Excellent weather and calm seas allowed us to get out over the weekend and see a beautiful Ocean and some outstanding fishing for this time of the year. The long-range trip had another real good catch with a mixed bag of Sea Bass, Bluefish and Tilefish and the Tog trip made out real well a lot closer to home with some top quality Blackfish spread around the boat.
The weatherman had promised some unseasonably warm temperatures and very light winds for pretty much the entire weekend and we were geared and ready to take full advantage of this rare opportunity. The long-range trip took off shortly after midnight and when they arrived at the fishing grounds there was actually still a slight breeze blowing in the same direction as the current flow making for some difficult conditions trying to stay in touch with the bottom. There was however a nice steady pick of pretty fish in the challenging conditions almost right out of the gate. There was a nice pick of big Sea Bass and some very impressive Blueline (grey) tilefish around the boat.
This action continued throughout the morning and Captain H.D. made several drifts as well as anchor attempts at trying to get the fish to add up for everyone while the current continued to hinder the effort. As the day progressed the conditions did improve and the fish were starting to fill up the boxes nicely. Capt. H reported one stop where while in transit from one hot spot to another he saw so much life on the fathometer he couldn't take it anymore. He turned around and made a stop and was somewhat surprised to see that the life he saw on the bottom was nearly all slammer sized bluefish feeding on baitfish in the depths. While this wasn't exactly what he had hoped to see, it made for some fast paced pandemonium around the deck for a while bringing up these fighters from the deep water. By every account this turned into another great fishing trip with a good variety catch with not only the Jumbo sized Bass but also a smattering of big Blueline Tiles and the scrappy Bluefish. Capt. H did tell me he didn't have the all-limit catch with the Bass like the previous trip however with the variety and the size of the fish the coolers were looking pretty impressive by the end of the day and the ride home was on a mirror like Ocean which is a sight seldom seen for the second week of January.
Meanwhile back in shore about 60 miles, the Tog trip also was enjoying the moderate temperatures as well as the flat calm seas. Unfortunately as is often seen with the warm air temperatures and the cooler ocean temperature, thick fog covered our area cheating us from the benefits of the warm sun and seeing the calm water. The fish however didn't seem to mind. We did have a fair amount of current running but it was perfect anchoring conditions and staying located over the biting fish was a simple task. The fishing was certainly not the fast and furious action that was seen at times on the long range trip however the Tog were indeed biting and we were catching some true quality fish. As with typical tog fishing, not everyone was getting in on the action but there was a nice smattering of fish coming up all around the boat and judging by the amount of crabs we were going through they were most certainly biting and cleaning off everyone's hooks. Every stop that we made seemed to produce Tog that would average around four to six pounds with some of the bigger fish teetering around the double digit weight range. The bite was slow but it was certainly consistent and the fish were adding up nicely by later in the day before they seemed to slow down as the hard ebb tide started to break down. By the end of the trip we did have a few limits spread around the boat and just about everyone at least had a fresh fish supper and we had several citation sized fish in the boxes to brag about.
The water temperature right now in the 20 mile range is hovering around 47 to 48 degrees and further offshore is considerably warmer which in my book is pretty good for this time of the year, normally it would be much colder especially inshore. With the decent weather there were boats everywhere trying to take advantage of the great forecast and quite frankly the radios sounded like it wasn't the best weekend to be a fish. Sea Bass, Tog and even Stripers were being landed in areas that are not typically that common for seeing any amount fish for the middle of January, but most of the weekend fishermen that were out saw good fishing no matter what they were targeting.
Remember that the Sea Bass opening is only on until the end of February at which time it will close for an as of yet to be determined period of time. It sounds like there is going to be another limited season in 2013 for the Sea Bass and at best it is likely we will be looking at a considerable catch reduction. The Bass are here and they are biting in these offshore waters right now. We do have several more trips scheduled and also remember these are limited space advanced reservations only on these excursions. There is a complete schedule at fishlewes.com on the trip calendar and don't forget to check us out and like us on facebook for any other updates as well as more pictures from our recent trips.
If you would like any more information about trips sailing out of the Wharf or you would like to make reservations on one of our upcoming trips please give us a call at (302) 645-TUNA.
Until Next Time Happy Fishing!
Capt. Rick Yakimowicz
Thelma Dale IV