Joe Morris Memorial Canal Flounder Tournament raises $14,750

June 19, 2021

Amanda Morris has announced the final tally from the Joe Morris Memorial Canal Flounder Tournament. The grand total was $14,750. That figure includes half of each angler’s $40 entry fee, the sale of T-shirts and the money raised from the sale of bucktails made just for the tournament.

A check for that amount will be presented to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network in Joe Morris’ name. It is too late to help Joe, but perhaps it can help someone in the future who is suffering from this terrible disease.

Pier fishing

We are lucky to have a good fishing pier at Cape Henlopen State Park. It was recently upgraded with a new deck and there is a very well-stocked tackle shop just as you go out on the pier. A very large restroom and even a covered picnic area are available in the same vicinity.

The one drawback to fishing on the pier is the shallow water on low tide. The far end is still covered, but the area closest to the beach sits high and dry.

Quite a few people make a day of it on the pier. They have carts loaded with chairs, tackle, bait, umbrellas and other assorted goods to see them through the day. You will see entire families out there with kids running around and wives reading books while the old man is fishing.

When I go, it is usually by myself. I have an old handcart that I load with my ever-popular 5-gallon bucket that holds a small cooler, my tackle, cold drinks, bait, folding chair and a snack or two. I usually fish the last few hours of the incoming tide and the first two or three hours of the outgoing, so I don’t have to pack a lot.

I will fish two spinning rods. One will have a top-bottom rig baited with Fish Bites bloodworm or clam; the other will carry a bucktail and Gulp! The top-bottom rig will be allowed to sit on the bottom while I will cast and retrieve the bucktail and Gulp! trying to attract a flounder. If the pier is not crowded, I will move from piling to piling with the bucktail and Gulp! because that’s where flounder like to hang out.

Since the top-bottom rig will attract spot and croaker plus the occasional kingfish, you will want to use small hooks. I like circle hooks whenever I use bait and especially when I am going to leave the rig unattended.

In the spring and fall, there is always the chance of catching a larger bluefish or even a big rockfish. That didn’t happen this year, but when it does, you will want a bit heavier tackle and should use cut, fresh bunker for bait.

Several people will set up to crab from the pier. I have not done this, but from what I have seen it looks like they do have some success. Collapsible traps baited with fish or chicken parts seem to be the prime setup. They are fished from the pier and pulled up on a regular basis. Kids seem to enjoy this activity.

There is a fine beach on either side of the pier which is another attraction for the kids. The water is very shallow so it is reasonably safe.

Fishing on this pier is a bargain for families. It cost $5 for a carload to enter the park and then nothing to fish the pier. Out-of-state folks pay $10. Compare that to a trip to Rehoboth and a stop at Funland.

Fishing report

Sea bass continue to fill coolers for those who work the deeper wrecks and reef sites. A few sea bass and flounder are beginning to show up at the Old Grounds, and reef sites 10 and 11. The usual clams, squid, Gulp! and minnows are working right now. Slow jigging is also productive for the sea bass.

Indian River Bay has seen a few more flounder caught along the edges of the deeper holes and channels. Here too, squid, minnows, Gulp!, bucktails and Fish Bites will work.

The reef sites in the Lower Delaware Bay have seen improved action with kings and trout taking bloodworms and Fish Bites, and the larger trout being caught on metal jigs. Flounder should be there as well, but I have not seen a reliable report so far this year.

Indian River Inlet has given up a few big rockfish at night from the jetties. Live eels and swimshads remain the top baits.

The Poorman’s Canyon continues to give up yellowfin tuna. Spreader bars and Flippy-Floppy Things have been effective. Deep dropping is very good for golden and blueline tilefish.


  • 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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