Offshore yellowfins continue to be best action

June 23, 2012
Big bluefins are starting to show on inshore structure. Dave Cookand Sean Herlihy teamed up to land this 162.6-pound bruiser near the 19-Fathom Lump. The tuna took a ballyhoo skirted with a blue and white Joe Shute Fishfinder Lure, trolled way, way back. Weighed at Lewes Harbour Marina. SOURCE SUBMITTED

After a week of hard northeast wind, good fishing returned on Sunday and has improved since then. The best action continues to be offshore with yellowfins caught in 40 fathoms outside the Hot Dog and at least one big bluefin taken at the 19-Fathom Lump.

On the inshore grounds from B to A Buoy and the Old Grounds, keeper flounder have been caught on minnows, squid and Gulp! decorated jigs. Sea bass are numerous in the same area, but keepers are rare.

The Lewes and Rehoboth Canal and the Broadkill River continue to give up a few keeper flounder along with some shorts. The fishing here is described as a slow pick with those willing to put in the time being rewarded with a few flounder dinners.

Better flounder fishing was also reported in the Indian River Inlet and Indian River Bay. The VFW Slough, Massey’s Ditch and Bubblegum Beach were all productive locations. While most flounder are caught from boats by anglers drifting with live spot, a few big fish were taken from shore at Bubblegum Beach and from the jetties on bucktails with Gulp!.

The reef sites in the bay also gave up flounder to those who know how to fish the structure. Jigs with minnows, squid or Gulp! work best here.

The weekend weather looks favorable for fishing and may be the ideal time to run offshore for some tuna action. These fish will depart for cooler water to the north as summer wears on, so now is the time to go.

New world record

Angler Louis Melton was drum fishing with clams on the Lil’ Angler with IGFA Capt. Brian Wazkavek when he hooked a 125-centimeter black drum. The fish was boated, measured and released to qualify for a new IGFA Release World Record for the species. The previous record was 121 centimeters.

Establishing released fish world records is a great idea. Most state citation programs recognize released fish with some species of billfish only eligible for release awards. Setting the release length slightly below the average size of the capture minimum weight encourages people to let a fish go that they might bring to the scales just in case it weighs in at citation size.

A victory in Congress

The House voted to approve the Farm Bill that contained 19 bills to improve access for anglers and hunters to public land. This is a major victory, but the companion bill S 2372 may have a more difficult time in the Senate. In these contentious times when it takes 60 votes to pass a Senate bill, we will need help from both sides of the aisle. I have contacted both Sen. Chris Coons and Sen. Tom Carper and asked them to vote for the Farm Bill with the added 19 public access provisions. I would ask you to do the same.

Follow the money

While the current recession has created many problems for many people, few stop to consider the impact it has had on the government agencies that control our outdoor activities. When people are out of work, they don’t pay taxes. With fewer people paying taxes, there is less revenue and therefore less money available to support parks, wildlife areas, fish and game management programs, and dredging of important waterways for fishing and boating.

The problems with access at Cape Hatteras National Seashore are at least in part caused by money. Unlike Delaware, the beaches at Cape Hatteras have been free and open to the public for years. Those beaches require the same type of management as ours including paying park personnel to patrol the areas and aid visitors with problems while also arresting violators of park rules. When a large section of beach is closed to the public, the number of patrols is less, and payroll is cut.

Carper has been trying to get a national park in Delaware for a long time. I suspect one of the hurdles he must overcome is convincing the Park Service to take over the management of the various historic sites he has recommended for national park status. These are old houses that will not be cheap to maintain and may need upgrading to meet national park standards. Personnel must be assigned to each location to greet visitors and give tours. All of this will cost money that the Park Service does not have.

Then we have the dredging problems at Broadkill Beach and Massey’s Ditch. Everyone I have spoken with at DNREC agrees the work needs to be done, but the money is not currently available. With help from the Bond Bill Committee, we may have the funds by the time the Legislature adjourns, if not it will be back to the drawing board in 2013.

In case you haven’t noticed, there is no free lunch.

  • 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