Quite a roller coaster ride of fishing here at the Wharf over the past week. We have seen some really great fishing and some not so great fishing. What we have seen is a nice variety of fish landed and we have had a lot of fun fishing for them on some very non crowded trips!
I continued to spend just about all my time anchoring over shipwrecks and reefs last week with what I would have to call mediocre results. While the Sea Bass fishing continued to be at least half way decent, there was definitely a downward trend in what we were able to bring home by the end of the week. After multiple days of being hit by charter, private, and party boats alike, most wrecks within 20 miles or so of the beach had been pretty much picked clean of any keepable fish. I found myself having to push a little further off the beach and digging deeper into my bag of tricks just to put a respectable catch together. There are a few areas where it definitely seems as though some Bass are moving but the vast majority of these fish are not making the 12 1/2 inch required size limit. I think the writing is on the wall and I hate to say this; but unless we can get offshore a good ways, we have likely seen the best of the spring run with these Sea Bass close to the beach.
Log books confirm that these past few years have been very similar in nature, we have had the Sea Bass decent early on but by mid June the Bass are drying up forcing us into other fish catching options and methods to put a catch together. I do expect to continue seeing some Bass in our immediate future but not any big numbers, and most of our fishing when conditions warrant, will be from the drift. Some of my best pulls on the Bass over this last week were actually drift fishing over the open bottom however the size of these fish was very frustrating with the majority going back. Plenty of action but not much in the box.
We have enjoyed some very nice weather lately with light winds and calm seas. Over the weekend with a whopping crowd of just 26 willing anglers, I pushed offshore a little further on a flat calm ocean. While we saw a real nice variety catch with Bass, Ling, and a bunch of Codfish, the numbers around the boat just were not there. Top hooks would struggle just to get to double digits with keepers. We had some beautiful fish, just not enough for my liking for the distance traveled and the time we spent fishing. We caught nearly as many Cod as we caught Sea bass which is not typical for our area at this time of the year!
Sunday was the icing on the cake for me. I anchored over eleven different wrecks as well as various parts of the reef and had our worst catch of Sea Bass that I had seen so far this year. We didn't bring much back with us that day, my top hook only had eight keepers and everyone else had much less. It was a lot of effort for so few fish.
With a very light rail on Monday and a picture perfect day we switched gears and went on a little research and development run. With some fresh meat and some Flounder jigs on hand, off we went in search of a few Flatties. We were not disappointed at all. Capt. Alicen set the stage whipping in the first keeper on the very first drift and we proceeded to pick at the Flatties for the remainder of the day. There was fairly decent action with shorts and a few very nice fish in the mix. By days end we would land well over forty Flounder managing to keep about ten. Our biggest fish was just a hair over five pounds. Not a bad way to start out Flounder fishing with just a handful of anglers. I was pleased.
Basically what this trip told me was we now are starting to see more options available with our fishing and I plan on taking advantage of these options in the days and the weeks ahead. I'm sure that we will be doing some more anchoring over wrecks during the next couple weeks, the weather and conditions need to be just about perfect to be able to drift for these Flounder. I don't think the Flounder fishery is quite good enough just yet to try and catch them in less than ideal conditions like we will do later in the summer. The Flounder are just starting to show in the deeper waters and they will only get better but I'm pretty sure we won't be able to fish for them every day just yet.
For a bright note, over the weekend Capt. H.D. was finally able to get a long range trip away from the docks here in Lewes. These long range trips have been plagued with either bad weather or with the lack of sponsors seemingly all year. With just a light crowd at the rail they ventured off into the deep waters on Saturday and were treated with a calm Ocean and some very willing fish. This trip will be logged as one of the better ones. Sea Bass and Tilefish were the catch of the day and no one on board was disappointed. Fishing in depths over 40 fathoms, both Jumbo Sea Bass and some real nice Tilefish were constantly coming up from the bottom! Top hooks would land well into double digits with both the Sea Bass and the tasty Blue liners filling up coolers all around the boat. By all accounts this was an awesome trip. Capt. H told me this morning he is planning the next trip on the 25th of June replacing the trip that is already scheduled. This will now be an 18 hour trip departing the docks at 12:01 a.m. Saturday morning. Space is limited and advanced reservations are required for this long range trip.
So here's what to expect for the next couple weeks with my All-Day trips; with ideal conditions it is likely we will be mostly drifting for a variety of both the Sea Bass and or the Flounder. When the wind is blowing or the drift is less than ideal we will be anchoring over wrecks rocks or reef structure. I expect to be making a transition over to primarily Flounder very soon- there seems to be a few around and I am expecting more to come. Just about all of our fishing will be over the rocky ledges of the old grounds or over reefs or wrecks. We depart at 7:00 a.m. and generally return to the docks around 4:00 p.m. All bait is supplied. We will also be running Half-Day trips up into the Bay daily for whatever wants to bite the hooks. Drum Fishing Trips will sail both Friday and Saturday Nights as long as the Drumfish are around.
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