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“Then followed that beautiful season ... Summer ....

Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light; and the landscape

Lay as if new created in all the freshness of childhood.”  

— Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“... I was rich, if not in money, but in sunshine and summer days …”

— Henry David Thoreau

You know, this used to be easier to do.

Doing the fishing column was pretty simple stuff. There was always something that bailed us poor anglers out. 

When the trout fishing in the bay was failing, the flounder picked us up. Same, too, when the flounder started to flag, the savior appeared in the form of croakers. Big ones, I mean, not the potato chip-sized ones we see all too rarely these days.

If we couldn’t catch them in Shark Bay we had good fishing for croakers, big spot, perch and rock in the rivers. No “open bottom” (not thrashing around over undredgeable concrete and fishing “live bottom” like coral or mussels) fishing in Delaware Bay? 

No worries, the ocean still has them.

As I told a friend recently I feel sometimes like I’m becoming that old guy on his lawn yelling at clouds in the sky with some of this, but when you care it’s sad. The only thing missing from bay beach town boat ramps are the tumbleweeds blowing around in the incessant wind for appropriate dramatic effect.

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It’s important to note that the glum notes no longer pour forth from merely the orchestra in Shark Bay. Everywhere, from Indian River Inlet, to the back bays, to the shoreline to even now, the ocean, the same tune is being played, and it sure isn’t the one used for FDR’s 1932 campaign song.

Fortunately it’s not just me. Though it might surprise my kids at school there are folks that have been living and fishing around here even longer than me (“No way, Mr. R!”) and I asked several of them if they had ever seen it this bad all over. 

It was unsurprisingly unanimous: “No.”

However difficult it is to write the same forthright fishing report each week (one needs the “Liar in Lewes” handbook) I’m sure that’s what you would have of any report, the truth. 

Happily, the teacher in me has searched around and found a bright spot. Seems the last blow has pushed at least a few flounder around and there have been some better catches over the last week in the ocean. 

Now, don’t get me wrong, I said “better,” though some boats have seen the best week they’ve had all season. Still, as my brother remarked last week as we came in with a few, it almost seems as if we should fly flags for the flounder.

In Shark Bay there are still some trout around though we are currently allowed one per person over 13 inches. They aren’t as thick as they once were but that’s sort of the norm. 

Just reel fast when you get one on. I can’t tell you exactly what will be chasing it, but I do know a couple things; it will have teeth, and you can’t keep it.

Reports, comments or questions to captjackrodgers@comcast.net

 

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