Citation-size kings are now being caught

August 17, 2013

Fishing in Delaware only gets better. There are now citation-size kings being caught along with the croaker and spot. Reef Site 8 has seen most of the good kingfish action.

Flounder are on the reef sites with the best catches recorded by those who sacrifice a few rigs to the structure. Strips of squid, fresh fish or Gulp! swimming mullets have been the most enticing baits.

The Lewes and Rehoboth Canal, the Broadkill River and Roosevelt Inlet hold loads of croaker and spot with flounder and trout occasional catches. Work the jetty structure at the inlet with jigs baited with Gulp! or a purple plastic worm for the best shot at a trout.

Farther up the Broadkill above Steamboat Landing, white perch fishing has been very good. Use small hooks baited with bloodworm for best results.

Croaker and spot continue to take center stage at the Cape Henlopen Fishing Pier. Here too, bloodworms are the top choice for bait. A few flounder and trout are taken from the pier with the majority of these fish too small to keep.

Fishing from shore at Broadkill and Lewes beaches is also producing spot and croaker. The occasional keeper trout has been caught on clam at Broadkill Beach. Both locations are best fished very early in the morning or at dusk.

The surf from Cape Henlopen to Fenwick Island has been pretty good for spot, croaker and kings. Small pieces of bloodworm, Gulp! or Fishbites have taken most of the fish. The occasional red drum and trout are in the wash as well.

Small red drum have also been caught from the inlet on sand fleas drifted in the rocks. The same bait will take triggerfish, spadefish, tog and rockfish. The best of the rockfish action is at night.

Flounder have been the primary catch at reef sites 9,10 and 11. The same is true at the Old Grounds and the rough bottom between B and A buoys. A few croaker and sea bass have been caught in the same locations.

Bigeye tuna continue to dominate the offshore area. The best of the action has been near the Washington Canyon. Many of the boats in the White Marlin Open ran down to the Norfolk Canyon looking for billfish. The Baltimore and Poorman’s held a few billfish and some dolphin, wahoo and tuna.

Monday's trip

On Monday, I along with my son Roger, Mike Pizzaloto, Mac McNaught, Jim Beirnes and Andy Gorlich went out for a day of bottom fishing on the Karen Sue with Capt. John Nedelka. We were on the dock at Indian River by 0545 and under way by 0600. The ocean was smooth as glass, and we covered the 30 miles to our first stop in just under two hours.

Captain Nedelka and I have been friends for 40 years, since we both had campers at Bay Shore Campground in Ocean View. Most of our friends from that era have moved on to other, more profitable pursuits, while John and I took vows of poverty and stayed in the fishing business.

I had picked the date for our trip according to the moon phase. Monday the moon was waxing, and I calculated this would produce a fishable current.

For reasons known only to the fishing gods, it produced a current that was a bit too weak. Without a strong current and no wind, anchoring on structure was impossible, so Captain John used the engine to hold us on the various wrecks we fished.

The bite was a bit slow as the crew picked at ling (red hake) and black sea bass. We were using salted clam or squid for bait and there were plenty of small critters on the bottom that loved to nibble at these treats.

At one point Captain John had the mate, Paul, tossing live minnows at the buoys marking sea bass pots. The very first one we hit produced a dolphin for Andy, and that raised everyone’s hopes of finding more. That was not to be.

All of the ling were good-sized, and the sea bass were either keepers or big enough to warrant measuring. With six anglers picking away, the box was filled to a respectable level by the time we headed back to the dock. One more stop on the way in put a few more keeper sea bass in the cooler.

Back at the dock, the fish cleaners at Hook ‘Em and Cook ‘Em soon had the catch cleaned, bagged and iced. We all headed home with enough fine fish filets for several meals.

Besides fishing with good friends, going out on a charter is so easy. No hassle with boat ramps, no cleaning the boat after the trip and no worry about the best place to fish. Everything is taken care of, so all you have to do is catch fish.

  • 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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