For the first time ever we had an opening day for our Sea Bass season this past weekend. Anticipation was high after a forced closure early last fall and many anglers were eager to get in on what surely was to be some exceptional fishing. I must admit I was personally a little disappointed in the overall outcome of this long awaited day, I can think of a lot of different words to describe our fishing on Saturday but exceptional does not come to mind!
We started out our day Saturday saying our final goodbyes to Wild Bill Young as per his last request and then got down to some serious fishing. With the biggest crowd that I have seen since last year we dropped back over our first wreck and it was refreshing to see nearly every rod on the boat bow over with fish on the hooks. This action continued over this wreck for several drops but then turned to a grubby pick and finally all short fish. This would set the stage for the remainder of the day. It seemed like every time we first anchored over a new spot we would gobble up a nice shot of decent Sea Bass but usually only a few drops was all it took before we would have to move on. There was just no "backbone" to the amount of fish and with a boat full of good sticks quickly hitting the bottom each time we stopped, the action would be short and sweet. I couldn't call it a bad day there was plenty of fish caught and a lot of quality stuff, however they seemed spread pretty thin with the crowd. Top hooks on Saturday would be in the mid to upper teens with nice Bass however there were several anglers that just managed a good dinner or two.
Sunday Was a much different day. With only a third of the anglers that we had on Saturday fishing at the rail, my day seemed much easier. Every time we anchored we were able to sit a lot longer on each wreck and the fish really started to add up for us right out of the gate. We saw our first limit catches of Bass on Sunday and every angler onboard had between ten and twenty nice fish by the end of the day. Much more promising than our end results of from the big "season opener." My next couple days.... not quite as easy.
Both Monday and Tuesday we had another couple dozen plus anglers full of high expectations and the fishing was very similar to that of Saturday. Stop over a spot snatch up some nice fish right from the start and then go to a grubby pick around the boat and then have to move on to another spot. While top hooks have each managed low to mid and upper teens with keeper fish every trip so far, Sunday remains the only day that we had a few limits around the rail. Not quite the freezer packer fishing I think a lot of folks had hoped for after the extended closure but not bad fishing either.
When I got back out on the Ocean Saturday it had been a couple of weeks since I had last been out front and the first thing I noticed was that the water temperatures hadn't really climbed. In fact it had actually cooled some from the buoy reports of last week. Surface temps were only at about 56 and 57 degrees over the weekend in the fog but today they were back up to about 59 with the afternoon sun. Not sure what this means but from the reports I have been getting up and down the coast it seems just about everyone has seen about the same water temperatures and the same type of fishing that we have been having; maybe a little better and in some cases a little worse. It is however Sea Bass season now and this is the best time to catch them because in a few more weeks the big spring run could be about done. Only time will tell, I do expect a lot more good fishing on these Bass I just don't know how long it's going to last. We have never been accustomed to starting this late in the year with these fish. Remember the last few years we had started to catch Flounder by the third week in June and the Bass were few and far between.
While the vast majority of our catch has been Sea Bass we have also seen a few stray Flatties landed, a handful of Ling and we are still seeing the occasional Codfish brought up from the depths. We have not been bothered too much with the Spiny Dogfish Sharks, so far we have only seen a few. Evidently most of these pesky critters are in much deeper water still.
Our long range trips over the weekend were somewhat disappointing. Saturdays trip was pretty much a bust with just a few decent fish for the effort. Capt. H.D. was back offshore on Sunday and had a little better day with a variety of Sea Bass, Ling, and some Golden Tilefish. While there was no big numbers of fish landed there were some impressive fish brought over the rail. Hopefully I will have some pictures next week. He is gearing up for another long-range trip tonight and there are three more on the schedule for the upcoming weekend and into next week. There is still space available if you are interested in these deep drop trips and reservations can be made by calling the dock.
Our season is upon us now and it looks like the daily grind has begun for the my all day trips. I plan on fishing long and hard for these Sea Bass for at least a few more weeks as long as the fishing remains good. Just about all of our fishing will be anchoring over wrecks, rocks, and artificial reefs. The majority of our fishing will be from about 70 feet down to about 130. After the Sea Bass we will start fishing primarily for Flounder but I don't expect that for at least a few more weeks anyway. At the beginning of the transition to Fluke we will see a variety with both the Sea Bass and the Flounder when we start drifting. All-Day trips will depart the docks at 7:00 a.m. and generally return around 4:00 p.m.
Drum fishing also remains good right now. We have been trying to sail for them every evening however the lack of sponsors have made this pretty much just a weekend thing. Drum trips depart the docks at 6:00 p.m. and I suggest you call in advance before you come if you are planning on a weekday to make sure there will be enough people around for the trip.
If you would like any more information about trips sailing out of the Wharf or you would like to book a private charter or reserve space on a special trip please give us a call at (302) 645-TUNA.
Until Next Week Happy Fishing!
Capt. Rick Yakimowicz
Thelma Dale IV