Thursday, September 07, 2006

Fish Report 9/7/06

Fish Report 9/7/06
Croaking Bass?
Hi All,
Tropical Storm Ernesto sure seemed like a hurricane to me! At their height, seas from the blow were running 23 feet at the DE. Lightship, a weather buoy 15 NM east of Fenwick Island, DE. 
(Link --  )(there are also good marine weather forecast links there)
Many boats were damaged; one marina had over 1/2 dozen sink in their slips! Another boat found an abandoned life raft after the blow. No name, the Coast Guard will probably have to trace the serial number. You can only shudder at the thought...
It takes a while for 20+ foot seas to pipe down!  On Sunday's trip sea swells were 8 to 10 feet with the occasional 12 or 13 footer thrown in. Because they were swells and not wind driven waves; it was doable. Fish were scattered. Croakers were high up on structure - way atop wrecks and reefs - it's something I don't recall seeing before. Sea bass were fussy and flounder were absent!
The fishing each day has gotten better - today the swell was finally gone. Nice.
Now, well after the blow, croakers are just like I like 'em ~ thick! It took about 45 minutes to limit out on 13 to 16 inch fish - then we went cbassing. Did OK on the bass - better than before the hurricane but certainly no limits. And, for the first time since Ernesto, we had a sign of flounder as well.
I'd never really considered the effects of waves, other than how they were going to effect a boat ride, until I was working with the underwater camera in a moderate swell. Pretty amazing. In 65 feet of water a 4 to 5 foot swell was swirling the sand on the bottom with each passing sea. That is, with the camera resting on bottom you could see the circular pattern of the sediment going up and around. It was plainly in concert with the ground swell.
Very sturdy wrecks and reef materials can get jumbled around on the inshore sites, even moved a considerable distance in a fierce enough blow.
Do fish get sea sick?
I doubt it, but I know there are many species that move deeper when a good blow is coming.
The work done with artificial reefs suggests that wave motion is dampened considerably in over 120 feet of water.
I wonder how they know... Croakers, for instance, will probably hold tight for a wind that kicks up a 5 to 6 foot wave pattern but will scoot offshore in a big hurry when the same size of wave is generated by a tropical system or classic nor'easter. Sea trout too. In fact, one school of 'croakers' that I stopped on Wednesday was sea trout. Little fellows at that! 110 feet of water and here come trout 8 to 12 inches long...
Anyway, the fall mix has begun. I enjoy being able to mix the species. It won't happen everyday - I'll keep the emphasis on cbass. Blues, croaker, flounder? Who knows - if I can mix it up a little, I will!
Capt. Monty Hawkins
Party Boat "Morning Star"
Reservations 410 520 2076

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