Good weather allowed us to get away from the docks for every scheduled trip over this past weekend fishing all four days in a row starting this past Friday. Along with the decent weather we found the fishing to be pretty decent also, with the majority of folks landing a limit or near limit catch of Tautog on each and every trip along with an occasional keeper Codfish still popping up over the rail for a bonus.
We were back to our normal private charter head boat all weekend with crowds at a minimum every day making for some fun relaxed fishing around the rail. Fridays forecast was for rain early in the morning giving way to sun and seasonable temps for the afternoon. The reality Friday was more like morning rain giving way to afternoon rain driven by a cold breeze with the absence of any sun whatsoever! Needless to say it's a good thing the fish were biting, conditions on deck were lets just say less than favorable for those that took faith in the forecast. We did finally get a break in the weather late in the day and the fish added up for everyone.
Saturday saw fishing almost as good as Friday however not everyone ended up with a limit catch. We saw great action all day with Tog both keepers as well as short fish, in fact many anglers boasted of catching over twenty short Tog along with their keepers by the end of the trip. We also once again landed several Cod. Judging by the amount of bait we went through versus the amount of anglers on deck I would definitely have to say the fish were biting on Saturday.
Our Sunday's trip saw the biggest crowd of the weekend with only 18 fisherman onboard and it was yet another non crowded pleasurable day at the rail with another respectable catch of Tog. Again not everyone was lucky enough to fill the creel Sunday but the majority of anglers did and we also saw some quality fish come over the rail this trip with several fish over five and six pounds landed. The biggest fish was in the nine pound class however this one was not entered in the pool! Once again we had another smattering of keeper Cod on the boat and we also started to see a few Spiny Dog Sharks in the mix.
Monday was one of those days where I was a little skeptical about leaving the dock. With just the bare minimum of Anglers on deck and more than enough wind to start out the day we anchored close to home and started to pick a few nice fish. There was a mix of throwbacks along with some good keepers but the strong current would eventually make it tough for even the seasoned pro's to stay in touch with the bottom once the current started running strong. The wind had all but quit by the time we started to fish actually making anchoring somewhat of a challenge during the change of tide. We persevered and with a lot of lead and a little patience we tolled some quality fish before we had to look for water with less current. We finished the day just shy of a boat limit for both passengers and crew.
Water temperatures have been fairly steady for the most part since the unseasonably warm weather from last week. Ocean temperatures down the beach have been between 49 and 50 degrees on the surface and bay temps have been hovering around 52 degrees and at times a little higher. I would not have been surprised to see warmer surface temps this weekend but in the grand scheme of things these temperatures or pretty normal for this time of the year. Bottom temperatures however continue to be a little on the chilly side with bottom temps on the grounds I have been fishing still recording a cool 42 degrees. Even the fish still feel very cold when they are brought up from the bottom. I suspect this cooler water on the bottom is one reason we are seeing so many Cod this close to home. I'd hate to think that that there is a bunch of these fish coming around our area now cause if that is the case then the fishcrats will most certainly impose a closure or some ridiculous limit preventing us from catching them!
I am standing firm in my belief that things are shaping up nicely for a great Spring and Summer fishing season. Fish are most certainly on the move, there are lots of reports of Flounder already being landed from several locations in the shallows, there have been a few Stripers taken from the suds along our coast and around Indian River Inlet. I have had no more news on Blues hook and line but I know of some caught down the beach in the commercial webbing. Drumfish are also making a showing up in the Bay now and it's just a matter of time before the first Boomers fall to a piece of Surf Clam with a big hook buried inside. We have also started to see a trickle of Sea Bass on the inshore wrecks.
We are pretty much all geared up and ready to start our Sea Bass season on Saturday May 22nd. It has been a long time coming and there has been a wrath of controversy over the opening of this season which normally would be well underway at this time. We will Start out the season running both the regular All-Day trips fishing over wrecks for the Sea Bass daily at 7:00 a.m. and returning at roughly 4:00 p.m. We will additionally be running Special Long-Rang trips targeting both Jumbo Bass and Tilefish also starting on the 22nd of May. We will be running these Long-Range Trips the following Sunday May 23rd and then again on Wednesday May 26th. These trips will depart the dock at 2:00 a.m. and will return around 6:00 p.m. the same evening. The Same schedule will follow suite for the next week sailing again on Saturday 5/29, Sunday 5/30 and Wednesday 6/2 with Long-Range trips which will bring us into June. These Long-Range trips are limited space and reservations in advance are a must. Depending on how it goes there may be more trips added in June.
We will also begin Drum Fishing daily starting Friday April 30th these trips will depart the docks at 6:00 p.m. and should be expected to return roughly at 1:00 a.m. Drum fishing has been phenomenal the past few years in the Delaware Bay and all indicators are for another great season. Reservations are not required for these trips however it is highly recommended so we have a good idea how many to expect and how much fresh bait to acquire. It is possible that we may try to bunch folks up on certain days to get enough to make the trip so you won't have to travel for nothing. Fortunately these dinosaurs can be caught real close to home so we can sail with just a few folks.
As for now I'm going to keep Togging! I expect to be anchoring over wrecks and reefs for several more weeks for these crafty bottom feeders sailing at 7:00 a.m. and getting back in around 4:00. We will continue with the Friday through Monday schedule for at least another week. Crabs and Clams are furnished and the fishing should continue to be decent for several more weeks. If you would like any more information about trips sailing out of Fisherman's Wharf or you would like to reserve space on one of the upcoming Long-Range trips or book a private charter please give us a call at (302) 645-TUNA.
Until Next Week Happy Fishing!
Capt. Rick Yakimowicz
Thelma Dale IV