Angler shatters blue catfish state record

September 20, 2019

The Delaware Sport Fishing Tournament announced a new state record blue catfish caught by Colt Williamson of Harrington. Colt landed the 47.75-pound monster after a 25-minute fight on the Nanticoke River. He was fishing with his dad Rexx. Taylored Tackle in Seaford weighed the record fish, and it was verified by Jonny Moore, a fisheries biologist with the Division of Fish and Wildlife.

The previous state record blue catfish was also caught out of the Nanticoke River and weighed at Taylored Tackle. That fish was taken by Jordan Chelton in 2017 and weighed 36.32 pounds.

Kids Catch All Fishing Tournament

The Kids Catch All Fishing Tournament has been recognized as one of the best kids’ fishing tournaments in the country. This award was made by FishingBooker, the largest U.S. platform for booking fishing trips.

The Kids Catch All Fishing Tournament is held out of Indian River Marina and sponsored by Lyme Disease Association of Delmarva. The purpose of the tournament is to raise funds to provide educational resources on Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses. The contest also provides an opportunity for children to get involved in the sport of fishing. The kids can fish from a boat, a dock or from shore. Awards are presented for a variety of species, so every angler has a chance to win a prize.

The Kids Catch All Fishing Tournament was listed second in a field of seven winners. The other tournaments ranged from California to Texas.

Fishing report

As you read this, we are coming off three days of hard northeast wind, so I have no idea what the fishing will be like over the weekend. After the last nor’easter, we had wonderful black sea bass fishing in the ocean, and perhaps that will be the case again.

On Monday, I wanted to get a little fishing in before the blow, so I headed to Indian River Inlet, arriving around 6:45 a.m. The fog was pretty thick on the way down and remained so for most of the next two hours.

The current was running in and the rips were making up very well opposite my station on the north side just west of the fenced-off area under the bridge. I was the only one fishing when I arrived, but soon a few other men joined the fun. I was casting a metal lure, and from what I could see, the other guys were tossing either metal or bucktails.  The one thing we had in common was we didn’t catch anything.

It was a bit strange. There were no birds working the water. Not even the ever-present terns. There were lots of small bait tight to the rocks, and I could see mullet jumping out in the inlet, but no fish and no bird activity. I did not see any porpoise either.

After a couple of hours, I gave up and headed to Three Rs Road. There I baited up with FishBite sand flea and bloodworm bait. My objective was to catch a pompano in Delaware. I have caught them from a boat in Florida, but never from the surf and never in Delaware.

The surf was about normal, and I was able to cast and control my top-bottom rig with a three-ounce bank sinker. I was using a rig I tied with a floating jig head and another single circle hook. I kept getting tiny taps and missing the fish. I changed my rig to another I had tied using the smallest circle hooks I had. This rig paid off and on my last cast around noon, I finally caught a pompano. Don’t ask how big. Just know it was a pompano, and I caught it out of the surf in Delaware.

The sea bass and triggerfish action has been very good over ocean structure. Both charter and private boats have scored limits of sea bass and double-digit triggerfish catches. Flounder have been caught from ocean structure, but not in the quantity we have seen in years past.

Delaware Bay doesn’t seem to have bounced back as well as the ocean from the hurricane. Reports from the reef sites indicate blowfish, trout and flounder, with only the blowfish in any great numbers. Triggers and spadefish have been caught from the Outer Wall and the Ice Breakers on sand fleas or green crab.

The fishing pier at Cape Henlopen State Park has seen a drop in the number of spot, but more keeper flounder since the mullet run began. Short rockfish are also being caught here along with a few blues, croaker and kings.

Offshore it remains dolphin and tilefish that fill the fish boxes. A few tuna showed up last weekend on an overnight trip, so perhaps they will begin to move down.


  • 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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