Well it has been a long week of rain, snow, snow, rain, and then we had a thunder snow/rain. Winds have been ridiculous and the last storm was a fun little Nor’easter. Now we are back to calm stirred up seas and it is a beach comber’s delight out there in the sand box. I have been busy organizing and attending meetings of all kinds, I apologize, it has been a while since we put up a fishing report. The beaches are carved up and the water is very dirty. Fishing has been non existent thanks to the cold and rain. There are probably some ling at the Delaware bay beaches, I have heard tell. Not much else is stirring, well except for the ever popular skate, but at least it is a tug on a line. I was going to try and go out today since it was nice with the sun out, but I have too many meetings to get organized for this week. I did sneak down to the beach and look at the waves and found a few pieces of sea glass, one of the advantages of living here. Otherwise it has been a busy month so far between the Coastal Conservation of Delaware chapter, and the Solid Ground Youth Anglers Association … I have been a weeee bit busy. I am looking forward to getting both of these organizations off the ground and watching them grow. Once in a while I get to come up for air and do a little fishing or relax, which for me is the same thing.
Saturday I checked in with the Saltwater Fly Anglers of Delaware at the Lewes Harbor Marina for a fly tie Saturday session. It was a dreary day, perfect to sit inside and tell lies while tying flies. Some of the boys were tying salt water flies for the coming season and others were tying for upcoming trips. Jon was working on a pink squirrel and it was on a hook so small I had to take a picture of it to get a good look. The hook size was a sixteen and I know there are smaller ones. Frank was tying a clauser-assasian, a combination he came up with for striped bass, blues, and shad. The freshwater version works good for all kinds of fish as well. Bob was tying a fly for a friend who was going ice fishing. That is when the jokes started. Do you have to cut a groove in the ice to cast a fly line? How do you cast a fly rod into a ice hole? Then the jokes really started flying around the room. It is truly an entertaining time hanging with the fly fishing club, they are the best club in the area for knowledge and fun. I look forward to every Saturday in the winter during these bleak months of cold fishing and bad weather, especially this year. Everyone is just dying for spring to get here, and it will be soon enough. Then we can all complain about the heat and crowds.
After the fly tie meeting I went to the Ocean City boat show to check out all the eye candy I can’t afford. I talked to a lot of people. Between OC and my area I have been asked this same question a thousand times. What do you think of the new flounder regulations for Delaware? It is nice Delaware is no longer under the thumb of New Jersey. It would take an hour to explain why, but in short we always seem to get the blunt end of the shaft when the regulations are changed due to quotas and the fact New Jersey was part of our fishery. Now they are part of New York and Connecticut’s fishery. This will only last a year to see how it works. Delaware has changed our flounder regulations to sixteen inches and four per day. I like the fact we are away from the effects of jersey regulations, and I apologize to my Jersey angler friends for that statement, but it is true. We still have to share the Delaware Bay, which will be an issue. I still think that sixteen inches is a small fish, however if it decreases the mortality rate then I agree with the change. Let me explain. Last year in the back bays we mostly saw sixteen inch flounder. Many that were released probably died from gut hooking and improper handling trying for the seventeen inch limit. The larger flounder have been heading farther north every year and we only saw really large ones from the wrecks and the old grounds in the ocean. There were some occasional nice catches in the back bays, but not as frequent as the smaller flounder. If people can keep four at sixteen inches they will not have to catch as many to fill that creel limit and less fish will be caught and released. Therefore it would decrease the mortality rate because they can stop fishing for flounder sooner that day. I always tell people granted we have creel limits, but the responsibility is on the angler. Personally I would want to keep larger fish and less in number. For example, rockfish or striped bass are a twenty eight inch, two per day creel limit. How much fish can one person eat at that limit? Keeping one fish is usually enough for four people let alone one. This is one of the reasons I push for catch and release so much, and the angler can not always control the fish they are catching. One way to stop catching a species that is constantly biting your hook is to change techniques or stop fishing at that particular moment. Yeah I know, fat chance, but it does make sense to help increase the fishery by recreational anglers. We will have to wait and see how this all pans out through the coming season. I know Jersey is not happy and will probably fight this tooth and nail.
I am in the process of organizing some beach clean ups and the first will be this Saturday the Twenty second of February, and then every other weekend after, March eighth, March twenty second and so on. I will have a full schedule and locations posted in a few days. We will meet at different locations every time, clean the beaches, eat donuts, drink coffee, and tell some of our favorite fishing stories (lies). Afterwards I am sure we will stay and fish for the rest of the afternoon, this would be a good time to learn some new techniques and surf fish. Meet new people to fish with, and just generally have a good day in the sand box. A rain date for each weekend will be the following Sunday. If the weekend looks bad we will reschedule for the following weekend. This has all been approved by the park’s staff, we look forward to any and all help we receive. Matt Carter from Quest Fitness and Kayak was out last weekend and filled his truck with trash from the point in Cape Henlopen state park and asked me if we could work on some beach clean ups before the season starts. We will look into doing this through out the summer, but probably on the weekdays when the beaches are less crowded. I know some are usually organized but we feel there is not enough of these organized cleanings. We will have bags for trash and trucks to haul it to the parking lots. The park’s staff will take it from there, you just need to bring gloves, and your fishing gear (optional) for later that afternoon. We will meet at 9 a.m. since it is a Saturday, so we won’t feel like we are going to work again, on a weekend. Everyone have a great week and I will keep you updated with everything happening. Don’t forget we are meeting on Mondays at Delaware Distilling Company for our weekly fishing fun meetings. Tomorrow night (Feb 17th) is a presentation by Tony Friedrich the Executive Director of the Coastal Conservation Association of Maryland about the CCA and we will start to get that organized for a Delaware Chapter. We will meet at our usual time of 5:30 p.m. and he will start about 6:15 p.m. I hope to see you out there.