Delaware River double whammy

The Delaware river could deliver a double whammy to competitors in the Bassmaster Federation Nation Mid-Atlantic Divisional presented by Yamaha and Skeeter.

“The Delaware River has one of the largest tidal drops between high and low on the East Coast,” said Bassmaster Elite Series pro Mike Iaconelli, who has fished the river since he was 10 years old. “Our average tidal drop is 6 or 7 feet, which could be mind-boggling to people who don’t fish tidal rivers.”

The timing of the tournament will also present a challenge to the competitors. “That is the trickiest time of the year to fish on the Delaware River,” said Iaconelli, who noted the fish will be in transition from their summer to fall patterns. “They do tend to spread out [over the whole river] that time of year, but the good news is that when you find some, they are really bunched up.”

By late August and early September, the water temperature on the main river becomes as cool as the feeder creeks, so the baitfish and bass start migrating back to the main river. Iaconelli suggests using search baits such as a blue/chartreuse Rapala DT6 crankbait, 3/8- or 1/2-ounce white spinnerbait or ChatterBait to locate bass. Other productive lures for the river are a black-and-blue Berkley Ike’s Finesse Jig and Berkley Crazy Legs Chigger Craw or a green pumpkin Berkley Power Shaky Worm on a shaky jighead.

Iaconelli estimates 80 percent of the river’s bass population are largemouth, and the prime bass waters on the river are the stretch from the Delaware Memorial Bridge in southern New Jersey to Trenton.

River Facts

Forage base: Shad, herring, bluegill, yellow and white perch, crawfish, crabs and eels
River length: 301 miles
Average depth: 30 feet in the main channel
Expected water clarity: 1 1/2 feet of visibility
Dominant structure and cover: Eelgrass, lily pads, spatterdocks, milfoil, hydrilla, rock dikes, boulders, bulkheads, pilings and shipping squares
Predicted winning weight: 33 pounds