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Outdoors

Tackle and gun auction set for April 12-13

By Eric Burnley | Mar 30, 2013

Fishing remains very slow due to the cold water and generally nasty weather. In Sussex County, white perch have been the best bet, but even they have not cooperated on a regular basis. Tidal creeks and rivers as well as spillways have been the best locations with bloodworms the best bait.

Tog fishing remains fair in the ocean with some fish going well past the 10-pound mark. As with all types of fishing, some anglers do well while others on the boat do poorly. Crab is always the top bait.

The local ponds have seen good fishing for crappie, perch, pickerel and bass. Small minnows on jigs are the top bait. Anglers working from shore and from boats are both finding good results.

Just had a report from the Eastern Shore of Virginia that the first flounder of the year has been caught. With a 16-inch minimum size, I am sure many limits will be boxed before long.

Tackle and gun shop auction

On Friday, April 12 and Saturday, April 13, Emmert Auctions will be selling off the entire stock at Rattle and Reel Sporting Center. This includes plenty of fishing tackle, hunting equipment and guns. All stock is brand new and ready to go for the 2013 seasons.

I am always sad to hear when any outdoors business goes out, and I am sure their customers will be sorry to see them go. However, it does present an opportunity for the rest of us to get in on some bargains.

The shop is at 32783 Long Neck Road. Sale hours are 3 to 10 p.m., Friday and 9:30 a.m. until everything is sold on Saturday. Fishing tackle will be sold on Friday with hunting stuff and guns on Saturday.

Flounder public hearing

I attended the Summer Flounder Public Hearing on Thursday and there were a good number of folks in the DNREC Auditorium. As is normal in a public hearing, the subject was explained in detail by DNREC staff, and then the floor was open for questions.

The No.1 question concerned Addendum XXIV to the Flounder Management Plan. This proposed regulation would allow states that overfished their 2012 flounder quota to use any projected excess from other states to maintain status quo for 2013.

As an example, should Delaware go with a 16.5-inch minimum size and four-fish bag limit we are projected to be 10 percent under quota. In that case, New Jersey and New York could take that 10 percent and use it to diminish their 2012 overage and keep the same regulations they had last year. Keep in mind that 10 percent is just an estimate and no one will know if it exists or not until the 2013 season is over.

The bottom line is, New York and New Jersey overfished their quota in 2012 and are looking for a way to get out of having to reduce their catch in 2013 to make up for the overage. Using an estimated excess of quota before the first fish of the year has been taken is highly irresponsible, and I hope ASMFC will reject this idea.

You can go to ASMFC.org to read Addendum XXIV and then send a comment to tkerns@asmfc.org. The comment period is open until Friday, April 12.

The question of which option to take for 2013 was open for comment with one person selecting Option 2, seven people for Option 3 and four for Option 4. Option 3 is a 17-inch minimum size, while Option 4 has a 16.5-inch minimum. Both have a four-fish bag and no closed season.

The number of comments did not reflect the number of people in attendance. I suspect some, like me, had already sent in their choice before the meeting.

Once the comment period is closed, the hearing officer will report to the director of Fish and Wildlife, who will select the most popular option. That selection will go to the secretary of DNREC for final approval. After that, the new regulations will be published, and once that is done the 2013 rules will become the law. This will probably occur sometime in early May. Until then, we will be fishing under 2012 regulations of an 18-inch minimum size and four-fish bag limit.

Herring season closed

The season for river herring is closed. You cannot catch or possess river herring, which means you can’t use them for bait. I have heard of imported river herring being sold frozen to bait shops, but make sure to keep any receipt and the container they came in should an enforcement officer decide to check.

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