Anglers hooking tog, rock since storm passed

November 10, 2012
Striped bass showed up on the heels of Hurricane Sandy. Local striper sniper Evan Falgowski brought the first big fish of the fall run back to the dock at Lewes Harbour Marina. The 34-pounder fell for a trolled plug on a shoal at the mouth of Delaware Bay and put Evan in the early lead of the Lewes Harbour Striper Tournament. SOURCE SUBMITTED

Believe it or not, fish have been caught since the storm. I was visiting Indian River Inlet Tuesday and several folks were catching tog on crab at the fence by the Coast Guard Station. I had other reports of tog caught by the inlet bridge the same day on the same bait.

I also saw several people fishing the surf at Herring Point and found out they have been catching small red drum and rock. It was cold and very windy on the beach, and I give those fishermen a lot of credit for braving the elements. As for me, I will wait until I have confirmed reports of bigger rockfish and blues along the beach before dressing like an Eskimo and soaking bait.

The only report I have of fish taken from a boat is Evan Falgowski, who caught a 34-pound rock at the mouth of Delaware Bay. There may have been a time when I would have braved big seas and cold winds to be the first to catch a big fall rockfish, but those days are long past, and I congratulate Evan and his crew.

Deer season

Delaware’s shotgun deer season opens today, and I hope to be in the field looking for some venison. I have to hunt public land, and that scares the dickens out of me, because not getting shot is always the first priority when I go hunting. The place I have chosen does not draw a lot of hunters, but it only takes one idiot to really spoil the day.

I hope everyone has a safe and successful hunt.

Storm damage

I drove down the coast to Indian River Inlet on Tuesday and found no significant damage to most of the area. As we have all seen, the washover at the north end of the inlet bridge was severe, and something has to be done to protect the road from storm surges. There is talk of building a steel barrier from the jetty north to an undetermined location. The way the beach looked on Tuesday, that barrier would have to be at least a mile long and backfilled with large rocks and sand.

The beach at Cape Henlopen State Park and south of the inlet was open for fishing. The access roads on the north side of the inlet were closed. I suspect those will remain closed until the current nor’easter passes by.

The fishing pier at Cape Henlopen State Park is in pretty bad shape. I am hopeful it can be repaired by spring.

Indian River Inlet looked fine, and as previously mentioned, people were catching tog. Both the north side and south side marinas also seemed fine. If and when the wind stops blowing, boats will be able to sail and should find some tog.

I have several friends in New Jersey, and they have sent reports and photos showing the devastation there. One friend had his house on Long Beach Island burn down before it was swallowed by the sand and sea. The Fisherman Magazine office in Point Pleasant, where I worked from for many years, is totally destroyed. My son Roger in Freehold was without power for a week, and some of my friends in Jersey are still without electricity and may be for several more days.

Delaware dodged the bullet on this one.

Advisory Council on Recreational Fishing Funding meeting

The Advisory Council on Recreational Fishing Funding will meet at the Senate Hearing Room in Legislative Hall in Dover at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 13. The meeting is open to the public, but is not a public hearing. Visitors are encouraged to address the council at the end of the meeting on subjects that are under the purview of the council.

The council has the responsibly of advising the governor on projects that may be funded with Delaware General License Funds. These funds are matched three to one with federal money collected from a 5 percent excise tax on fishing equipment. The federal government has strict guidelines on how the license money may be spent. If funds are diverted to unapproved projects, the Fish and Wildlife Service can deny funding to all projects in the state.

I have asked to have three new projects placed on the agenda for consideration. The first is the repair of the fishing pier at Cape Henlopen State Park. The pier was one of the causalities of the storm and will need significant work, which should be done by spring.

The other two projects are the building of a fishing pier at Fox Point State Park in Wilmington and a study of the condition of the bottom of Delaware Bay. The first would provide fishing access to the Delaware River, and the second might explain why artificial reefs are the only locations in the bay that reliably produce fish.

  • 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