It’s still cold but crappie fishing’s good

If it isn’t springlike weather, it is arctic temperatures. Seems like we had four seasons in one week recently. The fishing has been good — once you find open water you can get into yellow perch and white perch. Crappie fishing has been decent. Many are waiting for better weather.

There is still ice on many ponds and waterways. Be very careful out there. The Coast Guard has rescued kayakers and duck hunters stuck in the ice. I do not know what possesses someone to kayak in an ice flow, but it has happened. Remember when you get jammed up you are not only at risk, but also the first responders who have to come get you. Just because there isn’t ice on the water at that moment doesn’t mean it is safe. Once the tide and currents shift — ice packs can show up real fast. Wind plays a role in moving around ice packs as well.

Beachcombing excellent

Welk shells found in Cape Henlopen State Park by Sue Sokira. (Submitted photos)

The beachcombing has been excellent for those braving the cold wind and long walks on the beach. The thing about beachcombing is one day there are a lot of great shells, or sea glass and after the next tide change there is little left. The best time is to go during low tide. It is like fishing — you never know what you are going to find unless you get out there and look.

Hunting season great

Hunting season has been great so far despite the crazy weather. It looks like Maryland and Delaware could have some record harvests this year. Still sometime left to get the thunder sticks out.

Oyster stock status

The oyster stock status was recently updated by DNREC for 2018. This year the watermen’s quota will be raised to 16,341 bushels. This is almost a 48 percent increase over last year. A few watermen are asking the state to look into shellfish aquaculture in the Delaware Bay. New Jersey has a program, it only makes sense that Delaware would allow it as well, especially considering New Jersey has 10 times the oyster beds as Delaware.

Trawl surveys are done on juvenile blue crabs to get an idea of the amount of crabs we should see in 2018. This allows DNREC to set the quota for commercial watermen. This is only done in the Delaware Bay. The survey is done on 26 “stations” along the bay coast from Collins Beach to Fowlers Beach.

Are you already dreaming about steamed crabs this summer?

Right now the crab population for the Delaware Bay looks good. Some are a little worried about the ice for the larger crabs, but the juveniles should be fine. The young of year (YOY) has been above the mean three years in a row. We dropped a bit since 2015, but not that much to be noticed. In 2018 Delaware Bay commercial crabbers will be able to pull 3.75 million pounds of blue crabs.

Planning for events

This time of year outdoor activities get limited to good weather days. There are a few diehards that will brave the elements to get a line wet. In the meantime we look to the coming season and make plans.

We have some events coming up over the next several months, so get out your calendars and save these dates.

The Chillaware Island Spring Surf Fishing tournament is on May 5. Hosted by the Big Chill Beach Club, the tournament will take place on 3Rs beach in Delaware Seashore State Park. Costs will be $30 to enter.

The new DelDOT traffic camera on the south tower gives you more than a view of traffic.

The bluefish, dog pound, and skating rink calcuttas will be available the day of the tournament. We will have an awards ceremony in the event tent at the Big Chill Beach Club. The fall tourney was a great time.

The Delaware Outdoors Expo is on March 10 at the state fairgrounds in Harrington. Vendors and displays will be in the Dover Building and Kent Arena. The Delmarva Outdoors Expo is April 27-29. There are a lot of events going on within the expo this year. The Dock Dogs will be back as well as a few new attractions.

Fly tying station seen at the Saltwater Fly. Anglers Fly tie Saturday meets at Lewes Harbor Marina from 9 a.m. to noon. The public is welcome.

The 2018 Paradise Bay Flounder Tournament details have been announced and Al Tortella at Paradise Island has upped the ante for the bay tournament for 2018. The prize money has been increased and you can fish two days instead of one. This is the largest bay flounder tournament held on the inland bays, and in Delmarva. You won’t want to miss out on this one, it is a good warm up for the Flounder Pounder Open, the largest flounder tournament in the world. The bay tournament is July 21-22.

The 2018 Flounder Pounder Open’s details have been set for next year and you want to get the dates reserved for this one! Go on vacation, quit your job, you won’t want to miss the largest flounder tournament in the world. Al Tortella owner of Paradise Island has really amped it up for 2018. The Flounder Pounder Open will now be five days long and you can fish three of those five days! Also there are now 10 spots to place on the leader board and daily Calcutta payouts!

Anglers have a shot to win money daily if they enter the Calcutta,and five more chances at the leaderboard. This truly is the largest flounder tournament in the world with payouts at over $200,000! Aug. 15-19 is the Flounder Pounder Open.

The Chillaware Island Surf Fishing Tournament series will host a new fall tournament in 2018: War On The Shore. Anglers will compete for a first prize worth upwards of $10,000. This is based on the amount of anglers that sign up. There will be more details coming soon about this tournament, save the date. You won’t want to miss this tournament, even if it is just to come and watch.

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

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