It was a stark contrast with the weather from last weekend to this weekend just past. Sunshine and warm temperatures gave way to what seemed more like winter instead of early spring fishing! Despite some tough punches from Mother Nature we did manage to get in a couple scheduled trips over the weekend and saw some more decent fishing on at least one of our two trips.
Friday was an absolute blow out and wash out but we did venture out Saturday morning with a small crowd of eager anglers. I have to blame our production for this trip on the weather. Big ground swells left over from the coastal low earlier in the week seemed to have the fish shut down and it was a difficult day. We did manage about twenty keeper Tog by the end of the day along with a handful of Cod but the fishing never really turned on they didn't seem to be biting too well. We didn't even see the throwback action that we had seen the week prior. I cleaned many of the fish when we got in and it was apparent that they just weren't eating, most of the fish had next to nothing in their bellies.
Sunday was a much better day all around. With a little warmer weather in the forecast I expected to see a nice group of patrons but we went with the bare minimum crowd and everyone was treated to a great day of fishing. The fish were biting better right from the start. Our first stop was close to home and the fish certainly cooperated but they were disappointing in size. We were catching them but most were falling short. I ventured a little further from home and on our next stop the fish started coming in as soon as the anchor line came tight. A good mix of both short and keeper Tautog up to about six pounds kept everyone busy and attentive at the rail, the bite was on. Along with the Tog we also saw a nice smattering of Codfish up to about 8 lbs. in the mix. We have actually seen more Cod in the last few trips than I have ever seen fishing so close to home this time of year, we landed over a dozen Codfish on Sunday and were able to keep nearly all of them. The wind came back with a vengeance Sunday afternoon making anchoring somewhat of a challenge but by then it didn't matter our day was made. While we never saw any really big Tog the number of keeper fish added up and along with the bonus Codfish around the rail everyone had more than enough fish for supper, self included!
Water temperatures along the Coast really didn't make much of a change since last week in fact the surface temperatures were actually a little cooler than I had seen a week ago. Fish however have been moving. The Stripers have been working their way north along the beachfront along with some big schools of baitfish. Up in the Delaware Bay the fishing for these Linesiders has turned on and become red hot! From mid-week through the weekend anglers targeting the Stripers up in the Bay saw some of the best Striper fishing you are likely to ever see with mostly keeper sized fish. I look to see this type of Striper fishing continue for several more weeks and may even improve as some of these fish settle around the mouth of the Bay.
There is still no final word on our Sea Bass season but it is rumored that we will possibly be seeing some more relaxed measures from the fishcrats in charge. I look to start fishing for the Bass sometime in May and trust me we will see good fishing right out of the gate! I will post the opening as soon as I know for sure. I will continue targeting the Tog with my All-Day trips for a few more weeks and it is entirely possible we may also be seeing some Stripers on these excursions. Our Tog limits will be back to the more stringent Spring rules after the middle of this week jumping up to 15 inches on the minimum size and a reduced creel limit for the spawning season. I do however look to see much bigger Tog than we have been catching lately as the water warms up and more of these fish continue to filter around the shallower structures for the spawn.
I'm going to stick with the four day a week schedule for at least a couple more weeks sailing on just Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Departure time is 7:00 a.m. and we will return to the dock around 4:00 p.m. all bait is included. We will primarily be fishing for the Tog but in the event that we have limited out on the Tog early or the Stripers are close at hand I won't pass them up! I have just about given up any hopes of a Mackerel season this year once again, but you just never know... as long as the water temperature is right anything could happen just don't expect it.
Everything seems to be shaping up for a good Spring fish catching season. Water temps are normal, and the fish are showing up right on time. There has already been some Drumfish spotted up in the Bay and they also will be taking a hook real soon. This is a perfect time for those interested in a private charter fishing for these Stripers and we have an abundance of open dates this time of year with the charter fleet at the Wharf. Nowadays a crowded head boat seems to be a thing of the past, nearly every trip I have run lately seems like more of a private charter sailing with so few patrons making the open boat an excellent choice also. If you would like any more information about trips sailing out of the Wharf or you would like to book one of these private charters please give us a call at (302) 645-TUNA.
Until Next Week Happy Fishing!
Capt. Rick Yakimowicz
Thelma Dale IV