Striped bass in Delaware waters few and far between so far

A tuna washed up on the beach in New Jersey and the internet went crazy. This has happened down here in Sussex county several times in the past decade. Submitted photos

As slow as the fishing has been for this time of year one would think it is the dead of winter. By slow I mean we are not seeing the striped bass here yet and that is getting later each year. The fishing for other species has been great but most people just want to catch large migratory striped bass.

Boats that are going out for tautog and sea bass have been doing well. The charters and head boats on a good ocean day are filling the boxes for the most part. Indian River, Lewes, and Ocean City have some great charters that run this time of year.

Striped bass have started showing up in the Delaware area. That is about all you will get out of most of the anglers that do happen to catch and it has been few and very far between. “Somewhere in the Delaware Bay is all I can say.” Which usually means they are catching fish at the 8’s and that is the rumor on the street. That action has been very sporadic. In front of the beaches of Sea Colony they are picking at bass, and barely catching. So far the migration has started off very slow for Delaware.

Short bass action is the usual around the inland bays and the surf. Random, but fun action once you get into the fish. it has slowed down a bit as the waters have dropped in temperature and the constant winds stirring up everything. Still fun action on ultralight gear and it allows you to do something you can’t do in a boat chasing fish, get out of the wind. I have many out of the way places and near structure that are fun to fish and avoid the weather.

Beach combing has been productive for shellers.

The surf has been a dogfish fest for many this past week. Some friends came down for their annual December trip. Some of you remember Ben Smith of this crew, he broke the Delaware State Striped Bass record the first week of December a few years ago.

It was a beautiful overcast day, just the type big striped bass prefer. There weren’t reports of big fish in the surf or close to shore. They just happened to get into nice fish that were swimming by headed south. Proof that is you aren’t out there trying, you won’t catch.

This is Peggy Ranieri and her dog Snoopy helping us each week. The beach cleanups we host each week have been getting a lot of trash off the beaches. You would be surprised how much of the trash actually washes up on the beach and isn’t left behind. We find more trash in the winter it seems.

White perch action has been great in tidal creeks, rivers and the Lewes canal. Bloodworms are still available in most shops. Small minnows are great bait and of course the small perch jigs under a bobber. I have yet to see anyone use the “Judas fish” old school technique to catch perch or crappie.
You catch one of the schooling fish. Tie a balloon/bobber/float to a piece of fishing line with a hook on the other end. Length of the line is determined by the depth you are currently fishing. Attach the hook below the dorsal of the fish, and let it go. It then swims back to the school and now you know where the school of fish is located and you can follow them. Once done fishing, retrieve your “Judas fish” and head home for some good eating.

Hunters doing well

Hunters are doing well on all seasons. A lot of venison has been donated through the Delaware Sportsmen Against Hunger program. This has been a great program to help local food pantries.

The snow geese have been arriving for a couple of weeks and are now here in full force. I saw a sky full of “V’s” the other day, like I have never seen in my life. The entire sky was full of geese and I can see a lot of sky at my place.

Meteor shower

Speaking of looking up, the Geminids meteor shower peaks tonight at 2 AM and it should be a good show if the weather clears enough. This is the last and best meteor shower of the year. If you saw that bright green flash a few nights ago, it was from this shower. Those slower, brightly colored meteors are called earth grazers and they are my favorite. The Geminids can produce over 120 meteors per hour during the peak. It is well worth checking out and you can start in the evening around 9 PM which is great for the kids. Lawn chairs and sleeping bags is the best way to view, and leave the phone behind, you want it as dark as possible.

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

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