Striped bass on the move in bay, rivers

That last cold blast really dropped the water temperatures in some areas a good 15 degrees.

They are slowly bouncing back but we are in the mid 40s again, and slowly creeping back up to the 50s.

The fish don’t seem to care, they just got a little slower. Once the fish start moving around not much tends to stop them, they just feed a little more and hit lures slower.

There are a lot of short striped bass schooled up around the Delaware Bay beaches.

Woodland beach has been producing good catches of short striped bass and white perch. Bloodworms have been the choice bait.  If you can catch some grass shrimp they will work even better. The tiny jigs are working well too, suspended under a bobber or just jigged on their own. White perch action around all the tidal creeks in Delmarva has been hot.

Grant Calloway holds up some nice striped bass from the Nanticoke River. (Submitted photo)

Anglers are filling coolers and stringers fast. During some of the cooler water days it slowed down, but picked right back up once the weather turned. You just had to find the fish.


The peeper frogs are out in full force and even the cooler nights don’t seem to bother them.

Nothing stops mother nature when she gets rolling. Dogwoods are blooming early, cherry trees bloomed real early, and we have huge buds on trees. The henbit is covering the fields. That little purple flower usually indicates the summer flounder are soon to follow.  Everything is early this year on land, now we will have to see if the fish follow.

Stripers on river

Striped bass are on the move in the Chesapeake Bay and into the tributaries.

The Nanticoke river is seeing some decent action around Phillips landing and that is off and on, you have to be there.  Broad creek is good action as well.

Mostly short striped bass and white perch.  Some anglers trying for large mouth bass got a surprise when they started catching large striped bass. Spawning season limits don’t start until April first in the Nanticoke and its tributaries.  So for now you can keep the striped bass that fall into the keeper slot limits.

Big catfish are still hitting in all the tidal creeks and rivers.  Bunker is as good a bait to use and some folks will use white perch chunks. Just make sure they are of legal size.  We like to use the carcasses and heads after we clean the perch for dinner.

Pond action is slowly heating up despite the temperature drops, the ponds are heating back up faster than the tidal creeks.  Hopefully that keeps the algae and weeds form growing back too fast making for some easier fishing into the beginning of summer.

Tautog action is still good on offshore structure.  The charter and head boats getting out are doing well.  over a week ago the Morning Star out of Ocean CIty was hammering mackerel.  That was an exciting day.

Surf slow

The surf is slow but there have been some skates caught here and there which is usually a given.

Spotted hake and short striped bass are hitting off Broadkill beach and Beach Plum Island State park.  Best bait is bloodworms this time of year, but squid or clam will work.

Everyone is wondering when the black drum will run the beaches again. About this time of year a few years ago it started early but the water was warmer.  Time to go clamming for some large chuckle heads and get ready for drum and big striped bass.

The only question remains, will they come close to the beach this year or not? Seems each year has been more not, only time will tell.  There are schools of bunker off the beaches in Sussex County with gannets diving on them occasionally.

We have the food now we just need the fish.

We will have boots on the sand in a day or so for the rest of the year, it’s time to be out there daily.

You won’t know unless you go.

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

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