February Spring Fishing And Flowers
Is February the new March? The trees in my woods are budding, dogwoods are popping flowers, daffodils are out, and the weeping willows are turning green with small leaves. If I didn’t know better I would say spring has already started. There are other signs of an early spring wake up call from nature. Saturday there were a gazillion fiddler crabs along the mud banks of Canary Creek in Lewes. Matt “There are so many fiddler crabs out here, I am crushing them when I take a step.” Other signs are showing with the fish, or the fish showing up I should say. Herring are already running the tidal creeks in the Nanticoke, Broad Creek, Broadkill, and Christina Rivers. That is an early run for sure, and if the water temperatures hold the striped bass won’t be far behind them. Depending on who you talk to or where you fish, there are already large resident bass being landed. We have a lot of resident striped bass in Delaware. The short bass are schooling up, feeding heavily, and being caught on bloodworms. The Indian River Inlet has been quiet even for short bass, but you might luck out on the outgoing tide.
Everyone has been doing well catching white perch on bloodworms or grass shrimp. Yellow perch action is better on minnows or small flies with soft plastics. Broadkill river has been slow, but Broadcreek and the Nanticoke near the Phillips landing area has decent action. The water warmed up in some of the ponds to the mid fifties over the weekend, but has dropped back down to the high forties. Masseys Landing peaked to fifty-two degrees and is now fluctuating between forty-eight and forty-four degrees. The ditch’s temperatures has increased each day, but so far has only been by two degrees total. It was a five degree increase over the warm weekend. The Delaware Bay and River is averaging forty-five degrees and Ocean City inlet is around forty-eight degrees according to NOAA’s buoys.
Resident short striped bass are schooling up around the inland bays and feeding in the shallows heavily. They are hitting bloodworms, grass shrimp, and small swim shads. Richard King at Port Penn Bait and Tackle has fresh bunker he is catching up north in the Delaware. He has seen a lot of short striped bass in his nets as well. He said the bunker just started showing up. With the herring running and the bunker up that far, striped bass will be feeding heavily soon enough. In the Chesapeake the resident bass action has been hot and there are rumors of migratory bass that never left the bay this winter.
The first northern snakehead of the season was caught over the weekend by Jeff Tull from New Castle. In fact a few were caught around the state of Delaware. Normally you don’t see that action until mid April and by mid May that is when they get really mean, but these warmer temperatures are waking up all kids of life. We now have a citation for any size northern snakehead in Delaware, as well as a state record at eight pounds or over. No one has claimed either yet, but that won’t be long. You are allowed to catch and release snakeheads, but there isn’t a live release citation. It is illegal to transport a live snakehead. So if you do go for a citation or the state record, make sure the fish is dead. I have been following the Delaware Snakehead Fishing Facebook group page for tips on catching them, it is one freshwater fish I look forward to catching and eating. I hear tell they are tasty.
Marine Forecast …
COASTAL WATERS FROM CAPE MAY NJ TO CAPE HENLOPEN DE OUT 20 NM- COASTAL WATERS FROM CAPE HENLOPEN TO FENWICK ISLAND DE OUT 20 NM- 344 PM EST MON FEB 27 2017 .TONIGHT...S WINDS 5 TO 10 KT. SEAS 2 TO 3 FT. MAINLY IN SE SWELL WITH A DOMINANT PERIOD OF 8 SECONDS. A SLIGHT CHANCE OF SHOWERS AFTER MIDNIGHT. .TUE...S WINDS 5 TO 10 KT...INCREASING TO 10 TO 15 KT WITH GUSTS UP TO 20 KT LATE. SEAS 2 TO 3 FT. MAINLY IN SE SWELL WITH A DOMINANT PERIOD OF 8 SECONDS. A SLIGHT CHANCE OF SHOWERS EARLY IN THE MORNING. A SLIGHT CHANCE OF SHOWERS IN THE AFTERNOON. .TUE NIGHT...SW WINDS AROUND 15 KT WITH GUSTS UP TO 25 KT. SEAS 3 TO 5 FT. MAINLY IN S SWELL WITH A DOMINANT PERIOD OF 6 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS EARLY IN THE EVENING... THEN SHOWERS LIKELY IN THE LATE EVENING AND EARLY MORNING. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS LATE. PATCHY FOG AFTER MIDNIGHT.
.WED...SW WINDS 15 TO 20 KT WITH GUSTS UP TO 30 KT. SEAS 5 TO 8 FT. MAINLY IN S SWELL WITH A DOMINANT PERIOD OF 6 SECONDS. PATCHY FOG EARLY IN THE MORNING. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS AND TSTMS. .WED NIGHT...SW WINDS 15 TO 20 KT...BECOMING W 20 TO 25 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. GUSTS UP TO 35 KT. SEAS 5 TO 8 FT. SHOWERS AND TSTMS LIKELY IN THE EVENING...THEN A CHANCE OF SHOWERS AFTER MIDNIGHT. .THU...NW WINDS 20 TO 25 KT WITH GUSTS UP TO 35 KT. SEAS 4 TO 6 FT. .THU NIGHT...NW WINDS 15 TO 20 KT WITH GUSTS UP TO 30 KT... DIMINISHING TO 10 TO 15 KT WITH GUSTS UP TO 20 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. SEAS 2 TO 4 FT. .FRI...W WINDS 10 TO 15 KT...BECOMING NW 20 TO 25 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. SEAS 2 TO 4 FT...BUILDING TO 4 TO 6 FT IN THE AFTERNOON. .FRI NIGHT...NW WINDS 20 TO 25 KT. SEAS 4 TO 6 FT. .SAT...NW WINDS 15 TO 20 KT...BECOMING W 10 TO 15 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. SEAS 3 TO 5 FT...SUBSIDING TO 2 TO 3 FT IN THE AFTERNOON. .SAT NIGHT...SW WINDS 15 TO 20 KT. SEAS 2 TO 4 FT. WINDS AND SEAS HIGHER IN AND NEAR TSTMS.