After nearly a solid week of pesky northeast winds that at times forced us to stay tied fast to the docks blowing in excess of twenty five knots, we finally got a little bit of moderation as we rolled into the Fathers Day weekend and we were finally able to get back out on the water and try to once again locate and catch some fish.
Most of the middle of last week was a blowout but by Friday even though the winds were still blowing, they had lightened up considerably from the way it was blowing earlier in the week and we were back at it battling some moderate winds and the residual ground swells that were left over from the hard blow. The Ocean was actually still pretty churned up and we knew with the forecast that was given that we were going to be looking at a very long weekend ahead of us. The wind just wouldn't quit blowing but amazingly a few fish were biting and we managed to get our days in with a few nice fish for all of our efforts. Don't get me wrong on this, for the entire weekend we battled rough seas, saw way too many cases of mal de' mare, and I'm certain that when a few of the folks stepped off of the boat that it was likely they swore to never again step foot on a deep sea adventure. Most of those that stuck with it however were rewarded with enough fish for supper but really that's about all I can say. The way the Ocean had been churned up for so many days I was surprised we were able to catch any number of fish at all!
By Monday the winds had finally quit. We had seen six solid days of those relentless dry northeast winds blowing the tops off of the waves and keeping even the hardiest of fishermen tied up to the docks. I don't think I have ever seen a stretch of quite such weather as we witnessed in June. As we broke the inlet on Monday morning we knew that we were in store for a much better stretch of weather for the week ahead and for a change the waves were no longer breaking over the top of the outer breakwater. There was still a pretty hefty ground swell left over but if anything the Ocean was almost too calm with virtually no wind and the fear in the back of my mind of no drift. The fish actually bit well on Monday and they have continued to bite pretty good as far as I'm concerned for the better part of this past week.
We are basically in the Fluke mode now primarily drift fishing over the hard bottoms, coral ledges, and natural reefs of the old grounds. While we continue to see a few Sea Bass daily, our primary target now is definitely the Flatfish, they are the ones that are adding up by the end of the day. Since Monday we have racked up well over a hundred keeper Flounders with the average fish weighing in at about three pounds or more. Our biggest flounder to date fell just shy of eight pounds on the official scale and we have seen at least a dozen fish that would weigh over five pounds so far this week. We have also seen our first limits for the 2012 season with the flatties since Monday and you know they must be thick because even I was lucky enough to land a limit of very nice Flounder just today !
Its not all peaches-n-cream guys; this is Flounder fishing and we don't always get um. Those that work the hardest are generally the ones that will excel and on any given day even the best of fisherman can draw a blank. For the most part we have been jigging for these fish but we have landed plenty with just the traditional method of dragging a fluke killer or just a plain hook and a long strip of cut meat. As for a variety - we still see some Sea Bass, there are occasionally some Snapper Blues and we have even seen a few Chub Mackerel and even a few Triggerfish which tells me that the water is much warmer than usual right now. The Chubs are generally much closer to the gulf stream than on the Flounder grounds and the Triggers seem to be way ahead of schedule.
Water temperatures are now teetering on the high side of seventy degrees on the surface, I actually saw seventy six with the afternoon sun today on my ride home and the fish we have brought up from the bottom have also felt very warm as of late. I have not gotten a good bottom temperature reading recently, but I suspect it is much warmer than usual. Delaware Bay temperatures have been much warmer with surface temps up into the mid seventies the last couple of days.
Up in the Delaware Bay the fishing hasn't been nearly as hot as the water temperature. At times the Flounder have bitten quite well, however there seems to be very little consistency and no pattern with the way these fish are biting. Trout are still biting for those that have targeted them, but with the one fish limit its tough to target just them. Our Half-Day trips have been seeing a few of these Trout along with the various other species of fish that they have been catching which includes Kingfish, Flounder, and Blowfish along with the various assortments of Junkfish. Capt. Mike reports improved fishing in the lower end of the Bay this past week however he still hasn't found any masses of Croakers as of yet, just a few stragglers so far is all he has seen. Jr. anglers continue to have fun with the rod bending action though.
The offshore fishing remains strong with the Tuna however with last weeks wind not a lot of boats were able to make it to the grounds. We had a private charter come into our docks yesterday with eight nice Yellowfins and some Mahi. Capt. Carey on the charter boat Grizzly was out on an overnighter and the anglers all looked pretty happy when they got back to the dock with this catch of Tuna. As it stands now there are plenty of open dates with the charter boat Lewestown Lady and these Tuna look like they are going to continue to be around for a while, it has been one of the best offshore starts this year that anglers have seen in a while and it may only get better. Capt. H.D. has another long range trip this weekend however he will be dropping down to the bottom for the Tilefish, there are still some open slots available for this trip but remember advanced reservations are a must as space is limited. This trip will depart midnight on the 23rd and they will be fishing all day on Sunday the 24th.
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 one of the upcoming special trips please give us a call at (302) 645-TUNA.
Until Next Week Happy Fishing !
Capt. Rick Yakimowicz
Thelma Dale IV