Summer heat and summer Flounder have dominated what's been going on here at Fisherman's Wharf since my last report. We have also seen one of the best long-range trips with the deep drop fish catching action catching Tilefish that you are likely to ever see. Water temperatures have been soaring in this summer heat and in the past several days we have been enjoying some of that crystal clear water that we are privileged to see on occasion where you can see what you are catching long before it breaks the surface of the water.
We have been pretty busy as of late here at the Wharf, after all it is that time of the year. I think I am up to twenty six days straight now without missing a trip to start my summer roll. In all of these trips I can honestly report some mighty fine Flounder catching action. With the daily grind it's certainly not all coated in sugar, however we have most definately been enjoying some very successful Flounder trips more often than not. With typical Flounder fishing our success or failure is directly proportionate to our drifting conditions on any given day. When everything falls into place we have been able to land some pretty impressive numbers of keepers and even at it's worst we still manage to see at least some action during some point of the trip.
While Flounder is most certainly what we are baiting up for and rigging up to catch, we are still seeing a fair number of some very nice Sea Bass mixed in with the catch along with lots of little guys that have to be returned. For those of you looking for a nice mess of Sea Bass, don't get me wrong on this, this may not be your trip, we are primarily targeting the Fluke and the Bass are just a welcome bonus. On an average day we may land 25 or 30 nice keeper Bass for the boat, sometimes a few more and sometimes a few less. It does seem to me that we have seen more Bass this year than we have been seeing the last few years in the mix while we have been Fluking. Normally we don't have many Bass that will add up for us until much later in the summer when they are finished spawning.
To date 100 percent of our effort has been fishing over the "old grounds" fishing primarily over the rocky ledges and the natural coral bottoms and the sea trees. Most of the sharp shooters are mainly jigging or setting up with a jigging style rig with lead when the conditions get tough, however many a limit of nice Flounder have been taken with just the traditional Fluke Killer rig with just a long leader teaser hanging below the sinker. When the fish cooperate the action can be fast and furious between catching the throwbacks and the keepers, there has been plenty of times when every net on the boat was tied up with a fish! By the same token there has been plenty of times that we thought perhaps we should just dip the nets in the water from time to time so that they wouldn't dryrot in all the heat with the lack of activity. Mother Nature sure has a funny way of protecting her resources with the winds and the tides at times, just making a decent drift impossible with given conditions. Without a decent drift it can be very difficult to catch fish that are spread out over literally miles of open bottom.
For about a week now we have enjoyed the clean water where you can see your fish or your rig down as deep as maybe forty feet from the surface and we have also seen surface temperatures as warm as 81 degrees on the fishing grounds. As you might expect with this clean warm water we have seen some pretty cool sights. Along with the usual assortment of Ocean Sunfish and Sea Turtles we have also witnessed a few other oddities including a big school of Black Tip Sharks swarming around the boat one afternoon, and we even had a very large True Tiger Shark hooked and brought to the boat just to be broken off before I could get a good picture of this beauty. This is the first time in my life I have ever seen one of these nasty critters so close to the beach! We have also just recently seen a few small Mahi and even some Cobia lurking around the pot flags on the grounds where we have been fishing. I don't know quite what to make of the water temperature readings being so warm so early in the year and I'm certain that a lot of this is due to the recent heat wave, however the surface temp just today (7/9) on the fishing grounds was still a very warm 79 degrees and that reading was without the presence of any sun. The fish we are bringing up from the bottom are also very warm to the touch.
For the Offshore scene, Captain H.D. had one of his finest long-range trips of the season on just his last time out. I was there when the boat got in to the dock and I personally witnessed cooler after cooler being unloaded from this adventure chocked full of both the Golden and the Blue Line (grey) Tilefish. This trip was described to me as "one of the most fantastic and amazing fishing trips I've ever been on in my life." And this quote was from a man who has traveled the globe and fished in places that I can only dream about. They really had the meat on this adventure and I know that Capt. H.D. is looking foreword to getting back out there to give them another shot. His next scheduled trip is coming up this weekend for those of you that are interested and remember they are fishing depths from a minimum of 350 feet to as deep as nearly 800 feet of water. Reservations in advance are an absolute must for these trips so be sure to call ahead.
Our summer season has been going pretty well so far with the weather and the fishing. The outlook for us to continue with decent Flounder fishing on the All-Day trips I would have to say is very good right now. There seems to be a lot of fish around in a lot of different locations at this time giving us plenty of options with the conditions that we have to work with on just about any given day as long as we can drift in one direction or the other. The offshore scene continues to be red hot with both Bluefin and Yellowfin Tuna still and there are more and more Billfish and Mahi starting to show up near the canyons with all of the warm water. It is entirely possible that we have yet to see the best of the fishing this season and we are really just getting into the summer grind. I will continue with my All-Day trips targeting the Fluke and Sea Bass with trips sailing daily departing the docks at 7:00 a.m. we generally get back to the docks a little after 4:00. We also have Half-Day trips sailing at 8:00 a.m. and then again at 1:00 p.m. daily with an evening run at 6:00 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday nights. Check out our trip calendar for updates on our special Long-Range trips that are coming up.
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