Flounder traveling local waters for fishing delight

April 25, 2011

Fishing is just about to break wide open. The water temperature in the bay and ocean is hovering around the 50-degree mark, and once it moves past that level the fish will really begin to bite.

Over the last week we have had reports of rockfish caught from the beach at Cape Henlopen, Broadkill Beach and from boats at the Coral Beds. Cut, fresh bunker and herring have been the top baits. Clams and bloodworms have also accounted for rockfish from the same areas. Flounder are beginning to make their presence known in Indian River Bay, Massey’s Landing and the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal. Live minnows and strips of herring are the best offerings. Gulp! minnows and strips also draw flounder strikes. Please remember we are still operating on the same flounder regulations we had in 2010. The size limit is still 18.5 inches and the bag limit is still four fish. The new regulations are usually in place by early May.

All we need is a steady run of mild weather to really get the fishing season going in high gear. It would be even better if some of that mild weather occurred over a weekend.

Old Salt Yard Sale
This Saturday, Old Salt Bait and Tackle will hold a yard sale in the parking lot of the store on New Road. There are many new fishing items reduced for this sale and lots of used tackle at very reasonable prices.

Old Salt will also begin its weekly flounder tournament with prizes for the largest flatfish weighed in each week. This was a very popular contest last year, and the prizes will be even better this year.

Cedar Creek Boat Ramp
Last week we reported that the Cedar Creek boat ramp will be closed for 180 days beginning July 1. As expected, this news was not well received by those who use this ramp.

When the Advisory Committee on Recreational Fishing Funding was presented with a list of projects and asked to select which ones should be addressed first, the Cedar Creek ramp received a high priority. The ramp at Augustine Beach was another project high on the list.

Since that time, the Augustine project has been rejected because of the cost and the lack of assurance it would solve the problem of shoaling around the ramp. The alterative is to dredge the area on a regular basis.

The Cedar Creek project has finally completed all the preliminary studies, and the permits have been issued. The engineers have selected a start date of July 1 because this will give them the best weather window for completing the project on time.

At first I thought the project would repair the current ramps, but this is not the case. The old ramps will be removed, and five new ramps will be constructed.

In addition, the old parking lot will be removed and completely replaced. There are many more environmental rules to comply with now then when the old lot was put down. One new rule requires all runoff water from the parking lot to go into some sort of filter system before entering the creek. A buffer must be in place between the lot and the creek. All of this and much more require a completely new lot. In addition, the permit will not allow construction anytime between March and the end of June.  There is no doubt this project will inconvenience a lot of fishermen. Given the scope of the work and the confines of the permit there is no other reasonable time frame.

First trip
Mike Pizzolato and I departed Cedar Creek Marine last Thursday morning around 8:30. Our plan was to run over to the New Jersey side where reports had rockfish stacked up like cordwood. Having never fished this area before, I was looking for a fleet of boats and plenty of bent rods to locate productive grounds.

We found the Cape May fleet fishing in 20 feet of water northeast of the Brandywine Light near the Punk Grounds. No bent rods, but plenty of boats, so we set the anchor.

The current was running out with a wind from the north, so the boat sat very well. We deployed four rigs baited with fresh clams and waited and waited and waited. Around 1 p.m., the current changed to incoming and the boat settled into a side-to position. Not the most comfortable situation with 3- to 4-foot seas. We stuck it out until 3 p.m. and then headed to the barn. It was good to get the first trip of the year out of the way, and Mike was delighted the motor and boat preformed flawlessly, but a few rockfish or even a shark or skate would have been nice.

  • 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

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