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Delaware Fishing Report
When, Where, What and How They're Biting

 

By Eric Burnley Sr.*

Updated: Feb. 19, 2015

STRIPED BASS PUBLIC HEARING
On Monday, Feb. 23 a public hearing will be held at 6 p.m. in the DNREC Auditorium at 99 Kings Highway, Dover, DE 19901 to gather input on the six options approved by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission to bring Delaware in compliance with the required 25 percent reduction in recreational striped bass landings. The six options below are the only choices available and the only options open for comment. If you have any interest in striped bass please make every effort to attend this public hearing.2014 Delaware Fishing Guide 

Option

Size Limit(s)

Possession Limit(s)

Open Season/Areas

B5

> 33 inches

2

All year & waters, except catch & release on spawning grounds April 1 - May 31

B6

28 - 34 inches

2

All year & waters, except catch & release on spawning grounds April 1 - May 31

B7

28 - 34 inches

1

All year & waters, except catch & release on spawning grounds April 1 - May 31

> 36 inches

1

B8

28 - 36 inches

1

All year & waters, except catch & release on spawning grounds April 1 - May 31

>38 inches

1

B9

28 - 37 inches

1

All year & waters, except catch & release on spawning grounds April 1 - May 31

> 40 inches

1

CE1

28 - 37 inches; > 44 inches

2

All year & waters,except catch & release on spawning grounds April 1 - May 31 and summer slot (*)

*20 - 25 inches

2

*DE Bay, River & tidal tributaries July 1 - Aug. 31

DELAWARE BAY The weather has been so cold that ice has formed on many bodies of water throughout Delaware. Please do not go out on any of this ice as it will not be thick enough to support your weight. This includes every body of water from the retention ponds in your neighborhood to the many bays, creeks and rivers. If you have children instruct them to stay off the ice no matter how safe it may look.  Children and adults have died so far this winter and others have been saved by very brave first responders. Any tidal water is especially dangerous because the water is moving under the ice making it not only unsafe, but should you fall in, the current will sweep you under the ice where there is no chance of rescue.

INSHORE OCEAN We may get some warmer temperatures on Sunday, but they will come with heavy rain so I don’t expect many folks will be willing to run 20 miles or more out for tog.

INDIAN RIVER INLET The water here is way too cold for any type of fishing. Don’t expect much before the middle or even the end of March.

FRESHWATER Ice is covering most if not all of the freshwater in the state. Should you decide to go ice fishing please reread the information above under Delaware Bay.

TACKLE TIME Since most of us are stuck in the house this is a good time to get your tackle in order. Granted, it will return to the discombobulated mess it is now after the first couple of fishing trips, at least you can take inventory and stock up on anything you think you will need during the 2015 season.

What I do is go out into the garage and gather all the tackle I have stored in various containers then spread it out on a folding table.  My last rip of the 2014 season was out of Ocean City, Maryland for sea bass. I try to restrict myself to one bag for my tackle and foul weather gear and I have emptied this bag out and taken inventory of my sinkers, hooks and bottom rigs. I discovered I was light on four-, six- and eight-ounce sinkers ,so last Saturday I restocked my supply at a fishing flea market in Annapolis.

When fishing from my own boat I carry soft tackle bags with interchangeable plastic tackle storage boxes. Each box contains one type of tackle from hooks, to bucktails to surface plugs to metal jigs. Depending on the type of fishing I plan to do, those are boxes that will go in my bag.

Last year I did a lot of fishing in the Broadkill River and the Lewes and Rehoboth Canal. I carried my boxes of bucktails, D.O.A. lures, and small metal jigs. The one box I always have with me holds hooks, split shot, snaps, swivels and other terminal tackle. This gets some pretty heavy use no matter what type of fishing I am doing and must be updated more frequently.

I tie many of my bottom rigs and purchase special rigs such as Captain Mitchel’s Delaware Bay Green Machines. The rigs are placed in plastic sandwich bags and then these bags go inside a one-gallon plastic freezer bag.  By doing this the rigs do not get tangled with each other and I can find what I need without too much trouble. Of course I will never put a wet rig back in a bag so after most trips I have to untangle them, dry them out and then repackage.

All of my surf fishing tackle is contained inside one very large Plano tackle box. I keep this box in the back of my truck all season so I am always ready to go up on the beach. This box holds my surf fishing rigs, lures, and sinkers and is quite heavy so moving it is only done in the spring and fall.

If all of your tackle is kept in one location you may want to think about separating it into smaller boxes or bags. Even if you only do one or two types of fishing it will be easier to find what you need without digging through a tangled mess of rusty junk.

*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.

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