We got our first weekend of our regular All-Day trips out fishing this past weekend with some fair to good results. With decent weather in the forecast we were able to get out three out of the four scheduled trips and put some fresh Blackfish on the docks for the first time this year.
With great weather and a couple of handfuls of eager fisherman we sailed on Friday for our first official regular full day trip. It was a successful trip within minutes of anchoring the boat! The Tog bite was on. Not a fast and furious bite like we see at times but certainly enough action to keep it interesting and to keep everyone on their toes. We saw a nice mix with both throwbacks and some decent Tog up to about seven pounds coming in pretty much all day long. As a bonus we even landed a couple keeper Cod. By the end of the day just about everyone on board had more than enough for supper with the high hook landing seven decent fish. Given the time of year and the temperature of the water I must say I was very pleased with the results of our maiden voyage.
Saturday was more of a dose of reality. With a little more wind than I would have liked to have and a nice boat full of fisherman we headed back to the same depths that we had the good action on the prior day. It started out looking like it was going to be a repeat of the day before with a steady pick of both keepers and short fish but this action quickly faded and the harsh reality of the Saturday sting began to set in! I pushed offshore a little further but only managed a couple more short fish and a few Spiny Sharks and found myself doubling back to the area we had started just to get a few more bites. Late in the day we did manage a few more keeper fish but it was too little too late to turn this day around into a good trip.
With even more wind but a better forecast we were back at it again on Sunday morning this time with only a dozen participants. It started out much like most of the day on Saturday and I was beginning to wonder if the fish were going to bite at all. As the strong ebb tide associated with the super moon began to run the Tog actually started to nibble a little and we had some action very similar to what I had seen on Friday. While the fish never really added up to big numbers, once again just about everyone onboard had more than enough for supper and for a while we had pretty decent action. By mid-day the current was vicious and staying in touch with the sticky bottom became quite a chore and it just turned into the occasional fish. All in all I would have to call this another successful adventure.
Water temperatures right now on the surface have been hovering right around 44 to 45 degrees in the Ocean, still a little cool by my standards but certainly normal for this time of year. I have to take it as a good sign that the Tog bit the way they did this past weekend even if it was a finicky bite. A lot of times fishing the full moon for these crafty structure fish is an exercise in futility even in the best of conditions. With the trend we have been seeing the water temperatures should continue to rise nicely in short the weeks ahead. Water temperatures up in the Delaware Bay are a little warmer especially in the shallows. Boats in the Bay over the weekend saw surface temps pretty steady at around 47 degrees.
On other fronts the first spring Stripers have been landed up in the Bay and if this year is anything like the past few years this fishery should come on strong for a good couple weeks real soon. Most of the Stripers will be caught while anchored fishing with a hunk of fresh Surf Clam. This is an excellent time to think about a private charter to target these fish and we have plenty of open days over the next few weeks. I am still getting a lot of old school anglers asking me if we will fish for Mackerel this Spring. I am sorry to say that it does not look hopeful again this year as the majority of these fish are passing by us well outside of a reasonable range once again. If by some chance some show up inshore we will certainly be prepared to catch them but I am pretty much figuring on concentrating on catching the Tog for several more weeks.
I am also getting an overwhelming amount of folks that want to know about the 2011 regulations on the Sea Bass and Flounder. While nothing is etched in stone yet the prognosis for our Sea Bass season is not good at all, it is looking like there will be no spring fishing for the Sea Bass as the season is not scheduled to open until July. This is going to be a tough pill to swallow not only for those that enjoy fishing for and eating these tasty fish but mostly for those that depend on this fishery for a living. It is a very sad situation. Flounder on the other hand looks more promising. We have an opportunity for an improved regulation this year allowing us to legally land an 18 inch fish for a change. There is a meeting in Dover this week to discuss the options.
At this time we have two options. Our first option, option A would keep the legal size limit at 18 1/2 inches and would keep a year round open season. The more favorable option in my opinion as well as most others in the business is option B. Option B allows us to keep an 18 inch fish with a closed season from just Oct. 24th until the end of the year. Both options will allow a creel limit of four fish however the second option will ultimately allow us a chance to finally see a few more keepers at the end of the day. Summer Flounder traditionally have left our waters by the end of September and the short closure will only cut out what is mostly an incidental catch at that time of the year anyway.
The public hearing on the Flounder regulations is this week Thursday March 24th at 6:00 p.m. and will be held in the Richardson & Robbins building in Dover where they will accept public opinion on these two options. They will also accept opinions via email until March 31st at 4:30 p.m. Emails are to be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. I strongly urge everyone to voice approval for the option of a short closed season and an 18 inch fish with a creel limit of 4. If you like to catch and eat Flounder this is the better choice. I for one am tired of throwing fish back that weigh nearly three pounds, Its time to take some home!
I will continue now with the four day a week schedule sailing Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday with my regular All-Day Trips. We sail at 7:00 a.m. and generally get back to the dock at around 4:00. We will be fishing wrecks and artificial reefs for Tautog and we may see a few Cod. Bait is furnished we will have fresh Crabs and Clams. If you want Shrimp or Gulp you'll have to bring your own!
If you would like any more information about trips Sailing out of the Wharf or you would like to reserve space on a special trip or book a private charter please give us a call at (302) 645-TUNA.
Until Next Week Happy Fishing!
Capt. Rick Yakimowicz
Thelma Dale !V