Boats record double-digit catches of yellowfin

June 16, 2012
Alex McClure wanted to celebrate his bachelor party by catching a mako, and his wish came true when he landed this 221.5 pounder. The big blackeye grabbed a mackerel fillet at Massey's Canyon aboard the Joint Venture, with Captain Jeff Hoepfl and mate Sonny McClure, who is Alex's Dad. Weighed at Lewes Harbour Marina. SOURCE SUBMITTED

Fishing was pretty good over the weekend with a red-hot tuna bite along the 50- to 60-Fathom Line at the Baltimore Canyon. Most boats had double-digit catches of yellowfins and a few had their limit. Ballyhoo and various tuna lures did the job. A few big dolphin and white marlin were also caught. Reports of blue marlin in the baits were received, but to date, none have been landed.

Flounder fishing did improve over the weekend with more keepers taken at Indian River, Massey’s Landing, the Lewes and Rehoboth Canal, and Broadkill River. The bay reef sites also turned on, giving up good-sized flatfish to anglers who know how to work the structure. The first croaker of the year was captured at one of the reef sites.

Live spot were the ticket to success at Indian River. Earlier this year I had a report from the Center for the Inland Bays that the young-of-the-year spot run was very good. With plenty of this bait around, it is no surprise that flounder are feeding on spot.

Mike Pizzaloto and I went sea bass fishing on his boat, 7th Heaven, on Thursday. We ran out of Indian River Inlet and started at the flags near A Buoy. As soon as our clam baits hit bottom we had fish. Unfortunately, most were short of the 12.5-inch minimum size limit. This continued for over an hour with only two keepers in the box.

At this point we packed up and headed for the Drydock about 12 miles farther out. Once there I tried to locate some structure and failed. Drifting open bottom was unproductive so it was back to A Buoy.

We finished the day there putting three more keepers in the box. While I do enjoy catching one fish after another, it is a little disappointing to run 50 miles, fish all day and only take five fish home. About the only location left that might produce a decent number of keeper sea bass would be a deep-water wreck that has not been fished. While we did not catch any flounder, I did have reports of several caught in the same general area.

Shark fishing was very good as makos and threshers were caught over structure in 20 fathoms. There is a small window for these sharks, and the next couple of weeks will see them moving north, so get out while they are here. Remember, it is one shark per boat and you must have a NMFS Highly Migratory Permit. The permit costs $20 and is easy to get online.

Indian River Inlet has seen some bluefish runs on incoming water, but it is not a daily occurrence. Rockfish have been caught at night with Bubblegum Beach a productive location. Most of the rock are small, but the occasional keeper is landed. Plugs, eels and bucktails are the top baits. Fly casters are finding rock, shad and blues at the inlet. A few keeper flounder have been caught out of the rocks.

The surf is a lovely place to spend the day, but if you are counting on catching your dinner, better bring enough money for a burger on the way home. Sharks, skates and the occasional kingfish make up the catch from the beach. A few rock are caught after dark on cut bunker.

Sportsman's Act of 2012
It is not easy being a cynic. I thought any bill in Congress that might lift some of the onerous restrictions on fishing and hunting had a zero chance of ever seeing the light of day. I am happy to report I was wrong. According to the American Sportfishing Association, the premier lobbying group for sportfishing interests, the Sportsman’s Act of 2012 has been introduced in the Senate by Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.).

This bill incorporates 19 individual bills and places the entire package as an amendment to the Farm Bill. Attaching one bill to another is a common practice in legislative halls and it is how Delaware's Rep. Gerald Hocker (R-Ocean View) was able to get the funding to finally dredge the Assawoman Canal.

The amendment includes a provision to make the sale of any billfish illegal in the United States. It includes the bill that would once again open the beaches at Cape Hatteras and another that would prevent anti-fishing groups from banning all lead in fishing tackle.

Having the bill introduced and getting it passed are two entirely different animals. You can bet the enviromorons funded by the Pew Foundation will be doing everything they can to block all or at least part of this legislation.

  • 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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