I made some changes, actually mostly additions, to this website/fishing blog. I made a lot of changes to every page, especially the “BOATS” PAGE, and added a PHOTO GALLERY, TACKLEBOX PAGE, and CONTACT PAGE. Anyone can contact me at any time through my CONTACT Page with any questions from chartering a boat with me (Captain Ricky Wheeler) to general fishing questions. The TACKLEBOX Page is devoted to How-To Videos, Tackle Talks, and tackle info. What would everyone like to see more of as far as the TACKLEBOX Page goes and also VIDEOS for 2014?
After an extremely poor trip line class fishing for striped bass running the Trade In in VA Beach (never good when well over 100 boats fish a 3 day tournament and not a single fish was caught), I am looking forward to my next stop, Costa Rica, for some billfishing. It will be a quick trip, but I am looking forward to catching some Pacific Sailfish and hopefully a Pacific Blue Marlin or two out of Los Suenos and Quepos…
Today we made a change of plans and decided to go try for sea bass. We got a little bit of information to start with and went from there. The weather was perfect at calm, sunny, and 60 degrees to make a 30 plus mile run, so we took advantage and ran out to the Triangle Reef. I grabbed some wreck coordinates off of the internet and decided we could make it happen out there. The water temperature was 47 degrees, and the water was very clean. We tried a few wrecks with no real success. Just a few small ones here and there on diamond jigs. We moved around a bit and finally found a better concentration of sea bass that we kept picking through. The throwback to keeper ratio was horrible at about 8:1. They started to eat squid on the top and bottom rigs and at about 1:00 pm we found a major concentration of sea bass and it was nonstop drop an reel fishing. Double headers on every drop, and the throwback to keeper ratio improved to 4:1 so we were able to put our limit into the box.
Once we had our limit, we packed up and headed back inside around the Tower where I marked bait on the way out. We got there in no time since we could run 35 knots without a problem, and we put out the Mojo Jigs and heavier tackle for bluefin tuna. We had great bait marks, and I was positive I marked at least one tuna, but we couldn’t get a bite. Trolling at 4.5 knots, we still had some stripers inhale the Mojo Jigs with the 9″ shad bodies and we wound up catching 4 nice stripers up to 28 lbs in the last hour and a half. We also saw humpback whales fully breaching out of the water while we were inside which was an awesome sight to see! We marked a ton of bait and a lot of striped bass on the sounder while we were there, but no bluefin tuna bites. Another fun day on the Trade In.
I am sure most of you are aware of the effects of Hurricane Sandy, and it has really put a damper on the early part of the Fall Striper Run in NJ. That being said, it truly has devastasted so many people, and I feel fortunate that I personally still have a place to live and am able to fish after what i have seen from New York and Northern NJ. I haven’t been out at all this Fall Striper Season, and I was excited to get back on the water after almost of month of being on land (longest streak on land for me in years). After a decent report from Prissy Wicks (Cape May Rips) my friend Vinny and I wanted to spend the day tossing bucktails in the Rips for Striped Bass. This is by far my absolute favorite type of inshore fishing. It truly is an art, and there is no feeling like when a striper hammers your bucktail and it starts screaming drag off of your reel after you slam the hook home.
We got an early start and dumped the boat in the water at Spicer’s Creek Public Ramp at first light. We were fishing by 6:45am in the middle of the incoming tide and started off searching different Rips until we found a spot that produced a few keeper fish for us. The water temperature was 49 degrees which is colder than the past few years during this time of year. The bite wasn’t consistent so we continued to look around. We tried a few more areas and finally found the school. Every drift we were getting hooked up. We had it to ourselves for about a half an hour until other boats caught on that we were catching and came in, but the bite was HOT and we kept catching even after everyone came in on top of us (very common in the Rips in case you didn’t know). By the time the tide slowed down at 9:15 am and the melee was over, we had caught 16 stripers all ranging from 30-38 inches.
We waited out the slack tide (usually unproductive in the Rips unless you troll a little or know where to move during certain stages of the tide) by eating an early lunch on the boat then went back at it for the top of the outgoing tide, but we only had a few bites without any connections. We decided to quit while we were ahead and got back into the boat ramp before the tide got too low to get the boat back on the trailer. The hot baits were 3oz. white ‘smilin bill bucktails’ ,also known as the ‘Andrus Rip Splitter’, with either a pork rind or a 6″ chartreuse sassy shad. This is pretty much all we ever throw in the Rips, and it has produced for us year after year.
Cape May Rips Striper
Vinny with a bass on his favorite – white bucktail w/ a pork rind
It amazes me how they inhale this lure almost every time!
I went out on a friend’s boat today called Reelality in search of some wahoo. His son, Stephen, and friend, Mike, had never caught a Wahoo, nor had he put wahoo on the deck of that boat yet. The 15-20 knot SW wind they called for late in the afternoon was already blowing, and the seas were a choppy 3-6. With that we stayed fairly close to home, but ran to where Wahoo have been holding in good numbers the past 6 weeks – the infamous Hot Dog. We got there around 9:00 am and were fishing in 73.5 degree blue-green water with scattered weed. We pulled a spread focused on catching wahoo with mostly skirted ballyhoo on wire and two planers down about 15-25 feet.
Our first bite was a small dolphin which we bailed in the boat. Shortly after we had a wahoo crash our way back blue/white Joe Shute and take a hard run. Stephen was on for his first ‘hoo and brought it to the gaff after a 20 minute battle. We got back on the troll and had a little lull in the action before we got hammered again by another wahoo on the same bait. Mike fought it for about 15 minutes before we sunk the meat hook into its head. Keith kept working the Hot Dog since the direction we wanted to go would have been a head sea all day. We had two mystery bites that just never came tight. I saw the splash on one of the two and it looked like a wahoo bite, but I can’t confirm it. The way the bait came back on the other made me believe it was a small dolphin. At about 2:00 pm we picked up and ran in. Successful day since the goal was to get two people their first wahoo. I can’t wait to slice some up for sushi!
I ran the 27′ Contender “Trade In” with Maureen Klause, Cullen Wright, and Joe Carey in search of wahoo and white marlin. There has been a consistent bite of some wahoo and white marlin around the Hot Dog and the lumps outside of it to 50 fathoms. The ride there was a little rough, and the SW 15 knot wind kicked up the seas throughout the day, but we still fished. We started our morning at the Hot Dog and I was marking solid bait on the edge at 160 feet of water. We dropped a planar down with a blue/white Hawaiian Eye with a ballyhoo on wire behind it and WHAM! It was whacked within 10 minutes and up to the surface came a nice wahoo screaming out line and jumping all over the surface. Maureen was on her first ever wahoo and after about 20 minutes of gaining line back, we had a nice 65-70 pound wahoo in the boat!
We got back on the troll and went back over the same area and we hooked into another wahoo. Cullen reeled this one in which was his first wahoo and in came another nice 40# wahoo. I worked the area a little longer but the bait disappeared and a friend was just offshore of me and had 2 white marlin already, so we pulled up the planer, put the dredge in and worked out. Once we got into 45 fathoms we started seeing the bait and put a nice gaffer dolphin in the boat. We were looking for a white for Joe since he had never caught one and after working the bait for a while, we had a white come up and hammer a bait. It took a screaming run and the white marlin made Joe work hard to get the release, but he stayed on it and we got a quick snapshot of him with his first white before the release.
It was later in the day so we started working in towards the Tea Cup where I saw on the satellite shot that the same 73 degree water was, and it was on our heading for home. Once we got inside 40 fathoms we put the planar back down and we were on with our 3rd wahoo which I actually got to have fun with on the rod and reel. We put that 40 pounder in the boat and called it a day. Fun day of fishing and plenty of wahoo meat – my favorite!