Spring fever comes early for anglers

Is everyone digging the new spring weather? Is February the New April?

Seriously, it feels like May outside and the fish are reacting accordingly.

Striped bass are schooling up in the tidal creeks and rivers. The resident bass are running to the spawning ground, or at least it seems like they are because we are catching them all over the place.

Herring are so thick in the tidal creeks and rivers you could walk across them.

“I haven’t seen herring this thick in a long time and they are very early”  said one angler while we were on the bank of the Nanticoke fishing.

Jeff Tull of New Castle caught this northern snakehead over the weekend. (Submitted photo)

The trees are popping buds down here in Sussex County. Weeping willows have those tiny leaves starting and dogwoods are popping flowers.

If you base your fishing on those signs, then you need to get out there and fish.

The ocean temperatures are still cold but the inland waters are warming up fast. This always creates the argument of whether fish move on temperatures or time of year.

This year I think we can say it is temperature,because everything is happening a month early. The mild winter didn’t drop the water temperatures like it usually does, so we are seeing an early spring.

Coincidentally most of the bait shops are open now for the season and just in time. Everyone has bloodworms, but get them fast they sell out quick. You can catch grass shrimp in tidal creeks and ditches. Fiddler crabs are already out and about too, they are hard to catch but great bait.

White perch action is hot in the tidal creeks as well as the yellow perch or neds. They are hitting grass shrimp, minnows, or bloodworms. The bait preference changes daily so make sure you are loaded up with a variety.  Soft plastics on small jig heads under a bobber are also working and crappie are hitting the same set ups and baits.

Gear up

I hope everyone has their gear ready for spring fishing. If you don’t get it ready to roll, you are going to be out earlier this year. Seriously, blow off work today and get that gear ready.

Since the resident striped bass are on the move the migratory will be moving soon. The spring run like the fall run happens in phases. The resident fish school up first and move tot he spawning grounds then the migratory bass show up.

Said, Richard King at Port Penn Bait and Tackle, “I have been setting nets for striped bass like I do every year and just to check I put out a bunker net and filled it up in minutes. I haven’t seen fish here this early ever.”

Bunker are as far up as Port Penn area. This weekend will be windy and that may change things up, but for now there are bait fish here and on the move. Augustine beach is seeing some decent action for schooling striped bass and some are in the twenty eight to thirty inch sizes.

Pond fishing has been off the hook with the water warming up early.  Even snakeheads are hitting. Jeff Tull of New Castle caught the first snakehead of the year last weekend. They usually don’t start hitting until mid April and get really mean around mid May. It is safe to say that spring has sprung and mother nature is starting early this year.

Talking turkey

I don’t know how turkey season will be this spring, the ones in my fields are already strutting their stuff. That could be an issue once turkey season rolls around according to a few hunter friends of mine.

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