Winter Fishing

This was written a day before the storm hit us and snowed us in.

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C.j. with an 25 inch female. Tagged and released aboard the Morning Star out of Ocean City.

Last weekend I went out and about with some friends looking for ghosts.  We drove all over the ocean looking for birds and whales.  We heard some blue fin were spotted offshore about ten to twelve miles.  Ghost hunting is not easy, first you have to find fish, then you have to entice them to bite.  The latter being the hardest part.  Ghost hunting or looking for migrating bluefin tuna is not an easy task, but it was fun trying.  I know a few guys that live for this time of year.  A couple of weeks before we went looking Captain John McMurray out of New York was hitting ghosts hard up there.  They went four for five one afternoon which is rare.  Usually you are lucky to hook into one blue fin.  These are hundred pound fish so the fight is heavy-duty, especially on spinning gear tossing large stick baits.  Hopefully we can get out again next year and try it again.

Tautog is the fish of choice right now for Delaware and Maryland charters and head boats.   The Morning Star out of Ocean City and the Grizzly out of Lewes had some great action for the new year.  The best fishing has been on ocean structure.  Inshore at the Indian River inlet has been slow with mostly small fish, but that hasn’t discouraged anyone from trying.  This time of year the fishing is great for tautog you just have to deal with the cold weather and a long boat ride.

maseys landing temperature chart, usgs survey, long neck, delaware, sussex county
Temperatures this past week in Masseys Ditch
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The migratory striped bass bite is over, but you may see a straggler or two.  There is always the resident bass at the Indian River Inlet long lining flies, which is an art in and of itself.  There have been a few shorts caught here and there.  The water temperature is in the low forties.  That is a tad too cold for fish to feed actively, but they can be caught.  You have to put in some time and fish the right tide.  Outgoing seems to be the best at the inlet, that depends on who you ask.  There are some shorts around the inland bays you just have to find them and that is mostly along the shallows on a sunny day hunting for food.  Otherwise they are deeper on the bottom where the water temperature is more consistent, check the channels.

Winter fishing for white perch and yellow perch will be the next fish of choice.  Nothing like freezing water on your guides and reels.  Sitting next tot he water’s edge in enough clothes you can hardly move.  Until spring we will have to dream of a better spring run.   Meanwhile we can work on our gear, get new rigs made, tie flies and bucktails, and do some general maintenance on our reels.  Anglers in the upper Chesapeake are already slaying yellow perch and have been for a couple of weeks.  We should see that action pick up soon.

Fish On!

Rich King

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