If I had had a little more to talk about last week I more than likely would have updated my report a little sooner, I know it's been a while since my last report, for my loyal readers I apologize. After the passing of Hurricane Irene we were slow getting back into the swing of fishing getting out just a few days in a row before another little unscheduled vacation hit us for a few more days due to some more unsettled weather and the distinct lack of patrons.
Mother Nature has most certainly been our biggest enemy over the last couple weeks. Irene was the start with the high winds and the heavy seas, then we had Tropical Storm Lee with all the torrential rain and flooding mostly to our west. Meanwhile an offshore low pressure system was churning in our region and then there was the passing of Hurricane Katia fortunately way out to our east. Ground swells were seemingly endless on the fishing grounds for days and it has been hard to tell if the fish have just vacated the area or they just weren't biting on the days we were able to get out fishing due to the big swell. We had seen a nice variety of fish initially just after hurricane Irene passed catching some Jumbo Croakers, a few Sea Bass, lots of Snapper Blues and a few Fluke on each trip. As the days passed the big Croakers seemed to disappear a little more each day from the old grounds and we were making up our catch with mostly Sea Bass, Bluefish and just a few nice Flatties.
I took a personal break over the end of last week and the weekend to take my daughter off to college down in Georgia and Capt. Benny took over the helm for me for a couple of trips while I was away. Both Friday and Saturday he was able to get away from the docks with just a few folks, while the Flounder never really seemed to bite too well with the big ground swells associated with Katia well to the east, the Sea Bass bit well enough to get just about everyone a good supper or two. Croakers never really bit at all over the past weekend. I was back out on Monday all rested and refreshed, and with just a moderate swell and a beautiful ocean the fish seemed to bite a little better; especially the Sea Bass. With just ten anglers on Monday we had constant action with the Sea Bass all day and we managed to keep another handful or so of nice Flounder. Some folks by days end were actually in double digits with the keeper Bass and there was a smattering of nice Fluke and some Snapper Blues in the mix around the boat. It was a good day in my book.
It's really been hard to know what to expect to catch each day that we have been able to get away from the docks and go fishing, we are still dealing with a lot of dirty water that is being flushed out of the Delaware Bay from all the rain that we have had, and we have seen some ungodly currents at random phases of the tide recently. The water clarity on the old grounds is much cleaner now than it was initially after the big storm however we still have not seen any of that crystal clear water that we had been enjoying the better part of the summer for more than a couple of weeks now. Water temperatures are still up and it seems like there is still plenty of fish around but they seem to be on the move and they are not always biting. We will catch Bass great on one drift and when we run back to try and repeat it, it just doesn't always work out. The Flounder as far as I'm concerned remain elusive ever since hurricane Irene, they are still around, we have caught enough to make me truly believe that they are still here, but they are just not bunched up in any great numbers anywhere that I have seen.
The way our weather has been recently it doesn't surprise me that the fishing hasn't been consistent. Today 9/14 it did seem that the swell was pretty much gone and we actually picked at the Fluke better than we have seen since the Hurricane and it was our best landing for our number of keepers by far since the passing of Irene. Not a lot of short action today on the fluke but we had quite a few quality fish, our first limit catch in a couple weeks, and a couple other lucky-skilled anglers with three nice flatties apiece. The Sea Bass, seemingly everywhere just a couple days ago were either not biting today, or they have moved on from where we had left them, we only saw a few of them today. We had a full moon just this past Monday and we saw some strong currents accompanying this moon, most fish will generally take advantage of the swift running tides during a lunar event to make an easy move looking for food and it definitely seems like they are moving around a lot as of these past few days. It has been very refreshing though to see so many Bass recently and it gives me a lot of hope for the upcoming weeks with what we should be able to catch!
As far as my program goes with the all-day trips, we may be into a little transition over the next several weeks. Unless the Flounder get bunched up like they do at times during this time of the year it is possible that my drift fishing will turn into anchor fishing. I will try not to drift in obscene conditions not catching much when I know that we could do better anchoring over wrecks, rocks, or over part of an artificial reef. We have already modified our rigs to target more of a variety catch with what seems to be around right now and history proves that we nearly always start to do more anchoring by the end of September anyway. When we do anchor I will be targeting primarily Sea Bass but I expect to continue seeing a few nice Fluke coming up off of the structure and maybe even some Croakers, Blues, and Triggers on some days. For right now I will be drifting as much as possible on the nicer days when the drift is good. Our primary target will continue to be the Flounder and the Sea Bass. These fish are still spread over miles of open bottom and drifting is by far the best choice when the conditions are right.
I will continue running daily departing the docks at 7:00 a.m. with my all-day trips and we generally return to the dock around 4:00 to 4:30 and yes we are still allowed to keep Sea Bass here in Delaware until the season breaks the second week of October. Sea Bass season is closed in New Jersey. If you would like any more information about trips sailing out of the Wharf o r 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