In Upper Bay, it’s all about that bass

Bill Wessells shows off this citation 40-pound, 44.5-inch striped bass caught on fresh bunker off Greens Beach. (Submitted photo/Port Penn Bait and Tackle)

Bill Wessells shows off this citation 40-pound, 44.5-inch striped bass caught on fresh bunker off Greens Beach. (Submitted photo/Port Penn Bait and Tackle)

Spring fishing so far has been off the hook, pun intended.

Striped bass action in the upper Delaware Bay and River has been heavy for many anglers. Bunker chunks are the bait of choice and fish are all over the Port Penn to Augustine Beach areas.

Rockfish upwards of 40 pounds have been weighed in at Port Penn Bait and Tackle. These are residential bass that are schooling up, and moving towards the spawning grounds. The Atlantic migratory rockfish are still moving into the Chesapeake Bay. The Chesapeake resident bass have been moving into Broad Creek, Chester River, and the Nanticoke River. The spawn will be in full swing here soon enough.

Short striped bass action is hot along the beaches, Delaware Bay, tidal creeks, and inland bays. Bloodworms, squid, and small pieces of cut bait on top and bottom rigs have produced many fish for anglers. These are all averaging eighteen inches, but are still a blast to catch. This has been a great opportunity for kids to get their first striped bass and see some constant action in the surf. These schoolies have been a blast for a couple of weeks and it is reminiscent of the days of old fishing for early striped bass.

Small spoons,swim shads, and bucktails will produce for anglers who like to cast and not soak bait.

Outdoors column logo by . White perch action is still hot in the tidal creeks using minnows, small jigs, or bloodworms. The yellow perch action is still good but not like a couple of weeks ago. Bass, pickerel, and bluegill action have been decent on a variety of baits and lures. Crappie is still some decent action on minnows and small jigs.

Opening day upstate

Opening day of trout season is this Saturday in New castle. Trout were stocked the other day and I imagine it will be shoulder to shoulder come Saturday. Make sure you know all the rules for trout fishing areas and have your trout stamp. My best advice is to fish where everyone else isn’t.
Record, after all

Blue catfish qualify for the Delaware State record catfish. This record is for any catfish caught in Delaware. Blue cats can get upwards of one hundred pounds, and we have seen a few record breakers the last couple of weeks. No one knew they qualified for the state record. I am predicting that will be broken a few times this year. Unfortunately for some friends that record would have been broken last week had the boys, myself, and the shop known blue cats qualify.

Archie Fretz of Millsboro celebrates a sizable white perch. (Submitted photo)

Archie Fretz of Millsboro celebrates a sizable white perch. (Submitted photo)

Slow flounder

Flounder action has been slow, very few have been caught and our recent cold snap will slow down the fish just a bit. Water temperatures have been fluctuating in the inland bays by 7 degrees and peaking to 55 degrees near Masseys Landing. The Upper Delaware Bay has been averaging in the low 50s and the Lewes area has dropped to the high 40s.

The Cape Henlopen pier is coming along nicely and the crews have almost a third of the new decking in place. You can fish alongside the pier and in the flats area. I would look for some flounder in there right now.

Aside from striped bass the surf is producing skates and spiny dogfish on bunker chunks. Bloodworms are better for the striped bass to avoid the scavengers.

The beaches are looking great for fishing, there is ample structure to find fish. Just be careful of the swales in the middle of the beach, they can get deep when the water fills them in and the sand will be quick. Walking through them can be a chore and you will need waders, it is still a little too cold to wade in just shorts. In Wachapreague, Va., the water temperature is 55 degrees along the coast, perfect temperature for striped bass to be on the move and they are.

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

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