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Lewes, Delaware
Jim's Towing Service
January 16, 1998     Cape Gazette
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January 16, 1998

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Die-hards still catching stripers at fishing pier; weather sayings carry some truth Don Carbonneau hooked a healthy fish Tuesday night while a northwest wind whistling down Delaware Bay swept heavy clouds away from a cold and bright full moon. Working a narrow corridor of water between stout pilings, Car= bonneau had been fishing about an hour when the fish struck. His rod bent in a hard curve as he stepped back from the fishing piei: fence. Don tightened his lips as he reeled and forgot the wind blowing on his back. The noise of its blowing, against the wave tops, against the pier bulkheads and metal fencing, against the lamp posts spiking the night like sen, tries, disappeared and for just a moment all of Don's conscious- ness flowed into the tension surg- ing through his line and rod. The fish in a tug of war with Don at the other end of the line was a large striped bass and the fisherman knew it was a big one. Big fish though are often short- lived and this one was no excep- tion. Don watched the striper sur- face and roll one time about 15 yards out - a sure sign of its appre- ciable size. And then, as quickly as the fish had struck, it spit the hook. Don stared briefly at his slack line. Disbelief and disgust marched over every inch of his weathered face as he cranked his reel a few more turns to confirm what he already knew. Then he " turned toward two oth- er men standing quietly several feet away. He shook his head, eyeing the empty lure hanging over the water. "That was a big fish. That was a keeper. I saw him roll." Don didn't waste much time of- fering condolences to himself. In- stead he turned back to the piling- lined corridor, cast the lure out to- ward the point at Cape Hen!open, and began another retrieve. He didn't say it, but you could tell by the look in his eyes that he was wishing for that big fish to be lurking still within the realm of his lure. Don Carbonneau and a handful of other local fishermen hike the long length of the public fishing pier at Cape Henlopen State Park several nights each week through- out the year. As long as fish are in the waters at the mouth of Delaware Bay, the die-hards are there. "I'd say I've caught about 300 fish since the end of October," said Carbonneau Tuesday night after deciding the big fish had def- initely left. "All stripers and no keepers. Some as long as 26 inch- es but none over that 28-inch lega ! range. I keep a log of every fish- ing day and what I catch. It helps me know what my chances are from year to year." Another angler commented that the stripers seem to come in to the fishing pier only at night. "They seem tO stay out in the deeper wa- ter during the day. They must feel safer here at night. Don says BAREF00TIN' they'll keep on biting until the wa- ter goesbelow 40." According to the weather radio, temperature of the coastal waters is hovering around 45 degrees. That's still relatively warm for this time of year. The warmer than normal water keeps adjacent land areas along the coast warmer as well. "If grain grows in January, there will be a year of great need." I English saying Winter wheat and barley in the fields around Sussex turned a darker shade of green in the last few days and show signs of growth. Our unusually warm Jan- uary is fooling the plants into thinking winter's further along than it really is. : A weather calendar I received for Christmas from Susan Porter, whose mother Barbara took great joy from watching the weather and nature's creatures moving through it, explains the.truth be- hind the English saying. "Plant growth due to unexpected warmth in January likely will be killed by cold weather in February or March, .possibly leading to a re- duced harvest and famine later in the year." This is being written as the fore- casters are discussing a wintry mix of rain, freezing rain, sleet and snow headed our way. No doubt the warmer-than-usual ocean water along our coast will keep most of what falls in Delaware's Cape Region on the rainy side. Will another northwest wind follow the storm, clearing the skies for the long Martin Luther King holiday weekend? Another English saying from the same weather calendar says we should hope so. "Do business with men when the wind is in the north-west." The calendar explains: "This is another example of a geographi- cally dependent proverb, although one that is widely applicable to the temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. A west or northwest wind typically brings fair weather and high pressure. In fact, it may affect human emo- Continued on page 8 NEW LISTING ENGLISH TUDOR 112 Henlopen Ave. Professionally decorated and landscaped. Eat-in gourmet kitchen w/granite eountertops and commercial looking appliances. 2 fireplaces (one gas), Spacious second floor with third level sleeping loft. 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