Surf fishing: Best route to fish joy

April 20, 2013

Surf fishing is getting better every day. Keeper rockfish, blues and flounder were caught at Broadkill Beach Tuesday with clams and bloodworms the prime baits. On Wednesday, a 32-inch black drum was taken here on clams. Short rock were caught at Herring Point, and some kings were taken at Fenwick Island. Bloodworms accounted for these fish.

Flounder have been caught out of the VFW Slough in Indian River Bay on shiners and live minnows. At least one flounder has been caught in the Broadkill River just down from Oyster Rocks.

Tog fishing was good over the weekend with charter and head boats scoring limits on ocean structure. The Outer Wall and the rocks at Indian River Inlet provided some tog action as well with green crabs the top bait in all instances.

Freshwater fishing remains very good for panfish as well as bass and pickerel. Live minnows are best for crappie and perch while worms will catch all the sunnies you can carry. Bass respond to shiners or jigs.

Tuesday’s road trip

I have wanted to take a trip up to New Castle County and renew my acquaintance with the stocked trout in Wilson Run and Beaver Run for the past few years, but time and general laziness have kept me from the quest. On Tuesday I overcame both impediments and headed for northern Delaware late enough to miss the morning traffic.

I arrived at Brandywine Creek State Park around 9:30 and found the last parking spot at the bottom of the hill. The main parking lot at the top of the hill provides a considerable challenge both on the way to and especially on the way back from Wilson Run.

Armed with all the old standbys of stocked trout fishing, I headed to the water. I was certain my supply of bright yellow Berkley Trout Bait would garner me a six-fish limit in no time. I confidently presented same to a large school of fish by the bridge at the park entrance. This is the exact location where I would take my two little boys, Ric and Roger, on opening day in the 1970s and ‘80s. We always did well here on opening day, and since the creek had just received a supply of hatchery-fresh trout, I expected to have a similar experience.

What is it they say about mice and men? My plans were soon dashed as the trout schooled under the bridge, completely ignoring my offering. In fact, they treated my bait as if it were going to eat them.

I moved downstream looking for less selective fish and found a rather large group schooled in a pool about 50 yards from my original location. They were a bit more receptive to my bait, but while they didn’t run and hide, they didn’t eat either.

Just as I was getting ready to return to the truck and break out the night crawlers, another gentleman showed up on the opposite side of the creek and began casting an earthworm. The trout treated his offering in the same manner as they did my killer trout bait. At least I didn’t waste a trip back to the truck.

I left Wilson Run around noon and headed for Thompson Bridge. There is a lovely state park there with plenty of picnic tables, and this is where I ate my lunch. I had planned to try the sucker fishing here as I did 60 years ago, but the water has shoaled up and is very shallow. No sign of suckers, so I packed up once again and headed for Beaver Run.

Beaver Run is a beautiful little creek that empties into the Brandywine just below Smith’s Bridge. Parking is always at a premium here, which was not a problem when I rode my bike out there from Claymont, but now that I am old enough to drive, I need a spot for my truck. Fortunately, I found one directly across from the dam that made for a short walk to the fish. The first trout of my life was caught here sometime in the 1950s on a Daredevil spoon. This was long before the state began stocking, so it must have come from Pennsylvania.

As luck would have it, the first trout of the day came from here after I changed out my trout bait for an earthworm. I jumped off another one before moving to the Big Rock on the other side of the road.

I could see 30 or 40 trout swimming below the rock, and they were just as selective as the ones at Wilson Run. I did manage to fool one of them along with a rock bass, creek chub and a couple of small sunfish. I will admit it is a long trip for two trout, but I enjoyed every minute. The Brandywine Creek area is just as beautiful as I remember, and with spring blossoming everywhere I must admit the experience left me refreshed and almost over the winter blahs.

  • 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