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InsideLine – Hawk Talk – Delaware River Elite

 

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When B.A.S.S. released the 2014 Elite Series schedule I think a lot of people were surprised to see the Delaware River on the list.  I know I was.  I couldn’t recall a major tournament held on the River dividing New Jersey and Pennsylvania.  The first thing I did was check the off-limits map to see if we could run to the Upper Chesapeake Bay, but I learned we weren’t allowed to enter the C and D canal which meant the Bay was off limits.

After the Chickamauga event I flirted with the idea of going up to the Delaware River before off-limits to look around, but eventually decided not to go due to the expenses and traveling involved.  Instead, I did as much map and internet study as I could to help me get an idea of what to expect.  I pictured the Delaware River resembling a cross between the James River and Three Rivers in Pittsburgh.  When I arrived for official practice I discovered it was close to what I’d expected.  Industrial parts of the River had hard objects to fish like barges, bulk heads, and concrete walls.  There were also plenty of creeks to fish littered with natural cover like lily pads, wood, and vegetation.  The one unique aspect I didn’t visualize was just how big the tide swing is on the River.  Most tidal fisheries fluctuate a few feet, but the Delaware has a massive seven foot swing.  This meant I’d have to pay close attention to where my bites came from and at what tide, because shallow areas fished at high tide could be out of water on low tide.

Breaking down the River in three days meant I had to draw myself boundaries, so I decided not to go further north than Tullytown or south of Darby Creek.  The 40 mile stretch included numerous creeks and bays offering plenty to look at during practice.  I launched at Frankford Arsenal (the tournament launch site) the first practice morning and worked my way south hitting obvious spots along the main river like jetties, pilings, and bulk heads.  By noon I hadn’t had a bite and found myself near Darby Creek which was on my practice check list, so I decided to check it out.  I fished through Darby getting a few bites (I shook them off) in the process and noticed the abundance of lily pads, lay downs, and cement pillars connecting roads and train tracks across the Creek—all likely fishing holding cover.  I knew I’d be returning to the Creek during the tournament.

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Originally published over on the InsideLine online magazine