A few holiday gift ideas for the outdoorsman in the family
Rockfishing appears to be on the decline with most of the fish trolled up from the Rips measuring less than 28 inches. The last report we had from the ocean off the Bethany Beach Condos indicated a few keepers, but I suspect this too will diminish after the current burst of below-freezing weather.
It was a decent run of rockfish this fall as boaters did very well and surf fishermen had a few good days. Now we will wait till spring and our next chance of connecting with a big striper.
While the rockfish action was hot, very few anglers bothered with tog. Now that the rock have moved on, tog will come to the forefront, and I expect to have good reports by next week.
I know some of you travel to Virginia, and the area is experiencing a good run of big rockfish out of Cape Charles. Right now, the bite is centered around Plantation Light, and eels are doing most of the damage. I have seen photos of several rock over 50 pounds.
Time is running short for those who would like to catch a few sea bass before spring. The season ends Dec. 31, leaving barely two weeks to fill the freezer. The head boat out of Fisherman’s Wharf has had successful sea bass trips to the offshore grounds, and I suggest a call to 302-645-8862 or a look online at fishlewes.com to make reservations.
Last Wednesday, I attended the Folsom tackle show in Atlantic City. This annual event comes just in time for holiday gift-giving ideas, and I did pick up a few.
Tsunami is the brand of tackle produced by Folsom under the Bimini Bay Outfitters banner. They have a complete selection of tackle for both salt and freshwater anglers and it is all available from your local tackle shop.
I highly recommend shopping at these local merchants for all of your fishing and hunting equipment. The big-box stores may be a little cheaper, but they don’t have the personal service available from shops in the neighborhood. This service includes knowledge of what type of equipment is best suited for hunting or fishing in Sussex County.
We do a lot of bait fishing from the Delaware surf, and this usually means we cast out, put the rod in a sand spike then sit in a beach chair until something decides to eat our offering. Most of the time that something is a small bluefish, croaker or king and a bouncing rod tip signals our success. There will be other times when big rockfish are in the surf and we need to give the fish a bit of leeway before setting the hook. This means we must let the fish run off with the bait before trying to set the hook. Tsunami has just the reel for this purpose. The Bait System Pro reel has a lever on the back that disengages the drag yet keeps some pressure on the line so a big fish can take the bait without feeling any noticeable resistance. If you use a circle hook, all that needs to be done is engage the drag by turning the handle and when the line comes tight, the fish will be hooked.
The reel has a capacity of 350 yards of 30-pound line on a long cast aluminum spool, a 4.8:1 gear ratio and 9+1 ball bearings. The main shaft is stainless steel, the handle is machined aluminum and there is an external bail trip that eliminates the problem of broken bail springs.
The perfect match for this reel is a Trophy Surf Rod in either the 11- or 12-foot model. The 11-footer will cast four to 10 ounces while the 12-footer can handle six to 10 ounces. This outfit comes with my personal endorsement, as I have been fishing with one for more than a year.
The Tsunami Swim Shads have been very effective on rockfish at Indian River Inlet. They come in so many sizes and colors that I would rely on the tackle shop person when selecting the model best suited for Delaware fishing.
Another good stocking stuffer is a Mojo hand towel. I have been using these for years, and they really perform as advertised. They are made of microfiber and do not retain odors. A Velcro strap on the top makes it easy to attach the towel to a belt loop.
When in doubt as to what the fishing or hunting person on your gift list might like, opt for a gift certificate. These too are available from all the local fishing and hunting shops and eliminate the chance of getting something the person cannot use and/or does not want.