I am sure a lot of fishing plans were cancelled over the weekend as the wind howled, making any type of angling difficult. A few folks tried fishing in the sheltered water of the Lewes and Rehoboth Canal and the VFW Slough at Indian River Bay with most finding tough drifting conditions and very few fish.
The long-term forecast looks more promising, with temperatures climbing back into the upper 70s by Monday. Warmer weather combined with less wind should improve the tog fishing, and perhaps a few more flounder will be caught.
Red drum have arrived at the Virginia Capes. My son Ric fished the shoals between Fisherman and Smith islands, catching and releasing four big drum on Easter Sunday. Reports also indicate drum from the barrier island beaches. Looks like another early start to another season.
TV show host and top-notch angler Jose Wejebe was killed last week when his airplane crashed shortly after takeoff from a south Florida airport. His show, "Spanish Fly," was one of the better fishing shows on TV, with more attention paid to how the fish were caught and less to the angler doing the fishing.
I had the pleasure of working a fishing show with Jose where both of us were seminar speakers. I found him to be a great guy who was willing to listen and learn from the other speakers as well as give valuable information himself. He was a real professional and will be missed in the community of anglers.
As seems to happen every spring, we have shallow water problems in several areas that are important to boaters and anglers. One is the mouth of the Murderkill River at Bowers Beach, and the other is at the southern end of Massey’s Ditch in Indian River Bay. Neither of these problems is new, and I have run aground on both sites more than once over the years.
The real problem is finding the money to dredge these and other shoaled-up locations. The Army Corps of Engineers has the responsibility for keeping these channels open, but the state has dredged out smaller jobs in the past. When the state pays for dredging, the Corps is supposed to repay the cost of the project, but since they are suffering the same loss of revenue as all government entities, the money is simply not there.
The state can float a bond bill to pay for the dredging, and this is a possibility. Once again, with revenues down and money tight, it may be difficult to convince the Legislature to go further in debt to fund a dredging project that only affects a small portion of the population.
There has been some talk of using General Fishing License Funds for dredging projects. This was brought up at the last General Fishing License Funding Advisory Council meeting, and the council was informed that dredging was not an approved project for license funds. Use of license money for projects not approved by the Fish and Wildlife Service not only costs us the three-to-one matching money, it could result in a loss of all federal money coming back to the state.
I doubt if either project will be done anytime soon. Once the Legislature either passes or rejects funding for the dredging projects, we will have a better idea how long the shoals will be a problem.
We have two fishing flea markets coming up very soon. Bill’s Tackle Shop on Route 1 will have its flea market tomorrow. I suggest an early start, as parking is a serious problem. If you plan to sell some of your fishing things, get there well before first light as all spaces are on a first-come, first-served basis. Reps from various tackle companies will be there to demonstrate their products.
Rick’s Bait and Tackle on Long Neck Road will have its flea market next Saturday, April 21. It too is first-come, first-served and organizers recommend arriving to set up your table between 5 and 6 a.m. The store and the flea market will open at 6 a.m.
Flea markets are great place to get rid of stuff you no longer use and buy more stuff to fill the void in your tackle locker. It is a strong man who can sell his old things without spending more than he made on new things he didn’t even know he needed.