It has never been more obvious than this past week that Mother Nature can do a better job of taking care of her fish than any management plan ever will. We have been plagued with several days in a row of easterly winds and hard running tides that had pretty much put the kibosh on our best efforts to land any amount of keeper Flounder for the better part of the week.
While the fishing still remains very good for the overall picture it has been very hard to prove with some of the conditions that we have had to endure over the past week, especially with the Flounder. I actually ended up fishing in the Delaware Bay several days in a row due to the conditions out in the Ocean. While up in the Bay we did have some nice picks of fish with a variety catch including Croakers, Snapper Blues, Small Trout, Bass and Flounder but getting the keepers to add up just didn't happen. There is a ton of small fish up in the Bay and when the conditions were right getting bites was not an issue it was just getting a keeper that made it tough. We had plenty of action at times but a fresh fish supper was hard to come by if you were just looking for Flounder.
Fishing up in the Delaware Bay now actually is very good. There is a nice variety of fish and it seems as though the Croakers are now just about everywhere. While the bulk of the Croakers are still in the ten to twelve inch category we did see quite a few that were in the fifteen to sixteen inch range from some of the different bunches of fish that are schooling around right now. It was a little taste of fall fishing for a few days when fishing the Bay became our only option. It was quite a site to see over the weekend with charter boats and head boats from both sides of the Bay all the way from South Jersey to Fortescue all fishing in pretty much the same general area for two days in a row while the southeast winds blew and the strong currents ran.
With a small group of anglers that really just wanted the Fluke we ventured back out to the Ocean on Monday morning to give it a try. We found that there was still quite a ground swell and a little more wind than you would like to have while fishing the deep waters of the old grounds. We started out with eight to ten ounces of lead and by the end of the day some were using as much as a pound just to try and stay in touch with the bottom. There would be no jigging on this day and once again Mother Nature protected her fish. The Fluke won yet another battle. We caught a few fish but they were small and there was not enough of them.
I ventured back down to the "old grounds" yesterday with another handful of folks and finally we had what I would call a good day for 2010. The Flounder were biting right out of the gate and there were keepers adding up. We could hold bottom jigging easily with just a few ounces of lead and everyone was catching fish. By days end we landed over 20 keeper Fluke for nearly a hundred flatties brought to the rail from the depths. We also had a couple Flounder in the five to seven pound class and as a bonus we had several nice Sea Bass and a few small Ling spread around the boat. This is more like the action we had been seeing before all the wind. Not outstanding fishing but not too shabby either. I liked it!
As I write this today we are sitting tied fast to the dock for only the second day on shore since early this spring. With the way the rain is coming down now and the northeast winds again blowing at nearly twenty knots I am happy to be right here! We will be back hard at tomorrow and it will be a much nicer day no doubt. The one good thing that seems to have come from all the wind and hard running tides we have had recently is that it has moved around a few fish. The Bay is absolutely full of Croakers now as well as some big bunches of these Croakers along the coastline in the Ocean too. The Flounders and Sea Bass also seemed to have moved around on some of the natural hard bottoms of the old grounds. The outlook is good and the stage is set to start seeing some of that fabulous fall fishing with a variety of fish over the next several weeks.
With my All-Day trips I will continue to target mainly the Flounder every day. I also expect to see more Sea Bass on a regular basis over the next several weeks. We will continue drift fishing unless the conditions just won't allow it. If drifting becomes impossible we will be anchoring over some sort of structure bottom and graciously accept anything willing to bite the hooks! This is getting to be the time of year that you don't know which species is likely going to bite best when you anchor over a wreck or a pile of rocks. Flounder and Sea Bass however will be at the top of the menu. Full-Day trips depart the docks at 7:00 a.m. and we get back to the docks usually around 4:00 or a little later.
Half-Day trips will continue targeting the Croakers every day. Capt. Mike has reported another good week catching these scrappy bottom dwellers in fact he has seen some of the best fishing on these fish to date so far in just the past few days. Half-Day trips will continue to run three times a day sailing at 8:00, 1:00, and then again at 6:00 p.m. for the evening run. Croaker fishing has really just turned on and steady action should continue for many more weeks.
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