The basics of fishing in Delaware | Cape Gazette

2022-06-15 16:25:51 By : Ms. Daisy Lee

From the emails I receive and the questions I answered at a recent fishing club meeting, I believe there are quite a few new residents in the area who would like to go fishing, but don’t know where or how to start.  Most come from an area away from saltwater and have no idea what sort of tackle to use, or where to access the ocean or bay.

Let’s look at tackle first.  Saltwater is very corrosive on fishing tackle and everything else.  When you buy a rod and reel, you want to make sure to purchase quality products that are designed for the task of fishing in saltwater, and then keep that tackle in good shape.  I spray mine with WD-40 after every use, wipe off the excess, then stow it away from direct sunlight.

You need to buy all of your fishing tackle from a tackle shop in your area.  These are the people who know what is going on and what tackle you need to fish the local waters.  If you continue to buy all of your bait and tackle from the same shop, you will establish a relationship that will pay dividends in the future.

My suggestion is a quality six- or seven-foot, medium-action spinning outfit for fishing from shore at the Indian River Inlet, the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal, or the Broadkill River, or from a boat in Delaware Bay or any of the Inland Bays.  I would fill the spool with a quality 12-pound test monofilament line.  Braided line is great, but it is expensive, and for a spinning outfit, where you really don’t need all that sensitivity, mono will do just fine.

Tackle shops will have a selection of bottom rigs, and they can recommend the ones you will need for fishing from shore or from a boat.  The same goes for sinkers and lures.

As for surf-fishing, I would recommend a 10- to 12-foot, medium-action rod rated for three to six ounces with matching reel.  Take the outfit outside and see if you are comfortable with it.  A 12-foot rod is great, but not if you are overwhelmed by the weight.  Fill the reel with 17-pound mono line.  Once again, the tackle shop can be trusted to select the right bottom rigs and sinkers.

Next, you will need someplace to fish.  The fishing pier at Cape Henlopen State Park is ideal for folks just getting into saltwater fishing.  There are usually plenty of spot, croaker, kings and occasionally a bluefish or flounder there.  You can play around with your new tackle, and get a feel for how it works and what it feels like when a fish bites.

You can fish the canal from the pier in the downtown park or Canary Creek from the shore at Pilottown Road.  If you have a boat, you can run to any of the reef sites in the bay or ocean.

Surf-fishing is easy.  There are walk-on access points at every seashore park entrance.  If you are one of the more than 18,000 folks with a surf-fishing vehicle permit, you can drive onto the state park beaches where that activity is permitted.  Unfortunately, surf-fishing has been very poor for the past two years.

Fishing Indian River Inlet is tough.  My best advice is to watch what the other folks are doing and try to do the same. C asting with bucktails or metal lures when blues come in is easy, but bottom fishing for tog will eat up your tackle.  Fishing the jetties at night is a whole ‘nother world.

The best fishing right now is in the ocean over structure.  Sea bass, flounder, triggerfish and Spanish mackerel have all been caught over wrecks and reefs.  The first three are taken by bottom fishing, while the mackerel are caught trolling small spoons behind trolling sinkers or planners.  The reef sites in deeper water hold more keeper sea bass and flounder, while the wrecks at Fenwick Shoals have Spanish mackerel and triggerfish.

The canyons are still giving up yellowfin tuna and tilefish.  Trolling early in the morning is the time to catch tuna, then deep-drop for the tiles.

I wish I had better news for us poor, beleaguered surf-fishermen.  The beach is all but dead.  The occasional king, spot and croaker is caught on bloodworms or Fishbites, but otherwise it is just a good way to pass the time at the seashore.

On Wednesday morning, Mike Pizzolato and I fished the Delaware Bay in my 16-foot tin boat.  I wanted to run out to Reef Site 8, but a stiff wind convinced me that would be a bad idea.  We ended up sticking close to shore and catching one tiny spot.

The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.