Another stretch of warm summer like weather closed out the month of April and brought in the month of May. Along with this warmer weather we have been seeing surface temperatures rising and the fishing heating up too. Flounder, Stripers, Drumfish, Blues and Tog have all been reported along the Ocean Coast as well as up in the Delaware Bay.
Here at the Wharf I have been mainly concentrating on the Tautog and for the most part, these last few days have been a little frustrating for me. We did manage to get out Friday Saturday and Sunday and we caught Tog each and every trip however the end results were not nearly as good as I would liked to have seen as far as having the big fish add up. Strong running tides and dirty water put a hamper on the fishing on Friday. After two solid days of some hard Northwest winds blowing we ventured out Friday morning to some clam seas. As we set up in the morning we had the first of what would be a long hard flood tide. We caught just a few fish out of the gate and then the two knot current pushed in the dirty water. We would catch a few more decent fish on the change of the tide later in the day but it was too little too late.
With the forecasted weather we had on Saturday I saw the second biggest crowd of the year on board. Choosing not to fight the strong tides and filthy water in the mouth of the Bay with a nice crowd I opted back out in the Ocean and ultimately it was not a bad choice. The only place the Tog Bit in the Bay to any extent was around the Breakwaters. We found some fish on Saturday however it was not quite what I was looking for. Throwbacks were the catch of the day and it became a true test of character for all the anglers on board. Not only did they have to throw back way too many Tog that would fall short of the limit but we also saw quite a few decent sized Sea Bass that also had to be returned to fight another day. We caught plenty of fish on Saturday and we even had a few nice ones onboard but most anglers either had a hamburger for supper or bought their fish at a market!
Sunday I returned to the mouth of the Bay hoping that the waters had cleaned up a little and they had. We saw our best number of keepers all weekend on Sundays trip landing over forty keeper Tog up to about eight pounds but again it was not without pain. The fish never really turned on the way I have seen them in the last couple of weeks and it was just slow pick fishing. Even though the majority of fishermen ended up with their limit of decent fish the limit is only three and there were a few guys that were wondering when they would ever get a bite!
The warmer water that we are seeing is definitely forcing a few changes. Just about every trip so far this spring we had seen some of our best fish catching action on Surf Clams however our past few trips we are seeing a trend where the Crabs have become the better offering. While we are still seeing a lot of fish caught on Clams, the Crabs now seem to be catching more fish. Our days are numbered now on these Tog so if you are interested in getting in on this action before the closure you have until May 11th, after that day we will no longer be able to land Tautog until later in the year
It has been a pretty interesting spring so far this year, water temperatures are really heating up and it almost seems like we are a little ahead of schedule compared to some other years. As I came through the inlet Sunday afternoon I saw a surface reading of almost 60 degrees! Most of the time the water temperatures have been from 56 to 57 degrees on the lower end of the bay and a couple degrees warmer further up the bay in the shallows. Coastal surface temperatures are also around 56 degrees. Bottom temps are still much colder, in fact they dropped this past weekend after all the wind we had seen earlier in the week, likely the cause of the Drum bite turning off the first part of the weekend
We are counting down the days now till the long anticipated Sea Bass opener on May 22nd and as I type the fishcrats are trying to iron out the final details for the 2010 management plan. It looks like as of now we will be looking at about a three week closure on the Sea Bass in October however starting in November they will reopen and we will be able to fish for them until the end of the year. While certainly not the best alternative it is certainly much better than what we thought we might end with at one point in time. The Closure on Sea Bass this year will take effect October 11th and reopen on November 1st.
Remember we are now sailing seven days a week with my regular All-Day trips departing the docks at 7:00 a.m. I will continue fishing for the Tog until May 11th. On and after May 12th we will target Drumfish, Stripers, Blues or Flounder. Drumfish will most likely be at the top of the menu, the daytime bite on these fish has been fabulous this time of year for several years and this year should be no different. This will be an excellent opportunity to try and catch one of these Delaware Bay Beasts in the daytime when normally we would be off catching Bass at this time of year. We will also try and run Half-Day trips on weekends from now on. Half day trips will sail just Saturday and Sunday until Memorial Day Weekend departing at 8:00 and then again at 1:00. Night Drum Trips will sail daily at 6:00 p.m. it is suggested you call for Drum trips in advance through the week right now.
If you would like any more information about trips sailing out of the Wharf or you would like to reserve space on one of our special long-range trips or book a private charter please give us a call at (302) 645-TUNA. Spaces are filling up for these long range trips quick so pick your date and give us a call reservations in advance are a must. There is a complete list of dates for these trips on the special trip link from the home page.
Until Next Week Happy Fishing!
Capt. Rick Yakimowicz
Thelma Dale IV