Delaware deer harvest may set another record

Matt Georgov on his catch, “Couple smaller ones but one decent size Striper at Assateague this weekend. Hoping for more up the coast!” (Submitted photos)

Says Thomas Lamphear, “Great day on the Bay on the Helen-R out of Chesapeake Beach, Maryland,” on Nov. 17.

Happy Thanksgiving! Hopefully you are out fishing or hunting this weekend with family, or avoiding family by doing the same. Whichever works best for you.

The cold snap will get the deer moving again, but that hasn’t really been an issue the last couple of weeks.

I could have filled a freezer by now just pulling into my driveway, but I haven’t sighted my car in yet for the year.

The deer have been on the move all over Delaware and the season’s numbers so far show just that, according to DNREC:

“Preliminary 2017/18 November shotgun harvest estimates indicate a slight increase from the 2016/17 November shotgun season. Delaware hunters harvested over 6,600 deer during the 2017/18 November shotgun season. The total deer harvest for 2017/18 is on track to meet or exceed the record breaking harvest of 14,793 deer in 2016/17. Doe harvest statewide has recently been exceeding 50 percent and in the last 5 years or so has averaged somewhere around 53-54 percent for the entire hunting season.”

I know several of my hunting buddies have been doing very well so far this year. Others are catching up on sleep or avoiding wives and work.

Fishing report

Everyone already has striped bass fever, watching anglers north of Delaware up the coast land large fish in the surf and from the boats. The boats are having the best luck, not a lot of huge blitzes along the beach so far this year. Unlike last year which were heavy in New Jersey, and no, they never made it to the surf in Delaware. Once those fish push off Cape May, if they head straight south they are too far off the coast and in the EEZ for us to fish.

However we are seeing a great deal of short striped bass action all along the coast, the inland bays, Delaware bay and in Ocean City at the inlet and canals. Action is heavy with a fish every cast once you get into a school of schoolies or shorts. Water temperatures for the inland bays is averaging fifty-two degrees which is perfect striped bass temperatures. The Delaware Bay near Lewes is around 50 degrees and the upper bay and river are in the high forties. Again perfect striped bass water temperatures. Get out there and fish! Swim shads, bucktails, jig heads with BKD’s or shad bodies are working well. Use spoons in the surf since the bluefish are still tearing up soft plastics. You can use the softies until you lose a tail, then switch to metal. Bait is working as well, such as bunker, but getting fresh is best around the weekends, stores don’t stock fresh bunker on the weekdays, unless the action is off the hook.

When we fish the surf with bait, we always have a rod at the ready with a plug, spoon, or whatever lure you prefer for casting to fish as they move by and to pass the time.

Tautog is good offshore and on Delaware Bay structure at the walls and ice breakers (hay stacks). Sheepshead and trigger are still a by catch but that will end once the water temps really drop. Sea bass action has been good when the boats can get out, the wind the last few days has been a challenge. Flounder is pretty much a by catch at this time of the year offshore.

White perch action is great in the tidal creeks and rivers, using bloodworms. You can also use grass shrimp you just have to catch those. Looking in the grasses along mud banks at high tide or along bulkheads is a good place for shrimp.

The surf has been a skate and dogfish fest, but the occasional short striped bass and some bluefish in the mix. You have to put in the time to get into he fish. Lot of redfish in the surf at assateague still in the slot range.

The Indian river Inlet has mostly been short striped bass and some tautog action.

The ponds are starting to clear up from all the algae mats, but you can still fish the edges of them for bass waiting for a quick meal. Pickerel are hammering anything shiny or that moves, as usual. Yellow perch will get more active as soon as the temperatures drop even more, winter fishing is coming. Then we will dream of the spring run and the possible return of the monster bluefish. Speaking of which, it is possible we will see some of those in the surf soon if the bass move into the shoreline.

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

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