April rolled in with a great forecast for the big holiday weekend and along with the forecasted weather we saw a couple of the biggest crowds of the year eager to get in on the good fishing action for the Tog. Some anglers might have thought it was a cruel April fools joke with the much anticipated sunny and seventy degree weather turning more into clouds, fog, and a seriously cool ocean breeze that ultimately would have least dressed anglers crying uncle just looking for warmth as the weekend started out. It was sure different on the water than it was on land.
We managed to get all of our scheduled trips in this past weekend and even though the weather wasn't quite as nice as the weatherman had promised, for the most part it was a fairly smooth weekend on the Ocean. I had mentioned last week that a large crowd was almost a thing of the past here at the Wharf, however both Friday and Saturday the rails were lined with plenty of fishermen along with lots of high hopes. Even though some skilled or lucky fisherman managed limit catches of Tog and seemed to have plenty of action with undersize fish on both Friday and Saturday the majority of the hopes at the rail these two days were slightly shattered, the fish just didn't bite for everyone and there was way to many just ones and zero's boxed around the rail for my liking.
With two long days behind us we ventured back out again on Sunday morning with high hopes renewed and a much more ordinary crowd of just eleven anglers spread around the boat. Sunday was a gorgeous day on the water and the fish cooperated a little better for us also. The Tog bit well on three of our four stops and while the majority of the fish were falling shy of the fifteen inch limit the action was constant and by the end of the day the fish would add up for just about everyone onboard. We also had a nice bonus on Sunday landing fifteen keeper sized Codfish one of which beat out a nice Tog for the pool!
Monday was another beautiful day and I have to admit if you were planning on going out on Monday and chose not to; you blew it! Monday would ultimately turn into about the nicest day on the Ocean that we have seen all year with both the weather and the fish! Tog were the catch of the day and not only were the fish biting good we also saw the nicest run we have seen so far this spring with the size of the fish. Limit catches were made for everyone on the boat and there were quality fish including several citation sized Tog in nearly every cooler. Our biggest fish was just shy of eleven pounds and there were also several in the eight and nine pound class as well. We also saw a couple more bonus Cod caught on Monday and we even saw our first Sea Bass that had to be thrown back for 2010. Thank you very much National Marine Fisheries Service you are a big help.......
Water temperatures are creeping up nicely when the sun helps us out. For most of the weekend I was recording surface temperatures around 47 to 48 degrees around the Mouth of the Bay and along the Coast to our South, up a good couple of degrees since last weekend. On Monday with the bright sun and warm weather I was seeing Surface temps at around 51 degrees nearly all day long. Water temperatures up in the Delaware Bay are even warmer with temps as high as 53 to 55 degrees being reported at times by some of the Skippers targeting the Stripers. The waters around lower end of the Bay have been significantly cooler with the coldest readings near the Mouth of the Bay. Fish are surely on the move, there have been reports of Stripers now being caught in the Rips off of Cape May, the first Flounders of the year have been landed in the Lewes Rehoboth Canal, and I even heard a report of the first Bluefish having been caught hook and line just down the beach.
With the outstanding weather we have been having I expect this trend with the water temperatures to continue and for our fishing to continue with a rapid change. We have been seeing large schools of baitfish migrating along the Coast and into the Bay as well as several large schools of migrating Stripers that are following this bait. I expect for things to really turn on in these next few weeks. I wish I could tell you that we were Sea Bass fishing soon but there is still no opening etched in stone as of this writing. I would pencil in the 22nd of May for the beginning of the Sea Bass season but this is still subject to change. I will post the dates as soon as they are available to me.
I will continue anchoring over wrecks and fishing for the Tautog on the regular All-Day trips and for now I am sticking with the four day a week schedule fishing on just Friday, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays. We will depart the docks at 7:00 a.m. and we generally return around 4:00 p.m. All bait is furnished and we have been using both Clams and Crabs with equal success. You are welcome to bring anything else you would like to try, there have been a few fish caught on Shrimp recently. Reservations are not necessary. We also have several open dates for private charters fishing for Stripers if anyone is interested in a small group trip while these fish are around. Striper fishing continues to be red hot up in the Delaware Bay now and should continue for a few more weeks.
If you would like any more information about trips sailing out of Fisherman's Wharf or you would like to book a private charter please give us a call at (302) 645-TUNA.
Until Next Week Happy Fishing!
Capt. Rick Yakimowicz
Thelma Dale IV