Lewes fishing improving in spite of poor conditions

July 6, 2013
With the onset of summer, inshore wrecks are producing a mix of species. This group of guys had good action with spadefish, triggerfish, kingfish and sea bass aboard Katydid with Capt. Brent Wiest. Pictured at Lewes Harbour Marina with the catch are Mike and Chris Surowiec, Tom and Matt Birago, Ron Mistretta, Louis Mispireta and Tony Gargureveich. COURTESY LEWES HARBOUR MARINA

Fishing around Lewes is actually getting better in spite of the less-than-perfect summer weather.

Flounder are being more cooperative in the Broadkill River and the Lewes and Rehoboth Canal. Not to say it is a wide-open bite, but those who are in the right place at the right time have been taking home a few keepers. Minnows, shiners and squid are the old standbys with Gulp! swimming mullet on a Speck Rig the latest hot bait.

Trout are available in the river and the canal as well as the jetties at Roosevelt Inlet and the ones at Broadkill Beach. Peeler crab, either on a circle hook or a jig head, is the best trout bait with various bucktails tipped with peeler, Gulp! or a strip of squid a close second. Trout have also been caught at the ferry jetty, the Inner and Outer walls and along Lewes Beach. While most of the trout are small, a few real tiderunners have been landed.

The Cape Henlopen Fishing Pier is one of the best values in town. Pay your entrance fee into the park and you can fish the pier for free. Right now there are spot, croaker, kings, trout and flounder being caught there with the best bite on a flood tide. Bloodworms, Gulp! and Fishbites are the top baits for the small stuff with a Speck Rig tipped with minnows or Gulp! swimming mullet the ticket for flounder. Granted, many of the fish caught here are too small to keep, but the action is steady and will keep the attention of most anglers, young and old alike.

Flounder are beginning to move onto structure in the Delaware Bay. As is always the case when fishing the reef sites, you must present your bait directly on top of the structure for best results. I find a jig with a strip of squid or Gulp! easy to work in this situation. A Delaware Bay Green Machine baited with a squid and minnow is another good choice for fishing the reef sites. The idea is to barely make contact with the bottom and keep the jig or bait dancing just above the snags.

Bottomfishing has been very good in the bay with croakers, kings and blowfish about as thick as they get. One head boat captain told me this is the best fishing he has seen in years. Bait with clam or bloodworms and use small hooks as croaker, spot and kings have small mouths. This fishing has been productive from Bowers Beach all they way to the Shears.

Fishing from the beach is also producing plenty of small stuff. Broadkill to Fenwick Island and all points in between are seeing lots of croaker along with kings and spot. The occasional trout is also taken. If you catch a small spot, don’t hesitate to break out a fish-finder rig and send him back out. This is how we caught big trout back in the day.

In the ocean, it has been difficult to get much beyond 20 miles out due to the rough conditions. According to Burt at Hook ‘Em and Cook ‘Em, the Boy’s Toy ran to the deep on Saturday and managed to catch an 80-pound bluefin and two dolphin before heading back early due to the sea conditions.

Bottomfishing is improving closer to shore over the Old Grounds and other inshore structure. The Katydid had an excellent catch of triggerfish and spadefish on Saturday while fishing over several inshore wrecks. More flounder are showing up at the Old Grounds along with the occasional sea bass.

Indian River Inlet has seen some flounder action, but it is scattered at best. The south side from the pump house to the entrance to Southshore Marina and the VFW Slough have produced most of the keepers. Live spot has been the top bait.

Farther back from the inlet, Massey’s Ditch has seen keeper flounder as have a few locations in Rehoboth Bay. The bluefish action has been sporadic at the inlet and in the back bays. Rockfish are generally caught at night, and most of them are small.

Crabbing is getting better as the water warms. I am sure this heavy rain has not helped those who enjoy crabbing in the local rivers as freshwater must be pretty far downstream, but I did have reports of crabs caught as far up the Broadkill as Oyster Rocks.

The weather looks a bit better for the weekend, and you can count on large crowds wherever you decide to fish. Please be careful and don’t do anything stupid no matter how stupidly the people around you are behaving.

  • 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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