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State record false albacore caught in Massey's Canyon

Cape Gazette of Lewes, Delaware

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On July 1, Tim Parrill from Wellsville, Pa., was fishing on the Get Bent with Capt. Craig Lednum in Massey's Canyon when he connected with a 20.5-pound false albacore and set a new Delaware state record for the species. The previous record was 20 pounds caught by Christian Anderson in 2008.

False albacore, also known as little tunny, are one of the toughest fish in the ocean for their size and are prized more for their fight than their taste. Local fly fishermen will travel to Harker's Island, N.C., to catch these fish when they school up in the fall.

In Delaware, false albacore are seldom the target species, but when they move close to shore, surf fishermen get a chance to wear out their arms casting and high-speed cranking metal lures.

Fishing report Last week I received a call from Capt. John Nedelka on the Karen Sue out of Indian River Marina. He said he was fishing for blues at Fenwick Shoal when he was covered up with Spanish mackerel. The Spanish attacked the small spoons he was trolling and he ended up with more mackerel in the box than blues.

While Spanish mackerel are not unheard of in Delaware, they are something of an oddity. I don't remember ever catching one here, while I caught plenty of them when I was charting out of Virginia Beach.

If you want to give them a try, you will need small spoons such as the Drone 0.1 tie at least 15 feet of 15-pound test line between the spoon and a one-to three-ounce trolling sinker. A ball bearing snap swivel connects the sinker to the running line. The leader is tied directly to the spoon with a clinch knot. If you have a No. 1 Hunting planer it will get the spoon down deeper, and sometimes this can be the difference between catching and getting skunked.

According to John, the Spanish he caught were small. I suspect they will grow larger as the summer wears on, but they must be at least 14 inches and you are allowed to keep 15 a day.

You troll pretty fast for Spanish, somewhere between three and five knots. Some people claim a fast speed will discourage bluefish from going after the spoon, but that has not been my experience.

The flounder action between B and A buoys remains very good. Limit catches have been made from private, charter and head boats with the deciding factor the drifting conditions. Sometimes you have to wait for a tide or wind shift while at other times everything is perfect from the start. Bucktails tipped with Gulp! remain very popular. A live minnow and strip of squid on a Delaware Bay Green Machine is another good choice.

Delaware Bay and the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal have seen some improvement in flounder catches. While limits are rare, keepers to five pounds have been caught on squid and minnow combinations or on a bucktail with a strip of squid or Gulp!

The lower bay reef sites hold flounder, kings and blowfish. There are also lots of trout on the sites, but most are too small to keep. I would use bloodworms on the panfish and a bucktail with Gulp if you want to jig for flounder.

The summer slot limit for rockfish in the bay and its tributaries has put more anglers out there looking to fill their two-fish limit. I have seen a few successes, but I know most good anglers are a bit tight-mouthed about their rockfish catches. I plan to try my luck in the Broadkill River, Lewes-Rehoboth Canal and around the Inner and Outer walls. I will let you know how that works out.

The inshore trolling bite has been good for bluefin tuna and dolphin. The Joe Shute lure seems to be the flavor of the day. Most anglers will put a ballyhoo on the lure, but this is unnecessary if you are fishing for tuna. I would also run a couple of natural colored cedar plugs right in the white water behind the boat using line clips on the transom to keep the lures in the water. It may also help to squat the stern by raising the bow with the trim tabs to create more white water.

Surf fishing is good way to work on your tan while watching the parade of interesting people on the beach. Having said this, I must tell you that on July 4 Frank Cristinzio caught a keeper rockfish on squid from the surf at Cape Henlopen State Park.

Sheepshead have been caught on sand fleas from the South Jetty at Indian River Inlet. Flounder fishing remains slow in the inlet and the Back Bays.

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 Eburnle a

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Original Publication Date: July 8, 2016

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