Typical winter fishing despite ‘Janu-summer’ temps

We are in that stretch of winter, the one that gives us warm summerlike days. Janu-summer just happened this past weekend. Now, this weekend it appears we are looking at arcticlike weather — nice transition. I have to look out the window each day now to see what season we are doing.

Last weekend was the perfect weather to hold the Millville Fire Company’s Outdoorsman Marketplace. Over 1,200 people attended that event, a great time was had by all. “We were very humbled to see the community come out and support the firehall and this event” Forty-five vendors were packed into the firehall, there was even a full blown tackle shop.

Never let the weather discourage you from enjoying the outdoors. It may be beautiful and sunny or cold and gnarly, but there is always something to do. Fishing being our main choice no matter the weather. You just have to have the proper clothes and gear. I wear a lot of Helly Hansen apparel and gear. It keeps me warm and dry. Whatever your choice, it is best to always keep extra gear and clothes on you at all times. This time of year the weather “go” bags are packed for the best to worst conditions. In the summer they are full of extra T-shirts and shorts. In the winter my main concern is dry feet, if those get wet and cold I am done for the day. There is an extra pair of boots in the truck as well. You can never be too prepared for bad weather. Granted here in Delaware the weather changes every 15 minutes, this time of year it is good to be prepared for that. A cold day can get uncomfortable quick, and it is good to be prepared for any unexpected last minute boat rides. The beach can get to extreme exfoliation levels in high winds.

‘Wacky weather’ fishing

The wacky weather also makes for some interesting fishing. There are plenty of white perch around and anglers are doing well in most areas. Bloodworms are hard to find but possible. Grass shrimp are easy to catch along grass lines. You can always revert to the bobber and small jigs. The waters are a balmy mid-40s in most places. There are some short striped bass mixed in with the perch. There are some decent sized bass following those schools around eating the perch. When the weather warmed back up the bass moved back into the shallower tidal creeks.

Migratory striped bass fishing has all but stopped for this area. You hear a rumor here or there of fish being caught, but for the most part the majority of the fish are either too far out to catch or not in our waters. There is plenty of bait in the water. We watched some gulls swallow bunker whole at the beach the other day. Loons were diving and eating crabs they picked off the bottom. I took more pictures than caught fish, but I am okay with that since I am learning more about photography and nature is the perfect subject. Actually that is a lie, nature photography is worse than trying to get a kid to sit still for a quick picture. Nature is random and doesn’t listen. The patience of a fishermen helps a great deal to wait for the perfect shot.

Janu-summer weekend

Janu-summer was a great weekend. Not only did a lot of people get out fishing but a flurry of other activities. We watched a jet ski rip by the beach at full speed, headed north, then stop and start pulling people on wake boards and surf boards. “This has been an epic time today, decent swell and killer weather,” a surfer told me as he was leaving the beach and I was airing up the truck tires. The surfers up and down the coast of Delmarva got into some decent swell action. “This time of year you get that short window for waves with these extreme low tides.”

Others went out to have fun and spent a couple hours digging their trucks out of the sand. I pulled out two, one on the way on the beach and one on the way off a few hours later.

I can not stress enough how important it is to air down when you drive on the beach. I don’t care if you have big tires, you are going to get stuck eventually. This time of year is the worst time to be out there stuck, not a lot of traffic on the surf fishing beaches in January. Also aggressive tread tries are the worst tires for the beach, the best are “may pops”, no that is not a brand, it is a condition, bald. The best type of tires are the all season tread tires.

Tautog anglers are catching decent fish when they can get out. The weather has been cooperative for fishing offshore and inshore. This weekend might be a different story. We are several weeks away from the end of winter, but that old man isn’t done with us yet. The land based anglers are catching mostly throw back tautog, but there is the occasional keeper.

Wallops Flight Facility

Tuesday I spent several hours at NASA at the Wallops Flight Facility learning about the new IMPACTS program for predicting and studying snow storms. Very interesting stuff. Essentially, in a nutshell, NASA is hoping to eventually tell us where and how that snowflake that formed over New Jersey, will land in Delaware. I could spend days at this facility feeding my inner nerd.

Antares launches on Feb. 9 to resupply the International Space Station. If you haven’t been to Wallops, you need to check out a launch, and you can see them clearly from the Delaware Beaches. The Wallops visitors center is a great place to take the kids and just down the road from Chincoteague. A perfect way to make a whole day or weekend trip with the family.

The Masseys Ditch Dredge project is in full force. Crews have had a few issues with dead low tides. “It is hard to get enough water to run the pumps during these extreme low tides.” I don’t imagine last week with the blow out tide, full moon, and winter tides it was any easier. I heard the dredge crew had to deal with a 65 mile an hour wind gust Friday night. Those boys are from Wisconsin — this just a walk in the park for them. I bet Janu-summer felt like their normal summer. You can see the northside beach getting bigger daily from the DelDOT traffic cams on the Charles W Cullen bridge.

I wish I could tell you the blitz is on or the fishing is off the hook, but it is typical winter fishing. Only the really hard core will fish on the extreme weather days. You have to love fishing or just be that crazy some days this time of year. Most don’t go out to fill the dinner table, they do it for the love of fishing and the outdoors. We all have our favorite hobbies and some of us just aren’t right in the head.

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