Despite the fact that the best description that I can give our first full week of our Sea Bass season would be a low grade at best, we have actually at times seen some decent fishing, some very nice fish in the mix and for the most part some very happy anglers when they got off of the boat.
It was a long week. Before the hard gale northwest wind Friday afternoon and all day Saturday, hard southerly winds blew each and every day for the better part of the week and the swell was increasing with each passing trip making for some challenging conditions just keeping a tight line over the structure. Couple the sea conditions with the plain and simple fact that the fish were not everywhere you would expect them to be, made it tough to get the fish to add up. We had several stops that would normally produce hundreds if not more of Bass this time of the year that simply had very few or in some cases even no fish at all. I could go to the artificial reef where there is literally hundreds of sunken subway cars as well as a dozen or more scuttled ships and it would be like opening up Christmas presents not knowing what was inside the wrapped box. One set of cars may produce forty or so quality fish and the next set would produce next to nothing. The ocean was rough enough that using the fathometer to find the clouds of fish wouldn't even help sometimes.
When things get tough, fortunately for me someone on deck will always remind me that they are having a lot more fun than I am having which can be a comforting relief. While I would only give the Sea Bass fishing maybe a high C as a grade without a curve those anglers that were weeding through the countless throwbacks that we have come across at times have been having an absolute blast catching fish and I can honestly say that just about everyone that has fished with me this past week has managed at least a good fresh fish supper or two and in a few cases much more. If your looking for limits of Sea Bass I doubt I can help you right now, I have only seen a few limit catches so far but if you want to catch fish and have a good time I think I got you covered we still are seeing some decent numbers of Sea Bass and every now and again we see a good mess of Red Hake mixed in with the catch. Most days Top hooks will land into double digits to mid teens with keeper fish and the numbers will decline from there. The throw back action has been pretty good on every trip, it has not been uncommon for an angler to land thirty or more Sea Bass to end up with eight or ten keepers, that has been about the average.
It is still up in the air just how long we will continue to target the Sea Bass in the full anchoring over wrecks, Rocks and Reefs mode it is possible that as the water warms up there could still be a good push of fish moving in from further offshore and that will stretch the season. Our water temperatures had been climbing nicely on the surface but the bottom temperatures have still remained on the cool side. Towards the end of last week I was reading between 60 and 61 degrees on the surface every trip however with the gale northwest winds we encountered over the weekend the surface temperature dropped a full seven degrees down to 54 but it is back up to 57 today. Perhaps some of the cooler bottom water mixed with the surface even though the hard wind was out of the northwest I don't really know. Normally its the southwest winds that will churn up the cooler bottom. I did notice some of the cleanest water 20 miles off of the beach on Monday that I have seen since I was offshore in January, we could actually see our baits and our fish nearly thirty feet from the surface on this trip. If we can ever get a break with the wind I fully anticipate being able to drift on the hard bottoms of the old grounds and seeing a mix with some Bass and hopefully a few Fluke. Last year we were in the full drift mode by the second week in June whenever the wind allowed with a mix of both Bass and Flounder. There is certainly a transition in our near future unless more Sea Bass move into to the heavier structures but if the wind doesn't give us a break I won't even think about drifting.
We will continue with our daily trips targeting the Sea Bass and Ling for at least another week anchoring over the wrecks before we switch gears. Honestly the outlook for any big numbers of Sea Bass right now is iffy at best and I doubt you will find many who know what they are talking about with a different opinion. We can catch them but certainly not like we did just a few short years ago at this time of the year. Not the numbers you would expect to see anyway. Trips depart the docks at 7:00 a.m. and we are usually back to the docks around 4:00. We supply the Clams and the Squid but your welcome to bring anything you think might work, I have seen an awful lot of nice fish caught on just Gulp. We will also be running Half-Day trips and Capt. H.D. has a Long Range trip on the schedule departing Friday into Saturday at midnight for Tile Fish and possibly Sea Bass depending on the weather.
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. Don't forget to like us on facebook for daily updates as well as more recent pictures from our trips.
Until Next Week Happy Fishing!
Capt. Rick Yakimowicz
Thelma Dale IV