Joe Morris Flounder Tournament a great success

May 27, 2017

The Joe Morris Canal Flounder Fishing Tournament was held May 19, and by all accounts it was a great success. I was there at Lewes Harbour Marina when the contest got underway, and there was a steady stream of anglers weighing in fish. Weighing in a flounder as soon as it is caught is a good idea, because in case of a tie the fish weighed in first will be the winner.

At the end of the day, Jesse Steele was declared the winner with his 4.30-pound flounder. In second place was Jim Azato and his 4.03-pounder. Harry Neiman’s 3.93-pound flounder put him in third, while Dean Lewis came in fourth with a 3.78-pound flounder. Fifth place went to Ken Robinson with a 3.43-pounder, and Keith Sherman held down sixth place with a 3.38-pounder. Jonathon Daniels caught a 3.37-pound flounder to take seventh place. Amanda wanted to thank Rick’s Bait and Tackle, Henlopen Bait and Tackle, and Capt. Brent Weiss for donating the prizes for fifth, sixth and seventh places.

The real winner was pancreatic cancer research, as it received more than $10,000 in donations from the tournament. Amanda had set a goal of $10,000, and she has achieved that milestone. Still to be counted are the money from the raffle and the profit from T-shirt sales, so the total will exceed the goal by quite a bit.

Amanda would like to thank all those who fished the tournament and those who donated money and prizes, especially Joe Moore, who donated the reel, and Tommy Farmer, who donated the rod for the raffle.

Black sea bass trip

As some of you may remember, I was blown out on opening day of black sea bass season and had two other trips cancelled due to bad weather. So when Mike Pizzolatto called Monday to say there was an opening Tuesday aboard the Katydid, I snapped it up.

At 6 a.m., Tuesday morning, seven other hardy souls showed up at the boat and we got underway. One pleasant surprise was seeing Rich Bolden on the boat. Rich and I went through 12 years of school together in Claymont, and while I knew he lived near me, I had not seen him in several years. We spent most of the two-and-a-half hours it took to reach the fishing grounds catching up on old friends, and our children and grandchildren.

Once on site, Capt. Brent Weiss held us over the structure, where we dropped top-bottom rigs baited with clams to the bottom. Our offerings drew the immediate attention of some big sea bass, and the game was on.

As a general rule, the biggest sea bass bite first, so the initial drop produced mostly keepers. The longer you sit in one place, the smaller the fish you catch, so before long it was time to move. Brent must have moved us 20 times or more.  Sometimes just a few feet had us back in fish, while at other times we moved a quarter mile or more. When the first drop produces mostly shorts, that spot has been hit recently and we wasted no time there. Other locations saw everyone pulling up double keepers, and there we stayed until the bigger fish stopped coming over the rail.

No trip is perfect, and this one was no exception. The new moon current was very strong and the ground swells were pretty high. Between the two, we had several tangles along the rail. Mate Chris Vann made fast work of the mess and quickly had us back in the water.

On a personal note, I always take two outfits in case one breaks. For the first time in my life, both broke. Fortunately, the boat rods on the Katydid are first-class Shimano outfits and I never missed a beat.

Our crew was made up of experienced anglers and included David Kaplan, Jack Hendricksen, John Gudlenccht, Lex Robertson, who caught our only citation, a 3.2-pound sea bass while using his brand-new rod and reel, and George Durant. A pleasant addition to the group was Maggie Lingo, a lovely young lady who was truly a rose in a thorn bush.

Back in Lewes, Brent docked us at Lewes Harbour Marina to take on fuel and off-load eight anglers, all their gear and 150 fat black sea bass. The fish made quite a pile on the cleaning table, and it was almost 5 p.m. before Tony and Chris had them all cleaned and bagged.

I have been trying to go sea bass fishing since last fall, and I must say when I finally made it out, it was worth the wait. The Katydid and her crew lived up to their excellent reputation.

  • 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 Salt Water Sportsman, Field and Stream, Outdoor Life and the Fisherman Magazine.  He 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