It's been a pretty interesting week of fishing here at the Wharf. Since my last report we have seen a couple really decent trips with some nice Flatties, some more wind and big waves, and some of our best Sea Bass fishing since the spring run.
I talked about a little transition in my last report and I think that we are now right in the middle of this switch going from primarily drift fishing for Flounder to now what is most likely going to be anchor fishing catching mostly Sea Bass. While I did see a couple of trips last week that were interesting to say the least with the Flounder, I definitely think the time has come to give them up and fish primarily for the Bass and just accept the random Flounder when they pop up off of the structures that we will be fishing over. The Flounder for the most part seem to be pushing further off the beach now for the spawn. I do expect to continue to see a few nice Flatties but just about all of our effort from here on out will be anchoring over wrecks and reefs targeting primarily just the Sea Bass and whatever else may be biting around the wrecks.
For a few folks, our last week of drift fishing proved to be fruitful with the Flounder. We actually saw several limits and some very nice quality fish landed in the few days we were able to get out and the conditions were favorable. We seemingly landed more keepers than we did shorties last week with our average fish measuring around 20 or so inches and we boxed several mini doormats upwards of four to seven pounds. The writing however is on the wall, it's just too difficult to target these Flounder now with the weather we have been having and the Flounder just not being bunched up anywhere close enough to try and work on them. After a couple of nice Fluke trips in a row we started out Saturday on the drift and it just proved to be too difficult to effectively even fish for them so I bailed mid day and anchored over a wreck and it was game on with the Sea Bass from the moment the baits hit the bottom! By the end of the trip my top hook had landed over twenty nice Bass and the average was anywhere from a half dozen to ten or more with the keepers. I have been anchoring ever since.
The outlook for these Sea Bass is very promising right now, there seems to be quite a few of them around and so far the size has been pretty decent. We are getting a lot of action with the throwbacks but there is a good amount of nice fish popping up. I fully anticipate having a few good weeks on these Bass before the closing split on October 12th. If it's anything like it has been the last couple of years the Bass will continue to improve right up until the closure giving us about three good weeks of opportunity before the split season takes effect, so come and get them while we are still allowed! At present time all ports north of Delaware are unable to legally land the Sea Bass so there won't be the pressure on these fish the way there is at times with the Jersey boats competing with us for the same fish.
It certainly seems as though the seasons are changing, we have had some very chilly nights and some cool mornings lately. Water temperatures are still surprisingly stable, most of the week we were still reading surface temperatures at just about the seventy degree mark or a little higher. I have noticed in just the last two days though that the surface temp has dipped to just below that reading; now down to about sixty-eight degrees with no sun. Baitfish are on the move. I have seen many large schools of Bunker in my travels and there has been several Whales feeding in our vicinity along with large schools of small Blues. We still have not been seeing the clean water that we had before all the heavy weather but it seems to be cleaning up nicely offshore a little more each day. With all the rain we have had and the seemingly endless wind from one direction or the other, the mouth of the Bay has water churning out of it that would make a cup of day old black coffee look clear!
As far as the variety of fish is concerned the big schools of Croakers have seemed to pull another vanishing act as of this past week. Over the weekend we had another Northeast blow that at one point generated waves as big as twelve feet for over twelve hours and it really shook things up a bit, we are still dealing with a moderate swell. I did have a few Croakers in the deep water around the artificial reef yesterday, but just a few. While we have been anchored we have been seeing several Triggerfish along with the Bass and we get swarmed with Bluefish from time to time anywhere from about eight inches long up to about two and a half pounds keeping it somewhat interesting with the bites. We do still see the occasional Flounder and as these fish migrate offshore I anticipate catching several more. We usually continue to see Flatties at this time of year while fishing over the wrecks and reefs as they stop and feed around the structures fattening up for their journey to the deep.
I will continue with my all-day trips sailing daily departing the docks at 7:00 a.m. and we will be anchoring over wrecks and reefs every trip. I haven't been hitting the docks before 4:00 p.m. Sea Bass will be the primary target until the closure on October 12th. Half-Day trips are on a short schedule now sailing just Friday through Mondays at 8:00 and then again at 1:00 p.m. Half day trips will be targeting Croakers, Blues, Flounder or anything that they can catch within their range. We also have a few more special trips on the schedule, the next deep drop trip is on October 29th to the 30th.
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