Cold temps: Anglers don’t like it but hunters should be happy

Kevin Golden Jr. holding a keeper tautog he caught at the Indian River Inlet. Submitted photos

Wasn’t enough snow to go car hooding but enough to keep many of us indoors. I am not ready for this weather, I have plenty of gear for the cold, I just don’t want to wear it all right now. I know the fish don’t care but boy oh boy the anglers do, there are plenty of people braving the elements.

The hunters should be happy, the bugs are going to be less of a nuisance now and the DFM at the beach is a negative two for the rest of the year. Not to mention this gets the deer moving, just look at all the cars nailing them in the evenings.

Fishing has been slow in the surf, many are attributing that to the three beach or dredge projects happening. The Masseys ditch dredge project starts in January, and the crews are staging at Masseys Landing this week. Lot of projects for our waterways.

There have been some short striped bass, spiny dogfish, and skates caught. An occasional speckled trout and even a couple of redfish (puppy drum). Other than that the beaches have been quiet and empty, just the way we like it.

Charter and head boats are getting decent sea bass numbers. Tautog action has been OK offshore, and at the Indian River Inlet anglers are picking through 10 to 12 short tautog for that one keeper. “We have been catching about one keeper for every 10 tautog at the Indian River Inlet” … Kevin Golden Jr.

Short striped bass action in the tidal creeks and rivers has been decent. This cold snap might slow down the anglers but not the fish, they prefer the colder weather. The Indian River Inlet has great shirt bass action.

Dave Eastburn: “We spent 12 hours plus fishing overnight catching bass up to 27 inches, and they are fat like small mouth bass gorging on baitfish.”

Speckled trout action has been on fire for some anglers lucky enough to get into them. That has been an issue for many, you have to be there when the schools do a swim by, chasing food. White swim shads and pink zooms have been the lure of choice for the specks, coincidentally same for the short striped bass.

Anthony Purdy bagged this buck hunting with his dad Jeff a few days ago in Sussex County.

White perch action and catfish for the canal, and creeks up north. Short bass as well especially around bridges with structure in the rips. The fresh water fish action is still good, just have to shift to winter fishing mode. Trout are still being caught in the rivers that were stocked.

Heads-up on licenses

The Recreational Fishing Fund council met the other night. Lot of new projects coming in 2020. There will be a new system for permits starting in 2020 for fishing licenses, then hunting licenses and all permits needed for project sin the state of Delaware. One thing of note, you are required to use now your full Social Security number for these licenses next year. This is to cross check with child services, if you owe you will not be able to purchase a hunting or fishing license.

The Dobbinsville pier may soon be a reality, for real this time. Masseys Landing is getting the bulkhead near the boat ramp fixed from a corroded bulkhead, creating a sinkhole. The Millsboro pond boat ramp project is nearly completed. Wagamons pond in Milton will be getting a new bulkhead and boat ramp soon. Garrisons and Mahon are also getting some upgrades to their boat ramps.

The Recreational Fishing Fund council meets twice a year, and is open to the public. This is a great way to see how your money for fishing licenses is utilized with matched federal funds. Just be careful how you ask a question so you don’t get chastised, yelled at and then cussed at like yours truly did by a council member.

Millville Fire Company’s Outdoorsman Marketplace Jan. 11, the first outdoors show of the year. Mark your calendars.

Fall Fish Bowl

The Fall Fish Bowl surf fishing tournament is Nov. 30 in Delaware Seashore State Park. You can sign up at Icehouse bait and tackle on Route 1 down at the beaches.

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

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