You may here some conflicting reports over the next week or so, however I am here to tell you the spring Sea Bass season for 2010 has seen its better day! After a solid two plus weeks of anchoring over wrecks rocks and artificial reefs and scouring the bottoms in different depths and locations we have finally gotten to the point where its time to rethink, regroup and break out the fluke jigs!
The writing has been on the wall for several days now the Sea Bass just don't seem to be moving and we have finally gotten to the point where anything that has already been fished to any extent no longer will produce enough Sea Bass to feed a sick cat! I know there were lots of hopes for a great spring run after the extended closure that we suffered through over this past winter and most of the spring however that just does not seem to be the case. It was fun while it lasted but as much as I hate to say it I'm afraid its just about over for a while.
Over the past week I have pretty much split my time up between drifting when conditions allowed, and anchoring when we had too much drift. Our results were mixed, none of which would I call good fishing. At times we ripped the little guys, hard pressed to find a keeper in the bunch, while other times we kept nearly every fish we caught but there was just not enough of them to go around. You know you have hit the bottom of the barrel when you anchor up over a good wreck and the first thing that comes up is a nice Tog, a Codfish, or the dreaded Eel! There just weren't many Bass and this scenario was playing out all too frequently.
Getting dinner for everyone became my primary goal most of last week and at times it was tough just to do that. For the most part all week top hooks would struggle just to get double digits with keepers and some folks would have to stop at the fish market or eat meat for supper, they didn't get a fresh fish. We did have a few modest catches with Bass and some really fun trips with action and some nice keepers and throwbacks but it seemed that each day became a little more difficult to see any amount of fish we could keep and yesterday was the icing on the cake; only one keeper Bass was landed after fishing three different wrecks so with decent conditions I decided to just go drifting for Fluke for the rest of the day.
I have to admit this situation does not surprise me, traditionally other than an exceptional spring run with the Bass, we would normally be drifting and dreaming for mostly Flounder at this time of year. For the last three years log books confirm that the Flounder were at the top of the fish catching menu at this time of the year. It just seems that the Bass that are around now are either spread all over the open bottom or they are doing their spawning thing suspended up in the water column. They just don't seem to be moving to the heavy structures now and what fish are around are not aggressively feeding. I've seen this phenomenon many times before and it will almost magically turn around any time but I can't tell you when. For now we will drag the Fluke baits and Jigs and keep the Bass rigs close at hand.
As I write this report 6/8 we are drifting for the Flounder in the Ocean. I haven't even seen a throwback or keeper Bass not even one, just Fluke. The fishing is not great today but we are catching some of our target species and it is interesting fishing to say the least. We have caught over forty Flounder so far today and we are up to ten nice keepers. Not good fishing but all things considered not bad either. This fishery will only continue to get better over the next several weeks and during the upcoming months. So far the Delaware Bay has not shown much in the line of Fluke but I expect that to change soon. Right now we are drifting the rocky live bottoms of the old grounds and I expect most of my days this summer to be spent on these grounds until something turns on up in the Bay that we can work with. It is nice to have the option to go either way depending on the different weather and conditions. We know there is a large mass of Flounders up in that Bay and it's just a matter of time before the action up there turns on.
Water temperatures have been on a roller coaster this past week. With the warmer weather we had been seeing, surface temps in the Ocean were at nearly seventy degrees over the weekend, however with the hard southerly we had a couple of days ago they have dipped over seven degrees along the coast and in some areas going back down to as low as sixty-three degrees! Bottom temperatures still remain much cooler and were churned to the surface during that little blow. In the long run this will help to warm the whole column.
The outlook is still very good for fishing in the upcoming weeks but I truly believe if you are looking for a good mess of Sea Bass you are just going to have to wait till these fish start moving around again. I don't see that in our immediate future. I will continue drifting with my regular Full-Day trips for Fluke on any day that we can and I will still be anchoring when the conditions get too tough for the drift. All-Day trips will depart the dock at 7:00 a.m. and we will be returning around 4:00. As for bait we will be loaded for bear. Expect a variety of fish with mostly Flounders and on some days maybe some Bass. Top and Bottom rigs with Fluke killers or Jiggy rigs will be the rig of choice while drifting for the Fluke. Most of our fishing will be on the "old grounds" so be prepared to loose a few of those rigs.
We are in our full summer schedule at the Wharf now with both Full and Half Day trips running daily 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