What a roller coaster ride we have had fishing here at the Wharf since my last report. After my last weeks report of some of the best fishing that we had seen all year with both the Flounder and the Croakers something happened and I'm not quite sure what it was but we really didn't like it!
There was a little wind event early last week but nothing major, not even enough to keep us tied to the dock, but the Ocean and the Bay as far as fish catching action, both took a turn for the worse. We had been seeing crystal clear water in the Ocean and plenty of biting fish just about anywhere we went, the Delaware Bay also seemingly had Croakers biting everywhere you went. Almost over night all this changed. We went from catching literally hundreds of Flounder daily for nearly a week with our best numbers of keepers all year, to just pick fishing again with not much action with the Fluke and actually catching more Sea Bass than anything. There hasn't been a really good catch of Croakers made up in the Bay by our Half-Day boat now for nearly a solid week!
What happened?? This was the same question that private, charter, and party boat captains alike were all asking. Where did the clean water go and where are the fish? If and when we figure that out I will let you know right away; but right now our fishing is a lot different from that of my report of just seven days ago and during what should traditionally be a peak fishing time of the year, this phenomenon has those of us that are doing this on a daily basis pulling out what is left of our hair.
The fishing is not all bad really, I just happen to think it should be a lot better. I could certainly use weather or drifting conditions as an excuse it hasn't all been perfect, however that is not so much the case, our weather has been great and our drifting conditions have been favorable for the most part. For a bright note our Sea Bass fishing has seen a vast improvement recently, in fact a few times this past week they actually bit the way Sea Bass should and we were able to rack up some pretty decent numbers of these tasty fish providing a good meal or two for just about everyone on board, in fact there have been a few lucky anglers that have actually landed into double digits of keeper Bass just these past few days. We even saw several large to Jumbo Bass landed with the pool winning fish having been a Sea Bass over a Flounder on a couple of our trips recently!
It's hard to say what happened to our Flounder and Croaker fishing if I could figure that out it is likely that I wouldn't be doing this for a living! What I do know is something changed and as a result we have been scrambling trying to find a few fish and keep it interesting. Our water clarity in the Ocean changed overnight and with this change all inshore fish became difficult to catch. Are they there and not biting? I don't know for sure its hard to believe they just swam away, I don't really think too much of that theory. There has been several days that we couldn't even catch even a Sea Robin or a Tom Cod Ling. These bait stealers had been everywhere and it is my belief are just not biting. We actually had snagged a few Robbins and even Fluke when nothing seemed to be chewing anywhere. I do know that I have been glad to see some Sea Bass coming over the rail recently because without them we would have had some long boring and fruitless drifts!
Situations like this are really not that uncommon it's just hard to swallow when things were looking up the way they had been. It's no secret that this has not been one of those "banner years" for catching fish. I know I have personally treasured every day that I would call decent; we have had some pretty tough days. Fortunately most anglers have a different perspective while standing at the rail pulling up whatever happens to be biting their hooks on any given day! I have truly seen some impressive fish landed over these past seven days including a few citation sized Sea Bass and a beautiful Doormat Flounder that tipped the scales over ten pounds! It's hard to say it's tough fishing when your on the end of the rod that pulls one of these beauties from the depths!
It is highly likely that we will once again see a shuffling of the deck later this week. Weathermen promise that the passing of hurricane Earl is going to give us at the very minimum some swells for a day or two and some moderate winds along with the forecasted sea. Fortunately this system is going to be a fast mover and by Saturday it will likely all be history. I expect to loose a day or two whether the actual weather is bad or not, due to the media hype surrounded around this storm, then I will be back hard at it this weekend by Sunday. I am sticking with my belief that the outlook is good for some more good fishing in the days and weeks to come. There is certainly fish around and I will be doing my very best to try and stay on top of them! With my All-Day trips we will continue to target both the Flounder and the Black Sea Bass. I will be drifting when conditions are right and I will be anchoring when the drift is not the best choice. I expect to see more and more of a variety of fish in the weeks to come including Flounder, Bass, Bluefish and possibly some Croakers. Flounder and Bass however will be our main target. My All-Day trips will be leaving daily at 7:00 a.m. daily and we generally get back to the docks between 4:00 and 4:30.
We will continue running Half-Day Trips throughout September sailing daily. Half-Day Trips will continue to target the Croakers and will also be seeing a variety catch with Flounder, Blues, Small Trout and Kingfish. Capt. Mike assured me that this "croaker thing" will pass with a few more tides and will undoubtedly be getting back to normal soon, and that for right now he is actually glad to be going back to school because his hair also is thinning while looking for some biting fish!
If you would like any more information about trips sailing out of the Wharf or you would like to reserve a spot on a special trip please give us a call at (302) 645-TUNA.
Until Next Week Happy Fishing!
Capt. Rick Yakimowicz
Thelma Dale V