Depending on which trip you were out on this past week you may have seen anything from sheer boredom, to a cooler full, or even a super sized trophy fish in your box. That's the way the fishing went for us here at the Wharf over the last several trips.
Sea Bass fishing has been our most consistent fishery if you are looking for that cooler full of fish for the freezer. Striper fishing while described by some as phenomenal, (usually not the adjective used by the ones that didn't catch any) has been holding up relatively well especially with the size of the average fish being landed. And Tog fishing, even though I would prefer not to print anything about it; with the exception of this past Monday, pretty much sucked over the weekend with some very tough fishing three days in a row.
The moon can be a fisherman's best friend or it can be his most hated mortal enemy. Over the weekend with the dark side of the moon falling between Friday and Saturday, and along with the accompanying extreme range in tides and the swift moving currents, this was one lunar event which was by no means friendly to those that were trying to catch a Tog. It was almost like a light switch had been flipped in the mouth of the Bay. Prior to Thanksgiving, Tog fishing had been going rather well with decent catches nearly every trip. We ventured out on Friday after a few days onshore and what we found was certainly not what I had hoped for. Not even a bite could be had in the same general areas that have been so good for us for so long. By mid day It became apparent that "waiting them out" may not be the best course of action, so I ventured out of the lower end of the Bay and out into the Ocean in search of less current and perhaps some cleaner water. While we never truly got away from the strong current we did manage to find a few biting fish but the size left a lot to be desired. We most definitely found some biting Tog and we landed a bunch of them but the keeper ratio was poor barely breaking double digits with keepers by the days end.
For my Tog trip on Saturday I was a little more hopeful. I didn't really know where to go but I knew where not to go. Back out into the Ocean we went hoping for more action like I had seen late Friday however the fishing was once again painfully slow . We did pick at some tog Saturday and ultimately landed more keepers than our previous trip but it was just too few to make a difference and it was a poor day overall in my log book. Sunday believe it or not was even worse, with just a handful of folks I fished fairly close to home and these fish just never cooperated for us at all. We didn't get skunked and we didn't give up like some of the others targeting the Tog, but we came home with just a couple keeper Blackfish for the entire day. By Monday morning I was pretty much numb with the whole Tog not biting thing yet here we were once again off with a small crowd trying to find some biting fish. It's the funniest thing with these Tog you just never know. While fishing over some of the same wrecks that I had fished just over the past weekend, these finicky feeders finally decided to bite a little bit and in a reassuring faith of my ability to find a few biting fish, we actually put a decent catch together with fish up to about 7 lbs. and even a limit catch of ten nice fish for one lucky angler. Damn Tog.
If anyone benefited from the strong running currents over the weekend, it would have to have been the Striper fishermen. Stripers did bite fairly well over the last week for most boats that targeted them in the swift moving currents around the rips. Saturday was the tough day though; with pretty weather in the forecast nearly anything and everything that that floats was fishing out of either Delaware or New Jersey filling the rips up with literally several hundred boats in broken fleets congregating around and chasing after these trophy Linesiders. The likes of a sport fishing fleet of this size was a reminder of the old days fishing for the Sea Trout. It was truly a zoo with all the boats zipping around from spot to spot and a bad day I suspect to have been a Striper trying to feed beneath all that boat traffic.
The offshore scene was pretty fruitful for Capt. H.D. and his patrons seeking the Sea Bass. Capt. H had a 10 hour trip on Friday and ran 12-hour trips both Saturday and Sunday. Fishing was described to me by many of the anglers that made the trip, and the general consensus was darn good fishing, lots of action, good variety, but just too many throwbacks. While these fish most certainly added up to a good catch for the majority of the fisherman there was a lot of what we like to call "busy work" with the small fish. This is both good and bad. It's always good to be getting bites while your fishing but its not necessarily the best thing when your fishing in twenty fathoms or deeper depths reeling in predominately undersized fish. It can get very frustrating. There has been an outstanding run with the Sea Bass since the season reopened on November 1st but it has become obvious that these fish are now thinning out and pushing further offshore forcing more time needed to make good numbers of keeper fish add up. Sea Bass trips will continue to run on Wednesday's, Saturday's, and Sunday's but now these will all be 12-hr special trips allowing the time needed to travel to the best fishing. Reservations in advance are required for these adventures. Capt. H.D. also has a few 18 hour trips on the schedule into December. Remember as of December 31st Sea Bass season is once again shut down.
`The outlook is very good to continue to see some mighty fine fishing with all target species until the end of our 2011 fishing season. As a reminder we are now just sailing on Fri. Sat. Sun. and Monday with both the wreck trips for Tog and with the Striper Trips. Tog trips depart at 7:00 a.m. and the Striper trip leaves at 8:00. If you would 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