Osprey sightings a sure sign that spring is around the corner

Osprey are arriving in Long Neck. Submitted photos

You don’t have to listen too hard to hear the sounds of spring. The staccato of peepers in the woods and fields around my house is deafening at night, they are even amped up during the day. There is so much water everywhere I have peepers in places I didn’t think they would exist. Great sound we have missed all winter. A welcome sound of spring things to come.

Another sign of spring is showing up around Delmarva, ospreys. There have been a few sightings around the Chesapeake Bay and Sussex County has reported a few. They are mostly near the inland bay-back bay areas or the marshes along the beaches. They usually arrive with the shad every year, right around our favorite drinking holiday. I have seen one so far, they are my favorite fish finders.

When osprey are hunting the surf or any waters, you can tell where the fish are by paying attention to the bird.

If the osprey is high in the air the fish are deeper, if the osprey is low, the fish are shallow. A few years back we were on the skunk in the surf hard. We watched an osprey fly into the back of the last breaking wave and pull out a fish. We adjusted our lines and started catching. They know where the fish are all the time. Always pay attention to nature’s fish finders. The osprey cams are empty and one isn’t on but that will change up soon.

The white perch action has been spotty at best, yellow perch (neds) action even worse. There are a few catching but many are just fishing and going through the motions. Bloodworms have been the best bait and keep an eye out, shops are starting to open back up for the season. Call ahead to check if they have the bait you need. Minnows and grass shrimp are another good option for perch.

“I’m going to start bringing in bunker by next week, possibly this week. Not for the surf or striped bass but for the blue catfish anglers. Those fish love those bunker chunks.” Dan at Dan’s Bait and Tackle. “Otherwise I will be freezing it, and getting it ready for crab season. Which has started for crab pots but the water is still a little too cold.

“I’ve been at this for almost 30 years and it gets worse each year. We used to sell clams by the bushel for drum, now we rarely sell a whole bushel in a week. Clams will be harder to come by this year, not many of these guys are clamming for bait clams.”

Dan’s is one of my favorite places to visit and talk fishing trash. Those boys know their waters and its ways. They are very respectful of the fishery and wish it were better and not getting worse.

Marinas gearing up

If you have a boat that needs attention before you get it dropped for the season, better get on that. Marinas and boat companies are gearing up to start dropping boats, some already have. Now is that time to get scheduled, cleaned up waxed and ready for the season. Check your bilge pumps and batteries, don’t want to sink at the docks, but that does make it easier for Tow Boat US to get to you.
Join the Tow Boat club and save on unlimited tows, the best $99 you will ever spend. It is peace of mind more than anything else that you hope you never need to use.

DS Custom Tackle’s Modified Mullet rig is on point.

Is your gear ready? You stocked up for the season? Shops are opening soon for the season. Some have been open all year and some closed forever over the past few months. If you are looking for fly tying gear, flies, or all the necessary gear to join the wizards of the long wands. Check out A Marblehead Fly Fisher, the only full line fly fishing shop in Delaware, off Kennett Pike in Wilmington.

Speaking of new gear and getting ready for the season, there is a new rig on the block and you are not going to want to be without this one in the surf. DS Custom Tackle has modified their mullet rig design. David Okonewski owner said … “We have been working on a modified mullet rig design for over three years. We solved all the problems and complaints people have with mullet rigs, with one simple fix, we added a hook below the float to hold the bait. This also keeps the float from pushing the bait up the shaft farther in heavy currents.

“The beads with the float rattle a bit, adding a sound that will attract fish. You can cast this rig all day long and the mullet ever slides down the shaft. That is the main complaint with mullet rigs. Anglers pull back a rig with just a head and a hook protruding from the head. The fish slides off the thru-wire and over the hook. The blue fish hit the fish and take the body leaving the head. Our new hook system keeps the mullet in place. The fish has to hit the hook when it takes the bait. We will have these in participating local stores and our website, by the beginning of May.”

The country’s oldest disc golf course resides in Cape Henlopen State Park. Great way to get outdoors and enjoy an afternoon playing disc golf. Submitted map

Short striped bass action is going to pick up soon. The water temperatures are moving up steadily. Masseys ditch has gone up 8 degrees over the week, nearly 2 degrees a day the past couple of days. It is now fluctuating between 42 and 46 degrees. That will get the fish excited once she starts topping out to 50. The shad bite will turn on in the Delaware River here soon too.

Keep an eye on the sky for the birds, bait shops are opening back up, and the fish are starting to be more active and on the move.

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

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