Hurricane Irene passed us over this past weekend and I am happy to report that we are still here with a lot of good stories to tell and fortunately no massive devastation in our general area, for the most part we dodged a bullet in a big way and we are lucky enough to still be in the fishing business with little more than just the inconvenience of a lot of preparation and a little clean up over the past weekend.
It could have been much worse and for many it most certainly was, but the passing of Irene over the weekend basically just left us with some very high tides, some very low tides, and some swift moving currents when we finally got back out on the water on Tuesday. At one point in time late Saturday and into Sunday morning the center of the hurricane passed precariously close to our coastline within just a few miles. We saw sustained winds in excess of 60 knots, sheets of rain, water spouts, and even tornadoes literally right in my back yard! The hurricane force winds at one point kicked up waves in excess of 20 feet at the Delaware light ship buoy just sixteen miles off if the beach. These waves most certainly shuffled the deck.
By Monday the massive storm was all but said and done and we were busy untying the heavy dock lines and getting ready to get back to the business of fishing. I managed to get away from the docks on Tuesday morning and with just a handful of participants and some high hopes, off we went to see what was biting and what had changed after the storm.
Tuesday was a picture perfect day on the water and other than a very swift moving drift from all the water that had been backed up in the mouth of the Bay and river it was not a bad trip. While we certainly didn't see the numbers of Flounder that we had been seeing before the storm, there was no shortage of bites when your baits hit the bottom. A bunch of Sea Bass, Snapper sized Blues and some rather large Croakers were seemingly everywhere we went on the old grounds. It was clear that fish had been on the move, these were the first Croakers we have seen on the old grounds so far this year and there were seemingly more Bass around also. The Flounder proved to be a little disappointing but no big surprise after the weather, at least we did see a few proving they are still around. We managed to put a little day together Tuesday with a nice mixed bag of fish by the end of the day and everyone had at least a good supper or more.
Wednesday we got a little more serious on the search for some biting Flounder but once again we were disappointed. With a group of some of the finest Flounder fisherman I know, we jigged, we dragged and we searched all the haunts with unfortunately not much to show. There were a couple of drifts where it seemed like they were going to start but they never really did. Once again we did see a mixed bag with some nice Sea Bass, some Jumbo Croakers and a bunch of Snapper Blues but we had just a handful of keeper Fluke. I suspect its going to take a few more tide cycles before we see some of that good Fluking that we saw before the blow. There were boats spread out on Wednesday for over thirty nautical miles trying to put a catch together with the flatties and everyone met with the same success; just a few. There seems to be large pockets of dirty water left from the hurricane, its tough at times just keeping your baits clean with the stirred up bottom, and we are still seeing some extremely swift running current on both sides of the tide.
I have to admit it really doesn't surprise me that we would hit a little setback in the program with the Flounder after the weather we endured. I truly believe that these Flounder will bounce back though in a fairly short amount of time and we will once again be looking at some good landings with some nice Fluke. They are still around and its just a matter of time. Meanwhile we are fortunate enough to continue catching a nice mixed bag with the Bass, Blues, and the Croakers and I think we are going to continue seeing this variety catch for several weeks. This is a good thing! There seems to be more Sea Bass around now than before the blow and some of the Croakers I have been seeing are Jumbo sized measuring from fifteen to over twenty inches in length!
I was out again today 9/1 with another small group of anglers and we once again been saw a nice variety of fish. It does seem that the Flounders bit a little better today but so far our keeper ratio has not been all that good it was nice however to seem them biting again, we caught a bunch of them. We did manage to get into double digits today with some quality Flounder with a couple over five pounds. These fish, coupled with all the Croakers, Sea Bass and Blues, made for a very productive day on the water. This was a great trip by just about anyone's standards!
I really do have to say that the outlook is good for some stellar fishing in the upcoming weeks. There was an awful lot of fish around before the blow as far as the Flounder are concerned and its too early in the year for them to have all flown the coop. There now seems to be more Bass around than there has been and I haven't found an area on the old grounds yet without Croakers and Snapper sized Blues. Most of our Blues have been big enough to eat however they make such good bait that the majority of them have gone straight to the cutting table for a Fluke bait. I'm not saying that it's going to be freezer packing fishing but I really think we are going to have some fun over the next several weeks!
I will continue running daily with my All-Day trips and we will be targeting anything that bites the hooks. As long as we can make a day with the Fluke we will continue jigging and using the long baits but I have already made some modifications to our rigs and baits with the variety of fish that is around now and I'm not going to be too picky with what wants to bite. The Fluke however will be at the top of the target list. All-Day trips depart the docks at 7:00 a.m. and we generally return shortly after 4:00. We will also be running Half-Day trips daily departing at 8:00 a.m. and then again at 1:00 p.m. Half-Day trips are also seeing a little variety of fish but will be primarily targeting the Croakers.
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