Monday, July 19, 2010

Cape May Fishing Report July 16-17, 2010.

I headed down to Cape May on Thursday evening so I could get out fishing early on Friday. I woke up at 5:30 AM, popped my head out of the cabin of the boat and found there was a thick fog over the harbor. I waited until 9:30 AM for the fog to burn off. My plan was to head to the Cape May reef. As the fog burned off a pretty strong South West wind picked up. I headed out of the inlet and decided I probably wasn’t going to be able to make it the reef. I did one drift by the yellow cans in front of the Coast Guard station. Then I decided to head back in through the canal over to the Delaware Bay.

The bay was pretty calm compared to the ocean, but the strong wind was with the tide. I set a drift down by the Cape May point. The drift was at about 3 knots, which is too fast. I put my drift sock out but that only slowed the drift down a little. I waited for the tide to go slack, so I was just dealing with the wind. With just the wind I had a good drift but never caught a thing all day. I was back in the slip by 2:00

On Saturday the weather was much better. My buddy Bill came down from Flemington. We left the dock at about 9:30AM heading for the Cape May reef. We had a west wind and the seas were calm, just some big rollers that were smooth. We were able to run out to the reef at over 20 knots. We set up on the reef by the rubble from the Ben Franklin Bridge. We didn’t have much of a drift so I decided it would be a good time to try some buck tails. I picked up a short on our first drift. We kept resetting the same drift. We were only drifting about 1/3 of a mile before we would reset. I picked up a few more shorts while jigging with the buck tails. Once the drift picked up we gave up on the buck tails. Bill picked up a few shorts also. I think we ended up with 7 shorts and one sea robin, no keepers.

We started heading back to the marina by 2:30 and were probably in the slip by 3:00. Again it was a very smooth ride back in. We cleaned up the boat and Bill headed back home. I stayed for the night and left early Sunday morning.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Cape May Fishing Report July 9-10, 2010.

I headed down to Cape May on Thursday evening, since I had Friday off. Friday I finished replacing the wash down water pump on my boat, then headed out for a few hours of fishing at around 11:00 AM. Most of the fleet was in the Delaware Bay about 3 miles from the canal entrance. I stopped there and picked up 3 shorts. I had a good drift going there. A little later I moved over between the 9-10 buoys, some of the Party Boats were there when I got there.

The Party boats left then this piece of crap came cruising by.
I stayed there until about 2:00 PM then headed back to the marina.

Friday evening we all headed over to Sterling Harbor in Wildwood for the Captains meeting for the Duke of Fluke. We paid our entrance fee and entered the Calcutta’s for the Single Heaviest Fluke and the Stringer of Five Fluke. We left the meeting fairly early and headed over to CJ’s for dinner. We made it an early night since we would be fishing in the tournament in the morning.

Saturday was the tournament day. The tournament started at 7:30 AM but we headed to the marina early to get everything ready. The weather was pretty nice, although they had been calling for rain. Dave S. headed up to register our crew at Sterling Harbor and wait for the shotgun start. We left the slip at about 7:45 and headed out towards the bay. Once we got in the bay we headed towards the rips, since it was high tide and it wouldn’t be too rough. We ended up catching a few shorts and Randy caught a 19 inch keeper fairly early.
Things were looking promising at that point. The fog started to role in almost as soon as we got out there. I think the rain probably started at about 8:00 AM, and it rained all day. We decided to make a move back towards the 9-10 buoys, but we had to turn around because the fog was too thick. We tried a few other spots in the bay with an occasional short being picked up. Towards the end of the day we headed back into the harbor, and tried some drifts right in front of the marina. I picked up one short there. We called it a day by 3:30.

After we cleaned the boat, filleted the fish, and got ourselves into dry clothing, we headed back to Sterling Harbor for the awards dinner. We planned to skip out right after we ate. There was a lot less people at the party then there was last year. Last year there were 150 boats entered, this year I think it was 120. Once they started serving food we hopped in line and were some of the first to get our meals. We actually got to sit at a table this year. Just as we were finishing our meals and leaving it started to rain again. We made our way back to CJs, with some urgency on my part. We had a few drinks there, and then we headed back over to the Harbor View for our After the Catch special.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Cape May Fishing Report July 3, 2010.

Season 5 of fishing aboard “Offshore Bites” finally got started this weekend. My buddy Mark drove down from PA. We left the slip at around 10:30 PM Friday evening. I decided to leave Friday night so there would be no chance of missing the first light. We took it very slow through the inlet and then out to the open ocean. The moon was about ¾ full, but it hadn’t risen yet, so it was pretty dark out. Once we got past the inlet we pulled up my waypoint for the 19 Fathom Lump. It’s about a 38 mile South East run from the Cape May inlet to the 19 Fathom Lump. The seas were very calm, but we ran slowly at about 9-10 knots on the way down. I could have run faster but I knew we would be there in plenty of time for first light. We didn’t see another boat on the radar until we got close to the lump. Along the way I heard several dull thuds, but that was just Marks head hitting the poles for the Bimini top as he kept falling asleep. We arrived at the 19 Fathom lump around 3:30 AM. The water temperature was in the 72-73 degree range.

Once we got there I just let the engine idle and we turned on the spreader lights and got all the rods rigged up. We had Mark’s Penn International 70, and my 4 Shimano TLD 25’s. We used the 70 for the wwwwway back line, with a Blue and White Islander and Ballyhoo. We had some Ballyhoo on two of the other lines, and a Red White Cedar plug on the other line. We started trolling at about 4:30 AM. The sun rise was at about 5:30 AM. I realized the Sonar on my Garmin 3206 wasn’t working when we got there, it was reading about 30 ft when the depth was closer to 100 ft or more. I put a new transducer on this spring so I know that is not the issue with the unit.

After a few loops around the lump I headed East right into the rising sun, heading towards the tip of the Elephant Trunk. We were trolling at about 5.4 knots. About ½ to ¾ of the way to the Elephant Trunk, just before 7:00 AM, Mark yelled “Hey Chris”. Then he hit the clicker on his Penn 70, and the line was ripping off at a good clip. We had something big on the line. This was easily biggest fish that’s ever been on a line in my boat. I ran back and helped clear the other lines. Then I ran back to the helm. The fish was still ripping line off. I asked Mark if he needed me to back down on the fish, at first he said “No”, but quickly changed his answer to “Yes”. So I put the boat in reverse and started to back down, as Mark reeled like crazy gaining back line. To give you some perspective the Penn 70 had 80 lb test on it, and a line capacity of about 600 yards when full, and the drag was probably set to about 25 lbs. When I started backing down Mark guesses there was about a hundred yards of line left on the reel.

We got most of the line back by backing down on the fish. Then Mark was thinking we were snagged on the bottom, because he couldn’t move the fish. I had to maneuver the boat a few times because the fish was heading under it. Mark was basically just trying to hold on at this point. About 10 or 15 minutes into the fight the fish start to come up. I grabbed the gaff and was getting ready, and then Mark said he lost him, all I saw was the blue and white islander coming to the surface. Neither of us ever got to see the fish. We assume it was a big Bluefin Tuna. Needless to say we were both very disappointed, and Mark’s arms were shot.

I had marked the position on my chart plotter when we had first hooked up. We got the lines back in the water and I headed back towards that area but we didn’t have any luck. At this point a North West wind had started to pick up and the waves were getting bigger, so I started trolling towards a wreck called the Lori Down which was about 6 miles North West of our location heading back towards Cape May. The clicker on the short TLD 25 with the red and white cedar plug went off, it was my turn at the reel. I could tell right away that it was nothing big. We got that fish in close and I could see it was a little Bonita, but we lost that one at the boat too. I wasn’t too upset about that one.

We continued to troll towards the Lori Down and the seas continued to build, after a couple of miles I decided to call it a day because it was getting too rough and I knew it would take us a long time to make it back in. We put the Ison Glass back in and chugged home at about 10 knots for a long way, as we got closer to shore the seas began to clam down. By the time we were up to the Cape May reef we were able to run at over 20 knots.

I had been up since 5:00 AM Friday, and I assume Mark had been too, as we past the reef it was around 11:30 AM. If I wasn’t so tired I might have stopped at the reef and tried for some flounder.

We headed for the fuel dock when we got back to the Marina. The boat took 66.5 Gallons of fuel, and we had put 106 miles on the trip odometer, giving us a burn rate of 1.59 MPG. This is very close to what I had calculated on our last big trip. We put 15 hours on the hour meter this trip and it felt like it too.

We had the boat back in the slip by 12:30. We cleaned the rods and reels, but that was it. I told Mark I would clean the boat later. Everything was covered with salt from the pounding we took on the way in. Mark left to meet his wife and take a nap on the beach; I headed to Harbor View for some lunch. Then I headed back to the boat for a nap.

Next week we plan to fish in the Duke of Fluke tournament again, if the weather holds up.