Fishing ready to burst wide open

April 26, 2019

Fishing is just about to burst wide open. Flounder have been caught in the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal, big blues were taken from the fishing pier at Cape Henlopen State Park and black drum have been caught at Broadkill Beach. All of these locations are just a short drive from anywhere in the Cape Region, which goes to prove just how lucky we are to live here.

Another good thing about this fish news is these fish can all be taken without a boat. Flounder can and have been caught from the city dock, the big blues only require a walk out on the pier and Broadkill Beach has easy access from the parking lot. Of course, a boat will provide more areas to fish in the canal as well as the water between the state park and the Inner Wall, where the big blues seem to feed.

None of these fisheries require fancy fishing tackle, although drum and blues do require sturdy stuff as these fish can put a strain on line, reel and rod. For the blues and black drum from the beach, I go back to my old standard spinning outfit with a large-capacity reel filled with 17- to 20-pound mono line and a sturdy rod that can handle a large fish. From the pier, you can use lighter tackle.

Flounder fishing requires a medium-action spinning outfit. From the city dock, you will want to cast up current and allow the bait or lure to move naturally along the bottom. I like to use a jig head or bucktail with a live minnow or Gulp! Crawfish in the Nuclear Chicken color.

If you do have a small boat and want to fish the canal, try to be there about two hours ahead of the current change from incoming to outgoing. This occurs about an hour-and-a-half after high tide. If you put your boat in at the Lewes Boat Ramp, you can drift toward town on the last of the incoming current, then drift back out on the first of the outgoing. The theory is the outgoing water will be warmer due to the heating of the sun, and this will put the flounder in a feeding mood.

In the surf, clam, bloodworms and sand fleas have been used to catch black drum. Small rockfish have been caught along with the drum. Broadkill Beach is easy to drive or walk on, and there is an air station at the entrance.

The blues at the fishing pier show up when they show up. I would guess high tide is the best time, but I was there at dead low and saw three caught by anglers who waded 100 yards off the beach to cast metal lures to deep water. Chunks of cut bunker or mullet have also produced bluefish.

I have also had reports of tog caught from the sidewalk and jetty at Indian River Inlet. Green crab and shrimp have been the top baits. There are good numbers of small tog with just enough keepers to make the trip worth the effort.

Reports from the open waters of the ocean and bay have been hampered by the weather. Strong winds and heavy rain over the past few weeks have made it difficult for captains to establish a pattern of where the fish are feeding. Tog trips early in the week did show signs of improvement with fish to well over 10 pounds caught from boats out of Lewes.

Over in the Chesapeake Bay, the Rockfish Trophy Season got off to a bad start with high wind and heavy rain. Since the weather has improved, the fishing has not. Top boats are lucky to catch one or two rockfish over the 35-inch minimum size.

The Commonwealth of Virginia has closed the Trophy Rockfish Season that was supposed to begin May 1. In a unanimous vote, the Virginia Marine Resource Commission made the decision to close the season to save the larger, breeding-size females.

Little Creek Boat Ramp

On Tuesday, April 23, I attended the official opening of the boat ramp and fishing pier at Little Creek. The facility is located on the south side of Little River just before you cross the bridge heading into the town of Little Creek.

As I drove up at 12:45 p.m., there were a few people already fishing from the pier. I guess they hadn’t heard the official opening wasn’t until 1 p.m.

The speeches and ribbon cutting went off without a hitch, and everyone seems to feel this will help put the town back on its feet.

The boat ramp and kayak launch are first-rate and should provide easy access to the Delaware Bay as well as the Little River.

  • 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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