Feds looking to lower minimum size for summer flounder

June 7, 2019

It seems there have been different regulations for summer flounder in the Exclusive Economic Zone (three miles from state shoreline to 200 miles out) than in state waters. The states of Delaware, Maryland and Virginia have a 16.5-inch minimum size and four-fish bag limit, while federal waters have a 19-inch minimum size and three-fish bag. Currently, the federal government, through NOAA, is working to bring the federal regulations in line with the states’, but until they do, the 19-inch and three-fish bag is the law in federal waters.

Having said that, the odds of anyone being checked by the Coast Guard or a NOAA enforcement officer while flounder fishing at the Old Grounds are pretty unlikely. However, should that happen and you did have a 16.5-inch flounder on board you would be breaking federal law and that ain’t good. Private boaters may want to chance it, but charter and head boat captains should not. At least I wouldn’t put my license at risk for a few flounder.

Lewes-Rehoboth Canal

I made two trips to the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal this past week – May 30 and June 4. My wife Barbara was with me Friday, and we put our boat over at the Lewes ramp around 2:30 p.m. to catch the incoming current. We drifted the canal from Roosevelt Inlet to the Savanah Road bridge catching one short flounder on a day-glow orange Gulp! crawfish. Then we ran back up to the inlet and drifted up the Broadkill River to the duck blind, where we caught a 17-inch flounder on the same bait.

On Tuesday, Mike Pizzolato and I launched my boat at 6 a.m., with plans to fish Delaware Bay. Those plans were quickly dashed by the northwest wind that had 3-foot waves running through Roosevelt Inlet.

Going with Plan B, we retraced the drifts that Barbara and I made on Friday, but with much less success. Mike and I each had one bite before pulling the boat at 10 a.m.

Kid’s Catch All Fishing Tournament

The Indian River Marina will host the fifth annual Kid’s Catch All Fishing Tournament from Friday, June 21, until Sunday, June 23, at the marina. The contest is open to young ladies and gentlemen ages 3 to 18, and everyone who enters will win a prize.

Contestants have several choices of where and how they would like to fish. They can choose the beach, jetties, charter, head or private boats in the ocean or bays. Adults will be allowed to assist young folks with reeling in their catch.

There is a $25 registration fee for each child or $150 per boat with up to six entrants. This includes a free T-shirt and all-you-can-eat dinner Saturday and Sunday nights. Family members can enjoy the dinner for $10. Door prizes will be awarded each night at the dinners.

Registration can be made from 6 to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday, June 21 and 22. Online registration can be made at Online registration must be made by 8 p.m., Friday, or in person by 8 a.m., Saturday to participate. If you register online, you must pick up your tournament rules at the tournament booth before fishing.

Weigh-ins will be from 3 to 6:30 p.m., Saturday and from 3 to 6 p.m., Sunday. Custom trophies in 15 categories will be awarded Sunday evening at the dinner. All contestants will receive a special gift from Hook ‘em and Cook ‘em.

A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Lyme Disease Association of Delmarva.

For more information, call Indian River Marina at 302-227-3071.

Fishing report

Overall, fishing remains pretty good. I guess the biggest surprise is the tuna and dolphin in the canyons, plus the first white marlin of the year caught from Delaware and Ocean City. Taylor Deemer had the first white marlin release for Delaware while fishing with the father-and-son team of Ken and Tyler Tibbitt on their boat Rock On. They were in the Baltimore Canyon.

Burt at Hook ‘em and Cook ‘em said he has already seen bluefin, yellowfin, true albacore and bigeye tunas, plus a good number of gaffer dolphin come in from the canyons.

Closer to shore, flounder are beginning to show at the Old Grounds, while the number of keeper-sized sea bass at the Del-Jersey-Land Reef has dwindled. Blues have returned to Fenwick Shoal.

In Delaware Bay, there are trout to 5 pounds from Broadkill Beach, Roosevelt Inlet, the Outer Wall and Reef Site 6. Kings have been caught from the fishing pier at Cape Henlopen State Park and various hard bottom in the bay as well as from the beach and the fishing pier on bloodworms.

  • 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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