Water temperatures are still perfect for striped bass

Striped bass from the Chesapeake Bay caught by Joe Yack. Joe says to let the breeders go! (Submitted photos)

The snow finally melted, I still have a few patches in the woods. Not enough to make a small snowman, just a reminder of the time of year now that it warmed right back up to the mid-fifties plus.

Great temperatures for getting things done outdoors and fishing. The water temperatures are still perfect for striped bass and the Delaware waters are producing migratory bass. Anglers trolling the rips and in front of Rehoboth to Bethany Beach on occasion, have been hoking up with migratory striped bass. Most of these fish are out of the slot size range and have to be thrown back.

There are still fish in New Jersey waters. Many anglers farther up the coast say this is one of the worst fall runs they have seen for larger bass. The amount of short bass has been overwhelming. Some are calling this the year of the rat.

The surfers are not enjoying the mild seas, but they had a few treats here and there. This is the best time of year to catch waves in Delmarva. You just have to dress up like a seal to stay warm.

Sea lice on the fish

The Chesapeake Bay has a lot of striped bass schools all around her waters. They are mostly migratory fish. We know this due to the sea lice on the fish. Sea lice are only found on schools of fish living in or from the open ocean.

Sea lice close up. Migratory striped bass schools from the ocean are covered with sea lice. These are not bad for the fish or humans.

Bay dwelling or resident fish do not have sea lice. Anglers are trolling up bass on stretches, and mojos. Also jigging for them on light tackle has been very productive.

Good time to catch offshore

You could say that Delaware is surrounded by striped bass right now. It is a good time to try and catch offshore. The surf has produced some random keeper striped bass and a lot of short resident bass. There is mostly rumors of large migratory bass caught here and there, haven’t seen any pictures.

Everyone is saying 3Rs is the place to be; in most cases that is what everyone says every time they catch a fish so they don’t have to say where they caught their fish. So you have to decide for yourself if 3Rs is the place to be or just the place everyone is saying to be.

Woodland Pier, a great place to fish and explore with the family. Fishing is decent here throughout the year, especially at high tide. You can fish from the pier or land. There are a few benches on the pier, but bring a chair in case they are occupied. There are small marsh beaches you can explore easily at low tide. Some sea glass can be found along these beaches. The old boat ramp is perfect to launch a kayak or SUP. Even small boats. There is also a regular state boat ramp before the houses.

Tautog fishing is good once you can get to some structure. The last few days the ocean has been rather calm and that has helped. The week before there was a lot of wind with rough seas. That will put a damper on any fishing trip this time of year. No one likes rough seas in this cold weather, not to mention it is dangerous.

Better to be safe and smart

Be safe and smart during the winter months around the water. It’s not summertime, falling out of a boat is much more dangerous due to the water and air temperatures. Make sure you have a trip plan every time you go. Especially if you are alone, let someone know where you are going and when you should be back. Check in with them before you leave and when you return. Like the moment before you get on the water. It sounds kind of dumb, but it could save your life.

Kayakers especially should let people know about a trip. Falling out of your kayak this time of year and trying to return to shore is a huge chore in a kayak. Even with the best cold gear, you could still succumb to the elements. Falling in a pond or the surf is very dangerous this time of year. Better to be safe and smart.

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

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