It has certainly been an interesting week of fishing here at the Wharf over these past seven days. With the Sea Bass season officially now open what seemed to be more like a part time hobby with fishing this past spring has finally turned into full time job! And what a job it has been just trying to scrape up a few fish for the folks that are trying to get in on the Sea Bass action.
I have been fishing now for eleven days in a row anchoring over shipwrecks, artificial reef structure and some natural rocky and coral bottom fishing for these mighty Sea Bass. Believe me when I tell you I have seen the good, I've seen the bad, and I have seen some of the very bad! We have most definitely seen some great action on these tasty bottom dwelling scrappers, however it has not been without pain. For the most part I have been putting in some very long days trying to put together a good catch of these fish and I have to admit for the most part, I have been fairly pleased with the end results, however I had hoped it would have been much better and much easier than it has been considering the extended closure we had to endure.
What happened?? I know a lot of folks have been disappointed about the Sea Bass fishing that we have seen so far this year however lets think about this for a second. We were not able to land any Sea Bass until the 22nd of May this year. In a normal year with the exception of the winter and early spring long range trips, we would start seeing Sea Bass as early as the second and third weeks of April on some of the inshore wrecks and reefs. It's no secret these fish move inshore at this time of the year to spawn and we would have normally been seeing some of these fish on some of our early season all day trips . Due to the closure we missed a lot of it. At a time when these fish were moving inshore and staging around these structures we couldn't even fish for them. In just a week and a half there has been so much effort put into catching Sea Bass that the majority of the artificial reef structure and all of the well known wrecks and natural reefs have already been picked over. At one point in time this past weekend I counted over seventy boats fishing one of the artificial reef sites. With this type of pressure it will take some time for more fish to move onto these structures and right now doesn't seem to be the peak time for movement for these fish. During some years the structures would seemingly fill back up with a new batch of fish nearly overnight. Right now that isn't the case. It has been taking a few days for a spot to rebound and to fill back up with any number of fish.
Picking all the keepers off of any particular spot is not the only problem, it's true you can only catch a keeper one time but this has been a very different year so far. I think there is a lot more Sea Bass around to catch it's just not going to be as easy as it gets some years. We didn't just catch all of them this past week, they are spread out in a lot of different locations now doing their thing and some days are going to be better than others when we manage to get on top of them. Water temperatures got cold this past winter, very cold. We have caught more Codfish this spring than I have seen in my thirty plus years of fishing on what you would call inshore wrecks. We are also not catching any Spiny Dogfish Sharks to speak of and we have yet to catch a Bluefish. Very strange! Maybe the best is yet to come, somehow I doubt it but I don't really know. Water temperatures down on the bottom have got to have some role in this.
As anyone that has fished with me in the past eleven days for these Bass knows, we have had some good stops, sometimes so good that your hands are shaking just trying to get more bait on the hook so you can get back down to the bottom quick cause they are biting so good, however I have had some stops where we didn't catch a fish... not even one... talk about frustrating! This to me seems odd, I have stopped over wrecks that have traditionally always produced good numbers of fish this time of year and came up with next to nothing. Our end results have been pretty much the same every day but one day, top hooks low to mid teens and on the rare occasion a few more. Limits have been few and far between. Everyone has been getting at least enough for supper and usually plenty of action with throwbacks to keep you busy. It seems like about the same amount of keeper fish no matter how many people we have had but weekday crowds have still been light. Our biggest Sea Bass to date is 5 lb. 12 oz. and our biggest Flounder so far is 5 lbs and we still see the occasional Cod.
So here's the deal, I'll be fishing for Sea Bass daily departing at 7:00 a.m. and returning around 4:00 or maybe a little later. I will continue to fish for the Bass anchoring over structures as long as I can have the results we have been seeing. Even though we have had a few set backs, wreck fishing right now is the best thing going and I intend on fishing for the Bass until something better comes along. We are still going to have some good trips on these fish for a while I just don't know how long, this will be entirely up to the fish. We have also started to see a few Flounder in the mix now and with the right crowd and conditions we may be giving the Fluke an honest try. All of our Flounder have been caught while anchored over structure so far and given the right conditions I know we will be seeing more of them in the next few weeks, there are definitely some around and if we fish the right baits I think we will be able to start seeing a lot more of them.
Water temperatures have taken a nice climb this past week and things are looking good for continued fishing success in the next several weeks. Flounder are staring to show in a lot of different areas, Drum Fishing continues to be red hot, surf fisherman are catching Stripers, and The first Tuna, Thresher, and Mako Sharks have been landed this year and it's just the first of June. It's time to dust off the rods!
If you would like any more information about trips sailing out of the 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