Great weekend after the thaw

bass plugs, fishing lures, striped bass, rockfish, linesiders
One of Stan’s Plugs

Since the snow melted everyone has been able to get around a little easier.  Roads were cleared in a decent amount of time, but the hazards of black ice at night remained.  The bays froze over and the Lewes Canal which is something many have never seen or not in a long time.  Friends telling me stories of ice skating on the bay when they were kids over thirty years ago, yes I just said that and now feel old.  One story that was repeated the most is people driving from long neck to Dewey beach across the ice.  A few even told me they have seen pictures of this ice highway.  I am not sure but it is probably safe to assume that was not a Del Dot approved road.  Volkswagons on the ice and people skating to Bethany beach from Oak Orchard.  It has been an interesting past two weeks in the snow and ice.  Now that we have thawed out there is talk of an even larger storm next week.  It is like the days of old when I was a kid, we had snow in winter all the time and it was normal.  We have experienced so many mild winters over the years people have forgotten what it was like to get walloped by a big snow storm.  The last blizzard we had a few years ago left snow around for almost a month.  I think that was the first taste of the past storms we grew up with as kids.  Needless to say it has made January an interesting month and now we get to anticipate February, the snowiest month of the year.  We will wait and see what happens.

frozen delaware bay, indian river bay, oak orchard,
Indian River Bay frozen in Oak Orchard

Friday night I went to Milton and attended a viewing of the movie Shored Up directed by Ben Kalina.  It was a very sobering look at the issues of sea level rise.  Ben originally did this movie as a graduate project and it was started three years before hurricane Sandy hit the East coast and hammered New Jersey.  As it turns out the hurricane was an amazing coincidence for Ben to include in this movie as part of the central theme.  The sea levels are rising, that is fact and beaches are eroding at an alarming rate.  We spend millions of dollars to replenish beaches only to have them erode away again in a very short time every year.  The definition of insanity … doing something over and over again expecting a different result.  We are trying to hold back the ocean, not a simple task.  Many people do not believe this is a real issue, but just look at many coastal towns even in Delaware that are full of water during extreme high tides.  Storm surges inundate these towns and people must evacuate every time.  This sea level rise issue is real, of that I can assure you, how we are going to deal with it will be the next step.  Actually getting people to wake up and realize the data from scientists is not only real, but inevitable.  The sea levels are rising and the East coast is slowly sinking, it is estimated that in fifty years or less we will have roughly 39 inches of more water in the ocean.  That means small coastal communities are going to either disappear or have too be abandoned.  No one wants to talk about these realities, in time we will have to and there will be no choice.  I sincerely suggest you look at this movie and decide for yourself.  I have a copy I purchased at the viewing in Milton and will try to set up some times to show it to the public.  You can visit the website www.shoredupmovie.com for more information.

Shrimp fly, bonefishing, fly fishing
Shrimp fly for bonefish by Roy Miller

Saturday morning I dropped by the Lewes Harbor Marina and visited the Saltwater Fly Anglers of Delaware.  The boys were all gathered for their Saturday fly tie meetings.  As usual the stories were enhanced with the usual anglers touch.  It is always fun to visit these guys and watch them tie, learn a few things, and just enjoy an afternoon talking about fishing.  We also ate a plethora of donuts.  I chatted with the boys about the shellfish aquaculture workshop I attended on Thursday evening.  That was an interesting meeting about how the new shellfish aquaculture law is going to be regulated by the state.  Mostly we talked about fishing adventures and somehow got onto boating mishaps we have all experienced.  While we all chatted, the boys kept on tying up flies.  Roy Miller was tying bone fish flies for a trip he is taking.  He was creating a shrimp pattern he used in the past with good luck.  We were discussing bone fishing, something I have yet to try, and it sounds like a lot of fun.  I talked to Stan about the plugs he brought with him to show me, he had some great colors and I hope to see these in action soon.  He is getting much better at turning plugs.  Being an artist he can be a bit picky about his creations, and he comes up with some interesting colors and designs.  It was a fun day in the shop at Lewes Harbor Marina, afterwards a few of us grabbed lunch, and then I headed north to check out Bowers Beach.

dredge, MurderKill River, Bowers Beach, channel,
Dredging the channel in the Delaware bay to the Murderkill River

The dredge has been operating at Bowers Beach in the channel for the Murderkill River.  That channel has not been dredged for ten years and after last years storms almost impossible to navigate at low tide.  Last year a few boats were stuck during the extreme low tide during memorial day weekend.  I am sure many of you remember that day, it made for some interesting times on the water.  It also made for some wild looking pictures, people could see the bottom of the bays in areas they never have before.  We need the inland bays dredged badly but that is a subject for another day.  The crew at Bowers is pumping sand onto the southern beach, then the next project is supposed to be fixing the northern jetty, and then replenishing that beach as well. Pumping sand there (Northside) now would be futile, it would just wash back into the bay and clog the channel again.  There were all kinds of large chunks of snow laden ice that washed up on the beach and were floating in the bay.  The ones on land looked like small glaciers, and the ones in the bay resembled large ice bergs.  I watched a boat of watermen coming in while ice was floating out of the Murderkill River with the outgoing tide.  They were using brooms and poles to push the ice away from the hull of the boat.  Once and  while you would hear a piece scrap the hull of the boat and it just sounded bad.  The dredge workers had a metal hulled boat they were using, and they would hit some ice here and there with a loud clang.  It will be interesting to see jut how much sand they remove from the channel. According to th stakes on land it looked like they expect to remove a large amount.

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polar bear lunge of lewes DE, special olympics of Delaware, rehoboth beach, boardwalk
Devin, Charlie, and Lexi

Sunday Funday was the Lewes Polar Bear Plunge to benefit the Special Olympics of Delaware.  We had a team again this year, Lexi was going to take over Devin’s place as team captain.  Not long after they arrived he decided he was jumping in this year as well.  There was a huge turnout for 2014.   The beach was packed with more people than it sees in one day of the summer, even during a holiday.  The best part of the day were the warm temperatures, it was 54 degrees.  The week before it was ten degrees, and one night we saw one below zero.  Definitely a transition.  The kids were ready to plunge and we had several people join us on the beach.  The Delaware Surf Fishing team raised almost $700 for the plunge.  There were some crazy costumes this year and the band KISS was the one of the favorites.  It was great day in the sand and we had a lot of fun, everyone is looking forward to next year.   Devin is probably still a little mad at his sister for tossing him in the water when they went in, but that is natural sibling rivalry.  Next year should be interesting and rather entertaining since he is probably plotting his revenge.  According to the email sent out by Jon Buzby “Special Olympics Delaware Polar Bear Plunge presented by Wawa  # of Bears: 3,252 … Money raised: More than $725,000 (record) … Air temp: 50 degrees … Water temp: 34 degrees ”   This was a good year.  Afterwards we grabbed lunch and of course headed to a beach to do a little fishing.  When it is fifty degrees in February you go to the beach.  We went to the point and set up to wet a line.  Scott was hit by something on the third cast out, we had squid on top and bottom rigs.  Whatever hit his line ran to the ledge at the point and dropped down deeper.  He was jammed up for at least twenty minutes, then he managed to pop the snag loose and start the retrieve, the rig broke he was using.  Based on the weight and the head shake it was probably a dogfish.  We packed it up and headed out to watch the Superbowl.  I will not even get into how depressing a game that was for many people.  I have seen it called the worst superbowl ever and would have to agree.  Well we will see you in the sand again soon.  More storms are headed our way and we will see what happens.  That furry little ground hog saw his shadow.

Fish On!!
Rich King

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