Catfish, crab catch have the blues

One cold snap and the water temperatures plummet ten degrees.

Now we are back into a slow warm-up which is normal for this time of year. The early spring tease has been replaced with cool nights and warm days. Better that spring eases into summer instead of a fast warm up.

Osprey are all over the place, chirping while they hunt. Love watching them fish. They are experts at it and it helps let you know what is around. They are not picky and are not ruled by creel limits or moratoriums. They eat what they catch.

25-pound catfish

For a few guys bass fishing, the other night went to a whole new level. Ethan Henry, Ryan Henry and Cody Gallien were in Laurel fishing hoping bunker chunks would catch some striped bass. They landed something much bigger and unexpected. We have a lot of invasive blue channel catfish in our waters. Ethan Henry landed a huge blue channel catfish at 25.8 lbs 36 1/4 inch long 24.5 girth.

“It was a surprise to all of us,” he said. “I was just reeling my line in for a bait check. Next thing we knew my rod tip took a nose dive and a few minutes later this beast was on land.”

Submitted photo Cody Gallien, Ryan Henry and Ethan Henry show off a beast of a blue channel catfish.

Submitted photo
Cody Gallien, Ryan Henry and Ethan Henry show off a beast of a blue channel catfish.

For a brief second, they thought they had the state record catfish because this one beat the current record by at least two pounds. Unfortunately it turned out to be a blue channel catfish. The boys were very excited for a brief second. They continued to fish and landed two more beast like catfish and called it a night. They still had a good time and managed to remove three huge blue channel cats from Delaware waters.

These are an invasive species and are to be removed once caught. They are very tasty as well, which is a bonus.

Crab catch

Crabbing has been great for the commercial and recreational folks.

This early in the year and people are catching crabs. Catches have been consistent, just not huge numbers.

Captain Terry Murray was pulling crab pots when he found a rare catch. Blue Claw crabs are normally brown colored on the outer shell and the claws have blue highlights. This crab he caught was completely blue. This color variation is either a genetic failure, or a parasite that causes the crab to retain all of the blue coloring. Captain Terry Murray.

“I have been pulling pots for as long as I can remember and I have never seen one of these,” he said. “Soft crabs are blue in the light, but then turn brown when they harden. I was told this is a genetic failure, when I called the local university, and that is why it is blue. I have pulled over ten thousand bushels of crabs in my life, I was told this is a one in a million crab.”

Terry is currently looking for a taxidermist that can mount the crab for him.

Fishing report

Fishing has been great in many of the tidal creeks. The cold snap slowed the fish down but people are still landing decent catches of bass, pickerel, crappie, and bluegill. White perch is still a hot catch in the tidal creeks and ditches. Minnows are the best baits for the white perch, but some anglers have switched to bloodworms and night crawlers. The bloods are a hot bait right now for schooling striped bass on the Delaware River, bay, and tidal tributaries. The same is working in the surf for striped bass, all short fish, but fun to catch. Shad are showing up at several of the spillways.

We are in that transition period where everyone is waiting for the spring and summer fish to start appearing, while getting tired of fishing for perch. Flounder have been caught in the Indian River Bay and near the Indian River inlet. This happens every year, a few fish get caught early and everyone gets ready for some flounder pounding. It figures the weekend just after the first flounder showed up, mother nature made it impossible to take a boat out to do any fishing. Some of the head boats out of Ocean City and Indian River have been going for tautog and boating some decent specimens.

The surf is quiet except for skates, dogfish and the occasional short striped bass. Bunker chunks are the baits people are mostly using, but I would recommend you try some blood worms on top and bottom rigs. Bunker are moving up and down the coast, and you can see birds working the bait slicks off the beach. That gets people’s blood boiling for some striped bass action.

The Cape Henlopen pier is getting new deck boards installed and will hopefully be open by the beginning of May. You can still fish the flats around the pier by wading or kayaking.

Talking turkey

Spring turkey season is coming, hunters are getting excited to go after the thunder chickens of Delaware. That should be a band name.

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

Submitted photo Cody Gallien, Ryan Henry and Ethan Henry show off a beast of a blue channel catfish.

Submitted photo
Cody Gallien, Ryan Henry and Ethan Henry show off a beast of a blue channel catfish.

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