Fishing good wherever anglers drop a line

July 28, 2012

Fishing remains good just about anywhere you care to drop a line. Anglers still have to abide by the laws of nature, but when the winds and tides are in alignment, chances of putting something in the cooler are better than even.

Flounder lead the parade inshore with keepers caught from the upper bay to the Old Grounds. Those adept at rubble hopping at the numerous reef sites can score well, while those of us with less talent in this area can work the Old Grounds, Indian River Inlet and Rehoboth Bay. Live or very fresh bait has been the ticket to success.

Flounder may be caught from shore at the Cape Henlopen Fishing Pier, in the surf or from the rocks at Indian River Inlet. Here too, live bait is the best choice with Gulp! on a bucktail a good alternative.

The tuna bite remains hot at the Hot Dog. This is a chunk bite requiring a lot of butterfish or spearing and a long anchor rode. The best action has been at daybreak, requiring a departure well before breakfast time.

The canyons are producing more billfish with both blue and white marlin available. Dolphin and wahoo have been taken as well. No bigeye tuna were reported last week.

Bottom fishing at the Old Grounds between A and B buoys is still good for sea bass and flounder. No consistent catches of dolphin, false albacore or mackerel in the area, but we remain hopeful for better reports next month.

Wear your PFD

The recent accident at Indian River Inlet emphasizes the need for all boaters to wear their PFDs at all times. A 21-foot boat sank at the mouth of the inlet on Sunday when it was overcome by waves created by the outgoing current. All nine people on board were wearing their PFDs, and all were saved. Some were picked up by other boaters and others by the Coast Guard and DNREC officers. Many were children who would have had little chance of survival without their PFDs.

Delaware has a law requiring all children 12 years old or younger to wear a PFD at all times when in a boat. You would think this would be common sense, but in spite of the law and common sense, several boat captains are arrested each week for failing to put PFDs on the kids in their boat.

In another incident last week, a man crabbing alone in a small boat did not recover when he fell in the water. His body was found close to the boat, and according to reports from DNREC officials, no PFD was found on the victim or in the boat.

It cannot be emphasized enough that accidents happen without warning, and there is seldom time to put on a PFD before going in the water. I guess some men think it isn’t manly, and some ladies think it covers up what they like to show off and I like to see, but wearing a PFD will save your life in a boating accident. If you think the PFD is not fashionable, please ask an enforcement officer what the body of a drowning victim looks like. I can promise you it will not make a favorable impression on the next of kin who will be called in for identification of your remains.

Old smokey

For the first time in my life I am trying to smoke food using a Brinkman electric smoker. My son gave me a charcoal smoker several years ago and I did try it, but the charcoal was difficult to keep burning at a constant temperature and I think everyone knows my patience level drops off fast, so constantly looking into the smoker to see if I needed more charcoal wore thin very quickly.

The electric element burns at a constant temperature so the meat cooks evenly. As I write this, my first try, jerk chicken, is in the smoker and should be done by dinner time.

I do have a question for all you smoked meat experts out there. I have the frozen hindquarter of a small deer and would like to smoke the whole thing. My fear is since venison is a dry meat and I don’t want jerky, how to I keep the meat moist? Anyone who has experience smoking deer meat, please contact me at Thanks.

  • 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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