Gun rights rally set for May 8 in Dover

May 6, 2021

On Saturday, May 8, The Delaware State Sportsman’s Association will hold a gathering of folks Saturday, May 8, to protest the two bills currently going through the Delaware Legislature that will have a negative effect on law-abiding citizens who own magazines that can hold more than 17 cartridges (SB6) or who would like to purchase a pistol (SB3).

I wrote about these bills a few weeks ago and all the feedback was positive, so I know there are people out there who also oppose both pieces of legislation.

The protest will be held at 1 p.m. in front of Legislative Hall in Dover. I hope everyone who attends behaves themselves. We do not need people dressing up like Davy Crockett or carrying AR-15 rifles.

Indian River Inlet shad

I had reports of good shad fishing at Indian River Inlet, so last Thursday morning I arrived there around 7 a.m., just as the current was beginning to run in. I like to fish on the northside by the bridge because the parking lot is close to the water and the restrooms.

I was surprised that only two men were fishing between the fenced-off area and the handicap pier, and feared that the reports I had received were a bit too glowing. My first cast proved me wrong. I hooked up with a 20-inch shad that put on quite a show before I was able to land and release him. I was using a shad dart tied about six to eight inches behind a one-ounce Stingsilver.

From then until I left around 10 a.m., it was a steady pick. Not a fish on every cast, but more than enough to keep me happy. The shad would be right on the surface in the rip as far out as I could cast for a while, then disappear to show up deep, closer to the rocks under the bridge.

Most people, myself included, do not find hickory shad the finest of table fare. Many years ago, I took a few home to my grandmother, and if she couldn’t make them taste good – she couldn’t – then I hold out no hope. 

I also learned that different ethnic groups have different tastes. When I lived in Virginia Beach, there was a large Philippine population there. They loved to eat false albacore. I had a fellow charter my boat who was married to a Philippine lady, and he was so excited to take her home some false albacore.

While hickory shad don’t taste good, you would be hard pressed to find a better gamefish. They hit hard, make nice runs and jump pretty high. Sound like a small tarpon? Yet, most fishermen in Delaware completely ignore them. I guess I shouldn’t complain. The fewer fishermen, the better for me.

Fishing report

When the wind doesn’t blow, there are fish to be caught. Other than the wind, cool water temperatures are the biggest problems right now. We need to get the water into the 60s, and right now, it is in the 50s in the bay and the ocean.

Delaware Bay is beginning to give up some black drum. The best fishing right now is from boats at the Coral Beds off Slaughter Beach or over off Cape May. Broadkill Beach has been a bit stingy with its drum.

In addition to the shad, Indian River Inlet has given up some slot rockfish. These 28- to 35-inch fish have been caught on swimshads from the rocks at the South Pocket. There have been a few rock over the maximum caught and released. I feel certain there are some monster rockfish at the inlet because the place is loaded with bait. On Thursday, in addition to the shad, I also caught two herring and two bunker.

On Monday, I had reports of trout caught from the South Pocket. According to the report, all were over 13 inches and all were released. They too hit swim shads.

I know of at least two keeper tog that were caught from the inlet on shrimp. I had reports of others taken on green crab and sand fleas.

Boats that make the run to ocean structure find tog waiting to be caught. Green crab and sand fleas are the most popular baits, but if I were going tog fishing, I believe I would stop by the local Acme store and invest in a bag of shrimp.

Surf fishing is generally poor. Most folks have lousy luck, catching only sharks and skates, but the lucky one or two do catch a bluefish or big rockfish. Cut bunker has been the best bait. I would buy only the freshest bunker and change it every 10 minutes.


  • 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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