In the wake of one of the warmest winters on record, we are now faced with water temperatures that are easily a month or more ahead of schedule, fish being caught that are also way ahead of schedule, and the uncertainty of just how this spring and summer season is going to shape up with fish on the move so early in the year.
Here it is just the first week of April and I already have confirmed reports of Flounder, Blues, Stripers, Drumfish and even Trout landed both commercially as well as hook and line. It sure is a different spring, water temperatures in the Delaware Bay have already climbed into the mid fifties, while out front along the beachfront surface temperatures also are above the fifty degree mark. If we were allowed to fish for Sea Bass there are some of them around already too. Some bottom readings are already warmer now than they were in June of 2010!
We started out with our regularly scheduled All Day trips this past weekend fishing for Tautog and we were actually able to get out three days in a row fishing Friday Saturday and Sunday. While our production was much less than I had hoped to be able to show, we did land a few quality fish and when they were biting we had a little bit of fun at the rail trying to plant a hook in one of the crafty bait robbers. In typical Tog fishing action these fish seemed to bite only when they were good and ready and when we did finally find a few biting fish unfortunately we saw first hand what the new restriction of a 16 inch fish was going to do to us. I had one angler that landed 22 Tog and was only able to keep two fish. There does seem to be quite a few fish around and I think we are going to see some good action on these Tog in the next few weeks when everything falls into place.
Not only are we waiting to see how our fish catching action plays out this year we are also waiting on confirmation of some of the changes in regulations that we might face. For the most part there are no significant changes at hand but there will be a few. The Tog plan had just been revamped which is one of the reasons we ended up with a 16 inch fish and a reduced bag, however it has been determined that the "number crunching-know-it-all-fishcrats" made a mistake (imagine that) and it is likely that we may see some relief later in the year with either a smaller legal size or perhaps more days to fish. Flounder are looking pretty good I expect at the minimum, the same rules as last year and possibly even a little more liberal. Our neighboring state of New Jersey has settled on a 17 1/2 inch fish and already has a higher creel limit than we have had in years. It would be nice to see Delaware opt for similar regulations. The Sea Bass are also looking very similar to that of 2011 with the openings, closures, minimum size and creel limits. There is however some debate as to the exact date for the season opening. Speculation has it on Saturday May 19th however it may not be until the following Tuesday May 22nd. I will certainly keep you posted of any updates or changes.
I'm going to continue now with our regular All-Day trips sailing Daily at 7:00 a.m. we will be anchoring over wrecks and reefs fishing primarily for Tautog. Bait is supplied we provide Green Crabs and fresh Clams. If you want to try anything else please feel free to bring it along. I did see a few caught over the weekend on both White Leg Crabs and Shrimp. It is best to give us a call before you make the trip so we can give you a good idea if we have enough passengers to make the trip watch the weather too. We are fishing fairly close to home so we can still sail with a minimum crowd.
If you would like any more information about trips sailing out of the Wharf please give us a call at (302) 645-TUNA.
Until Next Week Happy Fishing!
Capt. Rick Yakimowicz
Thelma Dale IV