It's been another interesting week of fishing here at the Wharf again this past week. Flounder fishing remains steady, we have started to see a little variety in the catch, offshore fishing continues to be red hot, we have been seeing some strange fish and Mammals close to home, and there is finally a few Croakers starting to show up in the Delaware Bay.
While I can only describe our Flounder fishing as fair at best, we continue to see some great numbers of these Flatties on pretty much a daily basis it's just that most of the fish will fall short. We do continue to see a few quality fish in the mix every trip but I'm still waiting to reap the benefits of that lowered minimum size limit now at 18 inches. I know its just a matter of time before it will really kick in and help us out with some of those measurable fish. For the most part when we get a keeper there is no doubt of whether or not it will make the grade and our throwbacks by the same token rarely need measuring falling short by an inch or more most of the time. When everything clicks into place the fish have been biting good with steady action all around the rail, the tough part has been getting them to add up by the end of the day.
Bottom temperatures are still cold. Divers were out at the artificial reef over the weekend and again reported just 47 degree water on the bottom while surface temps have still been right around 70 degrees give or take just a few degrees. I mentioned a little variety in the catch and what we have been seeing recently is a good number of small to medium sized Ling Cod from these cooler bottom water temperatures. My hard core Fluke fishermen think of them as more of a nuisance when they continue to grab hold of the carefully tailored baits however some of these Ling have been around 16 inches in length and are a very tasty fish supper when handled properly with plenty ice in the box to keep them firm for fillet. We have also been seeing a few more Sea Bass recently and we are seeing a few Snapper sized Blues in the mix as well.
The Ocean has really been strange with some of the fish we have been seeing lately and some of the other confirmed sightings from some of the other vessels in our general vicinity. For a couple of weeks now we have frequently been seeing a mystery torpedo shaped blue and silver fish of hefty size skyrocketing out of the water like a missile. These mystery fish have been spotted in the mouth of the Bay, the old grounds and all around the mussel beds. We re not sure what we have been seeing but they have baffled some old time skippers that generally have a good idea about what you might expect to see on these waters. I have personally seen them and I got to tell you I'm not sure what they are but they are big! Over the weekend we had a temperature break in our area that was over twenty degrees in less than ten miles of Ocean,
I suspect you could see just about anything with a temperature change like that. I have personally in the last two weeks witnessed Sharks, Cobia, Sunfish, Triggerfish, Sea Turtles and even several Whales. There was a private boat on the old grounds over the weekend that even had a sailfish tormenting their baits for a while. There is certainly some serious marine life off of our coast right now!
Offshore anglers have been taking advantage of these Gulf Stream spin offs over the last several weeks. Blue water fishing so far this year has been fabulous for those that have ventured off to the deeper canyons with Yellowfin Tuna, Mahi, and Marlin. Many private boats and charters alike have been able to make their day on the inshore lumps just barely 20 miles or so off the beach with mostly Bluefin Tuna and a few Yellowfins along with a good amount of gaffer sized Mahi also. It has been several years since the Tuna fishing has been this steady in our area for an extended amount of time for the relatively early part of the season.
Back up in the Delaware Bay it has truly been a struggle for the boats that are bound to the Bay or the Half-Day trips trying to show the folks a good time. There are finally a few Croakers starting to show up but still not enough to say that we are Croaker fishing. Small Flounder are abundant but keepers are few and far between unless you are fishing the heavy structures and even then it has been hit or miss. Capt. Mike reports a variety catch still on his Half-Day trips with the usual Sharks, Skates, Blowfish, and Kingfish to bend a rod and make it fun, but he is only seeing a few Croakers to bring home for supper. They have recently been seeing a lot of short Flounders in the mix proving these fish are on the move. Capt. Mike is continuing with the Croaker dance ritual on a daily basis and assures me it's just a matter
of time before the fish bags will start to fill up with these tasty bottom scrappers.
I would have to say again that the outlook is very promising to continue to see decent fishing for the next several weeks as far as both the inshore and the offshore fishing is concerned. The weather although fairly hot has been absolutely beautiful. Other than a few days with a big swell running from some of the offshore squalls the ocean has been pretty flat, almost too flat at times for a good drift but we have had some very pleasant days on the water with the cool ocean breeze.
I will continue to target the Flounder daily with my All-Day trips and I fully anticipate spending the majority of the time jigging over the rocky coral ledges of the old grounds. This has continued to be our best method and best area for putting together any numbers with these fish so that is what we will continue to do. All-Day trips depart the docks at 7:00 a.m. and we have been returning to the docks around 4:00 and the Flounder will be at the top of the menu. Jigs in the 3 to 4 oz size along with the short teasers are the ticket.
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