The sun was spotted in the sky briefly this week

May 11, 2013

On Wednesday morning, a large orange orb was spotted in the eastern sky. Fear gripped many local residents who thought it might be a UFO from a distant planet until a few old-timers recognized it as the sun. It was gone by early afternoon, but soothsayers called weather forecasters promise a return by the weekend.

Thank goodness for those hardy anglers who braved the miserable weather conditions over the past few weeks and went fishing. This is especially true for the surfcasters who worked Broadkill Beach on Tuesday and were rewarded with limit catches of rockfish. I understand the top bait was fresh clam.

A few tog fishermen also went out in those northeast winds and fished the Delaware Bay. Reef sites on Brown Shoal saw the best bite with crab the top bait.

I had planned to fish Saturday for tog on the Bandit out of Indian River, but called the captain on Friday to cancel because the weather did not look good for old people. It turned out not to be good for anyone as the captain cancelled Saturday’s trip and turned back on Sunday once he saw the size of the seas and the color of the water. The boys out of Indian River really need some good weather next Sunday, May 19, when sea bass season opens. I hope to be out there as well.

Flounder have been caught out of the Lewes and Rehoboth Canal. Bob Baker called to report success on flounder to six pounds during two recent sorties in the canal. Bob was very surprised by a seven-pound trout that hit one of his flounder baits. This is not the first large trout I have heard of this year, and I hope it won’t be the last.

The rockfish bite in the upper Delaware Bay continues to produce fish to over 30 pounds. Chunking bunker at the Yellow Can and the 6L Buoy has been the top technique. Let’s hope these fish stage at the mouth of the bay later this month.

The ocean surf has seen some decent bluefish runs. Those who were able to get a bunker bait out beyond the six- to seven-foot breakers caught blues in the two- to three-pound range.

Indian River Inlet had a few blues caught on the incoming current. Metal is usually the top producer for these fish. Tog were caught out of the rocks on clam or crab bait. A few flounder showed up in the VFW Slough, but the strong winds made drifting very difficult.

Spot burning

Recently a new phrase has been introduced into the local fisherman’s language. Spot burning apparently refers to giving away secret locations where fish have been caught. This information then causes hordes of anglers to descend upon said location, spoiling it for those brave pioneers that discovered it in the first place.

First of all, allow me to dispel the notion that there are any secret fishing spots left in Delaware. While it is true that the better bottom fishermen have secret locations they have worked hard to find and would not share with their mother, such places do not exist along Delaware beaches.

I spoke with one surfcaster who had been labeled a spot burner because he let other people know he caught rockfish on Broadkill Beach. Broadkill has been fished for a very long time and was the best surf location for early run trout back in the day.

What I believe has happened is a group of relative newcomers suddenly feels that any place where they are lucky enough to catch a fish suddenly becomes their private domain and therefore off limits to anyone else. This is a ridiculously naïve outlook, and no one should feel bad when someone from this crowd labels them as a spot burner.

I have been doing fishing reports covering Delaware and several other states since 1973. If I receive a report from a charter captain and he does not want to divulge the exact location of his catch I will respect that. He has the right to try and protect his list of locations, although with modern radar able to ping a boat anchored on a wreck, this is becoming more difficult.

On the other hand, a tackle shop that won’t give me information as to the approximate location of a catch, the bait used and the stage of the tide is of little value to my readers. I don’t expect to get the exact rock the catch was made from, but I would expect to receive information as to which side of the inlet the fish was caught and if a bucktail or plug was used.

In today’s world, information is passed along at the speed of light. This includes the location of recent catches that are available on Facebook along with photos of the fish while it is still alive. Spot burning exists only in the minds of a few selfish anglers.

  • 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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