By Eric Burnley Sr.*
Updated: March 7, 2014
NEW! 2014 Delaware recreational fishing guide
ADVISORY: Anglers are reminded that the recreational black sea bass season closed in Delaware coastal waters Jan. 1. Federal waters, which begin 3 miles from shore, also closed on Jan. 1. Open season dates, minimum size and harvest limits for 2014 will be announced when finalized.
DELAWARE BAY Don’t give up hope, warmer weather is on the way. Exactly when it will arrive is the big question. With the bay water temperature still hovering around 35 degrees even if air temperatures jumped into the seventies it would take several weeks before the water temperature would reach the mid-fifties.
Until the water warms we will have to be content to fish for perch in the tidal creeks and along the shoreline. This weekend promises milder weather so perhaps a few folks will get out and try their luck.
INDIAN RIVER INLET Checked out the inlet on Wednesday afternoon and saw no fishing activity. Perch should be available in the Millsboro area this weekend.
INSHORE OCEAN Still nothing from either Lewes or Indian River. The inshore water temperature is close to 40 degrees so any tog action will be well off the beach.
SURF FISHING There was one vehicle on the beach north of the inlet on Wednesday. As far as I could see he was not fishing.
FRESHWATER Went to Newton Pond on Saturday afternoon to see how the opening day of Delaware’s trout season was going. From the reports I received from anglers along the bank, it wasn’t going too well.
I spoke with one group who had been there since dawn and they had nothing to show for their efforts. Another group arrived at 0710 and by 1600 they had not had so much as a bite.
The only report of success I heard was from a boater in the middle of the pond who had a few trout. I suspect the fish stocked on Thursday migrated to the middle of the pond where the water is deeper and won’t invade the shallow areas closer to shore until we have some warmer weather.
I left the trout pond and headed to Milton where I made a few casts along the bank of Wagamons Pond. The only thing I got was cold.
REPAIR KITS Last week we talked about a first aid kit in the event of damage to you or someone else along on a fishing trip. This week we will talk about a repair kit for your equipment.
Back in the day, fishing tackle was much more prone to failure than it is today. Bail springs on spinning reels were an especially weak link. I had one spring for every model reel in my arsenal and over the course of a year’s fishing I did more than one repair in the field.
another consistent problem is the rod tip. When I ran charters I had a situation with clients attempting to crank the fish through the guides. This never worked and the snap swivel between the line and the rig would strike the tip-top guide with amazing force. Quite often the angler would keep on cranking causing the snap to continue its relentless attack on the guide. It was only a matter of time before the guide failed.
I kept a selection of guides and a stick of guide adhesive at the ready for just such emergencies. Using a disposable lighter to melt the adhesive and a pair of pliers to remove the old guide and install the new one took only a few minutes.
While not exactly a fishing problem, if you need glasses to see it can be a serious situation if one of those tiny little screws that hold the frame together falls out. The chances of finding said screw on a boat or beach are quite remote. I keep one of those eyeglass repair kits complete with extra screws and a tiny screwdriver on the boat and in my beach buggy. The problem is how to see those tiny little screws when you don’t have your glasses on.
A multi-tool is very handy on any fishing trip. Leatherman made the first ones and today several other firms have followed suit. If Tom Hanks had a Leatherman on that island in Cast Away, he would have been rescued much sooner and never had an intimate relationship with a volleyball.
Those of us who live by Murphy’s Law, anything that can go wrong will go wrong, try to prepare for any situation knowing full well that something important will fail on almost every fishing trip. We are also aware that chances are good we won’t have the correct part or tool we need to fix the problem, but that never keeps us from trying.
*Eric Burnley Sr. is a native Delawarean who has fished the waters of his home state for more than 60 years. He has been a full-time outdoor writer since 1978, with articles appearing in most national magazines as well as many regional publications. He has authored two books, Surf Fishing The Atlantic Coast and The Ultimate Guide To Catching Striped Bass.