Vol 40 | Num 19 | Sep 2, 2015
Article by Larry Jock
As we head into the Labor Day holiday, anglers in the bay are struggling but those who can venture out to the reefs and wrecks for flounder or head to the canyons for billfish and dolphin are having a great time.
We are seeing a good billfish bite going on right now and chances are it is only going to get better. Around this time of year, the white marlin bite has gotten so good off the coast of Ocean City that we are seeing more boats that ventured up for the big summer tournaments, sticking around to get in on the early September action.
Last week, we saw white marlin releases coming in from the Baltimore and offshore of the Rockpile on Tuesday and Wednesday. Then, on Friday and through the weekend, most of the action was found in 300 to 500 fathoms offshore of the Washington Canyon.
The majority of billfishing boats returned with single digit white marlin flags flying, but on Wednesday, the “DA Sea” decided to stay in the Baltimore Canyon and were rewarded with 14 white marlin releases and a blue marlin release. On Friday, the “Partnership” released 10 whites and a blue marlin near the 461 Lump. Saturday saw an improved bite, particularly in the Washington where the “Billfisher” and the “Reel Joy” led the way with 10 white marlin releases each.
Several blue marlin were released throughout the week. On Tuesday, anglers on the “Moore Bills” had a memorable day, going 3 for 3 on white marlin in addition to releasing a pair of blue marlin, south of the 461 Lump. Also on Tuesday, the “No Quarter” recorded a Grand Slam in the Poor Man’s with releases of a white marlin, a blue marlin and 2 spearfish.
On Wednesday, blue marlin releases were recorded by “My Gal Sal” in the Poor Man’s and the “DA Sea” in the Baltimore. On the following day, the “Pumpin’ Hard” released a pair of blue marlin, also in the Baltimore.
A couple of swordfish were caught on Sunday. The “Boss Hogg” boated a 288 pounder while deep dropping in the Washington Canyon and the “Wanderer” caught a 68 pounder during an overnighter in 200 fathoms in the Baltimore Canyon.
During a trip to the East Wall of the Baltimore Canyon on Friday night, anglers on the “Out-Rea-Geous” hooked into a 420 lb. mako shark. It was hooked on a mahi fillet at 3:00 in the morning.
Bigeyes continue to be caught at the Bigeye Hole in the Washington Canyon, but we also saw a few hooked in the Baltimore Canyon as well. The largest bigeye caught last week was a 254 pounder caught on the “Cheryl Lynn” during a Friday/Saturday overnight trip. We also saw a 240 lb. eyeball come in on the “Free Spool” on Sunday that was also caught in the Washington Canyon.
It’s a good thing the bigeye bite is still going strong because the yellowfin action is abysmal. The miniscule number that were caught last week came from the Washington Canyon. As this report was being written on Monday morning, the “Capt. Ike II” out of the Indian River Marina returned from an overnight trip with 14 small yellowfins in the box.
Right now, dolphin are all over the place with those chasing billfish in the canyons also returning with some dolphin in the box. The charter boat, “Marli” had some huge mahi trips last week, coming back to Sunset Marina with up to 51 mahi weighing up to 31 lbs. These fast growing pelagics are eating everything from trolled meat to casted cut bait. The largest dolphin of the week came from Kate Fingle with a 40 pounder caught on the charter boat, “Foolish Pleasures” in the Poor Man’s Canyon.
Although flounder fishing in the bay right now isn’t very good at all, it should get better in the coming weeks since this is typically the time of year we start to see the fish staging up in the deep holes of the East Channel and around the Inlet wall and jetties.
The real action continues to be on ocean structure with limits of nice fish arriving at the dock on every day that anglers can get outside the Inlet.
The Bass Grounds was the hot spot last week, but the African Queen and the Old Grounds have also been top producers over the last several weeks.
Flounder and mahi belly have been the best baits to use, but 5-inch Gulp! Swimming Mullets have also put some fish in the cooler as well.
The largest flounder we saw last week, and surprisingly it came from the West Channel by Martha’s Landing, was caught on Sunday when Doug Jackson landed a 27-incher that weighed 8 lbs. 12 oz.
Right now, the inshore shoals have a fair number of snapper bluefish that are being caught on Clark spoons or any type of metal jig.
On Saturday, Nick Diesel was fishing at Winter Quarter Shoal and caught a 4 lb. 3 oz. spadefish. Nick also confirmed what we have reported for several weeks, that the shoal is loaded with triggerfish
As reported in prior weeks, anglers are quietly catching and releasing red drum in the Ocean City Inlet. The best bite has come during the outgoing tide for those fishing with fresh bunker or crabs.
In the Surf
Daytime fishing is mainly yielding kingfish with an occasional red drum. Anglers fishing at night are contending with sharks and rays.
This weekend is the 57th Annual Marlin Club Labor Day White Marlin Tournament. Anglers can fish on Friday, Saturday and Sunday with anglers allowed to fish 2 of the 3 days. Weigh-ins are at Sunset Marina from 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM.
See you at the scales.