Lurefest coming to Bowers Beach Fire Hall March 28

March 13, 2020

Members of SaltFish, an online fishing site, will hold their 20th annual Lurefest from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, March 28, at the Bowers Beach Fire Hall. This is a gathering of fishermen who ply their hobby in the Delaware Bay, Atlantic Ocean, and freshwater ponds and rivers.

There will be displays from the Delaware Saltwater Fly Fishermen, the DNREC Enforcement Division, various charter and head boat operators, and lure makers. Kids will have a special raffle, while the adult raffle will award rods, reels, charter and head boat trips, and assorted fishing and boating equipment. For several years I claimed the raffle was rigged because I never won. Last year I did win a very nice handheld VHF radio. 

My favorite part of the day is lunch. There will be lots of good food, including some cooked on the outdoor grill, and some prepared at home and brought to the show. If you are a diabetic, like me, plan on a few extra units of insulin.

The tickets are $20 online at and include one raffle ticket. You can buy additional raffle tickets for $20, and each one admits another person. Tickets are $25 at the door. Children under 14 attend free. I hope to see you there.

Spring surf fishing

The water temperature in the surf has reached 49 degrees, and it isn’t even St. Patrick’s Day. I expect to see the first fish caught from the ocean beach by April Fools Day, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few drum taken at Broadkill Beach before your federal income taxes are due.

Last spring, I had very good fishing from the ocean beach, but not so much from the bayside. For reasons known only to the black drum, they turned up their barbels at my beautiful fresh clams and went for sand fleas.

The best fishing I had in the spring was at Three Rs Road. This has been my go-to spot for the past 50 years and it really paid off in 2019. I like bloodworms for trout and kings, and since they were my target species, I bought a dozen before my first trip. I also had a pack of FishBite bloodworms. At the end of the day, my live bloodworms were used up and my FishBite bloodworms were only half gone. The FishBites had caught just as many fish as the live bait and the leftovers were still good. That was the last pack of live bloodworms I bought all year.

I cut the FishBite bloodworms into one-inch sections and used them on a two-hook top-bottom rig. I used small circle hooks, and caught both kings and small trout. I believe my success came about because I held the rod and didn’t put it in a sand spike. I used a bank sinker and cranked it back in a few turns before stopping for a minute or two, then cranking in a few turns more. 

My best luck was during incoming water. I like to be on the beach early in the morning, but last spring the time of day was not as important as the stage of the tide.

I did not catch any bluefish from the beach, but I did have one good day at Indian River Inlet. I arrived about 30 minutes before sunrise to find incoming water and birds working the inlet. I began casting a Stingsilver into the birds and started catching three- to four-pound blues. If the birds were out of casting range, so were the fish. The action lasted until the current slacked off. I only kept three for dinner. This year I will only be allowed to keep three, unless I am fishing on a charter or head boat.

The other good day I had at the inlet was on hickory shad. Once again, I arrived before sunrise and found birds working all over the inlet. Figuring they were on bluefish, I began casting my Stingsilver. That lure was ignored, so I switched to a shad dart using the Stingsilver for weight and began catching hickory shad on every cast.

Last spring saw some really good fishing from shore. I can only hope 2020 will be the same.

Fishing report

The tog action is still good when the wind lets the boats reach the grounds. Several double-digit fish are caught on every trip; it’s just that fishable days are few and far between.

My reports from Newton Pond were not very good on opening day. Very few trout were caught by those who braved the cold and wind. Fortunately, my sister called Thursday and asked to come for a visit Friday and Saturday, saving me from spending several fruitless cold hours on the pond.


  • 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

Subscribe to the Daily Newsletter