It's been a good week for fishing here at the Wharf this past week and it's also been a good week for fisherman in general with the exciting news of a more relaxed Sea Bass Season then we thought might happen for the 2011 season for the state of Delaware!
Catching Tautog last week at times with the fish biting even better than they had so far this year was almost overshadowed as news quickly spread that the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission had announced that it was going to approve state by state shares for the 2011 recreational Sea Bass harvest. The short version of what this means is that we will actually have a Sea Bass season this year with the same rules and dates that we saw in 2010. Still not the best rules by any means, but for Delaware much better than the ruling we were previously looking at. The Sea Bass Season is basically status quo from last year meaning we will have a Sea Bass opening on May 22nd with a 25 per man creel and a 12 1/2 inch minimum size. Sharpen up your hooks and Jigs we are gonna catch a few Sea Bass this spring after all!
Cold temperatures over the past week have kept water temperatures on the surface pretty much the same as we had seen last weekend with Ocean temps reading around 44 to 45 degrees and Bay temperatures still holding at around 45 on the lower end of the Bay and up to about 47 or a little warmer further up the Bay in the shallows. Something changed however even if it wasn't the temperature of the waters. Fish bit much better this past weekend than either of my two previous weeks of fishing with a much more consistent and aggressive bite as far as the Tautog were concerned. Stripers also came on fairly well up in the northern reaches of the Delaware Bay providing some of the best Linesider action to date for those targeting these spring trophies.
I managed to fish three out of my scheduled four trips again last week and each trip saw it's moments of greatness. While the chilly temperatures and the moderate breeze gave a new meaning to cold fingers for those at the rail, there were times where that just didn't seem to matter, the fish were biting good enough to "bait up" through the cold numbing pain! We saw our best numbers of Tog this past weekend with both keepers and with the short fish biting, keeping everyone glued to the rail. While the average fish was still only around three or four pounds we did manage several fish in the five to six pound class with the biggest fish in those three days tipping the scale at just over 8 lbs. No real slobs but good eating just the same and just about everyone on board managed to get in on the action.
Tog fishing is really just starting to get good now which is typical since we are about to switch to the spring spawning rule where the creel limit drops and the minimum size jumps up by an inch. I fully anticipate some really good fishing on these scrappy bait stealers in the upcoming weeks though, and I expect to see more bigger fish landed if spring history repeats its self. We always seem to see some of the biggest fish with both the males and females during the spawn, it's definitely a good time to try and catch a big one. There were times over the past few days that the fish were biting any bait that we offered; clams, crab, or shrimp I believe they are just starting to become more active, feeding on the bottom around these structures on about any type of offering that comes their way.
For the time being we have decided to stick with the four day a week schedule sailing on just Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday this way we can at least stand the best chance of having enough folks to make the trip. If it looks like we will get a stretch of good weather through the week we will likely switch back to the seven day a week routine. I'm going to stick with fishing for the Blackfish or Tautog and maybe some Cod until the season closes in May. The outlook is good for some really good action in the weeks ahead and it is even possible that we may see some Stripers on a few of these outings where we end up fishing in or around the mouth of the Bay. Trips will depart the dock at 7:00 a.m. and we will return around 4:00 all bait is supplied. We will have Crabs and Clams but if you
want Shrimp pick some up at your local grocery store. A pound will usually last you all day.
While the Sea Bass news is certainly a step in the right direction there is still a long way to go with the regulating of this and with many other fisheries. Many states north of us are getting screwed again this year with the Sea Bass due to faulty numbers and we could easily be in the same predicament. I can't stress enough how important it is for all recreational fisherman to stay involved in these battles with the fishcrats and voice your opinions on the way these regulations are being created. The fictitious numbers counted by the outdated mrfss survey can not be used to allocate these fish. A simple email can't hurt, Senators, Representatives, NMFS, ASMFC all of them! They all google easy and it doesn't take long to send them a note.
Our Flounder season has not been finalized as of yet for this year but it does seem there is strong support for option B with the 18 inch minimum size and a creel limit of 4 with a closed season from Oct. 24th till the end of the year. Comments supporting this option should be sent via email to firstname.lastname@example.org all comments will be part of the public record and will help us achieve this more liberal season option. She will only accept comments until 3/31 at 4:30 p.m. so hurry and send it off!
If you would like any more information about trips sailing out of the Wharf or you would like to book a spring Striper Charter or reserve space for a Special Trip please give us a call at (302) 645-TUNA.
Until Next Week Happy Fishing!
Capt. Rick Yakimowicz
Thelma Dale !V