Fishing’s good during warm February

Indian Summer in February is usually a one or two time affair and only lasts a couple of days.

Recently it seems we are getting treated to an early spring in winter, which is fine with many people. Hopefully this isn’t foreshadowing for a brutally hot summer.

Last weekend it was gorgeous outside and a lot of people filled the beach towns. The fact it was a three-day weekend had a lot to do with that, but the near 70 degree temperatures also helped.

Today we are looking at near 70s again.

Two years ago if you remember, everything was frozen in and over around here. You just never know how each year is going to turn out.

Scuba opportunity

Over the weekend, since it was so nice aside from fishing, we got together at the Oceanic Pier in Ocean City, Maryland, and my buddy Brian Asher of SEALEG did some scuba diving to remove snags from around the pier.

Daniel Valora shows off the first fish he ever caught last weekend in Milton. (Submitted photo)

Because when it is 70 degrees in February, you go scuba diving.

The water clarity was rather good, he was able to see well, which helped him remove a lot of snags. He even found an old plastic chair that was covered in sponge growth and all kinds of sea life. The chair was also full of shrimp, crabs, and small fish.

We stayed up top to haul his discoveries over the rail with a tow rope. He was using a lift bag to yank snags off the bottom.

Winter is the best time to look for snags and the like in our waters because the water is much clearer.

Latest catch

Even the fish are getting in on the nice weather.

Bass in the ponds and creeks are very active for this time of year. Pickerel are hitting hard too and we are seeing minnows in the back area of the inland bays. Spillways have a decent amount of minnows around them just don’t scoop them up with a net that is illegal at a spillway, so are cast nets within three hundred feet of a spillway.

Grass shrimp is a great bait if you can catch them. Finding them can be difficult at times, but scraping bulkheads can usually produce enough for fishing every time. Looking in smaller tidal creeks, boat basins, and canals at mid tide is a good place to try. Popular places to catch grass shrimp will empty fast with a lot of anglers trying to catch shrimp. Keep that in mind when you are trying to catch a bunch for the afternoon.

A few shops in the area are starting to stock bloodworms. They are good this time of year for white perch and short striped bass. Even the large resident keeper bass will hit bloodworms, it is the preferred spring bait.

Fly anglers are doing well for bass and pickerel on the ponds and rivers. Good time of year with this nice weather to get out and whip a few flies around. Usually we are stuck inside out of the cold tying flies for the spring and summer fishing adventures. These warmer weekends make it hard to meet up with the Saltwater Fly Anglers of Delaware club at Lewes Harbor Marina,we would all rather be fishing.

Yellow perch have made it into the tidal creeks and rivers. Anglers are doing well using minnows, grass shrimp or worms. Catfish are more active now as well and a great bait for them aside form your traditional stink baits are bunker chunks. Some like to use white perch pieces left over from cleaning the fish.

Hopefully in the next few weeks we will be fishing for big blues from the surf. Get your gear ready for the big fish of spring, the little fish on ultra light gear has been fun for the winter. The point in Cape Henlopen State Park closes next week like it does every year.

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

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