Just about anything you want to catch is available

July 20, 2013
The Brian Garrison crew had a fine day with large sea bass, ling and two cobia weighing 19.5 and 20.5 pounds while fishing at an offshore wreck aboard the Karen Sue with Capt. John Nedelka out of Indian River. SOURCE SUBMITTED

The weather has finally matched the season, and fishing has responded well to the change. Just about anything you might want to catch from sunfish to marlin is currently available.

The Delaware Bay remains a good place to catch a lot of fish. Croaker, kings, spot and flounder are all being taken from numerous locations. Reef sites, rock walls, rough bottom, rivers and beaches are pretty much covered up with small croaker. The Cape Henlopen Fishing Pier is one of the prime locations not only for croaker, but kings, spot and flounder. Lewes Beach near the Ferry Jetty is another fishing hole with easy access and plenty of action. All locations produce better on early and late tides. Bloodworms, clam, Gulp! and Fishbites have all worked.

The surf holds the same variety of fish. Croaker, spot and kings have been caught from the sand at Broadkill Beach all the way down to Fenwick Island. The bite was pretty steady over the weekend on bloodworms, clams and Fishbites.

The Broadkill River and Lewes and Rehoboth Canal are giving up keeper flounder for those who either put in the time or get lucky. Speck Rigs with Gulp! swimming mullet or live minnows has been a hot setup. Bigger croaker and spot have also been caught from these waters.

Indian River Inlet, Indian River Bay and Rehoboth Bay are seeing a variety of fish. Sand fleas fished in the rocks at the inlet have accounted for sheepshead, triggerfish and rockfish. The best of the rockfish action will be after dark.

Both Indian River and Rehoboth bays are giving up a few keeper flounder. A live spot is the best bait for these fish followed by Gulp! swimming mullet, live minnows or squid strips. Croaker and spot are in both bodies of water on bloodworms or Gulp!.

The ocean is beginning to come alive. Bluefin tuna have been caught from the Hot Dog to Massey’s Canyon. Trolled ballyhoo on an Islander lure has been effective. Dolphin and the occasional yellowfin have been caught from the same area.

Those who target sea bass must find structure in 20 fathoms or more. The inshore grounds such as reef sites 9 and 10 may hold a few flounder, but very few sea bass have been caught here.

Capt. John Nedelka on the Karen Sue fished a wreck beyond the Shipping Lane and had a batch of quality sea bass and ling as well as two cobia. They also released a 50-inch shark.

The canyons saw a good run of bigeye tuna with the Ocean City Tuna Tournament reporting multiple catches. If you choose to go after one of these big boys, make sure you have enough tackle and stamina. Cranking up a couple hundred pounds of very unhappy tuna from 600 feet or more is no easy task.

We are hearing more about marlin with whites and blues caught during the past week. The White Marlin Open is just a few weeks away, and it looks like the fish will be here to join in the festivities.

Whether to weather the weather

Maybe it’s just me, but do the local TV stations overreact to the weather? Over the past week, the lead story has been that it’s hot outside. How does the fact that it is hot in the middle of July become the top news story of the day? This is Delaware. I have lived here for most of my 71 years, and even with my failing memory I don’t recall a July when it wasn’t hot. We also have the Delaware State Fair beginning, and any Delaware native will tell you it is always hot when the fair is open.

The overreaction to the weather would be funny if it didn’t hurt business. You keep telling people it is too hot to go outside, and I promise you they will stay nice and cool by the TV waiting for the blow-dry weather guy or gal to tell them when it is safe to venture into the world. When people are inside, they can’t go fishing, eat in restaurants, walk the boardwalk or even go to the beach.

I look forward to hot weather and fish as much as I can. We leave the dock by 0600 and come back by early afternoon. This avoids the hottest part of the day and hopefully puts us back on land before any afternoon thunderstorms arrive. When fishing the surf I am on the beach at dawn and off by 1000. Or I go in the evening from 1700 to dark. In either case, I pack plenty of water and no alcohol.

Come on outside. This is the weather we wait for all winter. Don’t let the scare tactics of the TV weather person, who is only interested in ratings, spoil your summer.

  • 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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