Planting is from 9 AM – Noon on Saturday March 23, 2013
If you wish to participate at:
Please remember to dress for the weather (this is a rain or shine event) and bring a planting tool such as a wooden broom stick. If you do not have a planting tool, one will be provided.
DSF will be at all locations I have a lot of friends that are participating. We hope to see you out there.
Monday night we had our weekly gathering of anglers at Old Bay Steakhouse. Alan was tying flies, we were telling lies, and a few new faces dropped by to check out the group. We basically hung out and discussed all kinds of things. One of the subjects that keeps coming up is the proposed National Park and Delaware Bayshore Initiative. I have been researching both of these and speaking with people such as Charles Salkin the Director of the Division of Parks and Recreation. These have been some very informative chats,and I appreciate the time they have given DSF. It has even been suggested that I use the freedom of information act to get all correspondence concerning the proposed National Park. I like to read, but not that much. I informed our group Monday night we have emails out to all parties concerned, and are awaiting responses to specific questions. Some of these have been sent to DSF by email or on our Facebook page by concerned readers. I hope all of this research we are doing will put to bed many concerns, we will have this available soon. I have opinions from some of the groups involved, and will include all of this information. The key word with this entire legislation is proposed, it has not happened yet, and it is possible it will not be passed. Delaware is the only state without a National Park. The main concern has been how will this proposed National Park affect Delaware’s beaches. We will let you know what we find.
I took a quick tour of the parks today and checked the drive on accesses. Since, the storm most of them were carved out from the waves. All of the drive on accesses have been smoothed out, and reshaped by the parks crews. They are ready to drive on with little to no hazards in the way. After the storm a few of the drive on access points were three foot drops to the beach. Not something most vehicles could handle, or would take the abuse. Key Box beach’s compressor house has been rebuilt, and looks much better than the old system. Apparently the compressor at Savages Ditch used for the Faithful Steward access will be replaced as well. One compressor station that is in sad shape is Beach Plum Island. It literally takes twenty minutes to air up your tires. That is one we really need replaced as well, maybe I will mention that to the Director of Parks the next time we chat. The beaches are starting to shape back up, but will take some time. It is very hard to read the beaches now, and in some areas (the breach) the beach is still flat as Jersey beaches. A long wash area, with waves breaking much farther out, you will get wet fishing this area. The old Indian River Inlet bridge is being taken down in pieces. I have had a hard time finding a schedule or getting an answer when it will be completed. We will work on that, I am not sure what is being done with the old pylons. Last I heard they would be demolished to 8 feet below the mean low tide line. The water is still cold out there averaging 43 degrees in the inland bays and the surf. We are taking another trip North soon for a little striped bass fishing and fun. You can see all the pictures of our adventures on the DSF Facebook page.
Wooo hooo!! About time I was able to put up a fishing report. Sunday Scott Jost, and myself drove up to Battery Park in Old New Castle, DE. It was a tad chilly Sunday morning when we all met in Milton, DE. Spring is definitely here there are daffodils popping everywhere, crocus, some of the trees are budding, and people are starting to think about mowing the grass, or dreading the thought. Fish are starting to move around and get ready for the spring spawn and run. Chuck Urion and his crew have been catching fish near the DOD in Jersey for the past week, a few nice striped bass have been caught. Otherwise it is mostly perch and catfish. We loaded up on bloodworms the day before since we were headed out early on a holiday. Saturday I spent the afternoon riding the Black Pearl in the Ocean City parade handing out candy. That was a blast, and then finished my night watching Loud Love blow the roof off the Sandbar Tavern in Long Neck DE. Somehow between those trips I managed to do a little exploring. We are mostly seeing perch in our waters at the Broadkill River , surrounding creeks, and other area sloughs of the beach bay communities, like Fowler’s Beach. We have fished these all week here and there. These weekly trips have been fun and an excuse to bounce out of town. I was born in Delaware, grew up near this area, but was young when we moved to the other side of the bridge. I still visited many times with my family to fish. Whenever I go north I try to take route 9 as much as possible for the scenery, and memories. I remember this area when I was growing up, and feel at home when I am there.
We arrived in Battery Park, I always love seeing the cobble stone streets that have been preserved. The half paved and half cobblestone are an interesting contrast of modern and historical. We stopped by the observation area and I took a bunch of pictures. We were waiting on a few friends to meet us there. Alan made friends with a local squirrel, those are some very tame squirrels. The little fellah looked like he was begging for food. While I was watching this I noticed the rules sign for Battery Park. Do Not Feed the Wildlife … seems that one has gone the wayside. That is one seriously friendly squirrel. I think my favorite rule on the sign … “No horseback riding or animals that may annoy, frighten, or injure persons or property”. I know children that qualify for that! After a good laugh, we headed to our meeting place. Mikey Williamson with his boys, Steven Williams, and Tim Gola. We were meeting Matt and Nick Squires on the shoreline or beach. Matt contacted us when we posted our trip schedule. He wanted us to know the Police had the area we wanted to fish shut down for access from Hurricane Sandy. He contacted his cousin Officer Tori and he asked his supervisor if we could access the area. We would like to thank the New Castle City police for allowing DSF and friends to access a closed area to do some striped bass fishing. To our friends in the area there, I know it is preferred to be called Old New Castle. There is a great deal of turning point American history that happened there, we should all be proud.
We all geared up and hit the beach. I had to document the day, so I skipped the fishing (I also forgot my fishing license … again! …*Facepalm) I have to stop doing that, and refuse to break the rules. I had just as much fun watching these guys fish, and meeting new people. I spent part of the day finding sea glass. I have some gorgeous pieces and a variety of colors, but still haven’t found red. The boys baited up with blood worms and we proceeded to stand around and talk fishing all day. DSF Pro Staff hit the first catch of the day with a small stripped bass. Then Tim Gola hit a catfish after that. Jeff Wildonger dropped by in his kayak and paddled a few lines out for the boys. I was taking pictures and talking to everyone. Ron Shadwell dropped by he is a memeber of Team Bluedogs surf fishing group. He just wanted to say hello and meet in person. We have met some great people thanks to DSF. I am very grateful for the people I have met and the opportunities DSF has created, makes all of this work worth the time. This is only the beginning of the season, and we have a lot planned. I am looking forward to Jeff’s Kayak trip down the coast of Delaware this summer. He has some neat things he is going to do about the areas he visits along the way. He has explored most of the Delaware River and Bay, he refers to it as his church. While moving between groups, because we were spread out to fish, I was collecting sea glass. The Battery Park beaches are covered with sea glass. The variety I found was rather amazing, compared to what I normally find on the ocean front beaches. Yes it is sad we have this much trash in our waters. The signs of industry old and new are all over the Delaware River. Old pilings, and mooring areas, cinders from the old refineries on the shoreline. This area is where a lot of the industry started in our country and state. Everything was moved by water and we lived off the wildlife. Much of that is the same, and much has changed. Unfortunately it is the wildlife that has suffered the most, that is seen in the warning signs to not consume fish from these waters.
We fished, well they fished, for a few hours of the out going tide. The water is still cold and needs to jump up several degrees before fish really start to move around. Some are starting to move around now farther north of us in the Delaware River. We had the wind at our backs, and the sun was out for the most part. It was a nice day, not as warm as the day before, but comfortable. I was posting pictures, of fish and neat stuff I found on the shoreline. There were lots of old bricks with names stamped in of companies and places they were made. We were surrounded by and standing on history. It is rather humbling to stand there and look over that water and know what occurred here over two hundred years ago. One of the boys was telling us how the big boats can stir the fish up, which keeps them active during a slack tide. The big ships were pushing waves onto the beaches. Some of the boys took off a little while after the clouds moved in and the temperature dropped. it did get a bit nippy out, but the warmth of the big cat catch was keeping the boys on the job. We eventually packed it in and started to slowly head out, we ran into a an angler who was watching us online as the day progressed. A few other folks were posting they were farther south of us, and doing some work as well. Ben DiSabatino hit a nice little striped bass south of Battery Park. We had friends on Reedy Point we were going to stop and see, but we were cold, tired, and hungry. We did go over the Reedy Point Bridge, and it is still one lane with a light. By the way, when we did leave it was really exciting to see four DSF license plates on vehicles in the parking lot. We are very grateful for the support, and will hold a contest starting in April for plate holders only, that is why we numbered the tags. Water will get warmer soon, and we will have better fishing. It is coming, and we will let you know how things are progressing in Delaware’s tidal waters. Keep an eye out for guided DSF tours and fishing lessons, we are ready. Otherwise come out to the Monday Night Meetings (DSF’s MNM’s) at Old Bay Steakhouse and meet fellow like minded anglers.
Division of Fish and Wildlife uses versatile new equipment
to restore and maintain meadow habitat for wildlife
DOVER (March 18, 2013) – Meadow habitat is home to many native species in Delaware, from cottontail rabbits and bobwhite quail, to insects and smaller mammals, to nesting wild turkeys. To provide habitat for these and other species, the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife currently maintains several hundred acres of state wildlife areas as meadows, managing low plants such as native grasses and wildflowers.
Without direct management, these grasslands can quickly transition from the short, early successional vegetation that defines meadow habitat to shrub-scrub and then to young forest in only a few years, rapidly reducing available habitat for grassland species. A mix of meadow, shrub-scrub and forest habitats is best for a diversity of wildlife types.
“Many grassland wildlife populations, including American kestrel and ground-nesters such as quail, Eastern meadowlark, grasshopper sparrows and field sparrows, have been declining in their range in recent years because of loss of this valuable habitat,” said Kent County Regional Wildlife Manager Wayne Lehman. “To prevent brush and trees from encroaching and taking over its open space, meadow habitat requires intensive maintenance.”
Timing is key in maintaining meadows. “We mow to ground level in patches to provide nearby wildlife with escape options and a mix of winter and nesting cover,” Lehman said. “And we only mow in late winter to avoid eliminating valuable winter cover and prior to wildlife nesting, and in late summer after most species of wildlife have completed nesting.”
Conservationist Gary Gerardi and his southern Kent County-based wildlife crew have traditionally worked with herbicide application, bush hogging equipment, prescribed burning and disking for habitat restoration and maintenance. Now, they have a highly efficient addition to these tools: the Posi-track, a versatile piece of equipment propelled by all-terrain tracks instead of tires. The Posi-track has a number of attachments, including a specialized Fecon head – similar to a large stump grinder – to cut through tough trees and brush threatening quality meadow habitat.
“It’s relatively small and low profile, with very light ground pressure. There’s no getting it stuck and it doesn’t tear up the ground. Those qualities really help when we’re doing restoration work,” Gerardi said. “Instead of going in with a 10-foot bush hog and cutting everything, or going in with labor-intensive hand tools, we can use the Posi-track to quickly and efficiently remove individual shrubs or trees, leaving other plants and the ground undisturbed.”
By using the Posi-track, both Gerardi’s crew and the northern Kent County crew led by Derek Harvey are able to make better use of staff and resources for other key maintenance projects, such as cutting boundary lines, clearing deer stand trails, managing invasive shrub species such as autumn olive and multiflora rose, and cleaning up storm damage on wildlife areas. “It’s a major time-saver,” Gerardi said, noting work that used to be done over a period of weeks with chainsaws can now be done in days or hours.
All this work done to maintain meadow habitats on Delaware’s wildlife areas has far-reaching results, noted Wildlife Biologist Anthony Gonzon. “Meadow habitats are a critical component of the food web, supporting hundreds of species of insects, such as grasshoppers and caterpillars, an important food source for birds during breeding season,” Gonzon said. “Meadows also shelter small grassland-dwelling mammals such voles and mice that serve as prey for the hawks, owls, snakes and foxes that forage in meadow habitat year-round.”
Grasslands also support Delaware’s vitally important native pollinators. “Bees, moths and butterflies, such as the Delaware Skipper, help maintain the diversity of plant species in our managed grasslands,” Gonzon said. “Not only do these species rely upon their grassland habitat, but the habitat can also rely upon them to help pollinate meadow plants.”
On Saturday a stranded seal washed ashore south of the Charles W Cullen Bridge. Some people walking the beach reported it to the MERR institute, and the stranding team went into action. These are the folks you need to call for stranded marine life in Delaware. They can be reached by phone … 302 228 5029 … 24 hours a day, just leave a message. I spoke with Suzanne Thurman about the rescue. The seal whom was later named Shamrock, was entangled in a a mesh net and other debris. The netting was around his neck and flipper. Most likely he became entangled as a pup and grew into this mess. The more he moved that tangled flipper, the deeper the mesh would cut into his neck. Creating a three inch deep gash. The mesh net did most of the damage, but there was fishing line and Mylar balloon ribbon tangled as well. Once the mess was removed he really perked up, and the next day started taking food on his own. That is a great sign, and he was then transported to the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine, NJ. They are not sure if the seal will need further surgery for the injury. If you would like to keep up with the progress of Shamrock you can check in at the MERR Institute’s Facebook page. This is one reason we constantly urge people to clean our beaches, dispose of trash properly, and stow their trash when storms occur. According to the Suzanne Thurman most of their stranding reports come from anglers since they are always out there fishing. Good to know people are on watch for our tidal water dwellers.
This report is dedicated to the men and women of our armed forces. Thank you all for what you do, and the sacrifices you make.
Monday CJ Jarrell of Striper King Gear also DSF Pro Staff, Kristen Kemper our Chica In the Surf also DSF Pro Staff, Ashley LeCates, Dave LeCates, Bill Miller, and myself headed north to Augustine Beach. Several people asked us why we would go north. DSF is dedicated to the tidal waters of Delaware, and the entire coast is tidal. SKG wanted to show me some places he fished growing up, and we wanted to get out of town to chase some striped bass. I fished these areas when I was a child, don’t ask how long ago. We took the drive up route 9 in some seriously thick fog, hoping it would lift soon. I was practically crawling out of the truck window trying to take pictures, mostly of osprey, they were all over the place. We finally arrived at Augustine Beach during the incoming tide. A few people were putting in boats, and visibility was 40 feet tops. Fog horns were going off all over the place. Everyone geared up and baited with bloodworms. We all just hung out, fished, and had a great time. Kristen was wearing her pink coveralls with a pink DSF shirt, so of course we called her Pinky all day. The old school bad and sad Happy Days jokes started flying, (If you grew up watching Happy Days you had an awesome childhood, and only 3 channels!). The water was the color of coffee with cream, and we caught a lot of grass. There were pieces of logs, and all kinds of things floating in the water. I can not imagine trying to run a boat in the fog with all of that out there. I did find some cool sea glass, among a ton of trash washed up on the beach. Tim Gola dropped by with his puppy Lincoln to meet the crew, and pick up his SKG shirts and hat. We fished for a couple of hours and then packed it in so we could work our way south. The boys in the boats were catching a few fish, we had no idea what. My buddy Chuck Urion in Jersey the day before was hammering stripers near the DOD, Shhhhhhhhh.
Just as we were starting to pack our gear a guy pulled up on a trike, or 3 wheeled motorcycle. He looked at Pinky and said “I read online the DSF crew was up here, I just wanted to drop by and meet them” John Morgan it was nice meeting you, we will fish up North again soon, this Sunday we are headed to Battery Park and then Reedy Point. A lot of folks posted they wished they knew we were in the area so they could come out and fish with DSF. We will be back. The crew packed the trucks, headed to Woodland Pier, and that turned into a very wet ride. The tide came in fast and flooded all the low lying areas. It was great being a passenger in a vehicle for once, I could really take in all of the scenery,and go camera crazy. Well at least what little I could see since the fog never lifted. Apparently it had at home in the lower slower, we were getting those reports while on the road. No worries, we like to fish in nasty weather, and this was a mini vacation. We made Woodland Pier as the tide peaked. Everyone set up and fished the shoreline, or the pier. I have to say, Woodland pier is really nice. All metal and concrete with these really cool benches, and there were ducks all over the place. We caught a lot of grass, no actually we caught an obscene amount of grass. Once in a while out of the fog a huge ship would emerge, and then disappear, just like a horror movie. We fished for a couple of hours, then packed it in for the day to head back home. We will be back.
CJ, Kristen, Bill, and I stopped for lunch, and then we parted ways for the day. CJ and I had some stops to make at local tackle shops about advertising on DSF and carrying the SKG apparel line. Some of the boys had just left Dan’s Tackle Box, after catching huge white perch all day in the Broadkill River. Aside from the perch action and freshwater fishing, not much has been going on out there. Water is still a tad too cold. I keep hearing rumors of flounder caught in the bays, but until I see a picture … well, you know … As my favorite saying goes, show me a picture, or tell me a lie. Tuesday Kristen and Jen hit the surf at 3R’s. They were both wearing pink coveralls, now there are two of them, and Pinky has a twin. The ladies caught a skate, and were just happy to be in the surf on the sand. I am dying for warm days, cool sand, and tight lines in the surf. I want to float on the bay and drift for fish, hit the rail, or just plop down on a pier and fish the day away. Everyone who purchased one of our tags has been sending us pictures. I am proud of these tags, and what we do at DSF. This morning my buddy Dave Eastburn sent me a picture, and I have been floored ever since. In fact it has been hard to write this up, I am truly humbled. A week ago Dave asked if he could use our logo, and he wanted it to be a surprise. Knowing Chris Walker designed this unique branded logo, he wanted and needed our permission. This morning Dave sent us a picture of a moral patch he had made for his Air Force uniform, a DSF morale patch. Dave my brother, be safe over there, and thank you so much for what you and your crew do, I owe you many days in the surf. We all owe you a debt of gratitude none of us could ever pay back. See you soon!!