With stripers reported in the Ocean City Inlet it shouldn’t be more than a week or two before jetty and boat fishermen will be catching them in Indian River Inlet. The weekly report from the crew at the Virginia Beach Fishing Center listed good fishing on big stripers, with most fishermen in agreement that the fish are moving north toward their spring spawning grounds in the Chesapeake and Delaware Bays. Anglers fishing aboard the charter boat Gannet connected with limits of big rockfish within sight of Virginia Beach during the past week, with a 51-pounder caught by Jack Council at the top of the citation list. Fishermen targeting big game species reported quality bluefin tuna action just 12 miles outside of the inlet from Teach’s Lair Marina. Fishermen aboard the Marlin Mania released 11 bluefin and a mako shark on one trip. Charters running out of Hatteras Harbor Marina also reported good fishing for bluefin over the 100-pound mark, along with a mix of amberjack, blackfin tuna and albacore.
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Water temperatures have finally made it into the 40s in the bay, with the NOAA monitoring stations at Ship John and Brandywine Shoal reporting surface temperatures of 42 and 41 degrees. While there have been a few small stripers caught by boaters and shore fishermen using bloodworms, there haven’t been any keepers reported. White perch are being caught in the upper bay and in the main tributary rivers that drain into the bay, according to catch reports passed along by Patty Foley at Captain Bones Bait and Tackle. One of the most popular perch fishing locations for anglers stopping at the Odessa shop is the fishing pier at Woodland Beach. The most effective bait on the perch is bloodworms. Pier fishermen also reported some action on channel catfish on bloodworms and cut bait.
Catch reports have improved significantly over the past few weeks, with quality fishing reported in both tidal and nontidal waterways. White perch and small striped bass topped the river reports from fishermen who talked to John Massey at Shooter’s Supply, with some of the best fishing coming from the Delaware River. Bloodworms have been the most productive bait on both species, with the best fishing coming from Dobbinsville and Reedy Point. Fishermen stopping at Shooter’s Supply also reported good action on smallmouth bass in the non-tidal portion of Brandywine Creek while fishing a mix of live shiners and jigs.
Fishermen targeting yellow perch are having good luck in the upper reaches of the Chester River at Millington, according to catch reports passed along by Patty Foley at Captain Bones Bait and Tackle. Shad darts tipped with pieces of night crawler were reported to be the most effective bait. Jerry Taylor reported good fishing in the Nanticoke River and Broad Creek, with anglers scoring on a mix of white perch, crappie, yellow perch and striped bass. The best bet for crappie is the Bethel Hole. Anglers trying for yellow perch are having good luck in the stretch of Broad Creek between Phillips Landing and Laurel. Matt Parker topped the yellow perch reports with a 1.50-pound fish he caught while fishing the creek with night crawlers. George Lambden was fishing the Nanticoke near the mouth of Marshyhope Creek for white perch when he landed and released a pair of striped bass measuring better than 28 inches.
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Anglers fishing the local millponds reported good fishing for a variety of species, with numerous citations reported by First State tackle dealers. Pond reports from the crew at Shooter’s Supply listed Becks Pond and Lums Pond as good choices for upstate fishermen interested in crappie and largemouth action. Shop owner John Massey recommended live minnows or shiners. Ed Raymond had a good day of bass and pickerel fishing at McColleys Pond, releasing largemouth up to three pounds and a citation pickerel that pushed the scale at Captain Bones Bait and Tackle to 5.04 pounds. Raymond was using jig/minnow rigs and suspending stickbaits. Hearns Pond has been a good choice for big pickerel, according to fishermen stopping at Taylored Tackle in Seaford. Michael McCrea topped the weekly citation report from the shop with a 5-pound, 6-ounce pickerel he landed while fishing the pond with a RatLTrap. Wagamons Pond topped the report from the crew at the Williamsville Country Store, producing a whopping, 8-pound, 10-ounce largemouth bass for Brian Roberts. The trophy bass fell for a live shiner. Jeff Odle checked in at the shop with a 4-pound, 15-ounce pickerel caught at McGinnis Pond on a shiner.
While most pond fishermen have been focused on pickerel and bass, anglers also are reporting action on trout in two downstate ponds stocked with rainbows by the Division of Fish and Wildlife. Tidbury Pond in Dover and Newton Pond near Greenwood were stocked last week with 360 rainbow trout per pond, and will receive a similar stocking next week. While most of the stocked fish measure 12 to 13 inches and weigh less than a pound, there were a small number of trophy fish over the two-pound mark released in both ponds. In addition to their fishing license and FIN number, anglers fishing the ponds are required to have a trout fishing stamp.