Carney’s eco-tour includes kayaking at Trap Pond

Delaware Gov. John Carney and DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin kayak at Trap Pond. (Submitted photos)

You would be surprised who you might run into while exploring our great outdoors.

Delaware Gov. John Carney has been on a statewide eco-tour the past few weeks. I kayaked the waters of Trap Pond State Park with him the other day. DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin, Delaware State Parks Director Ray Bivens, and a few park employees were along for the outing.

The group took a tour of Trap Pond and explored the Cypress Swamp area. We learned a great deal about the pond and cypress trees.

I highly recommend taking one of these tours, or just paddling the pond and doing a little fishing. I had a fishing rod with me, but there wasn’t much time to fish with the group on the move.

I asked Gov. Carney why is he was doing the state-wide eco-tour.

“We are visiting all of the different nature areas and state parks in Delaware,” he said. “Not only is this a really cool experience and of course a lot of fun, but it allows us to meet our state workers, volunteers, as well as visitors. We get to see firsthand what is needed in these areas when it comes to budget proposals from their input and perspective.

“In the oath of office all Delaware governors take, there is a part about protecting the natural heritage of Delaware. This tour is allowing us to see up close and personal what we need to protect not only for all Delawareans, but tourists as well. Tourism, especially in Sussex County, is a large part of our economy.

Some of the group headed across the pond to the Cypress Swamp.

“We toured the Michael Castle Trail along the C&D Canal and learned that Delaware City is seeing an increase in visitors to the area. People hiking and biking the trails along the C&D Canal are spending money in the small businesses.”

“Have you been to Bombay Hook?” the governor asked me. Yes sir, I have, it is a great place.

“It is amazing, and gorgeous,” Gov. Carney said. “We saw so much wildlife, and birds. The amount of ducks there was unreal and the diversity of birds was amazing.”

I could tell he was really taken by Bombay Hook; it is a treasure.

“I grew up a New Castle boy, and we would explore up there and then head straight to the park beaches on the weekends,” said Garvin. “We missed a lot in the middle of the state. We hope this eco-tour will help promote that area to all Delawareans and visitors alike. There are some beautiful nature preserves and parks in Kent County that many people know little about.”

The group in the swamp checking out the beaver lodge and turning around to head back.

It was a pleasure to spend some time with our governor and explore the outdoors. This was his first trip to Trap Pond State Park and something tells me not his last. He was impressed with the park.

Did you know Trap Pond is the third largest state campground? The waterfront camping is the most popular and most sought after spots. There is a lot to do in that park, and all of Delaware State Parks. After Trap Pond, Gov. Carney’s group headed to Fort Miles to take that tour. If you haven’t been there you need to check that out too. The big gun in the bunker is very impressive.

We talked a lot of fishing while paddling the pond, and I am hoping to get him to do a little surf fishing in the future on one of his eco-tours. The governor likes to fish when he can get the chance and he is always interested in what is out there to catch. I gave him a quick rundown.

Fishing report

There are little bluefish all over the place, hitting whatever baits or lures you throw at them, metal is preferred since they shred anything else. We have been catching short striped bass in all the inland bays, tidal rivers and creeks. If you throw lures make sure you mimic mullet or peanut bunker since that is what they are feeding on the most.Tautog season just opened and there have been some decent catches here and there with a lot of throwbacks.
The charter boats have been having some good days. We are still seeing a lot of trigger action on the wrecks and reefs. Some small but decent weakfish action, small being under eighteen inches but still keepers. Northern puffers are still hitting too and are great to eat, chicken of the sea is a local nickname and it is fitting.

Flounder action around the inland bays and waterways is still slow for keepers, but you can catch a lot of throwbacks. The flats around the Cape Henlopen pier and bayside at the point have produced a lot of short flounder. The pier is seeing some decent keepers. Spot is still decent at high tide at the end of the pier. A few small cobia were caught the other day.

The surf has been little bluefish, small flounder,the occasional pompano, and lots of sand perch. Kingfish have been around but not in abundant numbers. I have yet to see any redfish from the surf but that is definitely possible. Use mullet or clam for that action,and you will have to contend with those little bluefish no matter what you are using for bait. Those little blues also make good bait even for their own species. Of course the skate (Jersey flounder), dogfish, and shark action is off the hook as usual.

The Ocean City Inlet and pier has seem some decent redfish and flounder action recently. There are bull reds (red drum) in the surf at Assateague. They are hitting a variety of baits but spot or kingfish are the best.

So get outside and enjoy the outdoors, even is if it is just to take a walk. If the governor can take a few hours to explore new realms in Delaware’s great outdoors, so can you.

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

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