Excitement building as more fish are arriving

By Rich King
Posted 4/12/23

The spring is coming in nice and calm, or clam if you follow DSF social media. Long story, but the short version is that my phone kept autocorrecting calm to clam during a storm update and I …

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Excitement building as more fish are arriving


The spring is coming in nice and calm, or clam if you follow DSF social media. Long story, but the short version is that my phone kept autocorrecting calm to clam during a storm update and I didn’t notice. It stuck, so now all is clam conditions for a calm day and unclam for not. If you can’t have fun while fishing, then what is the point? It’s a great way to clam down.

Speaking of clam, the drum are in town and the catch frequency is increasing. Before the storm last week, many anglers dropped some drum on the sand along the beaches. As usual, 3R’s was the favored beach but they run along all the ocean beaches. Black drum are now being caught as far north as Long Beach in Jersey. The Delaware Bay is filling up with black drum. Check your favorite charters to get booked now; they are filling up fast, I hear.

Assateague OSV is now closed in sections for piping plovers, and the new gate system has been installed. Delaware, go take a look at that gate system and learn. The drum action at Assateague has been great if you put in some time. There have been some migratory striped bass pulled from the surf there, too. I am sure there are other smaller species showing up but everyone is concentrating on the big fish.

The surf fishing, aside from drum and the usual spiny dogs and skates, is starting to produce northern pufferfish. Also known as chicken of the sea, they are tasty table fare. They will hit just about any cut bait or Fishbites formula. The water is warm enough for the long-lasting Fishbites formula to start working well. The new blue crab flavor is in play and we are waiting to see some results. I’ve been out a couple times using live sand fleas. You have to dig for fleas. The action is fun, and there is more to be had.

There are migratory striped bass running the Delaware Bay and the inland bays. There have been some quality sized fish caught all around the inland bays. It’s almost a walk in the park if you know where to go. The inland bays have many accessible fishing places by land and kayak.

Look for receding water out of marshes and rips along points of land. The schools move around a lot, hunting for food. As the tide recedes, the baitfish pour out of the marsh grass off the mud banks, and the striped bass and flounder sit and feast. That is a timing thing for outgoing tides along marsh banks.

Bloodworms work well for large striped bass in bay conditions. Bunker chunks do, as well, since that is usually what they are chasing.

You can throw swim shads, bucktails and poppers in the evenings for striped bass around the bays. That action has been fun, too.

White perch action around the waterways is still hot, as well as catfish. Snakeheads have been hitting. Bass are as well. Crappie action is decent, too. I’m tuning up two new (to me) fly rods for this summer. I prefer saltwater fly fishing but freshwater is fun and can be more of a lazy fly flicking day. Finding a flat clam pond is perfect for a lazy fly day. I’m currently watching a buddy online catch monster striped bass on large flies, with a huge fly rod set up from a boat. Now I want a bigger fly rod and better reels. And so goes the curse of fishing: You are never done improving or upgrading your gear.

The water temperatures are holding nicely for this time of year. It would be nice to see a mild spring and a lot of spring fishing. We will see how that holds out.

The catch varieties are probably going to increase faster this year than last. There are already pompano in the Outer Banks. We are seeing puffers up here already. It’s going to be another weird fishing year and I am looking forward to it for sure. The bizarre tropical catches are always fun. Every year the fisheries are changing up more and more and we see a larger variety of species come farther north. This summer, I hope to hit the Virginia Beach marsh areas for some tarpon fishing on the fly.

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