After Two and a half weeks of fishing over the wrecks rocks and artificial reefs targeting Black Sea Bass since the season opener on the 19th of May there are a few things that I can say with certainty. There are definitely some nice Sea Bass around but not like years past, if your looking for freezer packing action and limit catches of fish I'm not your guy, and last but not least - does the wind never stop?
It's been a rollercoaster ride with the Sea Bass since the opening, we have absolutely seen some of what I would call some very good fishing but we have also seen the other side of this coin. Since my last report I have witnessed hands down a couple of the best trips so far this year and I have also seen the worst trip so far this year with the Sea Bass. Throughout the last two weeks of fishing I can also say that I can honestly count the times the Ocean has been flat calm on my fingers and that would be using just one of my hands, the wind just won't give us a break this spring. We have endured moderate to heavy winds and seas at some point on virtually every trip we have made so far this spring fishing for the Bass except for just a precious few calm days.
The wind hasn't exactly been the only problem; personally I like a little wind, it makes pinpoint positioning over some of these tiny structures we are fishing actually a little easier for me given the right conditions. The fact that we started late again this year on the Bass in my opinion is once again a major game changer, the fish were actually moving much better two weeks before the season ever opened while we weren't allowed to fish for them and there is no doubt in my mind we would have caught a lot more fish if we were allowed to fish for the Bass earlier in May when we were Togging. Now what Bass are around don't seem to be moving and they are not swimming into the commercial fish pots either, as a result any structures that we have fished in the last two weeks are just not rebuilding with any more fish. I can anchor over a wreck and catch barely enough to feed a sick cat or if we are lucky we may see a couple dozen keepers come up at the drop of the lines however within a matter of minutes it will be over just like a flash in the pan. Some of the well known wrecks that would normally produce at least a nice pick of fish on any given day this time of year have been virtually devoid of any keeper fish whatsoever if the wreck has been recently visited. The Bass just don't seem to be moving.
We did manage to see a few nice catches of fish over the last seven days despite conditions and the mere lack of fish that seem to be around right now. We actually had a couple limit catches on Bass made by lucky anglers on one trip and there were some groups of anglers with coolers that were chocked full with a mix of both nice Sea Bass and some good sized Ling when I was able to push further from home. These trips are not the normal though, on these days we were pretty well offshore fishing in areas that don't get fooled with too much to see this type of action. Unfortunately the conditions and the crowds don't always warrant running in excess of thirty miles to these offshore wrecks and when I fish inshore of twenty miles we just don't see this kind of action, once we hit a spot it just won't rebuild the way it sometimes would. A typical wreck trip now would be more like eight to a dozen keeper Bass and maybe a couple Ling for high hook if your lucky and trust me the numbers will go down from there. There has been a few times that I wondered if everyone would just get supper.
Yesterday Mother Nature decided to give us a little break and with a light crowd we decided to try some drifting on the open bottoms of the "old grounds" in hopes of finding a few Flatties and maybe some Bass. While the action was painfully slow for the better part of the day we did manage to see our first pick of Flounder for the 2013 season but I was very disappointed in the lack of Sea Bass on the open bottom. We caught very few keeper Bass in fact we may have caught more Flounders than we had Bass for the day. For the day we ended up landing only 25 Flatties and were able to keep just a handful of them. Had we been under the new Flounder regulation that starts next week we would have kept several more. No big Day by any stretch but certainly a good sign for what lies ahead with what we will be able to do. This fishing on the old grounds will only improve as the water temperatures continue to climb. Yesterday we still saw plenty of the Spiny Dogfish Sharks on some of our drifts proving that the bottom temperatures are still a little cool. Surface temperatures have finally crept back up to about 61 degrees which is where it was before the gale northwest winds over memorial day weekend. We are getting there.
The Delaware Bay has been pretty lively with the Drumfish on both sides of the Bay and there are also more and more reports of Croakers being landed in several locations. There also seems to be a lot of Kingfish around for those targeting them and some of the sharpshooters continue to catch some nice Trout jigging around the structures. The Croakers being around this early should bode well with the inshore fishing and with the Half-Day trips as we roll into Summer.
The plan for my All-Day trips is simple we are going fishing. On days with just a few anglers we will likely be doing some drifting the open bottom and we will see a variety of fish with both the Flounders and the Sea Bass when the conditions are good. On Days where we have a decent crowd or the wind is blowing it is still likely that we will be anchoring over the wrecks and the reefs targeting the Bass and some Ling. Trips depart the dock at 7:00 a.m. and we generally return around 4:00. Half Day trips will be targeting Croakers, Kingfish, and possibly a few Trout and Flounder in the Bay.
If you would like any more information about the trips sailing out of the Wharf or you would like to book a private charter or reserve space on an upcoming special trip please give us a call at (302) 645-TUNA. Don't forget to like us on facebook for weekly updates as well as more pictures from our recent trips and check out Groupon for some special deals on both the Full and the Half Day trips sailing out of the Wharf this summer.
Until Next Week Happy Fishing!
Capt. Rick Yakimowicz
Thelma Dale IV