Good number of rockfish finally being caught

This is part of the group that cleaned up the inlet last Saturday. BY ERIC BURNLEY
December 1, 2013

Rockfish finally turned on last Friday with good numbers caught on the troll and by drifting with live spot or eels. Overfalls Shoal and the Eights both produced fish above 20 pounds with a few 40-pounders caught as well.

Then the weekend came and with it an abundance of wind and cold weather. At least one very brave or very foolhardy soul did go out Saturday morning and found a couple of rock while trolling at the Eights. Heaven knows he earned those fish.

On Tuesday, it was “Katy bar the door” as rockfish were caught from the rips to well up the bay. Trolling and drifting with live spot or eels produced limits of big rock.

Tog fishing has been on the slow side for reasons known only to the tog. The bite was off last week, and the one boat we know of that went out Monday morning came in early due to the dirty water and rough seas.

We were at Indian River Inlet Saturday and did not see a single tog or rockfish caught from the rocks. The few boats drifting the inlet did not appear to be setting the world on fire either.

This is Black Friday and the crowds that cover up the various stores will be matched by the crowds of boats that will cover up the mouth of the bay provided the weather is decent. It is impossible to predict what the fishing will be after the nor’easter that was expected Wednesday and the gale-force winds predicted for Thursday. If I had to guess, I would say the fish will still be available and wish all of you good luck.

Indian River Inlet cleanup

I want to thank the folks who came out Saturday morning to help clean up the Indian River Inlet area. While we did not get the forecast rain, we did have plenty of wind and some chilly temperatures.

Delaware Mobile Surf-Fishermen sponsored the event, and we had lots of help from the anglers at Saltfish and at least one young man from Delaware Surf Fishing. The last two groups are fishing-related websites.

It was good to see several ladies come out, and one gentleman brought his young son. Morty Morton, president of DMS, somehow convinced his wife and daughter to help. Needless to say, all the ladies worked tirelessly while a few of the men were easily distracted into fishing discussions.

The trash situation was not as bad as it was when I was at the inlet a few weeks before. Most of the garbage between the sidewalk and the fence was gone, and it was apparent that this area had recently been graded with additional sand to fill in the low spots.

The real problem was all the junk down in the rocks. Plenty of plastic bottles, plastic bags and more fishing line than I would have imagined.

The park had provided us with devices that have a long shaft with suction cups on the end operated by a trigger on the handle to reach down between the rocks. These worked fine on the plastic trash, but the fishing line was in such large balls and these were lodged in the rocks so tight that the only way to remove them was to get in there and cut the mess out. Fortunately, we had a few young men able to do this job.

As always, there were a few unpleasant surprises. One plastic bag contained a large quantity of very dead green crabs, while another held an equal number of dead eels. I would have thought the rats that live in the rocks would have found these treats long before we did.

Delaware Seashore State Park provided plastic bags, gloves, brooms and a shovel. I thought we would need brooms to sweep away the crab parts littering the sidewalk, but Morty brought his gas-powered leaf blower and did an excellent job of removing the problem.

I want those who participated to know the staff at the park office was very thankful for the job you did. They are stretched thin during the winter and need all the help they can get to keep the place clean.

Deer season

I have reports of successful and not-so-successful hunts last week. It seems those who hunted private land had the best luck while public land like Redden State Forest saw fewer deer taken.

I contacted Joe Rogerson with the Division of Fish and Wildlife, who told me 5,902 deer were taken last week. This is just a few short of the 5,965 taken during the shotgun season in 2012.

We still have more doe days, a muzzleloader season and another shotgun season to go for those of us who did not get out last week.

  • 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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