Auction at Bill’s Sport Shop set Feb. 2 –

There will be two auctions held in our area that will have something for most fishermen, from hooks and sinkers to large sportfishing boats.

Bill’s Sport Shop in Lewes is closing, and Butch Emmert will hold an auction there starting at 9:30 a.m., Saturday, Feb. 2. I spoke with Bill after his most recent health issue and he talked about retiring. It seems he has made the decision to do just that.

This should be the social event of the season for local fishermen. Even if you don’t buy anything, what a great chance to get up with fishing friends and make plans for the 2019 season while listening to the auctioneer call out the price of whatever he is holding up for bid.

I love auctions, but if you have never been to one, you have to be a bit careful not to get caught up in the excitement. When you find an item you want to bid on, select a price you are willing to pay and don’t go over that price. Sounds simple, but I have seen cheap items go for big money and expensive items go for low money, so know what you want and how much you are willing to pay, then stick to your plan.

The other auction is a bit different. It is a government auction run by an online service that will be selling 12 boats located at Indian River Marina. It began Jan. 23 and will start to close at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 27. The 12 boats have been abandoned by their owners and will go to the highest bidder.

There is a Viking and a Blackfin along with a steel-hulled commercial boat. An old Egg Harbor, plus some other pleasure boats will also be up for bid. They all have the word “questionable” as the description of their condition.

I think you can count on having to do some serious engine and transmission work on any of these boats as well as replace all of the electronics. The wood trim, deck, or in the case of the 1959 Egg Harbor, hull will most likely have to be replaced. There are people who love to do this type of restoration work, and to them, boats like this present a diamond in the rough. I could agree with the Viking and the Blackfin, but at 76, I don’t think I would be around long enough to see a project like this through to completion.

Island Beach State Park

My son Roger, who lives in New Jersey, mentioned to me that swimming is not allowed on the fishing beaches at Island Beach State Park. I checked the Island Beach State Park website and sure enough, swimming at the state park is only allowed on beaches where a lifeguard is present. Surf-fishing is not allowed on the swimming beaches when the lifeguards are there. I wonder how many surf-fishing permit tags would be sold if that were the case in Delaware.

Laurel Fishing Expo

If you are not into auctions, the Laurel Fishing Expo will be held at the Laurel Fire House from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 2. I attended the expo last year and found some good stuff including antique saltwater lures. There are also good buys on freshwater equipment and electronics.

Fishing report

As you might guess, not a whole lot of folks are fishing right now, but when we get any sort of break in the weather, the fishing is pretty good.

Local boats out of Lewes, Indian River and Ocean City have been catching big tog. As the water gets colder, the bite gets slower, but when you do get a hit it is usually a 10-pound or better tog.

The Delaware spillways have remained ice-free, and anglers drifting live minnows on a jighead or shad dart under a bobber have been catching pickerel, crappie and a few bass. On days when there is open water on the ponds, some big pickerel have been caught on live minnows.

Black sea bass season is open in Virginia during the month of February. If you plan on trailering your own boat down, contact the Virginia Marine Resources Commission to obtain a free recreational black sea bass permit. Then you have to call the VMRC the morning before going fishing so they can have someone waiting when you return to record your catch.

Giant bluefin tuna are being caught and sold out of Oregon Inlet, and good numbers of blackfin tuna are being jigged up out of Hatteras Inlet. Unfortunately, sharks are getting many of the blackfin tuna. I have seen photos of puppy drum caught out of the surf on Hatteras Island.

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