NANTICOKE RIVER HOTSPOTS
Nanticoke River Hotspots
by Steve vonBrandt
LOCATION AND RAMPS
The Nanticoke River is located in both Delaware and Maryland, and runs through several small towns all the way to the Chesapeake Bay. There are two ramps that you can access from Delaware. Phillips landing is the most popular. It has a big parking lot with room for about 30 boats and trailers. It has two ramps that can be reached by taking rt.13a to the town of Bethel, going over the Bethel bridges, and past the Bethel hole to Portsville. Take your second right after Portsville Pond, and follow the signs to Phillips landing. The other ramp can be reached by turning off rt.13, and taking rt. #20 west, down to Shipley Street in Seaford, and following the green signs to the launching ramp. There are restroom facilities, and room for about 40 trailers. There are two ramps there with deep water and good docks.
LOCATIONS AND LURES
The best location to start searching depends on the time of the year. In the spring from April to the end of May, launch at Phillips landing, and head to the right towards Broad Creek. About 1/4 mile up, past the lily pads on the left hand side, is a series of laydowns, and underwater boulders. The sun hits this area all day, and warms the water up a few degrees more than the rest of the area. Start working all the visible structure, laydowns, etc.with a fast moving bait such as a 3/8 ounce Terminator Spinnerbait in chartruese/white, with tandem blades.
If you don’t get any takers in a short time, rework the same area with a crankbait parallel to the pads and in the wood. You should have a spider grub rigged on a spinning rod also, with 6-8 pound test line. Brown/orange or watermelon are a good choice. If you can’t locate any bass in this area, then continue up into Broad Creek, all the way towards the Bethel Hole. Work the bridge pilings and the wood on the turn before the Bethel Hole, with a black/blue tube bait, jig, and a buzzbait. If these locations fail to produce, turn on the outboard and head back towards Phillips Landing.
Proceed past the ramps, and make a turn at the main channel towards the Woodland Ferry. There will be a series of docks and pilings a short distance before the Woodland ferry that should be worked well with a buzzbait and spinnerbait, then move in closer and flip a black/blue jig or a Senko. After working these docks, cross over to the entrance of the creek, and work the mouth with a spinnerbait and a buzzbait, then work all the wood with a jig and a Senko. Next, move down to the Ferry crossing, and throw small worms and Senkos right up against the sea wall, being careful of the ferry and the cable. After leaving this area, head up river towards Maryland to the next major creek on your right. There is a lot of wood there that should be worked thoroughly with spinnerbaits and buzzbaits first, then rework the same area with the jig and Senko. Many times while searching for bass here you will run into some decent size Stripers.
The best time to work these areas is the first two hours of the incoming tide, and the last two hours of the outgoing tide. Three days prior to a new moon in April are best, but other times produce with a little patience. Many 2-3 pound bass are caught in this area.
WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS
When all else fails, run up into “Broad Creek,” on either tide, and work the Bethel hole with tube baits and Senkos. Cast directly up on the bank and then pull them slowly into the water. This is a bass spawning area, and only one of a few on the river, so be respectful, and practice catch and release IMMEDIATELY.
BAIT STORES AND LICENSE
A&K tackle has a variety of lures and bait, and are open year round You don’t need a freshwater license in Delaware to fish tidewater, but you need both a Freshwater and Bay Sport license in Maryland. The weekends will have a lot of boat traffic, jet skis and the like, but all in all, most people are pretty respectful. There is a variety of wildlife along the river to enjoy, so take the whole family sometimes. It will keep them occupied all day.