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Top Fishing Charters in Delaware

Fishing in Delaware

The many waters of the Diamond State provide anglers with a great range of species and techniques to try out. If there’s one thing to know about Delaware fishing, it’s that no matter what your taste in target or skill level is, there’s a hook-up for you here. Rent a rod for the day and see why Delaware surf fishing is always on everyone’s lips. Before you know it, you’ll catch the bug and head out with a charter to land some really big fish!

Known For

Fishing in Delaware is easy to love, easier to enjoy, and easiest when done with a professional captain. That being said, anglers who want to try out fishing for the first time can hit one of the many shores to cast a line on their own for starters. The sandbar stretching from Cape Henlopen State Park down to Fenwick can give you a taste of fishing the Bays and the Atlantic Ocean. Most of the fish you can catch from the surf can be caught from a boat too, only bigger!

Where To Go

Delaware Bay

The famous Delaware River joins the Atlantic Ocean and the wide Delaware Bay. New Jersey and Delaware anglers alike hit these waters regularly. They fish from Wilmington all the way down to the straits between Cape May Point (New Jersey) and Cape Henlopen State Park (Delaware). A popular launch point is Lewes, as it allows you access to both the Bay and the ocean. You can hook up Triggerfish, Spot, Croaker, Kingfish, Spotted Seatrout, Flounder, and some Striped Bass either in the shallower waters or in the middle of the Bay. One of the new arrivals to the area are numerous Sharks which you can put on your catch list.

Indian River and Rehoboth Bays

The Bays provide anglers with great inshore fishing and easy access to the wide open Atlantic Ocean from the Indian River Inlet. This explains the large inshore and offshore charter fishing fleet that sits at the ready to take you to the best bite! You can find parts of this fleet docked at Millsboro and Rehoboth Beach. The shallower waters of both bays are very suitable to fishing from pontoons – perfect for families with kids who want to get the little anglers hooked on sportfishing. Fishing from the long beach facing the Atlantic Ocean is a very popular past-time, but the catch can’t compare to one reeled in over the side of a boat. Inside the Bays you’ll see Weakfish, Croakers, Sheepshead, and intermittent Flounder action. The other side of the sandbar hides Seabass, Tautog, Big Bluefish, Little Tunny, Kingfish, and even the passing Bluefin Tuna, often over underwater reefs and wrecks.

Offshore

Delaware fishing charters will head approximately 80 miles out from the Indian River Inlet, to the edge of the continental shelf, where you can hook into pelagics. You’ll get the most out of full day and longer trips. Usual targets in the bluewater are Mahi Mahi, Bluefin and Yellowfin Tuna, Wahoo, and Marlin species.

One of the local hotspots for offshore action is Massey’s Canyon. It’s located about 35 miles southwest out of the Indian River Inlet and is one of the best spots to go after Tuna. Local captains report Bluefin Tuna ranging in the 50-100 lb range with specimens tilting the scales at over 300 lbs! Yellowfin Tuna are somewhat more modest, in the 30-80 lb range. Continuing in the same direction after Massey’s Canyon, you’ll hit “The Hotdog.” This is a “lump” (an area of shallow water surrounded by deeper waters) located 55 miles southwest of the Indian River Inlet. The plateau sits at a depth of 18 fathoms with the waters around it reaching 37 fathoms. Slammer Bluefish boil the water on this plateau, with the occasional Bluefin or Yellowfin Tuna strike.

Fresh Waters

While Delaware boasts many, many small lakes and streams with great freshwater action, there are no larger lakes. The North of the state has excellent Smallmouth Bass action, and big Largemouth Bass lurk in the waters below the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal. Good fishing for Catfish, Carp, Pickerel, Crappie, and Sunfish is found all across the state. Rainbow Trout fans should know that you can hook them up in Delaware; it’s a rare catch though. The DNR stocks some waters with Rainbow Trout, but in modest numbers. If you hook one up, make sure to release it, so that other anglers can have the same fun you will!


Need To Know

You need a valid Delaware fishing license for fishing, crabbing, and clamming in both fresh and salt waters. Luckily, you can get it from over 100 retailers, as well as online – the price is $8.50 for residents and $20 for non-residents, annually (prices subject to change).

If you want to switch up your fishing trip, the state of Delaware is famous for its crabbing. The agile and tasty blue-claw Crab is the mainstay of crabbing action in the state and you can find these feisty foragers along the sandbars and shores all over the place. Many charter captains are more than happy to combine your fishing trip with crabbing on the way back to the dock – just make sure to have a big bushel ready.

The First State presents anglers with a special challenge: get Tournament citations for five different species and receive the brag-worthy title of “Delaware Elite Angler.” You can catch-and-release two fish out of the five, and any combination of freshwater and saltwater species is accepted. Once your catches are verified, you will receive a plaque to show all of your friends. Book a trip with an experienced captain for the best shot at the title – maybe this is your year to shine?
 

Delaware Fishing Seasons

Anglers who don’t mind the chill can go ice fishing for Yellow Perch, Walleye, and Pickerel in the northern lakes. Striped Bass can be found inside the Indian River inlet, provided the weather is mild.

Perch starts popping up in the Indian River Bay and Rehoboth Bay. If you want to wet your lines on blue waters, you can find Tautog hanging around offshore wrecks, approximately 25 miles out.

If you want a real challenge, you should try “ghost hunting.” Don’t worry, no spooky specters will end up on your line, this is what the local anglers call fishing for Bluefin Tuna during this time of year.

The Tautog breach the Indian River Inlet and can be caught in both Bays. Bluefish and Blowfish start showing up within range of your cast from the surf. The Seabass action is improving as well.

Ponds across the state are red-hot with Bass, Pickerel, and Crappie. Bluefish start blitzing around Mother’s Day – the waters off Cape Henlopen State Park have had excellent action in the previous years.

Tautog and Seabass action gets better in the Bays, while Kingfish and Croaker start showing up near the sandbars on the ocean side. Tuna start migrating back into Delaware’s waters near the end of the month.

Offshore fishing starts to get really good during July – Marlin tend to get closer to the shore mid-month and the Tuna increase in numbers. Summer Flounder can be caught in Delaware Bay.

With Wahoo in offshore waters and King and Spanish Mackerel in nearshore waters, August is the bluewater month. Night Striper and Spotted Seatrout fishing is tip-top in the Indian River Inlet.

Big Summer Flounder start moving offshore. Longfin Tuna can be found in offshore waters, while fishing for Striped Bass and Tautog is great in Rehoboth Bay and Indian River Bay.

Nearshore bottom fishing is great in October: Spotted Seatrout, Croaker, and Flounder can be hooked up. Tuna is still good, weather permitting.

If you’re looking to cast some lines from the surf despite the chill, you’re in luck! Anglers pining for Striper action can head into the Indian River Inlet for hook ups.

Large Bluefish can be caught in the Indian River Bay. Anglers trying for a slot Striped Bass should hit the waters of the Indian River and Rehoboth Bay, if you can stand the cold weather.

Delaware Fishing Calendar

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What People Are Saying About Delaware

"Full day with Capt.Goerge"

Jeff Bednarz fished with Fishing & Crabbing – Sassy Girl on August 24, 2018

Don't be afraid to ask to many questions and the Captain will point you in the write direction.

"Half day trip with captain len"

Russell Snyder fished with FOMO Sportfishing Charters on August 25, 2017

A bad day fishing is better than a good day at work #saltfishing

"Half day shark trip"

Carole Inge fished with FOMO Sportfishing Charters on July 31, 2017

Go for sharks this time of year until you know for sure what species is running and when. This Captain can take u fishing for anything.

Top Fishing Techniques in Delaware

  1. Deep Sea Fishing

Top Targeted Species in Delaware

Flounder

Dolphin (Mahi Mahi)

Tuna (Bluefin)

Tuna (Yellowfin)

Top Delaware Destinations