Fishing Broadkill Beach for black drum

April 24, 2021

I didn’t give you quite enough information about the Coast Guard’s requirement for a cut-off switch on boats of less than 26 feet. That requirement applies to boats manufactured after Jan. 1, 2020. Thanks to a sharp-eyed reader who pointed that fact out to me in an email and directed me to a Coast Guard site that explained the situation much better than their press release.

I hope not too many folks did as I did and ordered a cut-off switch for their boat based on my mistake. Fortunately, I was able to get the correct information before I paid an outboard mechanic to install the switch. I will keep the switch on my desk to remind me to be much more careful when reading press releases.

Fishing report

On Tuesday, I went to Broadkill Beach in hopes of catching a black drum. I arrived at the beginning of the incoming and fished until the top of the tide. The bay water was fairly clean and I didn’t have any problem with weeds on my rigs. I also didn’t have any problems with fish on them either.

I fished two rods. One had a single-hook fish-finder rig baited with three sand fleas. The second had a top-bottom rig baited with two sand fleas on one hook and bloodworms on the second hook. I checked both every 10 minutes and changed the baits every 20 minutes even though they looked just as good as when I put them on the hooks.

There were a fair number of folks on the beach, and from what I saw, most were fishing hard. Several had four lines in the water. The only fish I saw caught was a skate. Now there were a lot of lines in the water and someone could have caught a drum without me seeing it, but to the best of my knowledge, none were caught while I was there.

I do know for a fact that some drum have been caught from Broadkill Beach because I have seen the photos. That is why I was there. Why they were not there Tuesday afternoon, I do not know.

On Monday and Tuesday mornings, there was a run of short rockfish at the South Pocket of Indian River Inlet. On Monday, it was swimshads and paddletails, and Tuesday, it was Speck Rigs. Small tog have been caught on clams and crab at the inlet as well.

Larger tog have been taken from ocean structure and from the Outer Wall. Crab and sand fleas have been the best baits for the tog. The biggest problem for tog fishermen has been the weather. Strong winds have made anchoring a serious problem and tying off to the Outer Wall a death-defying activity.

Everyone, myself included, is anxious for the arrival of summer flounder to local waters. It looks like we will have to wait a bit longer. I had an unconfirmed report of a flounder caught in Indian River Bay by the VFW Slough and a confirmed report of the first flounder in Ocean City, but that’s about it. They are doing a little bit better behind the Barrier Islands of Virginia, but then they always do.

Speaking of the Virginia Barrier Islands, the surf there on Cobb Island has produced striped bass in excess of 50 inches and red drum over 45 inches. You have to do a little hard work to get out to the islands, but the reward is well worth the effort.

The one bright spot in Delaware is the ponds. All reports from there indicate good fishing for crappie, bass and pickerel. Spinners, crankbaits, jigs with Gulp! minnows and live bait such as worms and minnows have all accounted for excellent catches.

Milton boat ramp

On Tuesday, the new Milton boat ramp was officially opened by DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvey.  The new concrete ramp can accommodate boats to 20 feet and now has a courtesy dock. The new ramp will provide access to Wagamons Pond, a very popular fishing location.

The $315,000 cost was paid by the federal 5 percent excise tax on fishing products and the funds from the Delaware general fishing license. The split was 25 percent from the state and 75 percent from the federal government. That federal money would only be available if Delaware could match it with state funds. That is what the fishing license does.

Fishermen and hunters pay their own way with the licenses they purchase every year and do not rely on general tax revenues to fund our sport. Non-fishermen and hunters enjoy the fishing piers, boat ramps and wildlife areas we help build.


  • 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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