It’s a great time for both fishing and hunting

Stephan Talabisco with a trout from the creek.

Hope everyone is doing well and getting outside for some fresh air. Fishing has been helpful for that, as well as hunting. People are allowed to walk in parks and state wildlife areas for exercise or walk their dogs. Those of you walking dogs, please take your waste bags with you. That is getting old seeing them piled up in many areas. This has been an ongoing problem in our parks and wildlife areas. Usually it is blamed on tourists, not too easy to do that now.

Turkey season opened up for the youth hunters first and the kids have dropped some nice looking thunder chickens. The adults are up next. All of a sudden there are more turkeys in my yard every morning. They like to tease my neighbor’s chickens every morning or it seems that way. Jokes on them. It is safer in that coop.

The surf fishing has been decent for short striped bass, skates and dogfish. Digging for sand fleas is the best bait and bloodworms are available at bait shops that are open, call ahead. Jigging for flounder in the surf should start producing.

Black drum are starting to show up on all the beaches. Sand fleas, blue crabs or clam for bait. Fleas and crabs are easy to catch for bait. Some shops have clams.

The surf anglers have been social distancing champions. Everytime I go to the beach, there are fewer than 10 vehicles on any beach at one time. Many people are upset about the two anglers per vehicle rule. Maybe with constant responsible use that can be changed.

One issue is the summer insanity that many seem to think will occur. This time of year that isn’t an issue. Drinking beer and playing cornhole is no fun in cooler weather and storm conditions. Surf anglers prefer those conditions for fishing. We call it striped bass weather.

The water temperatures are prime in the low 50s at the beaches and bays. The inland bays are a little warmer in the upper 50s on the nicer days. Spring fishing is picking up more and more with flounder, striped bass, and black drum. We just need the bluefish to show up next, especially in the surf. How long that will last, if it happens, remains to be seen? That action gets slower and shorter each year.

Not surprising, since anglers are whacking fish left and right when they show up. This year we have new bluefish creel limits. Three per shore and boat angler and five for for hire anglers or charters and head boats. The latter two not being able to go fishing yet. These new limits may help keep the bluefish around a little longer

Clamming is good around the Inland Bays, Access isn’t easy. You will need a boat, or access via an inland bay community. Public inland bay beach access areas are closed. The bay beach near the Cape Henlopen State Park areas is closed as well.

Crabbing has been excellent around the inland bays. Trot lines, crab pots, and running rings have been the best producers. Hand lining is slow but producing a few crabs for an afternoon of work.

The Indian River Inlet has decent striped bass action and a few fish have been just over the 28-inch keeper size. Don’t forget Delaware has new creel limits on striped bass this year. One fish per angler at 25 to 35 inches.

Tautog action at the inlet has been OK for random keepers. Lot of short fish being tossed back.

The Inland Bays are gorgeous with blue water. The Rehoboth Bay is really clear, even the Broadkill River is exceptionally clear for this time of year. Lack of boat traffic is most likely the reason. It is always really clear this time of year, but this year seems to be exceptional. I don’t imagine too many people want to put their boats in when they can’t come use them or even check on them. Some boat yards are closed, or by appointment you have to call first. Some people can’t access their boats.

Anthony and Sophia Purdy from Lewes holding their keeper flounder.

The early warmup and mild winter is leaving way for a lot of life to show up or emerge earlier than usual. Lot of birds, bees, bugs, lizards, toads, frogs and buds are popping up in the woods. The peepers are singing, loudly every night.

Jeff Purdy and the kids managed a couple flounder a few days ago on the Indian RIver Bay.

“The kids and I saw diamondback terrapins, an eagle, two pelicans, and an osprey caught a bunker next to the boat. We have been catching all kinds of fish and the crabbing has been excellent. Today we picked up a 17-inch and a 18.5-inch in flounder,” he said.

Trout fishing has been good up north despite people not knowing when the next stocking will occur. DNREC is purposely keeping that quiet to keep the crowds down and people spread out. Something that would be nice to see all the time.

“Been out trout fishing a few times with the family in New Castle County. It’s a great way to get my fishing fix since we are recommended not to head south to the surf. Plus I have a family of three. My wife would get upset if I took my daughter and didn’t take her,” said Stephan Talabisco, three-time surf tournament champion.

“First day out fishing was a few days after opening day and no one was really catching. This was at Rittenhouse Park in Newark. My wife Adrienne and daughter Ruby got a few bites. I mentioned we weren’t leaving until someone caught a fish. Booom. I landed a nice trout. We packed up and left for dinner. Seems they are tired of the power bait and love jig heads with pink worms.

“Second day out we decided to try Auburn Park. It hasn’t been stocked in decades because of heavy contamination in the water from NVF plants. This was a nice spot near a bridge with plenty of fish. Had some polarized glasses and could see 30 or more fish. Problem was they just weren’t biting.

We moved on to Mill Creek by the old Girl Scout camp and We toyed around with a few fish in plain sight. They would chase the bait but still no hookups. Adrienne jigged a lot and landed a trout. We changed bait and used spinners and tried different presentation but we didn’t have much luck.”

Stay safe out there and practice social distancing. DNREC has signs in popular fishing areas reminding people to social distance. This is all precautionary and temporary.