No perch, but crappie is hitting

Outdoors column logo FINAL by . Winter fishing is going well. I spent the day with Tom Hudecheck recently slamming crappie bass in the waters around Milton, Delaware.

We were hoping for yellow perch but the crappie were hitting that day. You never know how that will turn out out. One day it’s crappie, the next yellow perch and then some days the skunk.

We were using small jigs with bobbers and minnows for bait. When I say small I mean 1/32 to 1/200 sized jigs.

This requires you to use four pound-test so you can tie the jig to the line. Then you have to open your drag up all the way so the line doesn’t snap from the retrieve — Which makes it seem like you have moby bass when you are reeling in a six inch blue gill. Lots of fun on ultralight gear.

Crappie and perch are schooling fish so once you dial in their location you keep fishing that spot. Small soft plastics can also be used but you have to work it like any other jig. Minnows will do that work for you.

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Tom Hudecheck of Lewes caught this crappie. (Submitted photo)

Winter fishing is much different than sitting on the shoreline in the summer in shorts and T shirt.  We wear Carhardt’s and heavy jackets, and eventually you get worn out just from trying to move around in heavy clothes. Still better than a day at work.

White perch action has been good but most people are going for the preferred yellow perch this time of year.  Bloodworms and small minnows are great baits for both species. Tidal creeks and waterways like the Mispillion river in Milford have been good fishing spots.

Surf fishing has been tough even catching skates and dogfish.  Not to mention there isn’t much beach left and that condition will be an issue this summer.  There isn’t enough time or money to rebuild the beaches.  Many of us are thankful for that because the structure out there is optimal right now for fishing, we just need some fish.

The ponds all over Delaware are heating up with pickerel action on spoons and small swim baits. Even the bass are

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The hunting and fishing show in Milford had a table of old school bobbers, some hand carved. (Submitted photo)

still biting heavy with the crazy temperature fluctuations. One day it is sixty degrees and the next it is twenty degrees.  Pickerel are fun to catch, not a great table fare, but some folks do eat them.  They are a very bony fish and somewhat oily for a freshwater fish.  I caught a tagged large mouth bass that day in Milton and sent the information to the state of Delaware.  There is a phone number on the tag, you just call the number, give them the tag number and details as far as location and size.  Do not remove the tag and release the bass.

Milford show

This past weekend was the 3rd Annual Delaware Vintage Fishing/Hunting memorabilia show/sale in Milford.

Mike Pusey has put this show on for the last couple of years and he said it is getting more and more popular.  It was my first time there and it was like a trip down memory lane.  It reminded me of being in my grandfather’s workshop shop.  I saw duck decoys that were over $8,000 and learned that the most a decoy ever sold for at auction was $900,000.

Next year I highly recommend you check this show out it was a great time and very educational.

Take stock

Everyone is waiting for spring fishing and one of the first orders of business will be trout fishing after the state stocks the waterways.Trout will be stocked in the ponds by opening day, March 5.

Trout-stocked ponds are closed to all fishing for two weeks before opening day.

Tidbury Pond (Kent County) and Newton Pond (Sussex County) open at 7 a.m. on Saturday March 5.

There will be a second  pond stocking on March 17.

Monster blues

Anglers are still reminiscing about the monster bluefish that showed up in spring last year for several weeks.

Some of the best fishing seen in decades and many are hoping that happens again.  We will have to wait and see.
The spring striped bass run is also being anticipated, and last year the bluefish really put a damper on that event. In fact, the bluefish dominated our waters for weeks on end. You couldn’t wet a line for any other species. The blues would destroy your rigs and hit anything that moved. That made for some easy catching so long as you had the proper gear. Steel leaders or long shank hooks were necessary.

The fish were competing for food so much they would try to rip any rig out of another fish’s mouth. It was total chaos in some areas.

Waterfowl success

The Feb. 6 youth day waterfowl hunt went well for many young hunters this year. Always good to get the kids outdoors and involved in activities.

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

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