Pounding Perch While Bass Hounding
We hit record temperatures for a couple of days and that really cranked up the fishing in many spots. Masseys Landing jumped up twelve degrees in six days and peaked to fifty-two yesterday at low tide. Creeks, estuaries, and some back bay areas hit close to fifty-four degrees at low tide. The short striped bass are already starting to school up in the upper Delaware Bay tributaries, the western Sussex county creeks, Broadkill River, and some of the upper Delaware Bay beach areas. Anglers are catching a lot of short striped bass while perch fishing. There were even a few shorts caught at the Indian River Inlet. These are resident bass, this is a normal occurrence, just earlier this year thanks to the unusually warm temperatures. This weekend we will see average temperatures for this time of year with colder nights. The warm nights the past few days helped jump up the temperatures. I would expect the large breeder striped bass to start showing up in the tidal creeks looking for freshwater to spawn much earlier this year. Striped bass spawning season fishing regulations do not start until April first, but people should still be wary of catching and killing large breeders to help ensure the future of the stocks. Also don’t forget the consumption advisories, the bigger the fish, the more pollutants it will contain. Don’t forget we are still under the latest striped bass limits … two striped bass per day (in any combination) from 28 to 37 inches or 44 inches or greater. Last year some anglers were getting popped by DNREC enforcement for cutting down the tails on their fish to get them within the slot limit. DNREC is now looking harder at people’s catches.
Striped bass Spawning season
The spawning season for striped bass in Delaware is considered to begin at 12:01 a.m. on April 1 and continue through midnight on May 31 of each calendar year. It is unlawful for any person to take and retain any striped bass during the spawning season from the Nanticoke River or its tributaries, the Delaware River and its tributaries to the north of a line extending due east beginning at and including the south jetty at the mouth of the C & D Canal, or the C & D Canal or its tributaries. Catch and release only during this season; no harvest is allowed.
It is unlawful for any person to fish during the striped bass spawning season on any striped bass spawning ground with natural bait using any hook other than a non-offset circle-hook when said hook measures greater than 3/8 inches as measured from the point of the hook to the shank of the hook.
The white perch action has been on fire with minnows or bloodworms for bait. The tidal creeks are swelled with perch and in some areas anglers as well trying to get in on the bite. The warmer temperatures brought out a lot of anglers shaking off cabin fever over the weekend into the week. Anglers are catching white perch, yellow perch, millroach, gizzard shad, bass, crappie, and bluegills. The baits have been a variety but mostly the traditional worms and minnows. Trout are still hitting at the ponds and White Clay creek was just stocked with the normal load and three hundred trophy sized rainbow trout.
The offshore boys are watching a knot of warm water that spun off and has hit the Baltimore and Washington Canyons two days ago. It is a small counterclockwise eddy that is not expected to last long, but could be the start of early fishing offshore for Delaware and Maryland. Most of the charter boats in Delaware won’t splash their boats until about mid April. In the mean time the Lewes Harbor Marina Area is alive with activity, everyone is working on their boats now that the weather has broken into spring. Soon you will be able to hire a boat to hit the waters and do some serious fishing. Tautog is still happening but has been hit or miss for anglers trying for them in deep water. That season ends May eleventh. Some boats out of Ocean City like the Morning Star have been making tautog runs out ot deep water. Just call ahead to get their schedules. Soon all the charters and boats will crank up for the season.
The surf is quiet but you might hit a ling (spotted hake) or those little perch with a top and bottom rig using squid,clam, or bloodworms. Be careful driving on the beaches, there are still swales filling up at high tide. The beaches are very wide at low tide and not too bad at high tide. The structure on the Cape Henlopen beaches right now is subtle because they are flat. The beaches from Dewey to Fenwick Island have some seriously nice cuts in them. Bunker are on the move and have been seen as far up as Little Creek area. The boys further north (Jersey) are seeing them move into the estuaries and back bays. The migratory bass should not be far behind them. The North Carolina anglers are starting to see big red drum in the surf. Herring are at many of the spillways in Delaware already. It is going to be a great spring, no clue if the bluefish will show up like last year. Some hope they will others do not, but everyone agrees on one thing … we just want to go catching.