Happy New Year from the Wharf! The long anticipated and overdue opening for the Black Sea Bass finally came to fruition at the beginning of the new year and we were able to take advantage of this opening in a big way over the weekend and started out our 2013 fishing season in style!
We loaded up late Friday night in the frigid temperatures with enough gear for just about anything and with a decent forecast off we went into the darkness with high hopes and lots of anticipation for a great day of fishing. I feel pretty certain that nobody was disappointed. Shortly after daybreak Capt. H.D. was circling over our first wreck of the day and I was suiting up and rigging my rod for what would turn out to be just a fabulous day of fishing.
We landed over the first wreck which was in a couple of hundred feet of water and from the moment the first baits hit the bottom it was game on with the Sea Bass. It wasn't the best that I have ever seen by any stretch, however there were fish coming up all around the boat. Doubles even triples of Sea Bass that would range in size from about 10 inches long to as much as four and five pounds and even bigger. It was certainly a mix of year class fish and they started to add up for some anglers right out of the gate. I personally did my best to catch all the little fish and get them out of the way so others could get to the big ones! Fishing conditions out on deck were challenging to say the least, naturally the forecast was a little off and when the sun came up the northwest winds were still blowing in excess of twenty knots making for some pretty demanding conditions out on deck with the choppy seas. Fortunately the water temperature where we were fishing was in the mid fifties and the super wind chill off the water wasn't as bad as it gets at times in colder water. With the constant action of baiting up and catching fish staying warm was merely an afterthought, anglers were actually shedding clothes.
This action continued on throughout the morning enabling us to stay located on hot spot number one for quite some time. With the boat swinging in the confused seas the action would go anywhere from lock and load to just a pick but there were impressive fish as well as numerous throwbacks coming up the whole time. I even managed to get a few keepers for the bucket by now so you know they were thick down there.
I had lost track of time but I think around 11 a.m. Capt. H gave the order to pull anchor and we moved on in the now moderating winds to hot spot number two which was just a little deeper. Once we got anchored up again it was obvious that you did not want to miss a single drop on this spot, the Bass were thick and they were huge! All around the boat it was doubles and triples of some of the biggest Sea Bass you will likely ever see on one of these trips and there seemed to be a nice backbone to the fish overtop of this wreck, they were even adding up for me. At this point everyone started to be very selective and we were honestly venting and throwing back Sea Bass in the pound and a half class just to try and catch bigger ones to keep. This stop I would have to say was about as good as it gets for a while. We fished here for another hour or so and everyone pretty much had what they needed before Capt. H decided to run off a little deeper to finish the day hoping for a few Tilefish to end the day.
Our Day was pretty much made and some anglers didn't even head back out on deck when we got to the edge of the deep deep but when Capt. H stopped the boat the fish started coming in once again. More doubles of big Bass and finally a few Tilefish. The Bass were again very impressive however the Tiles that we saw were nothing to brag about. At this point in the day it didn't seem to matter. The only complaint that would be heard would have been sore arms from winding in all of the fish. We did ultimately land quite a few Blueline Tiles however they were not very big in size. The bottom seemed to be covered up with Sea Bass and it is possible that they grabbed the bait before anything else had the chance. As for variety we also saw several Bluefish in the mix everywhere we went and we even landed a decent Fluke on one stop. The Jumbo Bass made the trip this day, all tolled we had close to twenty Bass that were weighed in for citations that would weigh over four and five pounds and our biggest of the day was just shy of seven pounds! I can't even imagine how many fish we landed that were over three and four pounds but there was a lot of them. It was very nice to get back out on these fish this time of the year and be able to once again have the opportunity to catch these Jumbos!
We have several more of these long-range trips on the schedule but remember this Sea Bass opening is only going to last for January and February at which time the fishcrats are shutting it down until who knows when at this point in time. This is the time to reserve your spot if you want to get in on this action for the Jumbo Bass and there will also be Tilefish caught on most of these trips as well. Remember this is fairly deep water where we are fishing this time of the year and oftentimes the depth will approach or well exceed 300 feet of water. We don't frown on braid and we don't frown on electric reels so bring whatever you want but expect to use a pound or more of lead at times so you will definitely need a rod that can handle the weight. Check out our trip schedule at fishlewes.com for the dates and remember you MUST reserve in advance as space is limited.
If you would like any more information about trips sailing out of the Wharf or you would like to reserve space give us a call at (302) 645-TUNA and don't forget to check us out on facebook for any other updates that may come about.
Until Next Time Happy New Year and Happy Fishing!
Capt. Rick Yakimowicz
Thelma Dale IV