Indian River, Delaware
Indian River, DE
Indian River, DE
A word commonly used by boaters here in Delaware is “fishing.” Charter boats are lined up at marinas on the Indian River to take anglers into the ocean for everything from flounder to marlin. Besides fishing from a boat, many anglers line both sides of the inlet along the rockpile or the jetties leading out into the ocean casting and retrieving on the surface. Others will surf-fish on the beach for striped bass, sea trout, bluefish and the occasional shark. The inlet empties into Indian River Bay and Rehoboth Bay. In both locations, flounder fishing is excellent and locals advise drifting the channels using minnows or squid. You will always see trailer boats between buoys 19A and 24 which is considered a prime fishing area.
Indian River Marina Manager, Gary King, says the “back bays” are a popular alternative for boaters with families who aren't comfortable facing ocean swells. Burtons Island is a nature preserve just a few minutes away by boat from Indian River Inlet Marina. “I always suggest Burtons Island when I see boaters launching with small children,” says King. “ It's part of the Delaware Seashore State Park and has places for fishing, clamming, secluded beaches and in some areas, there are grills for anyone wanting a picnic.”
A popular day trip for trailer boats is to follow the Lewes- Rehoboth Canal as it winds to the town of Lewes, originally a whaling town with a harbor discovered by the Dutch in 1631. The canal maintains a 7-foot depth and is considered a superb fishing venue for those wanting to troll a line while underway. While there aren't any public docks along the way, the town of Lewes has facilities. Lewes is home port of the Cape May-Lewes Ferry which makes frequent trips with cars (and boats and trailers) across Delaware Bay to the New Jersey resort town.
Along the way, you'll pass through Rehoboth Beach, better known for its waterfront facing the Atlantic Ocean than its tree-lined shore along the canal. Calling itself “the nation's summer capital,” the city is famous for a mile-long boardwalk and wide sandy beaches (you'll want to drive to Rehoboth since there is no available public dock). The boardwalk has been rebuilt three times since 1914, when vicious northeasters destroyed it as well as nearby homes and streets. You'll find many restaurants and lots of shopping here. Bring home a box of the Dolle's salt water taffy (it's on the boardwalk).
Cape Henlopen State Park comprises more than 5,000 acres between Lewes and Rehoboth Beach along the ocean. It's considered one of the first “public lands” in this country as a result of William Penn proclaiming in 1682 the land's natural resources should be held “for the common usage of the people.” You will notice a number of concrete towers situated just north of the park entrance dating back to World War II (there are 11 along the Delaware coast, two of which are on the beach). These were used to watch for German surface ships that tried to intercept and destroy supply ships departing or en route to Philadelphia. When a German ship was spotted, a radio message was sent to soldiers operating powerful guns (with a 25-mile range) that were hidden in the nearby dunes. No guns were ever fired, though. The towers remain and one is open to the public in the park.
It is important to know all nonresident boats are required to display a Delaware Ramp Certificate on the transom prior to launching. Boats that are registered in Delaware are not required to have the certificate. Out-of-state boaters will have to show their registration card in order receive the certification.
“The First State,” as it calls itself because of being “the first state” to ratify the Constitution, is a destination for many of Washington, D.C.'s political pundits as well as politicians. More important, though, is the fact that it's a summer destination for any family with a boat. And because there are so many different kinds of water (oceans, bays and of course inlets), the only debate will be “Where do we go today?”