Enjoying summer weather in December

Outdoors logo 1 by . Reasons to have toes in sand: striped bass, surf, more.

Summer-like temperatures for the holidays made for some crowded beaches and parks.

It’s great to see people enjoying the outdoors in the winter.

There were a lot of people walking barefoot along the beaches this weekend, and despite the water temperatures, a few kids decided to brave the cold and hit the surf.

People riding horses in Cape Henlopen, bird watchers in droves looking for the winter migratory species.  Bicyclists all over the place scaring up thousands of Snow Geese at Gordon’s pond trail.

People were fishing white clay creek up north for trout and doing well.

It was a beautiful weekend to be outdoors, but Old Man Winter is going to take back his time of year this coming weekend.

We never want to let go of the summer, and this weather has been a real tease this year.

Striped bass fever

This my second article and I almost blew the deadline because of a fish.

Not the one that got away, but the ones that finally showed up.

Striped bass fever hit heavy on Monday, a few migratory bass were caught in Cape Henlopen State Park on fresh bunker chunks.

A northeast wind that night pushed some fish into the shoreline area.

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The beach during the warm December has been a popular draw. Looking north toward Cape Henlopen, this photo shows the number of beach goers Saturday. (Special to the Delaware State News/Rich King)

Another reason you have to be there when it happens … by the time you read about it, it is already over.  We hit the beaches with a fervor, armed to the teeth with bait and lures.

After the report hit the website the phone lit up, emails were coming in left and right, and the Facebook messages were non-stop.  I saw dozens of buddies on the beach, and most of them said the same thing:

“I’m not here you didn’t see me.”

Apparently work took the back seat for the possibility to catch some big bass in the surf, and I have a lot of pictures that will be good black mail material down the road.

No worries boys, technically I just did the same thing, except I am my own boss. It is easy to call in sick when you work for yourself, especially to go fishing — which technically is part of my job, so you can imagine the confusion.

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Colin Herlihy getting some serious air during a single day of heavy waves last month. (Special to the Delaware State News/Rich King)

If you are going to write about fishing, you have to actually do some.

Yesterday the ocean was firing with heavy waves and strong currents, ideal striped bass conditions.

Nothing was caught except dogfish and skates where we were fishing.  We chased birds up and down the beach working the surf,but nothing would produce under them.

We should have been there Monday kept ringing through our heads.

Before those fish showed up on Monday, we had been out daily fishing jetties, cuts, and holes in the surf.

Up and down the beaches we would travel from Cape Henlopen to Fenwick Island.  Hoping for a straggler bass or random school to move through the area, at this point we are calling it the unicorn bass.

The water is perfect, there is bait all over the place, but we can’t find any fish.

One day we were fishing with so many seals and porpoises in front of us it was like Sea World.  Not a single migratory fish was hooked all week, and believe me we put in some time.

Several short striped bass were caught and these are the resident fish that have yet to join the migration this year, but we wanted to land one of the big girls.  Something over 40 inches in the 20- to 30-pound class.

Fishing the surf this time of year in a T shirt is a bit odd considering we are used to wearing enough gear that we look like the stay puffed marshmallow man.

The conditions on Tuesday were perfect striped bass weather.  Standing in ankle to waist deep wash in the surf.

Waves crashing in front of us one after the other, that are well over our heads.

Today it looks about the same but with smaller waves, will anyone hook up today?

Most likely yes, since I am stuck on this computer watching the ocean on the web cams.

Surf’s up

The one group that did have a blast Tuesday were the surfers.

They had some serious waves at Naval Crossing in Cape Henlopen and the North and South sides at the Indian River Inlet.

When we get a heavy swell and the right wind conditions, the surfers here are treated to some of the best waves on Delmarva.

These boys live for these conditions and when it happens you drop everything and go.

I am sure there were a few people there yesterday that should have been elsewhere, like work.

About a month ago there was a day of sick heavy waves and they were out in full force.

When one surfer was asked, “When are we going home?” he responded, “When the waves stop.”

You never know when an ultimate “sesh” will start firing in Delaware and you drop everything and go.

Hunting and trapping fees

There are some public workshops in January for the possibility of increased fees for hunting and trapping.

There is also the possibility of a wildlife area Conservation Access Pass for non hunters using state areas.

Many birders and public land visitors are not happy with this proposal.
However the license fees from hunters is all the money that maintains these areas. Some feel everyone should pay to access state land areas.

These workshops will be held in all three counties.  I recommend you attend one of  these, learn what is being proposed, and voice your concerns and questions.

These workshops are set up so people can learn about the potential increases and interact with DNREC representatives.

The schedule:

Sussex County – 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 12, at Delaware Technical Community College Jack F. Owens Campus, William A. Carter Partnership Center Lecture Hall, 21179 College Drive, Georgetown, DE 19947

Kent County – 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 13, at Kent County Administrative Complex, 555 South Bay Road, Dover, DE 19901

New Castle County – 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 14, at Ommelanden Hunter Education Training Center, 1205 River Road, New Castle, DE 19720.

The Advisory Council on Wildlife and Freshwater Fish will consider the potential increases at its meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 26, at DNREC’s Richardson & Robbins Building Auditorium, 89 Kings Highway, Dover, DE 19901.

Any proposed fee increases by the Division of Fish & Wildlife require approval of the Delaware General Assembly before becoming effective.”

Rich King’s column appears Thursdays in the Delaware State News.

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