445 anglers take part in Joe Morris Canal Flounder Tournament

May 24, 2019

The Joe Morris Memorial Canal Flounder Tournament was held May 17, and the turnout was amazing. There were 445 anglers entered in the contest with half of their $40 entry fee going to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.

At 4 p.m., the scales closed and the winners were announced. In first place was Tim West with a 5.95-pound flounder. Second place went to Jeff Semans and his 4.07-pound flatfish. Following Semans were Jeff Purdy and a 3.73-pound flounder, Mark Horvath with a 3.39-pounder, Artie Corson with a 3.28-pounder, Gary Ebling and his 3.27-pounder, and Zach Becker and his 3.12-pound flounder. 

Amanda Morris told us after all the proceeds from the entry fees and T-shirt sales are added up, she is sure they will be able to turn over $10,000 to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network in memory of her husband Joe.

Cast for a Cure

On Saturday, May 18, the Cast for a Cure Surf Fishing Tournament was held out of Old Inlet Bait and Tackle. Clark Evans from Old Inlet and Brandy Timmons from Delaware Fisherwomen headed this contest with all proceeds going to the Tunnell Cancer Center. There were 25 four-person teams that fished. Each team member paid $50 to enter.

The awards were presented at Just Hooked in Fenwick Island between 2 and 4:30 p.m., May 19. There was lots of good food and a raffle of sponsor-donated items.

The first-place team was Here Fishy, Fishy with 84 points. In second place was Ass in Seat with 72 points, while third was Reel Women with 70 points. Winning teams received trophies.

Cash Calcuttas were held for the largest rockfish and bluefish. The Worm Wigglers had the largest rockfish with a 40-inch monster worth $440. There was a tie for the largest bluefish with Reel Women and Ass in Seat both catching 19-inch blues. They spilt the prize money with each getting $220.

The presentation of the final donation to the Tunnell Cancer Center will be made in June once all the various funds have been accounted for. 

Both of these tournaments have provided much-needed funds to fight the terrible scourge that is cancer. Everyone connected with these events, from the organizers to the participants, is to be congratulated and thanked for helping defeat this devastating disease.   

Indian River Inlet

As I expected, the chain-link fence erected by the Army Corps of Engineers has not stopped the more agile (younger) anglers from accessing the sidewalk and rocks inside the enclosure. I was there Tuesday around 7 a.m. and there were a couple of guys fishing from the sidewalk and rocks that they easily got to by climbing around the end of the fence. I was there for two-and-a-half hours, and no one came by to run them off.

I have no idea what the fine would be if you’re caught over the fence or even if the park rangers have the authority to arrest people violating federal regulations by climbing over the guard rail. I expect they do.

At any rate, it was a wonderful morning of fishing as the hickory shad were there in great numbers. I arrived a little after 7 a.m. as the current was just starting in and found birds working the rips. I thought perhaps the birds were on bluefish, but after several casts with a metal lure and no blues, I hooked a shad and the mystery was solved.

I tied a shad dart to my metal lure and on the very next cast, and almost every cast until I left at 10 a.m., I caught a shad. I had two casts where the dart got tangled with the metal lure, but I made up for that by catching two doubleheaders.

There were at least five or six other anglers fishing the same area and all were tossing white bucktails. Only two came over the see what I was using and then changed their rigs and started catching shad. The rest stuck with the white bucktails and caught nothing.

If you want to know why 90 percent of the fishermen only catch 10 percent of the fish, I believe this is your answer. We are creatures of habit, and if we caught fish on a white bucktail out of the inlet last week, last year or your grandfather caught fish on a white bucktail on the 1950s, then, by God, you are going to use a white bucktail when you fish the inlet. If that bucktail isn’t working, you may want to find out what is and make a change.

  • 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 several publications and 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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