We are lucky to live in eastern Sussex County

August 6, 2022

Sometimes it takes someone from somewhere else to point out how lucky we are to live in eastern Sussex County. I know we all complain about the traffic, especially those of us who remember when Route 14, now Route 1, was a two-lane crown road with dirt shoulders, but those people who cram in here during the summer are the blood that keeps the largest industry in the area alive.

Last Friday, I went surf-fishing at 3Rs Road. I could have fished at Cape Henlopen State Park, but I have a long relationship with 3Rs Road, so I drove the extra 15 minutes to fish there. Think about that – I can be surf-fishing in the Atlantic Ocean within 15 minutes from my house.

When I arrived on the beach around 6 a.m., there were what I surmised to be a father and son set up to my south. They had walked on, so I figured they were staying in one of the condos that face the ocean. Both were decent surf casters and were catching small spot.

I ran into a few technical problems that caused me to lose about a half-hour before I could start fishing; then I too began catching small spot on Fishbites bloodworm.

After a while, a lady who I figured was the wife and mother joined her husband and son. Shortly thereafter, the son caught a small skate. The mother had been taking photos of every spot they caught, but the skate created a photo frenzy. She took pictures of the poor thing from every angle possible, then had her husband get a bucket of water and wash the sand off the skate so she could get a photo of it clean.

Then the daughter-in-law and a passel of kids arrived. Mom had to take photos of the kids with every fish the men caught. At first, the kids were afraid of the fish, but once they held them, they too got in on the fun.

I have no idea where these good folks were from, but I must assume they don’t have spot, skates or an ocean close by. Everything that came out of the water was a new adventure for grandmom and the kids. Those of us who live and fish here would just toss those little fish back and complain because they were too small to keep.

I’m not saying that everything here is perfect, but think about how lucky we are as fishermen and hunters. We have an entire ocean coast to fish that is protected by Delaware State Parks. We have acres and acres of forest to hunt that are protected by Delaware Forest Service and Delaware State Parks.

Summer weekends are overcrowded, but if you want to fish, get on the beach at first light and be gone by 10 a.m. You can also fish from late afternoon until dark. The crowds will be light, and these are the best times to fish in the summer.

Those who fish from their boats have several choices. They can launch from Lewes and fish the Delaware Bay or the Atlantic Ocean. If they want to fish offshore, inshore, Indian River or Rehoboth Bay, they can launch at Indian River Marina. Other ramps include Massey’s Ditch, Holt’s Landing and Cedar Creek. And they are all free if your boat is registered in Delaware.

Freshwater anglers have many ponds that are managed by DNREC Fish and Wildlife where largemouth bass and many other warm-water species are abundant. Some of the best are close by in Sussex County, such as Records in Laurel, Wagamons in Milton and Millsboro Pond in Millsboro.

So, you see, no matter what you fish or hunt for, you are lucky to live in eastern Sussex County, where everything you enjoy is close at hand. Try to remember this the next time you are stuck in traffic on Route 1 at 1 p.m. on a sweltering August afternoon.

Fishing report

Tuna at the inshore lumps remains very good for those who chunk with butterfish and sardines. Charter boats are running walk-on trips, so if you are looking to catch a big yellowfin, check with Hook ‘em and Cook ‘em or Lewes Harbour Marina to find out who is looking to make up a trip.

Flounder at the Old Grounds remains decent, but not spectacular. The Grizzly did manage a boat limit last week. The same is true for sea bass. Tom Marino, fishing with Ed Healy, caught a 3.98-pounder over ocean structure.

Sheepshead have been in good supply on bay structure such as the Ice Breakers. Alexander Arters caught an 11.77-pounder there on a sand flea. Bay reef sites hold croaker, spot and flounder.


  • 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