It's hard to believe that the month of June is here already but here it is upon us and the fishing as far as I am concerned has been pretty good for the time of the year! Water temperatures are heating up, fish have been snapping, and we are now well into our second week of our 2011 Sea Bass season, and what a season it has been so far!
Just a week and a half ago we started our 2011 Sea Bass season with high hopes and lots of anticipation. In reality what we have found has been decent fishing at it's worst and none of the easy no brainer fishing that we had seen back in the early 2000's when the size limit was a little smaller and the fish were seemingly everywhere. I have absolutely seen some good fishing in these past ten days of this season but I have to admit, I have worked harder than ever to find these fish and the anglers have also had to play all the tricks or rely on a little luck to make the fish add up to a big catch by the end of the day.
The Sea Bass are here now but I think that it is going to be a similar year to that of last year when by the second week in June, the best of the spring run may had already been behind us. It is tough starting out a season when the majority of the fish that you are targeting have been on the move for a month or better before you are even allowed to try and catch them. The regulations that are now in place leave a lot to be desired and are very frustrating to say the least. It just seems wrong to have to throw back fish that are clearly big enough to keep but are just not legal! I have watched countless fat 12 inch Bass being flipped back cause they just don't measure up.
Along with our Bass over the past week we have also seen several Codfish coming over the rail. A Cod has taken the largest fish pool on every trip but just one or two. These fish were around in pretty good numbers earlier in the year and there seems to be a few left over on some of the wrecks and around the reefs. We did have one trip last week where we landed over sixty Cod being able to keep half of them, but for the most part we are just seeing a couple every day and I wouldn't expect that to last very long it is however nice to see for now. Tog have also been making a presence but all of them have to be returned for another day as that season is now closed. We have thrown back dozens of Tog this past week that would have easily made an anglers trip had they been able to box the fish.
Like I said earlier we have had decent fishing so far on the Bass even at it's worst. There have been drops where every rod on the boat jumps and there have also been drops where I look around and it looks like everyone forgot to put bait on their hooks cause nobody is getting bites! By the end of the day every trip, top hooks have been able to land between ten and twenty keeper Bass. More often than not this number is in the low to mid teens. I have yet to see a limit of twenty five fish but we have come close a couple times. I also have to admit that just about on a daily basis some folks never see double digits with keepers and some even struggle just to get a dinner weeding through the short fish.
The trend with the Bass looks to be just about like last year to me. We had them good at first but the majority of the fish had moved inshore to the spawning grounds already and were not moving around the heavy structures. Last year by the second week in June we were already drift fishing for both the Bass and the Flounder with some pretty good success and I would bet that this year may be very similar we have already landed our first couple keeper Fluke off of the reef. One major advantage for us on the Flounder this year is that we will have the smallest keeper size restriction that we have seen here in Delaware for several years, now being able to put an 18 inch Flounder in the cooler. I will continue anchoring for the Bass but when it gets to the point that it is no longer working I won't
hesitate to switch over to the drift. I have already anchored over some of these drifting areas where you can catch a Bass as soon as your line hits the bottom. We had them coming like Mackerel a couple days recently but there was just one problem; 99.98 percent of them had to go back. Fun fishing, but very frustrating.
The Summer season is rapidly arriving. Warm air temperatures lately and some clam seas the last couple days have had surface temperatures soaring up into the mid sixties and even higher with the afternoon sun around the mouth of the Bay and offshore as far as twenty miles. These are the days when you see both Gannets and Pelicans at the same time feeding on migrating bait fish and you cant decide what to wear on the boat with the rapid temperature changes. The water may be warm on the surface but the bottom is still very cool. Even though it's nearly ninety degrees on land the cool Ocean breeze can pop up anytime making it feel chilly when your out of the sun. The dog days of summer are just around the corner though and we are going to see some great fishing in the days and weeks ahead!
We are basically in our full summer schedule as of now with both Full-Day and Half-Day trips sailing daily. I will continue targeting the Sea Bass on my all day trips anchoring over wrecks and reefs or whatever it takes to see a few fish. I look to start drifting pretty soon when the conditions are favorable and we will start seeing some Flounder in the mix. Half- Day trips when they get out have been seeing a few small Flounder, lots of Sandsharks and a few Kingfish or an occasional Drum. We will also be Drum fishing on Friday and Saturday nights.
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