Records Pond dam closed in Laurel

March 6, 2020

The dam that controls the water level in Records Pond in Laurel will be replaced, and this will require closing the fishing pier below the dam and the adjacent fishing areas and parking lot. Willow Street, which crosses the dam, will also be closed. The work began March 2 and will continue for at least a year.

There is no doubt the dam needs work, and it won’t hurt the fishing to drain out the pond, but for me and a lot of other fishermen, it will mean the loss of a favorite fishing spot for a year. I have been fishing there since I was a small boy, and I still go back at least once a year. Didn’t make it this year, so it looks like I’m going to miss 2020.

Cobia regulations

There was a public hearing Feb. 26 on pending regulations for cobia in Delaware waters. I hate to miss a public hearing, but I was unable to attend this one.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission has been given jurisdiction over cobia; it has determined the latest stock assessment indicates the stock is not overfished and overfishing is not occurring. Delaware has been declared a de minimis state since there were no reported cobia landings prior to the Fishery Management Plan for cobia being adopted in November 2017. All states are required by the FMP to adopt a precautionary management plan to prevent overfishing.

As a de minimis state, Delaware has two options. Option 1 would give recreational anglers a 365-day open season, a one-fish possession and vessel limit, and a 32-inch minimum size. Option 2 gives recreational anglers a season from June 1 to Sept. 15, a one-fish-per-person possession limit and a three-fish vessel limit with a 40-inch minimum size limit.

My personal choice is Option 2. While it is unlikely that a single boat would catch three cobia on one trip, it is possible and it has been done. If the opportunity presents itself, I would hate to have to pass it up. A 40-inch size limit is more practical, as a 32-inch cobia is pretty small. The June 1 to Sept. 15 season should take in the time that cobia are available to Delaware anglers.

Commercial fishermen will have a 37-inch minimum size, two-fish possession limit, six-fish vessel limit and a 365-day season.

The comment period runs until Thursday, March 12. Send emails to Put “cobia comments” in the heading.

Maryland striped bass summer regs

The State of Maryland has put out three options for the summer striped bass season. The three options have a common starting date of May 16 and that’s about it. From there the options vary the closing date from Dec. 10 to Dec. 15, with a 16-day closed season sometime between July 16 and Aug. 31. During this closed season, all contact with striped bass would be prohibited.

Option 1 does not allow charter parties to have more than one fish, and the captain and mate may not have even one fish. Options 2 and 3 set up a pilot program that would allow charter parities to have two fish, but the captain must report to FACTS when they depart and return, plus what they kept and discarded, and their fishing activity. This program is voluntary, and charter captains who do not participate will only be allowed to keep one striped bass per customer.

Size limits will also vary. Option 1 has an 18-inch minimum size limit, while Options 2 and 3 have 19-inch minimum size limits.

All of these options are up for consideration by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, and I expect they will be hearing a lot of comments. One of these options will be the law, and once we know which one, we will let our readers know as well.

Fishing report

Not very much to report for the past week as high winds made for difficult fishing conditions. When the tog boats can sail, they do pretty well, but the hard part has been getting good sailing weather.

The Delaware trout season will get underway Saturday, March 7, and I hope to be at Tidbury Pond by the 7 a.m. starting time. Newton Pond near Greenwood is the other location for downstate trout fishing, and most folks will need a general fishing license and a trout stamp.

The 2020 Delaware Fishing Guide is now available at your local tackle shop. If, like me, you purchased your fishing license online, you will have to pick up your guide the next time you stop in for bait or tackle.

I keep one guide at home and another in my truck. When I had my 24-Albemarle, I kept one on the boat.


  • 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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