DSF visits Battery Park for some striped bass fishing

Wooo hooo!!  About time I was able to put up a  fishing report.  Sunday Scott Jost, and myself drove up to Battery Park in Old New Castle, DE.  It was a tad chilly Sunday morning when we all met in Milton, DE.  Spring is definitely here there are daffodils popping everywhere, crocus, some of the trees are budding, and people are starting to think about mowing the grass, or dreading the thought.  Fish are starting to move around and get ready for the spring spawn and run.  Chuck Urion and his crew have been catching fish near the DOD in Jersey for the past week, a few nice striped bass have been caught.  Otherwise it is mostly perch and catfish.  We loaded up on bloodworms the day before since we were headed out early on a holiday.  Saturday I spent the afternoon riding the Black Pearl in the Ocean City parade handing out candy.  That was a blast, and then finished my night watching Loud Love blow the roof off the Sandbar Tavern in Long Neck DE.  Somehow between those trips I managed to do a little exploring.  We are mostly seeing perch in our waters at the Broadkill River , surrounding creeks, and other area  sloughs of the beach bay communities, like Fowler’s Beach.  We have fished these all week here and there.  These weekly trips have been fun and an excuse to bounce out of town.  I was born in Delaware, grew up near this area, but was young when we moved to the other side of the bridge.  I still visited many times with my family to fish.  Whenever I go north I try to take route 9 as much as possible for the scenery, and memories.  I remember this area when I was growing up, and feel at home when I am there.

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Catfish Tim Gola caught in the Delaware River at Battery Park

We arrived in Battery Park, I always love seeing the cobble stone streets that have been preserved.  The half paved and half cobblestone are an interesting contrast of modern and historical.  We stopped by the observation area and I took a bunch of pictures.  We were waiting on a few friends to meet us there.  Alan made friends with a local squirrel, those are some very tame squirrels.  The little fellah looked like he was begging for food.  While I was watching this I noticed the rules sign for Battery Park.  Do Not Feed the Wildlife … seems that one has gone the wayside.  That is one seriously friendly squirrel.  I think my favorite rule on the sign … “No horseback riding or animals that may annoy, frighten, or injure persons or property”.  I know children that qualify for that!  After a good laugh, we headed to our meeting place.  Mikey Williamson with his boys, Steven Williams, and Tim Gola.  We were meeting Matt and Nick Squires on the shoreline or beach.  Matt contacted us when we posted our trip schedule.  He wanted us to know the Police had the area we wanted to fish shut down for access from Hurricane Sandy.  He contacted his cousin Officer Tori and he asked his supervisor if we could access the area.  We would like to thank the New Castle City police for allowing DSF and friends to access a closed area to do some striped bass fishing.  To our friends in the area there, I know it is preferred to be called Old New Castle.  There is a great deal of turning point American history that happened there, we should all be proud.

We all geared up and hit the beach.  I had to document the day, so I skipped the fishing (I also forgot my fishing license … again! …*Facepalm)  I have to stop doing that, and refuse to break the rules.  I had just as much fun watching these guys fish, and meeting new people.  I spent part of the day finding sea glass.  I have some gorgeous pieces and a variety of colors, but still haven’t found red.  The boys baited up with blood worms and we proceeded to stand around and talk fishing all day.  DSF Pro Staff hit the first catch of the day with a small stripped bass.  Then Tim Gola hit a catfish after that.   Jeff Wildonger dropped by in his kayak and paddled a few lines out for the boys.   I was taking pictures and talking to everyone.  Ron Shadwell dropped by he is a memeber of Team Bluedogs surf fishing group.  He just wanted to say hello and meet in person.  We have met some great people thanks to DSF.  I am very grateful for the people I have met and the opportunities DSF has created, makes all of this work worth the time.  This is only the beginning of the season, and we have a lot planned.  I am looking forward to Jeff’s Kayak trip down the coast of Delaware this summer.  He has some neat things he is going to do about the areas he visits along the way.  He has explored most of the Delaware River and Bay, he refers to it as his church.  While moving between groups, because we were spread out to fish, I was collecting sea glass.  The Battery Park beaches are covered with sea glass.  The variety I found was rather amazing, compared to what I normally find on the ocean front beaches.  Yes it is sad we have this much trash in our waters.  The signs of industry old and new are all over the Delaware River.  Old pilings, and mooring areas, cinders from the old refineries on the shoreline.  This area is where a lot of the industry started in our country and state.  Everything was moved by water and we lived off the wildlife.  Much of that is the same, and much has changed.  Unfortunately it is the wildlife that has suffered the most, that is seen in the warning signs to not consume fish from these waters.

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Ben DiSabatino with striped bass he caught in the Delaware River several miles south of Battery Park

We fished, well they fished, for a few hours of the out going tide.  The water is still cold and needs to jump up several degrees before fish really start to move around.  Some are starting to move around now farther north of us in the Delaware River. We had the wind at our backs, and the sun was out for the most part.  It was a nice day, not as warm as the day before, but comfortable.  I was posting pictures, of fish and neat stuff I found on the shoreline.  There were lots of old bricks with names stamped in of companies and places they were made.  We were surrounded by and standing on history.  It is rather humbling to stand there and look over that water and know what occurred here over two hundred years ago.  One of the boys was telling us how the big boats can stir the fish up, which keeps them active during a slack tide.  The big ships were pushing waves onto the beaches.  Some of the boys took off  a little while after the clouds moved in and the temperature dropped.  it did get a bit nippy out, but the warmth of the big cat catch was keeping the boys on the job.  We eventually packed it in and started to slowly head out, we ran into a an angler who was watching us online as the day progressed.  A few other folks were posting they were farther south of us, and doing some work as well.  Ben DiSabatino hit a nice little striped bass south of Battery Park.  We had friends on Reedy Point we were going to stop and see, but we were cold, tired, and hungry.  We did go over the Reedy Point Bridge, and it is still one lane with a light.  By the way, when we did leave it was really exciting to see four DSF license plates on vehicles in the parking lot.  We are very grateful for the support, and will hold a contest starting in April for plate holders only, that is why we numbered the tags.  Water will get warmer soon, and we will have better fishing.  It is coming, and we will let you know how things are progressing in Delaware’s tidal waters.  Keep an eye out for guided DSF tours and fishing lessons, we are ready.  Otherwise come out to the Monday Night Meetings (DSF’s MNM’s) at Old Bay Steakhouse and meet fellow like minded anglers.

Fish On!!

Rich King

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