Hello again. Amanda and I have returned from our Florida Keys vacation and we're back at it in the shop every day from now on. It was another windy winter down south, so much of our fishing was confined to inshore patch reefs. We did end up with some decent catches on days that we were able to go.
We brought a selection of yellowtail, mangrove and mutton snapper fillets north with us, along with smoked king mackerel and amberjack. We missed not being allowed to keep groupers with the season closure, and we released several nice ones. Hopefully the regulations will help and we'll be able to once again enjoy the tasty fighters while we're wintering in the Keys. As for what's happening locally, boaters had success with tog and stripers throughout the unusually mild winter. Flounder had even made an early appearance.
Weather has been more normal over the past couple weeks, which unfortunately means cool and windy, and fishing action has been up and down with conditions. On good days, some nice catches were recorded. Captain Carey had Don Kopp and his group out for two trips on the Grizzly. They put 27 keeper tog in the box Friday, and 20 more on ice Saturday. Be aware that as of April 1st, the creel limit for tautog is 3 fish per person, with a 16 inch minimum size. Steve Keretzman and Scott and Kyle Peterson fished with Captain Pete on Top Fin Saturday for 14 quality tog and a big ling. Mr. Kim's group limited out aboard Top Fin on Tuesday. Captain Brent's toggers on Katy Did checked in some nice blackfish. Paul Pergeorelis boated a brace of citations weighing 9.11 and 7.6 pounds. Mark Adams had a 7.66 pounder. Catches have been more consistent on the ocean reef sites 9 and 10, but on days with clean water and less current, tog were taken from the Star Site in Delaware Bay. Some tog came from the Outer Wall, but again, it was conditions dependent. Fishing should improve along the rocks as water temps warm. Right now, it's about 52 degrees. Popular baits have included green crabs, frozen sand fleas, clams and shrimp. Stripers are in the Bay and should turn on at any time. Roger Guderian got a 36 inch 19 pound rock while soaking a bloodworm in the surf at Broadkill Beach. Striper catches were reported up the Bay by boaters using fresh bunker along structure edges between the lower end of Joe Flogger Shoal and #2 Buoy off Port Mahon. We're carrying fresh bunker, eels and sea clams at our store when available. Flounder have come from Lewes Canal. As with other fishing, it's better with a period of stable weather and clean water, and the action will pick up in coming weeks.
The annual Lewes Harbour Canal Flounder Tournament will take place Friday May 18th. It is a boat tournament open to both powerboats and kayaks. Entry fee is $25 per angler, to be paid by cash at Lewes Harbour Marina in advance of the Tourney. Five dollars of the entry money will be donated to the Camp Awareness Youth Program. The remaining money will be split among winning anglers, so the more fishermen(and fisherwomen), the bigger the prizes. Best of luck to everyone this season!