After yesterday’s phenomenal fishing, we had to give it another go today considering the winds were supposed to be calm. We ran out on the 27′ Contender Trade In with a 4 person crew of me, Maureen, Vinny, and Peter. We had some fog which brought visibility down to 1-3 miles all day which wasn’t bad. The run out was a little nasty because of a tight 3-4 foot swell right in our face, but we just pulled the throttles back and made our way out. We ran back to the same general area as yesterday, and the first thing I noticed was that the water temperature dropped 2 degree from yesterday to 49 degrees, but it didn’t really phase my confidence in the bite. We started on a different piece of structure about 1 mile away from where we fished yesterday and made a couple drifts that produced sea bass, but the bite wasn’t what we wanted. We picked up and headed to the wreck we were on yesterday, and GAME ON again! The sea bass where inhaling squid and green crab without hesitation. We had a current that was north to south today and the majority of our sea bass were taken on the southern part around the wreckage. Once we got too far from the wreck, we would get covered up by spiny dogfish and then we knew it was time to reset our drift.
We had lots of double headers! Super fun fishing. Once we had our fun with the sea bass, we put out our double anchor setup to try and get some tog, but they would not bite here today. I managed to put one in the box and we caught a few shorts, but it was slow. Luckily the sea bass kept bitting a little while we were anchored and it kept us busy. We made a quick run inshore to try a wreck we believed would be holding better numbers of tog. Again we setup the double anchor setup so we could sit right where we wanted. It took a little bit of time to get the fish going but once we did, it was a steady pick of tog at about a 3:1 throwback to keeper ratio. We put 8 more keeper tog in the box but ran out of time as the fog was thickening and darkness was setting in, and I absolutely can’t stand running in the dark with a thick fog. We were all happy as could be with the day and picked up to run home.
I have to say, I can’t stress enough how important it is for a boat operator to know their boat and electronics well, especially their radar! If you have one, and are not familiar with it, use it during the day so you know how certain “marks” pick up on your radar. That way, when you really need your radar, you will know exactly what you are looking at. I have heard of way too many close calls the past few years due to operators not taking it slower in a fog and not knowing their electronics. Had we not had radar today, we would have surely either run into or been run over by a tug boat with a barge today, and I can’t tell you how many times my radar has saved me in situations like today where the fog rolls in so thick that you can barely see the bow of your boat. Being on the water is supposed to be a fun experience every time, so keep it that way by being safe and using common sense, it goes a long way.
Today we ran out on the Trade In to do another recon trip and try some new pieces of structure that have come to our attention. We had very calm seas which made it the perfect day to make a 30 mile run to an area we have been wanting to try for BIG tog (aka blackfish) and large numbers of sea bass. We had a solid crew on the boat today with me, Maureen, Joe, and Steve ready to whack some fish. We made our way out at 8am and ran a solid 30 knots to our destination. When we made it to the piece of structure I was looking for we had to ride around a bit to mark it on our sounder so I could mark the piece well on the Plotter. We had a steady water temperature of 51 degrees and there were a few pods of smaller dolphins in the area. We made a few drifts over the structure to see if anybody was home and to see what the drift was before we anchored. On our drifts, it was drop and reel fishing! We were catching one sea bass after another, the majority being keeper size. It was nonstop action and they were eating everything from butterfly jigs, hammered diamond jigs, along with squid and green crab on top and bottom rigs. Maureen ended up settin the hook on a nice 4# tog which proved to us that tog were there, so we setup our double anchor setup so we could work the wreckage.
We spent the whole day on this wreck picking through sea bass and some tog. Green Crab was by far the best bait since the dogfish left it alone. Squid would get hammered on by sea bass, but it also accounted for quite a few spiny dogfish catches which we wanted to avoid. We lucked out and got into some nice 6-7 pound tog. Steve caught his personal best at 7.75 pounds and Maureen caught her personal best, a 10 pound slob! It put up an awesome fight, but Mo brought the fish into reach of the net and it was a done deal! We decided it was time to pack it up around 3:30 pm and we wound up with 15 keeper tog. Amazing day of wreck fishing, and trying some new pieces of structure paid off.
I ran out today on Trade In in search of some tog (aka blackfish). Maureen has not been able to get out in awhile, and our Fall was completely ruined by the crazy weather and other complications so it was nice to get out again. We had a 3-4 foot South swell that made for a little bit of a bumpy ride out of GE Inlet, but we had beautiful sunny and 60 degree weather all day which made for a relaxing day of tog fishing. We started off setting up on some structure on the Ocean City Reef. We had 49 degree water, and it was fairly clean. We moved all over the structure but couldn’t get on the fish real heavy. We put in a good amount of time here before we decided to try a new area. We made a quick run to a wreck and reset. The water was a little cleaner. GAME ON! We had non stop action here catching one fish after another. We had a high throwback to keeper ratio, but we did manage to catch our limit on tog and went on to release some. Our best fish today were in the 5 pound range. Always nice to go home with some meat.
I was supposed to run the Trade In today wreck fishing for tog, but we could not snag a third man so we had to bag it. Instead I hopped on for a ride with a friend of mine (Keith) on his Viking to go chunking for stripers in the DE Bay. The air was crisp and calm at 6:30 am as we made our way out the Cape May Canal with Wednesday’s lingering Full Moon. This was my first chunking trip of the season which was weird for me to think since usually that is what I spend the majority of my November doing. We got setup with a hard incoming tide not far from the Canal, and the water was dirty and our lines would come up covered with grass. We quickly moved to a different spot about 2 miles away and had the same issues, but managed to snag a keeper bass out of there.
At 9:45 am the tide slowed down and we decided to move out towards the middle of the bay into cleaner water. After looking around we finally found some solid bait and bass marks on the sounder. We had to wait for the tide to get moving and it was about 40 minutes when we got our first bite. We managed to go 2/5 at this location. Today was the day of mechanical failures with tackle. We had some freshly spooled reels that turned out to have a bad batch of braided line on them as they kept popping at random places in the line. I have never had this happen before, but it happened on all of them so it was safe to make the conclusion that the braid was bad. We also had a few reels just seize and/or break on us as well. It go to the point where all we could do was laugh since it was becoming so rediculous and unexpected.
We had not had a bite in about 45 minutes and decided to pickup and look around. We searched through 3 different places before we stopped and setup for our last hoorah. As the outgoing tide slowed, we started getting some action and finished off the outgoing tide 3/6 on keeper stripers. At the end of the tide we had a water temperature of 46 degrees. The stripers made us work hard for them today, but we were able to pick at them randomly throughout the day and put together a decent catch. Couldn’t have asked for better weather, and I had a blast fishing with a fun group of guys!