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Fishing report, or lack thereof

Cape Gazette of Lewes, Delaware

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Actually, there were a few reports for our area over the weekend, but certainly nothing earth-shattering. And once the wind began to blow on Sunday and mid-week low temperatures dropped into the 20s, everything came to a screeching halt. The water temperature in the Delaware Bay has fallen back to the mid-403, which will further delay the rockfish and flounder runs.

We did have reports of flounder caught out of the Lewes and Rehoboth Canal, but all were small. The same was true at Indian River Bay.

Small rockfish were caught from Indian River Inlet and the surf, but nothing even close to a keeper. The only large rock I heard of were taken in the lower Delaware River at the Yellow Can out of Augustine Beach and from shore at Green's Beach. Fresh bunker and bloodworms were the best baits.

The one boat that ran from Indian River Inlet on Saturday reported limit catches of tog for most of the customers, but the pool winner was only 5 pounds. More boats will begin their 2016 schedule over the next few weeks.

White perch fishing remains strong. They are so thick in the upper Chesapeake Bay that even I caught a few last Saturday. Most were more than big enough to eat, but those 1-pound-plus examples eluded me. I was fishing from shore in Perryville, and once I figured out where the perch were I had a fish on every cast using good old nightcrawlers.

Closer to home, the various tidal creeks and rivers hold good numbers of white perch that will take bloodworms, earthworms or grass shrimp. The last I heard, the creeks near Broadkill Beach are still dirty due to the dredging operation at Fowler's Beach.

Freshwater action remains decent for crappie, pickerel and bass. Live minnows or shad are the best baits with soft plastics the top lure.

I have reports of big blue catfish to 20 pounds in the Nanticoke River and Broad Creek on bunker or herring chunks. I spoke with Taylored Tackle in Seaford and they confirmed the reports. When I asked for some idea where these fish were caught, he said the railroad bridge in Laurel. That would be Broad Creek almost to the spillway below Records Pond. Not exactly a top-secret location. If and when the weather warms to a point where I can stand to be outside for more than 15 minutes, I plan to take a trip across the county and give these big fish a try.

Outside of Sussex County, big rockfish to 50 pounds have been caught on the Susquehanna Flats during Maryland's catch-and-release season. Unfortunately, the weather deteriorated after one day and has not improved since.

Red drum action has been decent on Ocracoke Island with fish over 40 inches from the surf. As these fish move north we should have good reports from the Virginia-barrier Islands and perhaps even Assateague Island.

There are not many boats running from Virginia Beach, but those that can make it out to the Triangle Wrecks are finding some big tog. Boats running from Oregon or Hatteras inlets are catching tuna.

Early flounder

Unless we get a big run of rockfish or blues, the first fish that will create any excitement will be the flounder. We had a few reports of small flatfish caught from Indian River Bay and the Lewes and Rehoboth

Canal before the bottom dropped out of the temperature and gale warnings went up. The weekend looks cold, but perhaps next week we will get back to spring.

As soon as the water temperature goes above 50 degrees, we should see flounder caught from shallow water. The best time to fish will be from just before high tide on in to the ebb. The two locations mentioned above will be as good as any and better than most. Fish the shallowest parts of the area on high tide, but be sure to stay in stealth mode so as not to spook the fish. Once the water begins to drop, move to the channels and look for places where the flats and marsh drain into deeper water.

In my opinion, the best bait at this time of year is a live minnow. In water less than 20 feet deep, I fish the minnow on a circle hook without any added weight. If the wind and current are too strong for this presentation, I will add a split shot or two.

In deeper water, I will use one of Bob Baker's flounder rigs with some sort of cut bait on the top hook and a live minnow on the bottom. Be sure to use enough weight to maintain constant contact with the bottom.

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 and his wife Barbara live near Milton, Delaware. Eric can be reached at

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Original Publication Date: April 8, 2016

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