Part of Cape Henlopen Fishing Pier to be removed

Mike Pizzolato is shown with the 17-inch trout he caught at the Old Grounds. SOURCE SUBMITTED
September 8, 2012

One of the most popular fishing spots in our area will be seeing some changes. In the next few weeks, the Cape Henlopen Fishing Pier will have the rotting pilings and deck on the end removed. Anyone who has seen the condition of this structure would have to agree the job is somewhat overdue. No changes will be made to the section of the pier that is open for fishing.

Speaking of fishing at the pier, the action on spot and croaker has been very good. I am told the best time to be there is at dusk when double headers are common. Bloodworms have been the best bait. A few keeper flounder have been caught after dark by anglers working live minnows by the pilings.

Croaker continue to provide excellent fishing in the Delaware Bay. The Outer Wall and Reef Site 8 have been very productive with clams, squid and Gulp! all enticing croakers.

Blues remain in the rips at the south end of the Outer Wall. Small spoons trolled along the rips or metal lures cast to breaking fish will soon have a blue dancing on your line.

The number of trout caught this summer has been very encouraging. The vast majority of these fish have been very small, with a few larger ones beginning to show. Last Thursday, Mike Pizzolato caught a 17-inch trout at the Old Grounds in 89 feet of water. That is the largest I have seen this year, but I know bigger trout have been taken. If these fish survive the winter, we could have many more trout to catch in 2013.

Sea bass fishing remains very good at the Old Grounds. We were there last Thursday and came in with 17 keepers. My attempt to catch flounder was not as successful. Fortunately, sea bass also like strips of croaker on a Delaware Bay Green Machine, so I was able to add a few of those to the box.

I have reports of false albacore around A Buoy, and this should put a bit of variety in the catch. These fish are tough customers on light tackle, but not very appetizing on the plate. Eastern cultures do find them tasty, but their flesh is much too strong for most Westerners.

Had a report of pompano in the surf north of Indian River Inlet. Bloodworm Fishbites were the bait of choice. Spot, croaker, blues and trout have been caught from the beach on a more regular basis.

Offshore fishing has been good for billfish. I was in the Poorman’s Canyon on Saturday aboard the Brenda Lou with owner Frank Goodhart and we were zero for three on white marlin. Other boats fared better with at least one going seven for nine. Back at the dock, I counted three to five flags flying from several boats. Boats to the south around the Norfolk Canyon reported better action with overnight trips producing swordfish. The Matador out of Virginia Beach scored a double grand slam by catching at least two swordfish, a sailfish, and white and blue marlin.

Hunting seasons

Delaware’s hunting seasons opened last Saturday with dove and deer on the menu.

In the same way Hallmark has invented several holidays so it can sell more cards, I believe Remington invented dove hunting so it can sell more shotgun shells. Granted that the opening day of dove season is more of a social event than a hunt for many clubs, the amount of ammunition used is still staggering. Considering the number of doves it takes to make a meal, I have never left the field with enough meat for dinner.

Archery hunters have my respect because they have to put in more time and effort to take a deer than most firearm hunters. In addition, they are in the woods now when the foliage and the bugs are at their peak.

I never took the time to learn how to properly handle a bow. Unlike a shotgun, which I have been using since I was 10 years old, and a rifle since I was 8, a bow is not something I am accustomed to. Over the years I have had several shooting instructors, but unfortunately, their good advice has only marginally improved my aim.

Once again, firearm hunters will have ample time to take some venison. Muzzleloader season opens on Oct. 5 and runs until the 13th. There are seven days of special antlerless season in October and seven more in December. Add to this the shotgun seasons in November and January, the winter muzzleloader season in January and the handgun season also in January, and you can be hunting deer almost every day from October to February.

The bag limit is four deer per license, but it is possible to take more with special tags. The Sportsmen Against Hunger program will be happy to take any meat you cannot use.

  • 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