Fishing getting better as warmer weather on way

Autumn Tkachuk with a small snapper bluefish caught on mullet.

Gas is how cheap and we can’t go anywhere? Well not true, you can go anywhere within the state to get outside and get some air. I’m still getting four days a gallon.

A lot of people seem to have taken up fishing. Whole families are getting out and trying their hand at fishing. It is a great way to get outside, social distance and maybe fill the dinner table.

The fishing has been good, well the catching has been decent. Fishing is always a good pastime, especially right now.

Anyone else getting all those long-overdue projects done? I found an old pole from the pool brush or vacuum. Drilled a few holes in it, used a pool stick section for a spline, and drilled the boat net handle. Now I have a pier net and boat net combination, with an extra slightly longer and larger handle for the net. Otherwise that pole was headed to the trash. Pick it up, find a use, or to the trash it goes.

Besides projects that need doing, I am just fishing — wherever and whenever I can. It has been quiet in most places as far as crowds. Typical this time of year. Some areas though are more crowded than ever. We need some walk-on areas opened up to spread people out.

There are very few boats out and those that are going fishing or boating are in the same household. Once in a while you see people in boats wearing masks. The drive-on beaches are typical of this time of year. Very few vehicles on miles of beach. That will probably change a little this weekend. Nicer weather coming, and the fishing has picked up a bit.

Bluefish, the smaller snapper size, are making an appearance at some of the beaches throughout the day. The choice of tide depends on the angler. Some prefer incoming to outgoing and others prefer the opposite. I find the falling tide is the best. But that is just me. There are too many other factors to accompany the tide; temperature, wind, etc.

Kevin Golden with a bluefish form the ocean beaches of Delaware.

Short striped bass are around the Indian River Inlet, the beaches and Delaware Bay areas. The migratory bass are being caught by boat anglers up near Port Penn. White perch are still the preferred catch for the table. Definitely easier if you are fishing from land or pier. As the weather gets better, it would be helpful to see more fishing access opened up, especially for walk-on anglers. Bay beaches and ocean beaches have plenty of room for walk-on anglers.

Black drum action is random. There have been very few from the surf. Clam is usually your best bet for bait, but crab and sand flea works well. That is mostly what the drum are feeding on in the surf as they make their way into the Delaware Bay and farther north.

Flounder action has been slow around the Inland Bays. Anglers are catching flounder. Drifting with minnows or gulp is the preferred method. Jigging the surf should produce. Many small fish are showing up inn crab pots. Good structure to hide and to feed on bait fish.

Crabbing is excellent around the inland bays. Pots, rings and trotlines are all doing well. A two-day soak on a crab pot will yield a good amount of crabs. There have been some crab pot theft in the Pot-Nets areas and one of the creeks.

The boat traffic is minimal and the water is clearer than it usually is this time of year. Nature is really bouncing back in some areas. Air pollution is down dramatically. People are staying put more and traveling less. Many businesses are shut down completely. Things are at a standstill. It is odd to drive down Route 1 midday, midweek and see the outlets closed. Rehoboth just removed the benches on the Boardwalk and throughout the town. The place looks like winter. Thankfully we still have the outdoors.

Lobster from commercial angler Wes Townsend. Many of our commercial anglers are selling to the public right now.

Clamming is good around the Inland Bays. Water is still coooollllddddd. Keep that in mind for clamming and if you plan on kayak fishing.

The Indian River Inlet has decent tautog action, mostly short, but some keepers.

Surf fishing has been decent for this time of year. The bluefish finally showed up — the snapper size not the big gators. That could change an hour from now. Puffer fish are hitting clam, fishbites, squid, or cut bait on DS Custom Tackle top and bottom rigs. Mullet are working for bluefish. The action is slow but just picking up. Those puffer fish are delicious.

Skate and dogfish are hitting. If you haven’t had skate, now is the time to try it. Cleaning them is a little tough. Hit up the internet for recipes and instructions. Leaving the wings on the skate, so you have something to hold onto, is a good tip.

Black sea bass are being caught and sold commercially. Recreational sea bass starts May 15. Hopefully charters and head boats can head out by then. New social distancing protocols might be needed for some outings of large people.

The public can purchase these fish at Hookem and Cookem at Indian River Marina or check the Delaware Sea Grant website for a list of commercial anglers to contact.

Capt. Wes Townsend is now bringing in lobster. They were delicious. Buying local seafood will take the strain of the grocery stores, keep you in smaller crowds shopping, and support local watermen.

The Cape Henlopen fishing pier bait shop, Lighthouse View Bait and Tackle, is open on the weekends. Call ahead to any shop to see who is open.

Puffer fish big or small enough for my aquarium we caught surf fishing.