After a couple more weather related days tied to the docks late last week we managed to get out both days over the weekend and we have been out every day so far this week. Other than Saturday's trip offshore for the Sea Bass and Ling with one of the nicest crowds of the year, we have spent all of the rest of our time drifting for Flounder with some pretty favorable results when the weather and the conditions allowed.
With summer just around the corner it seems as though the summer Flounder are right on time. We haven't seen any of what I would call outstanding Fluke fishing or anything even similar but what I can say is we have been targeting them and we have been catching them. I have already seen a few limit catches around the boat and we haven't even been at it for a full week yet. We have really only fished primarily for the flat fish a total of five days on the drift and we have already landed over seventy-five keeper sized Flounder in those five trips! So far it has been about at 50/50 keeper to throwback ratio and the majority of the fish that we have kept we didn't even have to measure we just invited them home for supper and threw them on the ice. I am pleased to say that we have reaped the benefit of the new 17 inch size limit however on several occasions providing a few more suppers for our fishermen.
It's hard to believe that we are in the third week of June considering we still have the long sleeve shirts and the hooded sweat jackets close at hand. Water temperatures continue to slowly rise but we have had plenty of ocean breeze recently to keep it chilly out on the water. Our surface temperatures this week have been pretty much in the mid sixties and the fish we have brought up from the depths no longer feel cold to the touch so things are definitely changing. We also have been seeing very few Spiny Dogfish lately proving that the bottom temperature is warming up. The water is getting much clearer and we have been sighting plenty of Sea Turtles and Ocean Sunfish milling around on the surface. There are also reports of several Triggerfish having been landed along the beachfront snags and up in the Delaware Bay which is also a sign of warming water.
So far things are looking very promising for continued action with the Croakers and the Kingfish as well as small Trout up in the Bay. Half-Day trips and some of the charters that have been working up in the Bay continue to see good numbers of these pan fish regularly. While the fish continue to be on the small side as far as the Croakers are concerned they seem to be plentiful right now and they stretch along miles of coastline and in the upper reaches of the Bay. This is a real good sign for what we may have to look foreword to as the season progresses. The Croakers showed up really early this year and the bigger ones will likely be right around the corner. So far the biggest Croaks have been about 13 inches long but I am getting more reports of some nicer fish starting to show around different areas over the last week. Some of these Croakers are even being caught in the canals and rivers leading into the Bay.
Hopefully the weather patterns that we have been suffering through of late will change now and finally give us a break with some calm seas and some summerlike weather. The outlook for fishing is good as far as I am concerned. Flounder fishing is decent and should only get better as the dog days of summer arrive and with the amount of round fish around hopefully we will have plenty of bites. The one thing lacking seems to be the Sea Bass. Unless we get out into 120 plus feet of water we just have not been seeing that many keeper sized Bass. I can't even say we have been seeing that many short Bass but then again most of our rigs and our baits have been tailored to catching the Flatties.
The All-Day trips will be primarily drift fishing pretty much from here on out and the Flounder will be at the top of the target list. I do expect to see a few Sea Bass on some days and other days it may be just the Flounder. As for variety we have actually seen a few Croakers while dragging the big baits fishing on the old grounds and a few snapper Blues and Sea Robbins in the mix but these fish have been sacrificed for the fresh meat bait. We are concentrating on catching the Flounder. Jiggy rigs are the rig of choice, some folks will just use a bucktail and a teaser when they can get away with it but the short leaders almost always seem to be the ticket. We will be fishing anywhere from about 70 to as much as 100 feet of water and the amount of lead varies from day to day. It is not uncommon to have to use ten ounces of lead to stay in touch with the bottom but the light Jigs in the right hands will hold even in the worst conditions. We will provide the squid and any fresh cut meat that we can get our hands on and if you like the gulp baits feel free to pick some up it seems to just about always work. We depart the docks at 7:00 a.m. and generally return around 4:00 p.m.
Half-Day trips are running two trips daily now sailing at 8:00 a.m. till 12:30 p.m. and then again at 1:00 p.m. till 5:30 p.m. Evening trips will only be sailing on Friday and Saturday nights at 6:00 p.m. returning to the docks at 10:30 p.m. as of now. It is possible that we may run more evening trips as the season progresses but for now it's just those two nights. Half-Day trips will be targeting primarily Croakers, Kingfish and Trout, they also may see a few Flounder on some trips. All bait is supplied.
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 an upcoming special trip please give us a call at (302) 645-TUNA.
Until Next Week Happy Fishing!
Capt. Rick Yakimowicz
Thelma Dale IV