From Stripes To Blues
Congrats to Mike Duncan for the first documented keeper striped bass of the season, and a huge thanks for the release. Over the weekend we did a lot of fishing in different areas with a lot of different gear and colors. Not much was hitting the colorful rigs, jigs, and bucktails. The bass all seemed to prefer white swim shads, and flies. Bloodworms have been great bait in the tidal creek areas and back bays. Probably due to the fact the water is not as clear in those areas and bass love bloodworms in the spring. Use a large piece of a bloodworm on a good four aught hook or better. You can use a tiny piece on a small two aught hook, but the larger hooks and worm works better. The schooling bass are hitting hard once you find them. That has been an issue for many anglers and not so much for others. One of the trials and tribulations of fishing is finding the fish. One day they are in an area thick and they next day they are gone, and then they are back again. Usually that depends on the tide, but sometimes it doesn’t. Yesterday there were bass all over the place but they were moving around and up and down the beaches. When the bite shuts down you have to move, because the fish already did. Once you figure out which way they want then you can follow and catch. That is one of the more annoying things of surf fishing, following the fish, and some of the best fun. This time of year on a weekday it is not an issue, even on a weekend following fish is not too bad.
The Chesapeake bay is hot for migratory bass and the trophy season starts in a couple of weeks, right now you can’t keep striped bass in most places in Maryland. Delaware doesn’t start spawning season until April first, but you should still let the egg laden females go to spawn out and produce more rockfish. The tributaries are seeing more and more action in all the usual places. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know where to find the bass this time of year. Last night I was at Broad creek at a friend’s house and all you could see and hear were herring with bass exploding on them. “We haven’t seen herring in here this thick in a very long time, and the bass are blowing up on them”. It took everything I had to not blow off this important meeting about the Delmarva Outdoors Expo and go fishing. Sometimes work does get in the way. You cold have walked across the river and not get your feet wet there were so many herring. Glad the numbers are increasing, hopefully mother nature keeps that up and we keep the restrictions for a long time to keep those numbers up.
The Delaware Bay is starting to see its fair share of migratory bass. Delaware is now responsible for about twenty percent of the striped bass spawning population. Most people do not know that fact. Another reason it is a good idea to let the spawning bass go, and once April first hits you will have to do so in the spawning grounds. There have only been a few large fish caught but that is going to increase over the next few days. Yesterday large bass were seen in the waves at the beach heading north, they wouldn’t hit anything they are on a mission to spawn. There is a lot of bunker in the Delaware bay the netters are catching a lot of bunker for anglers up north.
Gannets are being seen up and down the beaches raining on bait. Yesterday they were close to the north beach at the inlet. Bunker is what they are raining on and the striped bass are most likely pushing the bunker up to the surface to feed on them. That is when the gannets dive onto the bunker. This is one of the reasons we get excited when we see gannets. If you get lucky and the birds are close to the beach, you might get in on some of the action. When you are in a boat and it is raining gannets around you it is both fascinating and frightening at the same time. Those birds drop fast, I would not want to get hit by one.
Oh by the way, if you are using swim shads and soft plastics you might want to switch up to flies as a teaser and bucktails, or shiny spoons. Because blues are starting to rip up our swim shads and soft plastics. Mike caught a small blue the other day, last night they were destroying plastics. I know of a few large ones that showed up in the north. That will be in the next report, this is just a heads up. They should be here in force any day now.
Freshwater action is really picking up. Bass is starting to hit more readily and pickerel are always hot. Crappie actions is still good and the white perch action is still hot on minnows. Good to see the fishing coming to life for the spring.