After a solid eight days tied to the docks while a pesky low pressure center swirled near gale force northeast winds right into the heart of our coast we finally resumed our daily fishing a week ago yesterday and we have been out every day since, catching and cussing at the ever so elusive Tautog.
With the closing of the black Sea Bass season on the 14th of October the Tautog became our main target species once the winds settled down from the storm. While this fishing has shown some real signs of greatness since we started fishing for them, for the most part these tog have done little more in my book than frustrate us on pretty much a daily basis. Tog by nature are a very finicky feeder and this was never more hammered home to our anglers as the full moon and the accompanying swift running tides approached just in time for this past weekend.
When we finally got back out on the water on Tuesday we had high hopes and were just glad to be away from the docks after the non scheduled fall vacation. I was actually pleased with the way our day went. Fishing for Tog after a storm of the caliber we witnessed is certainly a roll of the dice just to begin with and I was happy to see any biting fish at all. They did bite for us a little and even added up to a few limit catches around the boat on that day and also over the next few days to follow with some fish up in the six and seven pound class.
The biggest problem we ran into however was that the fish were only biting during a certain phase of the ebb tide which unfortunately was becoming an hour later each day. This was fine and at least they were somewhat predictable with their bite however by Friday they didn't start chewing until after two o'clock in the afternoon and it was apparent that it could be a very long weekend with the bite an hour later each day. It was a long weekend and for the Saturday crowd that showed which just happened to be one of the nicest groups of anglers I have had onboard since I quit flounder fishing, it was a long and painful fishing trip. We just didn't get um. We did manage buckets full of some world class Toadfish, some big Eels, and finally just enough Tog to show the folks what they actually looked like. There was a while that I thought perhaps we were going to have to pull a name out of a hat to settle the biggest fish pool.
Tog fishing setbacks like we encountered over the past weekend are nothing new especially fishing in and around the mouth of the Delaware Bay and they are usually most prevalent on either side of the moon or weather related. The currents reek havoc with the fishes feeding habits as well as making difficult conditions just trying to anchor or stay in touch with the bottom with the swift moving tides. Fortunately these conditions usually will only last a couple days before the fish return to a more normal feeding pattern and after today's production I think the worst is about over now for a while. Today's catch while still best described as just pick fishing in my opinion, was much better they bit just fine today and I anticipate even better fishing as we get further away from the moon.
If you have never fished for the Tog before I strongly suggest that you try but don't forget to bring your patience along with you when you come. Even at its very best the Tautog fishing can be a very frustrating adventure. These fish seldom commit suicide and an attentive rod and lots of patience are a must. Tackle loss in the wrecks and the reefs that we fish is pretty much unavoidable and coupled with the light bites and the nerve wracking bait loss or "the guy" that can seemingly do nothing wrong somewhere on the boat, these fish can make a grown man cry. The Tog however are both very fun to catch and to try and catch. There is nothing quite like that feeling when you connect and the rod bows over with the fish trying desperately to get back into the hole that he used to call home. They are one of the most challenging fish that we catch and they are also one of the finest tasting fish that will ever grace the dinner plate and they will be the main course on the menu now until we shut down for the year.
With the current Sea Bass situation that we are faced with once we do resume fishing for the Bass all of our trips will be extended hour trips of ten or twelve hours . The fish seem to have pushed further offshore than they do in more normal years and it will take the time to run offshore to the best fishing grounds. The Sea Bass season will reopen on the 1st of November and we have a special trip scheduled to run on both Friday the 1st and on Saturday the 2nd of November. These will be open boat trips and reservations are not required however it is always best to call in advance so we can give you an idea as to what you may expect with any changes with the weather or scheduling.
I will continue running daily fishing for the Tautog departing the docks at 7:00 a.m. we generally return at around four o'clock. We supply the Crabs but your welcome to bring Crabs, Shrimp or any other hard bait that you think may work. Most of our action has been on the Crabs and until the water cools down a bit more we won't be putting very much clam in the water. We have not seen too much along the lines of a variety this past week however we still see an occasional Triggerfish and there has also been some Sheepshead and a few Puppy Drum landed in the vicinity that we are spending most of our time. Of course the Oyster Crackers and occasional Sand Shark are keeping us busy quite frequently. Our seven day a week schedule will continue until after the second week in November when we drop back to just Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday on the 18th of the month. Look for Striper trips to start in another couple of weeks once the water chills down enough so that we feel we have a good shot at catching them.
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