Fishing tournaments support charities with local ties

May 29, 2021

Last weekend, we had two tournaments that were held to support two very worthy charities.

The first, held May 21, was the Joe Morris Memorial Canal Flounder Tournament. This contest attracted 488 anglers who fished from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m. in the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal and the Broadkill River to Oyster Rocks Road. The entry fee was $40 per angler, and half of that went to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. Proceeds from the sales of T-shirts and bucktails by Tom added to the total.

At the end of the day, Ricky Blitz came out on top with a 4.44-pound flounder. Heather Strickland was in second place with her 4.08-pounder. In third place was Rich Atkinson, who had a 3.98-pound flatfish. Fourth place went to Shawn Carpenter with his 3.83-pounder, and fifth was Kara Smith and her 3.67-pound flounder. In the sixth and final place we had Austin Presley and his 3.50-pound flounder. Prize money was divided by 40% for first, 25% for second, 20% for third and 15% for fourth. Fifth and sixth received fishing tackle donated by Lewes Harbour Marina.

The Cast for A Cure Surf Fishing Tournament was held out of Old Inlet Bait and Tackle, with Clark Evans and Brandy Timmons heading up the project. They had 20 four-person teams with an entry fee of $50 per angler. All entry fees go to the Tunnell Cancer Center. They also held a raffle for a custom surf rod built by Shaun Smith and a long-cast Penn surf-fishing reel.

The winners were Team Reel Women with Donna Guttridge, Anita Chandler, Kelsey Cycyk and Tricia Wolters. They scored 342 points by catching 28 scoring kingfish. In second place was Team OTW Sandsticks with 145 points. Team members included Scott Aiken, Chris Barton, Guy Miller and Frank Holland. In third place was Team No Time to Poop; members were Bill Wiechardt, Debbie Wiechardt, Lynda Schmierer and Keith Schmierer. All winning team members were presented plaques designed and made by Brandy Timmons. The largest striper Calcutta was won by Henry Busby, who caught and released a 37-inch striper.

These two tournaments show that fishermen are willing to work hard to set up charity fishing contests and fish in them as well. A hearty well done goes to all involved in these wonderful events.

Off-peak surf fishing permits

The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control began issuing off-peak surf fishing permits May 25. This is a pilot program to see how much interest there is in a surf fishing permit that is only good on weekdays in the summer from June 1 to Sept. 3. Memorial Day and Labor Day are excluded. After Sept. 7 the permits are good for any day of the week until Dec. 31. They are also good for admittance to all state parks. These surf fishing permits have a reduced price of $70 for Delaware residents and $140 for nonresidents. Delaware residents 62 and older will pay $60.

After the year is over, the folks at DNREC will look at the off-peak program and decide if it should continue and what, if any, changes should be made. Personally, I think it is a good idea for those of us who live close to the beach. I seldom, if ever, go up on the beach on a weekend in the summer. Even during the week, I will go there by 6 a.m. and leave by 10.

Fishing report

Slowly but surely, fishing is getting better. Flounder are being caught out of the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal, the fishing pier at Cape Henlopen State Park and the Indian River Bay. Gulp! and live minnows have been the top baits.
At Indian River Inlet, shad continue to take shad darts on incoming water. A few small bluefish have been caught along with the shad. If you want to cull out the shad and save your darts, use small metal lures like spoons and Stingsilvers. Speck Rigs will catch both shad and blues.

Nighttime jetty jockeys encounter the occasional large rockfish and trout. Swimshads have been the most consistent bait with bucktails also accounting for a few fish. The South Jetty has been very popular, while some fish have been taken from the North Jetty as well.

We are expecting some strong northeast winds over the weekend, making the jetties dangerous. Please think before going out on the rocks.

Sea bass action remains good with more shorts than keepers. Those same northeast winds are not going to help fishermen in the ocean. Black drum have been taking clam baits at the Coral Beds in Delaware Bay. Here too, the weather will determine if boats can get to the fish.

  • 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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