We kicked off our 2013 regular All-Day fishing trips this past weekend targeting the Tautog and were blessed with some very good weather and some pretty decent fishing as a bonus!
The weather around here has been pretty tough for late winter into early spring and water temperatures have been a little on the cold side from all the wind and the lack of sun combined with the cold days and nights. Our fishing here at the Wharf has been somewhat limited with the weather lately but we have been able to get away from the docks the past few weekends with a few special 10-hour trips. This extended time and in some cases even a little more time was proven to be much needed just to get into some deeper water to get the bites. Even then the results were often very spotty. Tog fishing has definitely been pretty hit and miss so far this year with a few nice fish coming in out of the deeper water so we were a little apprehensive about what we might be able to do with just the regular full day trips. The fish Gods however smiled upon us this past weekend enabling us to get away with catching some fish much closer to home for a change and we saw some good size fish as well.
Even though we ultimately ended up running in excess of twenty miles for our best fishing this past weekend there was finally a good sign of biting fish in some much shallower water than that of just a few short weeks ago giving us hope that we are going to have a normal start to our spring season. It was certainly not all peaches and cream, there were a lot of dead spots in between and in typical Tog fishing fashion patience was not something you wanted to leave at the dock. Even when the fish were biting their best you still had to be on your toes or you would come up with empty hooks. Not too many suicidal Tog this past weekend!
We fished both Friday and Saturday this past weekend and both days we were able to get out, the fish made us wait until late in the day before they really started to add up for us. It could have been a tidal deal or it could have been location or maybe even a combination of the two but the other boats that were out over the weekend also encountered similar scenarios that we saw with the intermittent bites throughout the day. Our patience seemed to pay off though in the long run because by the end of each trip we saw multiple limit catches around the rail with nice Tog and when they were biting the best there was plenty of short action around the boat to keep it interesting for everyone. Our biggest Tog for the weekend was over ten pounds and there was a good number of fish in the four to six pound class as well. It was a nice start to the season in my book and the outlook is very promising for more of the same.
As I stated earlier water temperatures are on the cool side. For the better part of my travels over the weekend I never saw surface temperatures above 42 and 43 degrees. Finally on Saturdays ride home I saw a few surface readings around 45 degrees with the slick calm Ocean and the warm afternoon sun. The temperatures up in the Bay have not been any warmer, in fact some of the guys targeting Stripers on Friday were seeing only 41 degrees on the surface in the morning up on the shallow flats on the Jersey side of the Bay. Pretty cold considering this time last year they were a solid ten degrees or more warmer everywhere you went. As the days get longer and the air temperatures creep up it shouldn't take much to have us right on target for normal water temperatures.
As we look ahead to our 2013 season we have a lots of anticipation for what we will be able to do. Our Sea Bass season looks to be very similar to that of last year and it looks like we are finally going to get a little break with the Flounder in that we will be able to land a smaller sized fish then we have had to try and catch for a long long time. Our Flounder size could possibly be just 16 1/2 inches for this season with a limit of four fish and the worst case is looking like a 17" fish still with a creel limit of four. Either option is smaller than we have had in quite some time with no closed season and will allow us to ultimately bring more flatties home for supper.
Starting out the season this year we will be sailing on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday with the regular All-Day trips. As the weather improves we will move into our seven day a week schedule likely by the end of April or the beginning of May. For now we will be targeting primarily the Tautog on our full-day trips. We depart at 7:00 a.m. and we generally return to the docks around 4:00 p.m. We provide the Clams and the Crabs bring your own Shrimp if you want them. Reservations for these trips are not required it is an open boat however I always suggest that you call in advance so you can get the latest weather updates and a good idea of what to expect on any given day.
If you would like any more information about trips sailing out of the Wharf or you would like to book a private charter or reserve space on a special trip please give us a call at (302) 645-TUNA.
Until Next Time Happy Fishing!
Capt. Rick Yakimowicz
Thelma Dale IV