Fantastic fishing filling head, charter boat coolers

While fishing on On the Edge, Glen and Brad Cave of Dagsboro caught this 180-pound bigeye tuna, seven yellowfin tuna and a dolphin while trolling ballyhoo in the Baltimore Canyon. COURTESY HOOK EM AND COOK EM
June 14, 2014

Overall, I would say fishing is pretty good. The croaker bite in Delaware Bay has been fantastic with head and charter boats filling customers' coolers on a regular basis. Not only are there a lot of fish, but they are as close to the dock as Reef Site 8. Bloodworms, squid and clams have all produced.

The pier at Cape Henlopen State Park has also seen good croaker action along with the first spot of the year. Spot like bloodworms above all else. A few keeper flounder and trout have also been taken from the boards. Minnows, Gulp! and peeler crab are good baits for both species. Bluefish come and go, and when they arrive they will take just about any bait in the water.

While the main run of black drum is over, a few more remain in the bay. Most of these will be taken by anglers fishing for other species. Keeper rockfish are even scarcer than black drum.

One of the most productive fishing locations this spring has been the beach at Broadkill or Beach Plum Island. It was a hot spot for black drum, has produced several nice trout and is now covered up with croaker. If you can find some peeler crab it will be a prime trout bait that the croaker will also devourer. A Gulp! peeler crab is another good trout tempter.

The Broadkill River and the Lewes and Rehoboth Canal have seen some keeper flounder, but not nearly as many as anglers would like. Four-fish limits are rare, but quite a few of the fish caught weigh over three pounds. Minnows, Gulp! and squid strips all produce. Trout have also been caught in these waters both from boats and from shore.

By now I am sure everyone has heard of the shark attack at Cape Henlopen State Park. I am also sure a few nut cases will gear up to fish for this terrible man-eater. Don’t do that.

In spite of what you may read on the internet, the biologists say the sandbar shark that probably bit the boy was only three to four feet long. It possibly bumped into the kid and grabbed his arm. It did not attack him in the same way the famous great white did that poor girl in “Jaws.” Don’t be afraid to go in the water, and don’t buy a bigger boat.

In other surf fishing news, a cobia was caught and released at Herring Point, an event as unusual as a shark attack. Most of the fish caught from the beach have been small croaker, kings and blues.

Indian River Inlet is seeing a bit more activity with blues and hickory shad coming through on incoming water. This is not an everyday event, but when it occurs the action is pretty good. Small spoons or Speck Rigs have been the most popular lures.

A few decent trout have come out of the inlet, and the occasional keeper rockfish is also taken. Much of this action occurs after dark with the south side of the jetty the most productive location to toss bucktails or drift sand fleas and peeler crab.

Bottom fishing in the ocean has shifted from sea bass to flounder. The Old Grounds have seen a few good catches, and we hope this improves as the water warms. The various reef sites should begin to turn on as well. A bucktail tipped with squid, cut bait or Gulp! is the best way to catch a flounder when the current and wind allow for a good drift. A Green Machine baited with a minnow, strip bait or Gulp! and held down on the bottom with an eight-ounce sinker is the best choice for days when the wind blows or the current rips.

The offshore action has been very good with sharks and tuna on the menu. Actually, you don’t have to go very far off the beach to find thresher or mako sharks. The threshers are often as close in as B Buoy and seldom farther off than the Lightship. Makos roam around between 20 and 30 fathoms with the larger black eyes in the canyons.

Yellowfin and bigeye tunas have been caught in the canyons. Both trolling and chumming have been productive. To the best of my knowledge, the first billfish of the season has yet to be brought into a Delaware port.

With Father’s Day this Sunday, it may be a good idea to take the old man fishing. I know ties and shirts are nice, but if you and he both enjoy the outdoors, why not do something together? If you don’t have a boat, just fish from shore or a pier. You can also go out on a head boat where you will meet new friends and catch a lot of fish for very little money.

  • 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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