Leonard Maull had a little surprise for us all

Roger Burnley with his 11.9-pound citation sheepshead. BY ERIC BURNLEY
August 23, 2013

Fishing remains unchanged with plenty of croaker just about everywhere along with spot and kings. Croaker are also beginning to show up in the ocean on inshore reef sites and the rough bottom off the condos in Bethany Beach.

Flounder are in the bay and the ocean with the best catches made over reef site structure. The Old Grounds has also produced a few flatfish.

Indian River Inlet has been giving up decent-sized bluefish on incoming water. Rockfish are rare, and keepers are even rarer. Triggerfish, spadefish and stripers have been caught on sand fleas drifted in the rocks. The same baits produce the same results at the Outer Wall and the Ice Breakers.

I did a little surf fishing, but not much catching. Others had croaker, spot and kings.

I went offshore out of Ocean City with Capt. Frank Goodheart and the crew on the Brenda Lou last Tuesday. Ran 70 miles southeast and fished along the 650 line. Went one for three on white marlin. Loads of life including pilot whales, fin whales, very big hammerhead sharks and small bait fish. Expect to see many more billfish next month.

Boats out of Lewes and Indian River have been doing very well deep dropping in the canyons for tilefish. The head boats out of Fisherman’s Wharf are making these trips on a regular basis providing an excellent opportunity for anyone who wants to try this unique fishing experience. Call 645-8862 for details.

Leonard Maull

When Leonard passed away last year I was told he did not want an obituary or anyone to make a fuss. Therefore I did not comment on the life of my good friend.

It now appears that Leonard had a little surprise for us. He instructed his attorney to have a helicopter drop $10,000 in small bills on the grounds of J.B. Walsh’s property which includes Lewes Harbour Marina, Irish Eyes and the Angler’s docks.

I first met Leonard when he owned Henlopen Tackle on Route 9 at the entrance to Lewes. I would call him for fishing reports and have to listen to his comments about the world in general and Lewes in particular. He knew everyone in town and everything they had done. It was quite educational.

On one memorable November day, I had been fishing at Fenwick Island and had caught two trout and a bluefish at the bottom of the tide. Figuring the action would improve on the incoming, I headed for Murray’s Bait and Tackle in Ocean View to restock my spot supply.

Leonard was there getting bait when I arrived, and we decided to pool our resources and fish together. With three dozen of Jim Murray’s finest spot we headed back to Fenwick, and by the time the tide turned we had put 49 big trout on the sand. It was an epic afternoon.

I took several photos, including one with Leonard hooking a spot as it rested on his more than ample belly. When the photo appeared in print I caught eternal hell for the caption that mentioned Leonard’s ability to build a handy work surface.

When he sold his tackle shop, Leonard moved his operation to the broken-down furniture that faces the cleaning table at Lewes Harbour Marina. There he gave anyone in earshot the benefit of his politically incorrect observations. No subject was out of bounds, and no one who arrived was spared his opinions. He was the consensus choice as chairman of the Dead Peckers Society.

I am sure there are a few folks in town who have no doubt where Leonard’s soul is residing. As for me, I don’t make those types of judgment calls leaving them to a higher authority. One thing I am sure of wherever he is, Leonard is having the last laugh.

Virginia fishing

Last Thursday my son Roger and I went fishing out of Virginia Beach with my oldest son Ric. The weather was less than ideal, so we stayed in the bay and fished near the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel.

Attempts to catch flounder were defeated by the wind. Cobia fishing suffered the same fate. We ended up on anchor over the tunnel tubes where Roger caught a 5-pound sheepshead on the Fourth Island and an 11.9-pounder on the Second Island. Ric and I, as usual, caught nothing.

On the way home we stopped at Chris’ Bait and Tackle near Cape Charles where Roger weighed his fish and received a Virginia Citation. He was kind enough to give his mother and me the smaller fish, and we have enjoyed one meal and are looking forward to two more. At least one Burnley is a fisherman.

  • 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