Monday, July 27, 2009

Cape May Fishing Report July 25, 2009 – Bree Zee Lee Fluke Tournament

I left home Friday afternoon a little early so I could get down to the marina for the Captains meeting for the Bree Zee Lee Fluke Tournament. On my way down I decided to call Capt. Randy and see what his plans were for the weekend. He answered his cell phone and told me that the Envoy had broken down, and he was stuck in Hammonton. I made a U-Turn and went back to pick them up. Luckily I was driving my stretch Nissan Versa and we had plenty of room for all their stuff. The Envoy was towed to the local GMC dealer down the street. I then continued on my way to Cape May with my new passengers Randy, Ruth and Sprocket (the dog).

I dropped them off at the camper and headed over to the Captains Meeting, which was at 7:00 PM on Friday. I wasn’t sure if I was going to enter the tournament because I didn’t have a crew, but I entered anyhow. Then I cruised back over to the camper and we went to CJ’s for diner. The swordfish was pretty good. After diner we headed back to the camp ground, and then I drove back to the boat with Randy and let him take the car. I was going to be fishing most of the day anyhow and wouldn’t need it.

For the tournament you could have your lines in the water at 6:00 AM, and you could have a maximum of 5 lines in the water. I ended up leaving the marina around 5:30 AM and headed for the Old Grounds by myself. On the way out, there was a south wind and some large swells but nothing too bad. I had my two lines in the water at about 7:00 AM. The water temperature was about 73 degrees at the old ground, and the water was pretty clean.

There wasn’t much happening for the first couple of hours. I did see some bluefish jump out of the water just a few feet from the boat. Then a few minutes later I found out why they were nervous; I saw a sharks dorsal fin and tail cutting through the surface. It was probably about a 5 foot shark, but I couldn’t tell what kind.

From 9-11 AM it was pretty much not stop action. I was working two rods and it seemed I would reel one up, and then have to reel in the other. At one point I had hits on both rods at the same time, I decided to reel in the one that felt heavier. Unfortunately all the flounder I caught were short. I also caught a lot of Sea Bass too. I only needed 4 or 5 ounces to hold the bottom at that point, but had to keep adding more weight as the wind picked up. I had an excellent drift for most of the day.

I moved a little further south after the action slowed down and continued to pick through shorts and Sea Bass. As the wind picked up I kept telling myself I should head in closer to Cape May and try McCries Shoal, but I kept catching another fish each time I was getting ready to leave. I took off for McCries Shoal at about 1:00 PM. I was the only one fishing at McCries Shoal, and didn’t even get a hit while I was there. I left McCries at about 2:30 and was back in my slip by around 3:00 PM. Weigh in was from 3-4. Unfortunately I didn’t have anything to weigh in.

I checked the trip meter on my chart plotter before I left the slip and after I returned. My round trip total for the day was 55 miles, and I burned about 35.4 gallons of fuel, which gives me an average of about 1.55 miles per gallon. I got an average of about 1.65 mpg last year while trolling but the sea conditions where better on the trolling trip.

In all I think there were 25 boats registered for the tournament. The entry fee was $100 and the Calcutta for the stringer of the two heaviest fish was $50, and I think everyone went in on the Calcutta. So the Calcutta probably paid out about $1250. I’m not sure how they broke down the percentages for the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd heaviest fish. I do know I didn’t have any of them. After the weigh in we all sat around at the tables up by the fuel dock and enjoyed our gourmet hot dogs and had a few beers.

Here’s a photo of the leader board after everyone weighed in. Looks like the “Stanely Rose” won the Calcutta with a two fish total of 11.62 lbs, and Duchess came in 1st place.
Here’s a shot of me holding up my parting gift I got just for playing the game.
I ended up spending the night in the Outback because I needed internet access in order to do some work at 1:30 in the morning. By the way Randy and Ruth’s camper is an Outback, I wasn’t in Australia. I got up and went out to the Picnic Pavilion because I can get a better internet signal out there. I was out there until about 2:45 AM. I may need to file for workman’s compensation since I was being eaten alive by skeeters.

Sunday we got up and washed the boats, then headed to the Harbor View for lunch. After that we packed up and left for home.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Cape May Fishing Report July 18, 2009

I went down to Cape May on Saturday morning, hoping that the weather report would be wrong and I might be able to get out and do some trolling. Unfortunately the wind was blowing a little too strong. I really didn’t do much all day. In the afternoon I went over and sat outside at the Schooner bar at the Lobster House. I sat there waiting for the boats to come in for the South Jersey Tuna Tournament. Around 5:00 I saw Andy and crew pass by, and I yelled out to them to see if the caught anything. Andy replied they had one and guessed it to be about 150 pounds. I popped of my trusty bar stool and ran over to South Jersey to watch them weigh in. They did have a big Bluefin that weighed in at 152 lbs. On Friday they had weighed one in that was 142 lbs. Even though they had some big fish they weren’t in the money.
Here’s a photo of the leader board after everyone weighed in.

Meanwhile back at the Bree Zee Lee, I noticed Capt. Dave’s boat the Tiramisu was up on the sling. I saw Rich working on the Tiramisu on Sunday morning. I asked him what the problem was; he told me it was a simple case of catastrophic engine failure!!!!

No not really he was getting ready to change to the impeller. I think the boat is already back in the water; at least it wasn’t on the lift when I left for home this morning.

Hopefully next weekend I will be entering the Bree Zee Lee Fluke tournament. I think Ross the guy a few slips up from me, might be the guy to beat. I saw him Saturday afternoon, after he had returned from the Old Grounds again. His cooler was pretty full and he showed me the fish, one was over six pounds.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Cape May Fishing Report July 11, 2009 – Duke of Fluke Special

I looked at the weather report for Saturday and realized we were finally getting a day with the wind from the South, which is good for heading to The Old Grounds. Then I realized that the Duke of Fluke tournament was scheduled for Saturday as well. I decided to put together a team of elite flounder fishermen, but ended up with Capt Randy, Dave M, Dave S, and yours truly.

Capt Randy, Dave M, and I made it over to Sterling Harbor in Wildwood to register for the tournament and attend the Captains meeting on Friday evening. We also entered the 5 biggest fish Calcutta and the biggest single fish Calcutta.

We met up on the docks at the Bree Zee Lee at 6:00 on Saturday morning. I drove up to Wildwood for the shotgun start at around 6:45 AM. They stopped registration for the event at 7:00 AM. They were approximately 150 boats and 15 kayaks registered for the event. The organizers smartly held off checking people in until 7:15, since the shot gun start was scheduled for 7:30. I wisely parked on the other side of Rio Grande Avenue heading back towards the parkway. Once it reached 7:30 they let us go, and people started running for the cars. I thought a couple of guys were going to get run over running across the road. I hopped in the mighty Nissan Versa and had the squirrels under the hood screaming as I headed for the GSP. There’s was a pack of 10-15 cars in the first group and we were all heading south on the GSP at about 90 MPH. The winner of the race was also rewarded by a State Trooper, luckily I wasn’t the winner. I ran over to the boat which Capt Randy had waiting at the fuel dock and we were off by 7:45 AM. I was already having fun and the day just started.

As we pulled out of the marina we could see a high speed parade of boats coming out of the ICW towards the Inlet. There was one guy who had a center console with three outboards on it and he impressively put the hammer down and was flying by the other boats. The inlet looked like a blender. As we broke the inlet Capt Randy punched up one of the waypoints for The Old Grounds. It took us about an hour to make it to the area.

We pulled in by some of the boats with a good reputation for catching fish. I immediately hooked up with a massive 3 inch sea robin. We continued to drift but most of the boats in the area were heading elsewhere, then I picked up the first keeper of the day, a 21 inch flatty.

We moved to another area and Capt Randy hooked up and landed a 23 incher. At another spot Dave M had another 21 inch keeper, and Dave S caught a 22 incher. If you’re keeping track we were up to 4 keepers, and we needed 5. I lost track of how many throw backs we caught, I personally must have had at least 10 throw backs. At one point Dave S hooked into what he thought was a big fish. He was using a high low rig and ended up with the only double header of the day, unfortunately he pulled in two rocks. The one was pretty cool it had a red plant growing out of it. We stuck it out until about 3:15 and then had to give up. The weigh in back at Sterling Harbor was from 4-5.

The wind had really picked up in the afternoon; I’m guessing it was blowing about 20 knots, luckily from the south so we had a following sea. Capt. Randy had the boat doing about 20 knots on the way in. We did find a few pots holes on the way back to port. The waves were mostly 4-6 footers, but we happened to run into a set that were about 8 footers. A few members of the crew got a refreshing blast of water. We made it back to the slip by 4:30 PM. In theory if we had enough fish to weigh in we could have made it up to the weigh in.

We cleaned the fish, and then ourselves and headed over to the awards party back at Sterling Harbor. There were hundreds of people there and you had to wait in line to get to the buffet table. There wasn’t enough room to sit so we sat on the grass across the street. We hung out there until a little after 8:00 and they still didn’t hand out the awards, so we left and headed over to the Harbor View.

I read on the BassBarn that the heaviest fish weighed in was over 11 pounds. I think it was 11.8 but I’m not sure. The guys who won for the heaviest 5 fish weren’t in the Calcutta, so they only won $1600. The guys that came in 2nd place for the heaviest 5 fish were in the Calcutta and ended up taking home about $16000.

All in all it was a fun day and I think everyone had a good time.