Some great weather, a beautiful ocean, and a fierce bite with the Sea Bass enabled us to finish out the last week of the Sea Bass season before the reopening in November with an absolute bang!
After my report last week we continued to enjoy some great fishing with the Bass in some less than favorable conditions early on and as the week progressed the weather just got better and better as did the fishing. We enjoyed many limit catches with the Bass and we were also seeing several Snapper sized Blues and just a Fluke or two each day. By weeks end looking ahead to the big holiday weekend the forecast was great, the fishing was great and anglers seemed to come out of the woodwork to get in on the action. Very few if any were disappointed.
It was almost like the old days coming down to the dock in the morning and seeing rods coolers and fisherman everywhere. After most of the entire season running with just the bare minimum of crowds I have to admit even I was a little intimidated with the buzz of eager fisherman waiting to go out and try and catch some fish. It was a real glimmer of hope for what now seems to be a struggling industry and I think we proved to everyone that we can still make it work.
When I broke the inlet Friday with more people on board than I had carried since the spring, the Ocean couldn't have looked much nicer, I decided to take the run out a little further than we had been fishing in hopes of some wrecks that hadn't been fished in a while. After nearly a two hour ride we set the hook and dropped the lines to the bottom. Within moments of blowing the horn nearly every rod on the boat bowed over with fish. This action continued for nearly two hours with doubles and even triple headers of Sea Bass coming over the rail. It was a sight to behold and there was a good run of keepers, the coolers were filling up nicely. I was pleasantly surprised that the action continued as long as it did with so many lines in the water. When the Conger eels started to pop up I knew we had worn out our welcome on this wreck and we moved on to another one. I don't know if it was the fact that everyone had learned to work together with their partners around them on the first stop, or if there was just that many fish on the next stop but it was hands down as good as it gets. Once again as soon as I stopped every rod on the boat doubled over with fish and Capt. Alicen yelled up it's raining keepers! We continued to box them up and by the end of the day just about everyone on board had a cooler full of very nice fish.
Saturday we had a similar situation at the docks; people everywhere, coolers and fishing rods everywhere, more fishing rods and more coolers everywhere. We loaded up everyone and everything and off we went. The forecast was the same and the Ocean couldn't have been more calm. I went back off to the deeper wrecks with hopes of similar action. It doesn't always quite work out as you plan but we once again saw very good action with some very impressive fish. While I can't say it ever really rained keepers on Saturday like our day prior, by days end we did have some more limit catches on board and everyone had more than enough for supper and we had a great variety catch with Bass, Cod, Red Hake and Blues, we even had a few nice Flounder in the mix.
The big crowds continued the rest of the weekend and into Monday, the weather continued to be surreal with a mirror like flat calm ocean, and the fishing was described to me by several of my patrons anywhere from great to best ever to even insane! We truly had some of the best fall Sea Bass action over the last five days that we have had since we started anchoring over the wrecks and the variety catch kept everyone at the rail attentive. As a bonus catch this past weekend we landed nearly fifty keeper sized Cod throughout the weekend and we caught more Red Hake then I have seen in quite some time given the time of the year. Some of these Hake were as long as your arm! We also saw plenty of Bluefish in the two to four pound class and several Flounder up to about six pounds. We even caught a few Bonita. My hardest part of the report may be sorting through all the great pictures taken of these nice fish trying to settle on just a few.
By Tuesday morning for the last hoorah both myself and my crew were run pretty ragged after the long weekend. With not even half the participants on board that we had seen the last four days and an Ocean so flat that it resembled a secluded lake surrounded by mountains and trees, off we went again. Our Bass fishing was once again stellar and again we saw a nice variety of fish in the mix. It started out with just a pick; lots of mixy sized Bass and lots of snags on the bottom. After about an hour they really weren't adding up so off we went to look for another hot spot. When I got where I was going after looking at the mass of fish on my fathometer I told my mates to break out the umbrella it's getting ready to rain Sea Bass. From my perspective in the wheelhouse one of the most satisfying sights is looking down the rail after I anchor and seeing that wonderful sight of every rod on the boat doubled over and that is just what I saw! This action continued on until I blew the final whistle and headed for home. It was hit the bottom and wind fishing once again with Bass, lots of them were too small or measurable but the action was epic and the coolers were filling up again with a nice variety of fish. It was a nice way to close out the last day of the split.
Thanks to the fishcrats in charge we are now no longer able to land Sea Bass until the 1st of November when the season will reopen. We will certainly be ready for them on that day but for now I am switching gears and prepared to fish for the Tog daily. Right now our Tautog season is open and we are allowed a bag limit of ten fish at 14 inches. This will be the last time you will ever see such a liberal bag and with any luck we may be able to take advantage of this until the end of the year. Water temperatures have continued to drop recently and the Tog have started to bite. While the best action so far seems to be around the breakwaters there has also been some fish caught in and around the mouth of the Delaware Bay on some of the wrecks and reefs. We will be targeting these Tog daily from now until the end of the season. Crabs will be supplied, Sand Fleas are hit and miss depending on availability. We will be departing at our regular time at 7:00 and returning to the docks around 4:00.
Once the Sea Bass season reopens on November 1st we will be running for them that opening day of Tuesday November 1st, and we will sail on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays for the next few weeks just for the Bass. These trips will be starting out as 10 hour trips and may even switch to 12 hours as the fish push further offshore. Advance reservations are suggested for those that want to get on the boat first but it will be an open boat so you can also just show up. Departure time will be at 7:00 a.m. and we will board in the order of advance reservations first. The way we finished off with the Bass I would have to say that the outlook is very promising to continue with similar action once the season reopens.
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