Getting decent weather windows and the patrons to want to go fishing on the same day the weather is right has been an issue here at the Wharf since we have gotten our first real taste of winter, but that all changed this past weekend and we were once again able to get offshore and take advantage of the biting Sea Bass.
We have had a lot of cold and an awful amount of wind over the last couple weeks keeping us tied to the docks more than we liked and wishing we were fishing on the few nice days that we have seen. Finally we got a break in the weather and enough folks that were more than willing to brave the cold temperatures and try and catch some fish on the same day. Even though we experienced nearly gale force winds earlier in the day, the forecast was good and the ocean was pretty friendly in the moderating winds by the time we departed at midnight Friday night making for a nice smooth ride out to the fishing grounds.
We arrived on the grounds just before daybreak and it was a very cold crisp awakening out on deck. Air temperatures were in the low twenties however with water temperatures in the mid fifties it was certainly bearable out on deck. It would be over an hour before we actually started to fish with the anchor mishaps, however once we finally got set up the fish began to come over the rail and they were nice ones. Sea Bass were coming up all around the boat, not fast and furious like you see at times but they were biting and when you got down to the bottom you either caught fish or you lost your bait most of the time. Fishing in these depths of water it is often hard to judge just how many fish are coming up because it takes so long to break the surface once the anglers hook up. It was clear however by looking in the boxes that some folks were putting together a very nice catch right from the start.
As the sun came up higher, the moderating winds were shifting directions frequently making it a challenge to stay located but with several anchors and a little persistence, we continued to pick away at some quality fish and by mid morning some anglers had already made quick work of a limit or near limit catch with Sea Bass that would weigh as much as 2 to 4 pounds on the average. While the fish had not quite added up for everybody, there was a nice spread around the boat and there were some real quality Jumbo Bass in the mix. Along with the Bass there was also a few Blues and a real nice Pollack landed on this hotspot.
Late in the morning Capt. H.D. decided to make a move and try a wreck that he generally fishes much later in the year. This wreck was much deeper and has over the years proven to be a hot spot where you could see just about anything brought up from the depths including Tilefish, Wreckfish and even Grouper. This wreck happened to be fairly close to our first location so he just had to try it. The wreck looked very lively when we rode over it and even after we got set up however it turned out to be a very disappointing stop catching just a handful of Bass a couple Tiles and some big Conger Eels for our deep dropping effort. We moved on.
The next area that we fished was still pretty deep I think about fifty or so fathoms but it was game on when you got your baits to the bottom. Capt. H made a few short drifts in the area trying to decipher the fish from all of the bait he was marking and once we dropped back on the anchor again the fish were coming up! Sea Bass mostly and a few Blueline Tilefish were coming in all around the boat. Those that had a tough start earlier in the day now had the chance to make up for lost time and some folks who already had enough just quit. This was not a trip where everyone on board limited out however there were multiple limits or near limit catches all around the boat and the fish were quality fish. I personally didn't miss too many drops with my rod on this adventure fishing nearly as hard as I possibly could. I finally gave up late in the day ending up with a dozen Sea Bass and a couple of small Blue Lines for my effort. I did have five or six Bass over three pounds two of which weighed easily over four pounds. These were very nice fish and I personally thought I had a pretty good day.
As long as the weather cooperates we should continue to have great success with these Sea Bass and Tiles. The outlook is very promising to have fish right up until the closure whenever we can get out. Water temperatures offshore were really warm in my book. We saw water as warm as 56 degrees while back inshore the surface water has dipped as low as 39 chilly degrees. The cold weather has finally made an impact on the near shore waters cooling down the whole column of water all around the lower end of the Bay and off 20 miles. For the boats that have fished for the Tog inshore the results have been mixed but the general consensus is not as good as it was in January but nor has been the weather. As for Codfish ? Not much to report down our way, they seem to be few and far between in our region right now but with the colder water perhaps this will change in the next few weeks.
We still have plenty of trips scheduled to try and take advantage of the Sea Bass while the season is open and we also have some dates set to fish for the Tog and perhaps the Ling and Cod if they show. All trips are reservations in advance at this time and there is a complete list of trips on the calendar page at fishlewes.com, for reservations or any other information about trips sailing out of the Wharf or a private charter please give us a call at (302) 645-TUNA.
Until Next Time Happy Fishing!
Capt. Rick Yakimowicz
Thelma Dale IV