It's been a rollercoaster ride with fishing here at the Wharf since my last report as far as the Flounders are concerned. Early last week all was good and we were catching at times some unbelievable numbers of Flatties including tons of short fish and good numbers of keepers, however as the week wore on the fish had us all scratching our heads as to what might be going on and what our next move would be.
There is a lot to be said about leaving the inlet in the morning and knowing exactly which area you are going to fish and also having a good idea of what you might expect to catch. It was great while it lasted however after these last few days all this certainty has changed. There was a trend right before our very eyes that the Flounders may have been on the move. This could be a good thing and this could be a bad thing. When the fish bunch up and move around sometimes you will see outstanding fishing like we experienced early on in August and up until just a few very long days ago. However the numbers don't lie and after the middle of last week our total landing of Flounder took a drastic turn for the worse. Now when I break the inlet in the morning the only real plan I have is to use the latest intel and the given weather and tidal conditions in my favor, fish hard and hope for the best. Kind of my normal plan anyway!
I find it hard to believe that the Flounder season for 2012 is over in fact it's not there are still a lot of fish around, we just are not seeing what we had a couple weeks ago. Traditionally September has always been one of the best months for Flounder fishing but then again we used to always be able to fish up in the Bay on the open bottom for several weeks during the summer months and chase the fish out into the mouth of the Bay and through the rips as they exited the Bay on their migration offshore in the fall. So what's going on? I wish I could give you an answer but unfortunately I can not. There are still Flounders around, they are still up in the Delaware Bay, in the back Bays and even still in the canal. Time will tell just when and where these fish will bunch up again and it is just a matter of time before we will be able to see some more decent numbers of Flatties. It does appear though as of right now that at least some of the fish that we have been working on all summer long have made a move away from some of the hot spots on the old grounds or just flat out haven't been feeding.
Over the weekend we had plenty of wind in the forecast and after a real tough day Friday with good sticks onboard and very little to show by the end of the day Saturday was looking like a fishing mission impossible. We ventured out into the wind and the rain back down to one of our most productive areas on the old grounds and were initially pleasantly surprised with what we caught. Not Flounders but Croakers. This was only the second time this year that I had seen any Croakers at all in this area and with the crowd that I had on board things were going quite well catching these fish for a few drifts and the size of some of them were bigger than any that had been seen all year however, as the day progressed and the Ocean continued to deteriorate before our eyes even the Croaks pulled a vanishing act. Saturday was the first trip since late May where we didn't land a single keeper flat fish for the day. Sunday the Ocean was out of the question with all the wind and the sea that had built up over night and I opted for the comfort of the Delaware Bay. It turned out to be a good move, the waves out front were five and six feet all day and it was much nicer up in the Bay. We did manage to see a few keeper Flounder on Sunday and we were able to stand up and fish too!
Yesterday the Ocean had calmed down nicely and I opted to head back out to the Flounder grounds and see if there had been any change. The first drift we saw sign of hope landing a couple keepers and picking at the shorts however after that first drift it was a few hours before we saw the next Flounder. Not Biting? Not there?? I don't know but it was frustrating. We did land a few more Flatties by the end of the trip as well as a handful of nice Sea Bass however it wasn't enough to turn this into a good trip in my book.
Water temperatures continue to be fairly steady hovering in the mid seventies, we still have that crystal clear water on the fishing grounds, and we really haven't had any major weather events to change our fishing the way it changed just last week with the Fluke. The Baitfish are still around and there are several different pods of Whales up and down the beach between Maryland and New Jersey. There is a lot of life out there right now and I am sticking with my guns that we are going to have some great fishing in the weeks to come. Are we going to see numbers on Flounder that of a few weeks back? I don't know at this point but we will still see plenty of them. What I do envision over the next several weeks will be somewhat of a transition from mostly drift fishing to eventually all anchor fishing. I expect to see a variety catch with Sea Bass, Flounder, Blues, Triggers and even some Croakers and Trout occasionally. There are still some big numbers of Trout up in the Delaware Bay and the Croakers are seemingly all over the place up and down the beach. I will continue drift fishing whenever we can because for the time it will be our best option the way the fish are spread over the bottom. At the point where we have to use an ungodly amount of lead to hold the bottom drifting, unless the catch is worth the effort it is likely that the anchor will be in the water.
I will continue to sail daily with the All-Day trips targeting a variety of fish. We depart at 7:00 a.m. and we generally get back to the docks around 4:00 p.m. Half-Day trips depart at 8:00 a.m. and then again at 1:00 p.m. 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