The month of September is now just a memory and as we roll into our fall season I would like to thank all of the Flounder that pleased our fisherman for so long this past summer and wish them a happy spawn and safe return in 2014 to all the ones that we missed or that we threw back to grow up for next year! It was certainly a lot of fun while it lasted but I'm afraid those days of drifting and dreaming and catching the flatties that we grew to know and love have now come to a close.
Up until and including this past Thursday we continued to catch and land some pretty impressive numbers of nice Flounders here at the Wharf however we found ourselves further and further from home to see the best numbers of keepers. With the Northeast winds that we encountered late last week and over the weekend I'm afraid now that instead of looking for the Flat fish we will just have to let the ones that our still around find us. It's official our drifting days for specifically Flounders are pretty much done now and all of our efforts will be for the Sea Bass and the Tautog or whatever else may be willing to bite our hooks fishing primarily at anchor over structure.
The Flounders cooperated nicely right up until the last day we were able to make the journey to the grounds where we had been catching them last week, often biting as good or better than we had seen all summer. With the bulk of the Flounder seemingly moving further away from the beach now it's time to give up the hunt for flatties and concentrate our efforts a little closer to home with our fall wreck and reef fishing. I believe we will still see a few Flounder throughout the remainder of the season but these will be the ones that we stumble into and take as a bonus catch, not necessarily our target. Sea Bass and Tautog will now take center stage and it is likely that we will be anchoring over some type of structure just about every trip and using crabs and clams along with the squid for bait from here on out.
Thursday was the last day we made it offshore for the Flounder and we were fortunate enough to land another 40 or so nice keepers along with countless throwbacks but by Friday morning the Northeast and east winds were blowing hard enough to know that drifting for the Flounders this day would just not be an option. The wind and waves continued to build and we scrubbed both Friday's and Saturday's All-Day trips sending those that showed up away to try for a nicer day. Sunday the winds had abated enough to make the trip however drifting was still not an option for us. We anchored over several different pieces of natural and artificial structure and were rewarded with a meager catch of decent sized Sea Bass. Not the best fishing in my book but top hooks were into double digits with nice keepers and for the way the
ocean was still kicked up with the residual swells from all the wind, I'd have to say it wasn't all that bad. I would expect that as the Ocean smoothes out the Sea Bass that are around will bite much better than they did for us on Sunday with all the swell.
On Monday we resumed with the anchoring program only this time with a light crowd and still a huge swell in the ocean I opted to stay close to home fishing some natural and artificial wrecks and reefs in the mouth of the Delaware Bay. It turned into a good plan. We had constant action for pretty much all day with a mix of few keeper Sea Bass, lots of Triggerfish, and a nice mess of fat Tautog! I see more trips like this in our future. Even though the water temperatures remain a little on the warm side we still saw a fair number of the Tog and for a while they actually bit fairly aggressive I thought. This fishery should only improve as the waters ultimately cool down and the Tog become more active feeding around the structures. The Triggers were a nice bonus but I doubt that they will be hanging around for
too terribly long especially around the structures close to home. Our Tautog regulation right now is a 5 fish limit for the creel and a minimum of 15 inches in length for the remainder of the year. We will be able to keep Sea Bass until the federal closure takes place after October 14th. The Sea Bass will then reopen on November 1st.
We still have plenty of good days anticipated on the water in the weeks and months ahead. I would anticipate anchor fishing over structures fishing for both the Sea Bass and or the Tautog. fortunately we can catch the Tog close to home allowing us run with the minimal amount of anglers on any given day. As far as how many Sea Bass we will be seeing in the next couple of weeks is anybodies guess, so far it does not seem like there are the big numbers of these fish around like we sometimes see at this time of the year but we will certainly be catching some just maybe not the freezer packer days of the early 2000's. There are also some
Triggers around and a few Snapper sized Blues and Porgies. Yesterday fishing close to home we came back to the docks with six different species of edible fish in the boxes ; a very nice variety. Sea Bass and Tog will be our primary target however and we will have the crabs and the clams onboard for bait every day. All Day trips depart at 7:00 a.m. and we generally get back to the docks at around 4:00. We will continue to sail daily until sometime in November when we will shorten our schedule to just four days a week.
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