Six fishing state records set in 2022

March 4, 2023

The year 2022 was a good one for anglers setting state records for a variety of fish in both fresh and saltwater. Six new records were set in the following species:

• A 7-pound 10-ounce, 30-inch pickerel caught March 5 at McGinnis Pond near Frederica by William Mack of Frederica while fishing from his kayak

• A 21-pound 7.7-ounce, 32-inch tautog landed May 5 at Artificial Reef Site 11 in the Atlantic Ocean by Brent Wiest of Milton fishing from and as captain of the Katydid

• A 26-pound 11.2-ounce, 35.5-inch false albacore reeled in July 8 from the Atlantic Ocean by Mike Spayd of Wyomissing, Pa., while fishing on the No Limit captained by Jon Azato

• An 89-pound 3.2-ounce, 63-inch cobia caught July 15 in the Atlantic Ocean by Scott Brooks of Hockessin while fishing on the Coughin’ captained by Jesse Coulbourn

• A 25-pound 8-ounce, 38-inch blueline tilefish landed Aug. 27 from the Atlantic Ocean by Dain Hursh of York, Pa., while fishing on the Outnumbered captained by Chris Graham

• A 48-pound 3.2-ounce, 40.5-inch blue catfish reeled in Oct. 8 from the Nanticoke River by James Lord of Bridgeville.

All of these anglers deserve congratulations for their accomplishment. I doubt any of them set out to catch a record, but all of them had their tackle in top-notch shape so when that fish of a lifetime came along, they were ready. Those who fished from charter boats may have used tackle supplied by the boat, or, as I have noticed in recent years, they brought their own tackle.

As we enter the 2023 fishing season, make sure your line is fresh, your knots are new and the drag on your reels is in good working order. You never know when it will be your turn to catch the fish of a lifetime.

The Point is closed

Just a reminder, the Point at Cape Henlopen State Park is closed to all human intrusion. Both the bayside and oceanside will be closed until Sept. 1, when the oceanside will reopen. The bayside will reopen Oct. 1. The reason for the closing is to protect beach-nesting birds.

Delaware trout season

Delaware trout season will open for children under age 16 Saturday, March 4, at Tidbury Pond in Dover and Newton Pond in Greenwood. On Sunday, children of all ages may fish both ponds.

I would love to give you tips on how to catch trout from Newton Pond, but after several unsuccessful trips over a number of years, I have no idea how to catch a trout there. I have tried worms on the bottom, spinners, small plugs, shad darts and even corn. If there weren’t so many people around, I would try DuPont spinners. I have a photo of a guy with a fly rod and five or six trout on a stringer. I swear he brought the darn fish with him.

If I fish the downstate season at all, I will go to Tidbury Pond in Dover. It is not any farther from my house than Newton Pond, and it looks like it might be kinder to an old fisherman.

Spring and suckers

Spring brings back memories of fishing for suckers in the Brandywine Creek at Beaver Valley. I would ride my bike out from Claymont, usually in the company of Sunny Crowell, and we would soak earthworms somewhere near the covered bridge or down by Thomson’s Bridge, depending on which hill we decided to go down.

You could see the suckers flashing in the creek. And despite their abundance, they didn’t exactly rush to our baits.

We set our rods in forked sticks that we found on the ground and waited for the fish to bite. In the meantime, we explored the immediate area, where we discovered frogs, minnows, various stones and the occasional water snake.

Now, in those days, I had a couple of black snakes as pets. My grandmother would not let me bring them into the house, so I kept them in a big aquarium outside. Black snakes can be handled, but not water snakes. Water snakes will bite you at every chance.

Sunny and I would usually catch a few suckers. On the first trip, I made the mistake of bringing some home for dinner. I might as well have scooped up a shovel full of mud from the bottom of the creek. I never made that mistake again.

That was back in the early 1950s. Recently, I fished the Brandywine Creek again in the same location. No sign of suckers. The water seemed very shallow and I didn’t even see a single fish flash.

On the bright side, there were plenty of stocked trout in Beaver Run.


  • 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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