Fishing’s tricky in storms but they always eat

Delaware Surf Fishing beach clean-up crew at Beach Plum Island State Park. (Submitted photos)

We keep hopping from one nor’easter storm to the next, and that wind.

Heavy snow up north is affecting shad fishing in the Delaware River. The recent rains swelled up creeks and made fishing a little tricky, but if you put in the time you could catch. Fish will eat in a storm, you just have to be willing to get out there and deal with the conditions. They can’t run to the store for milk, eggs, and bread just to hunker down until the bad weather passes.

Fish always eat, and more so in bad conditions.

Delaware Bay beaches are seeing some decent white perch and short striped bass action, using bloodworms for bait. If you can catch grass shrimp they will work just as well. Perch will also hit tiny jigs set up with a bobber, but bait will out fish the jigs. These look like tiny shad darts, or miniature bucktails. Leave about three feet of line between the bobber and jig. Let it float around out there and see what hits.

The surf is quiet unless you fish near the inlets. You can pick up the occasional short striped bass around the Indian River Inlet and Roosevelt Inlet, they are searching for food. Most of the food or bait are in the back bays and tidal creeks, especially in the marsh areas. We had a lot of tidal flooding or overflow in the marsh areas, which will change up the fishing. For those of you that use Roosevelt inlet, it is being dredged by the Army Corps of Engineers. That big sand bar in the middle will be gone for this coming season. That is also good news for the DELRIVER ship that responds to oil spills. When the tide was low getting out of the Roosevelt Inlet was nearly impossible.

Tidal creeks and rivers have produced some of the best fishing. They are also good places to get out of the wind which hasn’t really stopped since March began. Just when you think the wind is going to die down we are in a gale warning all over again. It is like old man winter leaves and then walks back into the room and yells … “and another thing!” Last year we had similar weather, a warm February and a colder march into April. It was even chilly into May. The fish don’t seem to care and mother nature is popping signs all over the place from budding trees to flowers.

Ponds are producing decent bass and pickerel catches. There have been a few snakeheads here and there which is unusual this time of year, but again, early spring like conditions will wake up many creatures. Peeper frogs are laying eggs already. Yellow perch hasn’t really gone off in Delaware, much better action in Maryland.

The Delaware Outdoors Expo, presented by the Delaware State News, had a good crowd.

Expo success

The Delaware Outdoors Expo was a great time! Thanks for coming out and visiting the booth. I met a lot of people last Saturday and am looking forward to hearing about everyone’s catches with the new spinner mullet rigs by Diamond State Custom Tackle. I think the most popular booth was the Bill Blade display. Nothing like a handy knife on the brim of your hat.

Beach cleanups

My new Bill Blade matches my hat!

We started beach clean-ups over the weekend. These will be weekly on Sundays at 9 a.m. We meet and clean a different drive on beach each time. We also clean the walk on beaches near the drive on beaches in all of the Delaware State Parks. You can find a schedule on Delaware Surf Fishing’s website and the Facebook page.

The recent storms pushed most of the trash into the dunes, or buried it in sand form high winds. Most of the trash on beaches comes from the ocean and in our case the Delaware Bay. All litter on land eventually washes into the sea.

Red Clay stocking

Red Clay creek will be stocked with trout this year for the first time in 30 years.

“Improving water quality conditions have enabled the Division of Fish & Wildlife to stock a short stretch of Red Clay Creek that has been closed to fishing since 1986. Anglers are asked to stay clear of marked construction zones. Some trout will be stocked from the dam located near the Pennsylvania state line downstream to the bridge at Benge Road. The first stocking will occur Monday, April 9, at which time anglers may fish as soon as the fish are stocked.”

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

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