Fishing community loses staunch supporter in Bob Tribbitt

White marlin should be available during September. SOURCE SUBMITTED
August 31, 2013

Fishing remains good in the bay with croakers just about everywhere and flounder in the rubble at the reef sites. Kings and spot are also being caught with some of the best action for spot at the Cape Henlopen Fishing Pier. Two- to three-pound bluefish are beginning to show around the Outer Wall and Ice Breakers. The same structure holds sheepshead, tog and triggerfish.

Indian River Inlet has not been too active in the past few weeks. Blues move through on incoming water, but not consistently. Live spot have accounted for keeper flounder and rockfish with other baits producing less-than-desirable results. Massey’s Ditch has seen keeper flounder, black drum and blues from boats and from the fishing pier.

Blues showed up in the surf last weekend with the best bite along the beach from Key Box Road to just north of the inlet. Cut fresh bait is always best for blues, but some were caught on metal lures. The rest of the beach produced croaker, spot and kings. The Point at Cape Henlopen opens this weekend.

The flounder bite between B and A buoys, sites 10 and 11 and the Old Grounds has been very good with limit catches reported by charter and head boat customers as well as folks fishing on private boats. The key to success is the proper wind and current conditions for a good drift. Most of the time it is either too much or not enough of one or both, but when it is just right the catching is very good. A few more keeper sea bass have been reported in the same locations.

Farther offshore I had a friend who fished the Hot Dog on Monday and released two white marlin. Another boat in the same area released one. The water was 74 degrees and inshore green. Lots of whales, bait and turtles.

To our south the billfish bite is red hot. Boats from Virginia Beach fishing an area known as the Triple Zeros are catching lots of billfish. The Virginia Beach Billfish Tournament last weekend produced 483 billfish for 66 boats fishing two of three days. A new tournament record. September is usually a good month for marlin, and if the weather holds we could see excellent action out of Lewes, Indian River and Ocean City.

Bob Tribbitt

The fishing community lost a staunch supporter and I lost a good friend with the passing of Bob Tribbitt. He was not only engaged in speaking out in support of fishing and public access to public property; he also served his community as a fireman and refereed various sports.

I first met Bob in 1973 when I joined the Delaware Mobile Surf-Fishermen, a group he helped found in 1958. Everyone had a four-wheel-drive vehicle except Bob. He was able to drive his two-wheel-drive pickup on beaches not only in Delaware, but in Assateague and North Carolina.

A few other members including Fuzzy Bear and Hambone and I would drive down from Newark to attend DMS meetings at the Frankford Fire Hall. For a good portion of that time, Bob was the president and maintained order among a few members who always seemed bent on causing discord.

Whenever DMS staged an event you could count on Bob being there. He would usually work the cook shack, but also helped by arranging the event, securing plenty of food and generally taking care that all those who attended had a good time.

His work with various legislators has kept the concerns of DMS members in the forefront of many fishing and access issues. Everyone who fishes the beaches in Delaware owes a debt of gratitude to Bob.

Bob suffered a serious bout with rabbit fever several years ago. I had never heard of this illness, but there for awhile I though we were going to lose him. He survived and continued to attend DMS meetings and events even though the fever had left him with mobility problems.

While Bob was a Delawarean, he loved the barrier islands of Virginia, as do I. We would always talk about this area where he had a fishing shack on Cedar Island for many years, and he currently owned a house in Oyster.

When walking over the islands became too difficult, he switched to fishing from a boat and depleting the flounder population.

Bob Tribbitt was a very special person, and many will miss him.

  • 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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