CLOSE

Foxes on the beach are creating a buzz on social media. Wochit

LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

“I fish because I love to. Because I love the environs where trout are found, which are invariably beautiful, and hate the environs where crowds of people are found, which are invariably ugly.

Because of all the television commercials, cocktail parties, and assorted social posturing I thus escape. Because in a world where most men seem to spend their lives doing what they hate, my fishing is at once an endless source of delight and an act of small rebellion.

Because trout do not lie or cheat and cannot be bought or bribed, or impressed by power, but respond only to quietude and humility, and endless patience … not because I regard fishing as being so terribly important, but because I suspect that so many of the other concerns of men are equally unimportant and not nearly so much fun.” — Robert Traver

Okay, avid reader John, this week there are fish.

Not many of course as it has been cold as Christmas in Canada but, nonplussed, the first casts of the year hit the water anyway. 

The surface of the Nanticoke was the predicted gun metal gray and the water had that gin clear winter clarity. The fish bit pretty well and as figures, the majority of them were bluegills. There were a few ring perch, as yellow perch are known locally, but not too many and not very big!

Still, there is nothing quite like that first fresh fish of the season. A pat of butter sputtering in a pan (heck, two pats if your cardiologist isn’t looking) and firm, white filets dredged in flour and doused with pepper is just about right. 

Curling because they are so fresh the fish spatters and pops and you just about burn your mouth because you can’t wait for it to cool. With some fried potatoes on the side (or rice if you need a nod to a more healthy diet) and a cold beverage of your choice, spring can’t be far away.

Although the waters of the western part of the state tend to warm up faster (and therefore the fish bite sooner) there are certainly places to find some fresh fish locally.

MORE: Large whales are washing up along the East Coast at an alarming rate

MORE: Anglers beware, 'web-fishing' can backfire on you

The headwaters of the Broadkill are a traditional hotspot for crappies, particularly right at dusk and into the first part of evening. Night fishing in the winter can really be an enjoyable experience with a lighted bobber.

The mirrored surface reflects the red glow of the light, and when a crappie grabs your offering the light makes a slow, inexorable trek away from the bank. Under these circumstances it pays to remember that you aren’t driving the hook into the bony mouth of a black drum. 

A slow sweeping hook set works much better for these fish, often referred to as “papermouths” for the light membrane of the crappies’ jaws. 

Crappies can be caught on a wide variety of things, but in winter it always seems that small minnows get you in the game the fastest. Grass shrimp, if you can find them, are also a good bet and can draw bites from a wide range of other fish.

So if you are trying to find ways to fill the hours before the Eagles potentially make history, try wetting a line in a local waterway. You just might bring home enough to forgo the chicken wings this year. Good luck and good fishing!

Reports, comments or questions to captjackrodgers@comcast.net

LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE