Peanut Bunker Are Thick Around The Inland Bays


cupola park, peanut bunker, menhaden, indian river, inland bays, delaware, sussex county
Peanut bunker in a long line moving along the bulkhead in the park

At night you can hear the fluttering sound of fish hitting the water’s surface, those are peanut bunker.  Small menhaden also known as peanut bunker are in huge schools around the inland bays.  Using them for bait is great in the bay and the surf, but there are some things you might want to do to them first.  Catching them is easy you can fill a five gallon bucket with two throws of a cast net if you find a big school.

Cupola Park was loaded with peanut bunker today.  You can use a cast net there but make sure you are 300 feet away from the spillway.  Which is roughly the end of the bulkhead that runs the length of the parking area for the boats.  If you are around the inland bays and you see small fish hitting the surface of the water during the day.  That is most likely peanut bunker, try to toss the net in front of the small circles they create.  Just watch them for a second you will see the direction they are traveling.


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peanut bunker, menhaden, delaware, sussex county, indian river, sussex county
Peanut bunker in a row, occasionally turning sideways flashing their silver color

Fishing with them can be an issue according to some anglers.  I have heard this from several old salts, but have yet to confirm it with any biologists I know. I have had several anglers tell me they cut the gut section out of the peanut bunker to get rid of an organ they use to signal schooling fish that there is danger nearby.   These anglers say (feel) that this organ can tell possible predators that there is danger, making your hook ups very difficult.  Once the organ(s) area is cut out they have better hook ups.  I think the fact they cut into an oily fish may be more of the trigger for better bites.  So is this an old anglers tale or true?  I am going to ask a few folks I know and find out, just thought it was an interesting tidbit if you are fishing with peanut bunker and not catching.

Fish On!

Rich King


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