It’s an excellent time to get the kids out fishing

June 8, 2013
This black drum is almost as big as Darby Klopp. The fish ate a clam, and she decked the 55.3-pound boomer while fishing at the Coral Beds with her dad Geoff Klopp aboard Local Girl. Weighed at Lewes Harbour Marina. SOURCE SUBMITTED

Drum fishing remains very good in the bay with the best action on clams at the Coral Beds. The size of the drum varies from 30 to 80 pounds and multiple catches are not uncommon. Evenings have been the most productive time to fish, but a few drum have been caught during the day.

The fishing pier at Cape Henlopen State Park has seen good fishing for a variety of species. Croaker, spot, flounder and the occasional bluefish have been caught from the boards. Bloodworms are best for the croaker and spot with a Speck Rig and a Gulp! swimming mullet the hot setup for flounder. Blues will hit almost anything with cut bait, the most attractive to them.

Lewes Beach has seen some good fishing for trout, flounder, croaker and spot. Flood tide is the best time to fish with the usual baits along with Gulp! or D.O.A. shrimp. Fly casters are having good success right at dark on the flood tide.

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The offshore fishing is beginning to perk up with fair numbers of mako and thresher sharks taken from the 20-Fathom Line on out to the Baltimore Canyon The water is still a bit chilly so this action could continue for several weeks. We have heard about a few tuna caught as well, but not in any great number or size.

Flounder fishing remains slow in the Lewes and Rehoboth Canal as well as Indian River and Rehoboth bays. Keepers have been caught, but not nearly as many as we had hoped for at this time of year. An 11-pounder was caught by a jetty jockey at Indian River Inlet while fishing a plastic shad for rockfish.

Sea bass action has also been a bit of a disappointment. First it was the rough weather and then when the boats could get out, they did not find the mother load of keepers they expected. Limits have been caught with most anglers settling for far fewer fish than the maximum of 25. As of this week the best action remains further offshore at Site 11 and the Del-Jersey-Land site. Even there the number of shorts is greater than the number of keepers.

Surf fishing has been good at times, but those times are never when I am on the beach. A few rockfish have been caught on cut bunker and clams with most of the catch limited to kings, croaker, blowfish and blues. As always, the sharks and skates outnumber everything else. Bloodworms, clams, cut bunker and Gulp! have all taken fish.

The night bite for rockfish at Indian River Inlet has been on and off. Some nights it is excellent with bucktails and plastic shads accounting for a good number of keepers and then the bite will drop off for several days. Shad and blues are in the mix with the best time to catch them in the early morning or late evening. Small metal lures will take both species.

Get the kids out fishing

With school either out or close to closing for the summer, this is an excellent time to get the kids out fishing. Before you head out with the youngsters, there are a few things you should know.

First and most important, the kids must have fun. Do not take a young child 60 miles off shore in pursuit of blue marlin. Sure, the lure of a big fish with a long bill is exciting, but the chances of finding, let alone catching such a fish are remote at best.

It is far better to take the kids to the Cape Henlopen State Park Fishing Pier, where there is a good chance of catching something. I suggest an early start to the day to avoid the heat of the afternoon and you can use a stop by the donut shop if encouragement is required to get them out of bed at o’dark thirty.

Take plenty of drinks and food. It is amazing how much a kid can eat especially if the fish are not cooperating. Pack sunscreen, bug spray, hats and binoculars for watching birds and other wildlife.

If you have a boat and want to take the kids be sure you stay close to shore. Once again look for croaker, spot, blues or other fish that will give the child something to catch. Drifting or trolling for hours without result will make a bad impression on the young mind.

When looking for a place to take a child fishing don’t neglect the many freshwater locations in the area. I am fond of the Milton Town Park with not only good fishing, but also lots of things for the kids to do should the action prove less than stimulating.

No matter where you go, be sure to have PFDs on the kids.

  • 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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