Short striped bass action is hot; pick a beach and do some fishing

Crappie caught in a pond in Millsboro by Seth Layfield … photo by Cody Layfield

Second spring has arrived followed by second winter, which only lasts a couple days but you have to love it. Nothing like old man winter trying to come back into the room yelling “and another thing!” The fish don’t care but the temperature drops do slow the bite down a bit as well as the anglers willing to hit the water in bad weather. My biggest pet peeve is wind, it sucks the air out of my head and destroys my sinuses, top that off with full blown spring allergies makes you feel like you want to just die.

Short striped bass action has been hot in the surf all week, even during the less than desired weather. Anglers are bailing fish every cast once they get into a school. The beaches near the Indian River Inlet, Herring Point, Gordons Pond, Broadkill Beach, Beach Plum Island, the structure in Rehoboth Beach (storm drains) is hot too. Pick a beach, do some fishing.

Suzanne Martin with a short bass caught in the surf last Saturday on DS Custom Tackle top and bottom pill float rigs, best gear in Delaware!

Bloodworms are the ticket for bait, get them quick, stores sold out fast last weekend. Some sold out in hours. If you are headed to Sussex County to fish this weekend, get your bait early, stores here are closing at 6 p.m., anglers spent hours last Friday looking for bait.

Lures are working great for bass. Bucktails, swim shads, jigging with soft plastics along the bottom. We are still catching windowpane flatties in the surf. The creeks and rivers are great in the rips along structure as schools move through with the tides. The northern waters have dirtier water so bloodworms work much better. Easier to smell the food than see it. Fish structure, watch the snags.

The upper Delaware River is starting to see some shad action and those anglers are getting all worked up to catch that yearly migration. That is some fun action on light gear and many people eat shad. Way back in the day there were huge “wars” over the shad run in the Susquehanna, google it, the story is pretty wild.

If you want to take a killer fishing trip hit up North Carolina, the red drum are starting to hit the beaches, the bull run is on point. Literally.

If you are walking your dogs in the state parks keep them on a leash. Lot of people letting their dogs just run all willy-nilly on the beaches. They are starting to harass anglers. Last thing you want is a dog with a stomach full of rancid squid or bunker being used as bait. Stores are starting to get in fresh bunker, great for catfish. That action has really picked up.

White perch action is getting better and better.

Stream trout season

Stream trout season opens this weekend. DNREC has been stocking streams all week with thousands of fish. I am sure the banks will be packed with anglers. Move away from the crowds, you will find more fish and have less company. Work Saturday and fish Monday, you will have less competition, and who doesn’t like to blow off work for a day of fishing. Well besides your boss, invite them too, you might be surprised how much they don’t want to work wither.

Osprey are working on repairing and building nests … photo by Buddy Cahall

Kayak anglers, the weather is getting much nicer but the water is still cold. Be careful and prepared for that, you don’t want to fall into this chilly water, it is still deadly. Wear the proper gear. Mid-70s is a great day on the water but that is deceiving when the water is still in the lower 50s. The latest cold snap dropped water temperatures several degrees. Fish are still feeding just slower.

There are so many osprey down here this year, it has been wild to watch them mate and fight over food. I keep watching the same eagle on the Indian River catch big catfish, striped bass, and whatever else it can get its claws into. Love watching these birds fish, graceful and deadly all at the same time.

Hunters are getting excited for thunder chicken season. Explains why I keep seeing more and more turkeys in the fields every morning. They will all disappear for a bit on April 13th, nothing like teasing the hunters.

Have a great weekend, stay safe, drive smart. The crowds are coming and heading south is getting a little more busy and time consuming, take your time, the fish will still be there.

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

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