By Eric Burnley Sr.*
Updated: May 4, 2017
DELAWARE BAY The number of keeper rockfish caught from the Lower Bay increased over the weekend as more big stripers left the spawning grounds and headed for the ocean. Most of these fish were caught by anchoring up and chunking with fresh bunker while soaking cut bunker at various depths. The Yellow Can and the 6L buoy were the most frequently mentioned locations. A few big rock were also caught from shore at Augustine Beach and from the pier at Woodland Beach. Bloodworms and cut bunker worked from shore.
For the rest of Delaware Bay the word was bluefish. Blues to 17 pounds were caught as far up the Broadkill River as Oyster Rocks and as far up the Bay as South Bowers Beach. The fishing pier at Cape Henlopen State Park and the beach on both sides were ground zero for big blues. This is where the action began and it is still the most productive location.
Cut bunker has been the top bait and is used by most anglers. Poppers and metal lures come into play when the bite gets hot. The top of the incoming tide has been the most productive time.
The Outer Wall produced some tog over the weekend. Green crabs were the bait of choice.
Flounder fishing remains slow. A few were caught out of the Lewes and Rehoboth Canal and from the pier at Cape Henlopen State Park. Live minnows, squid strips and Gulp! on a jig head were the most popular baits.
Broadkill Beach saw a fair run of black drum. Clams worked best on the boomers. The problem has been dirty water that slows the bite and with the winds we are having the water seems to be dirty all the time.
- ADVISORY: Summer Flounder Regulations: As of April 1, the minimum size for summer flounder in Delaware is 17 inches. The bag limit remains at four fish per day and the season runs for 365 days.
INSHORE OCEAN It has been a long period of small craft and gale warnings and a tough time to be a charter or head boat operator. When conditions allowed, a few boats made it out from Lewes and Indian River and some even found some tog.
INDIAN RIVER INLET The inlet was on fire with big blues on Tuesday during incoming water. Bucktails and metal lures were the top two producers.
Indian River Bay and Rehoboth Bay have both seen runs of bluefish. Some are the big choppers while others run in the two to five-pound range. Most are caught on bucktails or metal lures.
Keeper rockfish to 30 inches have been caught on bucktails at dawn, dusk and on night tides. Smaller rock take bucktails during the day.
Flounder fishing is still pretty slow. A few keepers have been taken out of the VFW Slough on minnows, squid strips and Gulp!.
SURF FISHING The big bluefish run is keeping surfcasters happy. The fish have been caught from Herring Point to Fenwick Island on cut bunker or metal lures. The key to success is being there when the fish are in a feeding mood. That seems to be at the top and the bottom of the tide. If you have the time, I would suggest fishing as much as possible since the blues are in and out all day.
The occasional big rockfish has also been caught from the beach. Cut bunker has been the best bait.
Black drum are also available. They will take cut bunker, but prefer clams.
FRESHWATER Trout are still being caught from the stocked streams in New Castle County. Worms, grubs and live minnows will be the best bet.
Bass fishing has been good in the state ponds with Senkos, crankbaits and jigs working well. Of course non-purists like myself have no problem fishing an earthworm or live minnow under a bobber.
Snakeheads are showing up in the Nanticoke River and if you catch one you can get a state citation pin if you kill and dispose of the fish. I have been told the meat is very mild.
BIG BLUES: GOOD EATIN’ When we had big blues back in the late 1960s into the 1980s, many people would keep more than they could use. Those fish went into garbage bins and were wasted.
Right now there are a lot of big blues being caught and I hope anglers have now learned to release what they can’t eat. The idea that big blues are not good table fare is unfortunate since these fish can be very good if properly prepared.
When you clean a big bluefish make sure to remove the dark meat that runs down the middle of the filet. This is the lateral line and has a stronger taste than most people like.
The filets can then be baked, grilled, smoked or prepared however you like your fish.
If you cut the filets into chunks and make up a beer batter I promise you will enjoy the result.
I know fried food is a no-no for some folks so they should try parboiling the filets in a mixture of water or beer, Old Bay and any other spices you may like. Bring the liquid to a boil with the filets submerged. It only take about ten minutes to cook the fish. Then turn off the heat and let the filets soak in the liquid for 15 minutes. Remove the fish and serve.
Any leftover fish can be made into fish cakes. Simply take the fish and mix it with bread crumbs, one egg, some mayo and a little more Old Bay. Form into cakes and fry or bake. Leftover fish cakes can be frozen and used for a quick dinner.
Tags: fishing report