Offshore bite is outstanding

June 21, 2019

After a week of what can only be described as terrible weather, we received some bright sunshine and light winds during most of the past week. The wind is forecast to pick up out of the northwest Friday and the first part of the weekend, but rain chances diminish.

The offshore bite at the Poorman’s and Baltimore canyons is outstanding. Yellowfin tuna are there in great numbers along with gaffer dolphin and the occasional bigeye. Most boats, both charter and private, are bringing in seven to 15 tuna along with some dolphin. Spreader bars and ballyhoo have been the top producers.

Be aware that tuna tend to move with the bait and water temperature so they may not be where they were last weekend this weekend. If you are going to run offshore and spend all that money on fuel, bait and tackle, I suggest you also invest in a service that tracks ocean temperature breaks and where the warm eddies may be found.

Closer to the beach, it was a tough week on the Old Grounds for those wishing to catch flounder. The lack of wind made for tough drifting and slow catching. A few nice fish were taken, but not that many.

The surf has seen pretty good action. Soaking bloodworms will get you spot, croaker, kings, perch, trout and the occasional blowfish. Cut bait will produce small bluefish. This is better fishing than we have seen in the past few years.

Indian River Inlet has not seen much action, but a few croaker did show up early in the week.  Bloodworms are the best bait for these fish.

The Indian River Bay is giving up a few more flounder than it has in weeks past. It is still a long way from the glory days, but there are some fish available to anglers drifting minnows or Gulp! Croaker began to show here up last week.

The nighttime jetty jockeys are catching a few keeper rockfish on eels and drifted sand fleas. The same baits fished from the beach after dark also produce rockfish.

Delaware Bay holds good numbers of kings, croaker trout and spot. The fishing pier at Cape Henlopen State Park provides easy access to all of these fish and bloodworms will be the best bait.  Reef sites eight and six have also seen good fishing for these same species.

The vast majority of the trout will be under the minimum size of 13 inches. There is also a one-fish bag limit on trout. Please use non-offset circle hooks when fishing the bay so there is less chance of damaging theses fish. Also handle the trout very carefully using a wet rag so not to damage them. Unlike some fish, trout are very soft and damage easily. Please treat them as carefully as possible.

The Lewes-Rehoboth Canal still gives up keeper flounder. The top baits have been live minnows and Gulp! There have been fish to five pounds taken, but 17- to 18-inch keepers with lots of shorts is more common. The Broadkill River also holds some flounder.

When you consider the poor fishing we had in 2018, this year is off to a pretty good start. As always, we have to contend with unfavorable weather conditions, but at least when we get good weather, the fish are there to catch.

Sport fishing license plates

Delaware fishermen can now display their favorite pastime on their license plate. The Department of Motor Vehicles is now issuing special license plates with either a largemouth bass or a striped bass, depending on your preference for fresh or saltwater fishing. The plate will be available for a one-time cost of $95 with $80 going toward enhancing recreational fishing in Delaware.

Marinah Carver, a student from Delaware State University, first brought this idea to the Advisory Council on Recreational Fishing Funding. The council worked with the Division of Motor Vehicles, the Division of Fish and Wildlife, Sen. Gerald Hocker and Rep. Ronald Gray to bring Marinah’s idea to fruition. 

Three Rs Road

I have been dying to do some surf fishing for kings, and Wednesday gave me a perfect opportunity. I stopped at Old Inlet for a dozen bloodworms and was fishing the surf at Three Rs Road by 8:30 a.m.

I tried to fish two rods with one baited with bloodworms and the other with Gulp! three-inch swimming mullet. The critters stripped the bloodworms so fast I gave up on two rods and held the one with the bloodworms as I cranked the rig in a stop and start motion toward the beach. This worked and I ended up with five nice kings even though I had to rebait after every cast.

  • 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