Canal flounder tournament honors the late Joe Morris

April 29, 2017

The Joe Morris Memorial Flounder Tournament will be held May 19. This is the original Canal Flounder Tournament that was started by Joe and his wife Amanda many years ago. Beginning this year, the name has changed to the Joe Morris Memorial Flounder tournament as an honor to Joe and as a fundraiser for pancreatic cancer research.

The entry fee will be $40 per angler, of which $20 will go to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. Currently, pancreatic cancer has no cure, and its victims face a certain death sentence.  Amanda hopes to raise enough money with the tournament to have an impact on this dreaded killer.

Those who would like to donate to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network but not fish the tournament can write a check to the organization and put “In Memory of Joe Morris” on the memo line. Checks will be accepted at Lewes Harbour Marina at any time.

The tournament hours are 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. The area fished will be the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal from Rehoboth Bay to Roosevelt Inlet and the Broadkill River as far upstream as Oyster Rocks.

All anglers must register at Lewes Harbour Marina by 7 a.m. on the morning of the contest. It is suggested if you catch a possible winning fish that you bring it to the scales ASAP because in case of a tie, the fish weighed first will be declared the winner.

All the money from the remaining $20 entry fee is paid out to the winners. First place gets 40 percent, second gets 25 percent, third gets 20 percent and fourth gets 15 percent. Fifth- and sixth-place winners will receive rod and reel combos from Rick’s Bait and Tackle, and Henlopen Bait and Tackle.

In past years, the tournament has attracted as many as 400 anglers. If it does that well this year, there will be an $8,000 pot to be divided among the top four places. And perhaps more importantly, there will be $8,000 going to pancreatic cancer research.

In an effort to raise even more for pancreatic research, Amanda has authorized a very special T-shirt to celebrate Joe’s life. Profits from the sales of this T-shirt will also go to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.

Joe Morris was a very special person who was taken from us much too soon. Even if you can’t fish the tournament, please make a donation or purchase a T-shirt so perhaps we all can do something to save the world from the scourge of pancreatic cancer.

Fishing report

The run of big bluefish has been very good for those who have been on station when the choppers passed by. Fish to 18 pounds have been caught from as far up the bay as Bowers Beach, up the Broadkill River to Oyster Rocks and along the beach from Broadkill to Fenwick Island. Some blues fell for cut bunker fished on the bottom, while others hit surface lures or metal.

Small black drum have also made a strong showing along the beach. Most of these fish have been caught on clams. Broadkill Beach is the most consistent producer of drum, but the ocean surf around Herring Point has also seen fair drum action.

It is still a slow pick for flounder in the Back Bays and the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal. A few keepers have been caught along with a few more shorts. Baits have been minnows, squid and jigs with Gulp! Nuclear Chicken.

The largest tog we heard about this week was a 10.52-pounder and was caught by Chris Vann on the Katydid. Overall tog fishing was hampered by the weather.

Short rockfish were in the surf, the tidal rivers and creeks, and Indian River Inlet. Bloodworms were the best bait, followed by small bucktails.

If you are going to target these small rockfish using bait, please use non-offset circle hooks. These hooks will, as a general rule, keep the fish from swallowing the bait and getting hooked in the stomach or gills. The small rock of today will be the big rock of the future, and we should do everything we can to protect them.

Big white perch were still in the tidal rivers and creeks before the storm. The tidal flooding may move them around a bit, so anglers will have to try a few spots before discovering their current location. Bloodworms will still be the best bait.

After several days of hard northeast winds and tidal flooding, the water close to shore is going to be pretty dirty. Fortunately, we have a few decent weather days before the weekend, and with a little luck things will clear up by then.

  • 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