Winter good time to catch up on gear needs

Cold, warm, cold, back too warm. You have to love Dela-winter!

I do enjoy the break from the cold, but not the colds it brings with it. If you aren’t sick from the crazy weather, then consider yourself lucky. Nothing worse than trying to enjoy the outdoors when you are sick as a dog.

So what do we do when you can’t go out and play?  Do you sit around the computer and look at websites, watch outdoors shows on TV, or just dream of nicer days to come?

I tend to do the latter, but for the most part I reorganize my gear over and over again. What do I need to tweak?

Do the fishing rods need a good cleaning? Are the guides in tip top shape, or need replacing? Should I oil and grease the reels, again?  Are the hooks sharp, plugs clean, spoons shiny? And how is that old braided line looking?

Rich Seagraves proudly displays a tautog caught on a wreck offshore. (Submitted photo)

All of these questions should go through an anglers head in the off season. Nothing worse than realizing in the spring you should have done something to get ready.

So check your gear and get it ready, by the time the winter doldrums die down we will back at it.

Winter fishing

Winter fishing is much simpler, you don’t need the amount of gear like we think we do in spring and summer.

The winter fishing is limited to certain species and situations. You can have some fun during the frozen pond days too, you just have to get creative. Fish along the edge of the ice, or make a hole if need be.

You certainly aren’t doing any actual ice fishing, we rarely get ice thick enough to walk out and drill a hole. Though it has happened in the past, it is not something we look forward to every year. Besides who has ice fishing gear in Delaware — actually I know a guy.

One creative fun thing to do is cast a shiny spoon onto the ice and see how fast a pickerel will hammer it when it hits the edge.  I have seen them try to come through the ice and hit that spoon. It’s funny to watch and gets the fish all excited for the bite.

You can catch a few of them this way but eventually they get tired and stop hitting the lure.

Otherwise it is fishing for yellow perch once they get out of the spawning mode in February.

White perch is always a good winter option and all you need are some grass shrimp or tiny jog heads with small soft plastics or tiny shad darts tied with some bucktail. Put these about two feet under a bobber and you can hit some nice white perch for the table, and crappie will also hit these rigs.

Sunday success

Last weekend was the last Sunday hunt and as far as I can tell hunters were very happy being able to hunt a few Sundays this year.

Great move by the state so weekend hunters could get the occasional extra day.

Waterfowlers are doing well on ducks and the goose hunts have producing a decent amount of birds. We have a great recipe on the website for making a Canadian cheese steak, looking forward to trying that one out.

Whether you hunt or fish this time of year getting outdoors is all part of the experience.

Clamming

You can always go clamming at low tides which in the winter make it easier to get to the clams you just need to have some serious waders to avoid freezing to death.  Use a rake and you will be rewarded with a nice bounty of clams for the steamer if that is your method of choice.  Some prefer casino style, I like them steamed with a lot of drawn butter.

Surf’s up

Surfers are enjoying some decent wave action here and there, just need the heavy wet suits to protect them from the cold.

There is still plenty of time for a good winter storm surge to hit the shores of Delmarva.

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

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