Late night, early morning fishing hooks the rockfish

May 18, 2013

Surf fishing remains very good, with big rockfish taken from Herring Point to Three Rs Road. The best action has been early in the morning with clam or bunker the top baits. Black drum to 30 pounds, bluefish to 30 inches and the occasional red drum have been mixed in with the rock.

Indian River Inlet has also seen pretty good rockfish action. On Thursday night of last week between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m., the bite was excellent, and this continued on an on-and-off basis right up to Tuesday night of this week. Shads and bucktails accounted for most of the action.

The upper bay still holds big rock. Chunking with fresh bunker has been the top technique for fish to 30 pounds. The Yellow Can, 6L and 4L buoys remain the best locations.

Please understand that when I say rockfish action was good it does not mean that everyone caught a limit. The most successful anglers put in their time and miss a good deal of sleep to intercept their quarry during the night or at dawn and dusk. Showing up on the beach or rocks at 10 a.m. and fishing for a couple of hours is not going to put many rock on your stringer.

Flounder continue to bite in the Lewes and Rehoboth Canal. The best time to fish has been on the outgoing current with shiners, minnows, squid and smelt. Today is the Lewes Harbour Flounder Tournament, and if the turnout is like years past, it will be difficult to find open water between the Kings Highway bridge and Oyster Rocks.

Black drum were caught at the Coral Beds. This is just the beginning of the season and larger fish will be more prevalent as we approach the May full moon. Fresh clams will be the top bait.

The Cape Henlopen Fishing Pier has seen some decent numbers of flounder. A Speck Rig with Gulp! swimming mullet has been the most effective offering. The best bite has been early, late or at night. Blues and blowfish were also caught from the boards.

Sunday marks the opening of black sea bass season. As this is written, the marine forecast calls for three- to five-foot seas, and that will keep the old folks at home. Hopefully, we can get out early next week.

Coastal Conservation Association

The Coastal Conservation Association began in Texas and has spread across the Gulf Coast and up the East Coast with Maryland the most northern state with a chapter. The Maryland chapter will hold a meeting at 6:30 p.m., Monday, May 27, at Grotto Pizza on Long Neck Road to see if there is any interest in forming a Delaware chapter.

The CCA has a long and admirable record in states where it has been established. The group has been responsible for the enactment of saltwater fishing licenses, gamefish status for speckled trout and red drum, and other conservation measures. If you are interested in the conservation of our saltwater resource, I suggest you come to the meeting May 27.

Delaware Mobile Surf Fishermen

On June 1, members of the Delaware Mobile Surf Fishermen will be available to answer any surf fishing questions you may have and provide instructions on various aspects of surf fishing in Delaware. This will take place from 6 to 10 a.m. at Herring Point in Cape Henlopen State Park. At least five members of DMS will be there including such luminaries as DMS President Morty “Golden Horseshoe” Morton, former world champion caster Harry Aiken and all-around expert on nothing in particular, your faithful reporter.

This is a very informal gathering with membership in DMS not required. We will have membership information available for those who are so impressed with the stellar anglers present they must join.

There will be more than enough tackle for everyone or you may bring your own. All levels of fishing expertise from beginner to self-avowed expert are welcome. Transportation from the Herring Point parking lot to the beach can be arranged if you let us know by leaving a message at

All park fees will be in effect and must be paid at the entrance gate. Only four-wheel-drive vehicles with surf fishing permits are allowed on the beach.

The Delaware Mobile Surf Fishermen were established in 1958, and they have been active in protecting the beach environment while ensuring public access to public lands. Come join us on June 1 and find out more about this great club.

  • 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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