. It takes quite a bit of work to clear shooting lanes, and they are also encountering a few more ticks and other bugs than in years past. I wish all archery hunters the best of luck.

Dove season also opens in September. This is another sport that I do not have the time or talent to pursue.

I went dove hunting once when I was in high school. Shot up two boxes of shells out of a Remington 12-gauge Model 12 with a 30-inch barrel and a full choke, and never touched a feather. That was my first and last dove hunting experience.

Once again, I have several friends who really enjoy hunting these birds. They can’t wait for opening day, but this may have more to do with the barbecue held after the hunt than the number of birds they shoot.

I have dined on dove and while they are tasty, you only get one bite per bird. If I am going to kill something, I would like to get at least one meal, not one bite, from the animal. When you shoot a Canada goose, you take home a dinner. Even a duck can be made into a nice dinner for two, and a deer can feed you all winter. I will leave the doves to better shots with less of an appetite than I have.

Fishing forecast

The weather last week is the reason this is a forecast and not a report. The first northeast storm of the fall came a bit early, but will still have an impact on the fishing.

The offshore canyons will see the biggest change if the storm pushes in some Gulf Stream water to and inshore of the 100-Fathom Line. The number of fish caught out of the deep this summer has been disappointing. Both of the local marlin tournaments recorded fewer billfish than normal, and bigeye tuna that were so plentiful last year have been conspicuous by their absence. September historically has been a good month offshore, and we wait to see if this holds true in 2017.

Flounder fishing in the ocean was improving before the storm and we hope that trend continues. Summer flounder begin to move offshore to spawn in the fall, and this latest storm may have given them the spawning urge.

One location that should hold big flounder is the rips at the mouth of Delaware Bay. I seldom, if ever, hear about flounder caught there, but when we had a fall run of rockfish, some big flounder always showed up in the catch. I would like to make a few drifts through there this fall while targeting flounder.

The mullet run has started along the beach. This should draw in bigger blues, but I do not expect the 10-pound or heavier choppers we had in the spring. The beach may also see a few red drum this fall since these fish continue to push northward as their population increases.

And then there are the rockfish. Delaware has not seen a good run of rock since Superstorm Sandy. Prior to that storm we had stripers in the surf, Indian River Inlet and Delaware Bay. The same lack of rockfish has been felt in coastal Maryland and Virginia.

I have no idea what the storm did to change the migratory habits of these fish, but the evidence is pretty clear that it did something.

  • Eric Burnley is a Delaware native who has fished and hunted the state from an early age.  Since 1978 he has written countless articles about hunting and fishing in Delaware and elsewhere along the Atlantic Coast.  He has been the regional editor for Salt Water Sportsman, Field and Stream, Outdoor Life and the Fisherman Magazine.  He was the founding editor of the Mid-Atlantic Fisherman magazine.  Eric is the author of three books; Surf Fishing the Atlantic Coast, The Ultimate Guide to Striped Bass Fishing and Fishing Saltwater Baits.  He and his wife Barbara live near Milton, Delaware. Eric can be reached at