Still good fishing if you know where to find it

Saltwater Fly Anglers of Delaware Club at the Cape Henlopen Fishing Pier beach. They are still catching short bass.

Winter, the time of year we spend more time thinking about fishing than actually doing it — unless you are out daily hunting for white perch or running north to Jersey to try for migratory striped bass. Some pond pickerel action is always fun and there are the big cats.

Many are hunting this time of year with some fishing in the mix. The snow geese are starting to raft off the coast. The skies will be dark with that snow eventually.

Tog anglers are doing well out of Ocean City and Delaware. Reef and wrecks are producing double-digit sizes. The inlets are producing fish, more throwbacks then keepers but that is par for the course for the shore tog anglers.

There are many places around the Inland Bays and Delaware Bay that have structure that hold tog that people never would consider fishing. Do some exploring. You might be surprised. The pickings are probably slimmer but you never know.

We found a tog in a crab trap in Love Creek a few years ago up near the crabbing bridge. They get into all kinds of structure all over the place.

Short striped bass action has been fun around the Inland Bays. Boats have been hitting some off the jetty at the Indian River Inlet. There are still fish in the surf in Jersey. A picture of Long Beach Island looked like shoulder to shoulder anglers last weekend. Not my idea of fun surf fishing. We don’t see the surf blitzes like they do up here.

In Delaware, you have to really put in the time. I just remembered there are still green crabs in a cooler out back from two weeks ago. Some of them are still alive. Have to take them out to the surf on Christmas hopefully for some striped bass action.

Some of the tackle shops are closing for the season soon. Check your favorite shop for their winter hours. It’s a great time of year to spool up reels, reoutfit your gear and support a local business.

Winter flounder will start in February, but I know few people that fish for them anymore. This year I want to try some old traditional holes around the Inland Bays and see what I can find.

Back in the day, winter flounder was a decent fishery for watermen. Using corn for bait is good or yellow beads with small hooks. A hand tamper like for landscaping is good to stir the bottom. Winter flounder are curious fish. They will investigate disturbances much like any predatory fish living in a temperate area with little to choose for food.

The added piece de resistance is a can of cat food with holes punched in it. Put that on the bottom and fish near it where you tamped. The cat food puts out the scent, the tamper brings them in and then you try and catch. That is how many fished for them back in the day. The key was to find the mouth of a slough on an outgoing tide. Winter flounder will sit near those and feed on whatever comes out.

I know a spot near my house that back in the day was a hot spot. I know they are here but no one really targets them. Creel is only one fish a day and they are small. May as well just catch one taco a day. Still a fishery I am going to try and put some time into this winter.

Speaking of fisheries. Maryland just upgraded a lot of their creel limits. Some have changed, some have not. They are complying with fishery council regulations.

Bentley likes to play ball year round. In the summer, he prefers barking at waves, we don’t take him to the crowded beaches a lot.

Cobia, striped bass, bluefish, black sea bass etc. All have been reset.

Summer Flounder … Four fish per day at 16.5 inches

Striped Bass … One striped bass per person per day from the Atlantic Ocean, its coastal bays, and their tributaries.

Black Sea Bass … Fifteen per day, 12.5 inches. Season is May 15, 2021 through Dec. 31, 2021. It is closed all other dates.

Cobia … One fish per angler, 40 inches, two per vessel per day if two or more individuals on board. Season is June 15, 2021 through Sept. 15, 2021. It is closed all other dates.

Bluefish … Recreational anglers fishing from shore or private boats can keep up to three bluefish per person per day and from for-hire boats can keep up to five bluefish per person per day.

Have a great holiday and stay safe out there.

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