Here we are nearly to the middle of December with our regular 2012 fishing season winding down and I can finally put up a report that actually has to do with decent weather and with catching some fish!
Hurricane Sandy no doubt gave us a blow; not nearly as devastating as it could have been and most certainly not as bad as it was for folks just a few miles north of us that suffered all the damage and the loss of life, but that storm and the nasty weather we encountered in the weeks just after the hurricane really shook up the waters in our area. Fishing when we could get out for the most part was much less than spectacular. In my last two weeks we actually had decent enough weather where we made it away from the docks for six out of our eight scheduled trips. My results were anywhere from an absolute shut out to finally one of the best Tog trips of the fall just this past Saturday.
Water temperatures have taken a big dip recently, we have been looking at surface temperatures in most cases below 50 degrees and at times as low as 45 degrees on the surface. This is actually not that cold given the weather we have had and the time of the year, but it was quite a quick drop over a pretty short period of time. For the last several weeks we have struggled not only to get decent weather when we were scheduled to sail but getting any fish to bite to amount to anything had become a real chore. Striper fishing has actually remained fairly steady and at times pretty good throughout, but not necessarily in the traditional fashion. It seemed as though the rips in the mouth of the Delaware Bay were almost devoid of life in the dirty water and other than trolling or anchoring up and chunking it has been tough to catch the Stripers drifting with the live baits. There has actually been more stripers taken from the surf than I think has been landed from the rips between the two capes this fall. There has been a lot of fish around and some real beauties but at times this has been very difficult to prove fishing with the live bait.
Tog fishing has actually been worse. You can blame it on the weather, you can blame conditions, you could even say that the fish have left our zone. We may never really know, but what was on track to be a decent fall season with the Tautog just seemed to fall apart after the storm. Last weekend we actually saw our first ray of hope with the tog and finally had some fish biting and we even saw some cleaner than normal water out away from the mouth of the Bay for a change. Of course the same day we caught some in the Ocean there was actually a bunch of nice Tog caught way up in the Bay just to keep you guessing. These Tog are a very finicky fish even given the best of conditions and it really doesn't surprise me that it's been tough just by looking at the color of the water. We have also been hearing the reports from the divers and what they have or should I say have not seen on the bottom. Just this past week the university of Delaware had divers down on the bottom at one of the offshore reef sites and the visibility was a mere one to two inches on the bottom. Kind of hard for a fish to see a bait with clarity such as that I would think.
I had the pleasure of getting out three days in a row again this past weekend and we actually caught a few fish on each trip. Only one of these three days would I call a really good day of catching fish but it was nice to see these Tog biting again even if it at times it felt like we were pulling teeth just to catch the next one. The average size of the Tog were impressive and we actually saw multiple limits during our trip on Saturday with fish up to nearly 12 pounds. We landed many fish in the four to seven pound range and judging by the way the empty hooks were coming up they were biting at least a little better than they have been each of the last three days we were out. After hands down our best catch of the fall on Saturday we went back out with high hopes on Sunday morning and actually got off to a good start catching fish again however the wind kicked up out of the northeast by mid-day and the fish just seemed to shut off when the wind and tide made the change proving once again these fish are in charge. We were back to pulling teeth again by the end of the day.
The season is winding down now with our regularly scheduled trips. We have just one more weekend with our Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday schedule. After the 17th of December it will just be special trips. At this time the weather looks promising to be able to get out and try and land some more of these nice Tog before our regular season comes to a close. We are hoping that The fishcrats will throw us a bone allowing us to fish for Sea Bass after the first of the year for at least a couple of months. This will allow us to have some of those mix bag trips with the Jumbo Bass and the Tilefish that spoiled us a few short years ago. If this happens we will post several dates for the offshore run to these fish. As it stands now we do not have any more long range trips scheduled until after the first of the New Year.
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 one of the special trips please give us a call at (302) 645-TUNA.
Until Next Time Happy Fishing!
Capt. Rick Yakimowicz
Thelma Dale IV