Vol 40 | Winter Issue | Jan 1, 2015
Article by Larry Jock
It was another exciting year of fishing off the coast of Maryland and Delaware. Several state records were broken, flounder fishing on ocean structure was as good as it has ever been, bigeyes showed up again in good numbers and a lot of billfish release flags were flown.
Following is a summary of each weeks issue. Issue dates are in bold.
April 30, 2014 - We survived a brutally cold winter and the water temperature was below normal... flounder fishing was just coming to life with bay waters creeping into the mid-50’s at low tide... tautog fishing was best along the rocks at Martha’s Landing and along the East Channel bulkhead... Site 11, the Jackspot and the African Queen all produced good catches of tog... surf bite off Assateague Island continued to be slow with an occasional keeper striper and black drum being caught, but there was a run of 20-inch stripers on April 27th. In Delaware, action in the Indian River Inlet was extremely slow with only a few tog and short flounder caught along the rocks... some trout were caught off Broadkill Beach... flounder were caught off the Cape Henlopen Pier.. tog fishing was good at Reef Site 6 and at Brown Shoal in the Delaware Bay.
May 7, 2014 - Rainy and windy weather dominated the week... flounder fishing improved in the East Channel and the flats north of the Thorofare in shallow water... some flatties were also caught behind the OC Airport... tog fishing was good at the Great Eastern Reef, the Jackspot and at Russell’s Reef... “Angler” Capt. caught a 15 lb. tog at the African Queen... in the bay, tog were caught around the South Jetty and off Martha’s Landing... surf action continued to be slow... In Delaware, tog fishing was good under the Indian River Bridge and at Site 10... surfcasters at Broadkill Beach hammered the black drum... flounder were caught in the Lewes Canal... commercial netters in the DE Bay had plenty of black drum... stripers were caught off Broadkill Beach.
May 14, 2014 - Hayden Christoff caught a 214 lb. mako in 700 fathoms outside the Poor Man’s Canyon... a few weakfish were caught off the North Jetty... the flounder bite in the bay started to come to life behind Frontier Town and in the Thorofare... ocean structure gave up some nice tautog throughout the week, especially around the 1st Lump... sea bass season opens May 19th... stripers and black drum were caught in the surf, but not in great numbers and a few blackies were landed from the beach in North Ocean City... reports from kayakers of a large school of red drum off the beach on the VA line... In Delaware, the tog bite was good in the DE Bay, especially around the Outer Wall... black drum were caught by surfcasters between the Broadkill and Primehook beaches... boaters found black drum in shallow waters... croakers were caught in the Broadkill Slough... trout and flounder showed up in the Lewes Canal... fishing in the Indian River Inlet was slow with smaller bluefish and stripers dominating the action.
May 21, 2014 - water temperatures rose to around 67-degrees, giving anglers a chance to head offshore where yellowfins were caught in 100 fathoms between the Baltimore and Wilmington Canyons... makos showed up around the Marine Electric along with a load of blue sharks... the Jackspot produced good catches of blue sharks and a few makos... the fist thresher of the year was caught around “DB” Buoy... bay waters rose to the mid-60’s and flounder fishing improved in the Thorofare and in the bay from the OC Airport down to the duck blinds... snapper blues invaded the bay behind Assateague... weakfish were caught off the Rt. 50 Bridge... tog fishing was good at Russell’s Reef... the striper bite finally got going in the surf off Assateague Island and surfcasters experience a very good black drum bite... In Delaware, stripers blitzed the Indian River Inlet on May 17th in 60-degree water... anglers fishing the IR Inlet also found good numbers of 1 to 3 lb. bluefish and a few weakfish... flounder were caught in good numbers in the Lewes Canal... surf fishing along Bethany Beach was good for anglers catching bluefish and stripers... croakers moved into the surf off Broadkill Beach and at the Roosevelt Inlet... shallow water off Broadkill Beach produced catches of black drum.
May 28, 2014 - Marcus Crowley caught and released a black drum estimated at 80 lbs. while surfcasting off Assateague... mako and thresher sharks were caught at the Fingers in 61-degree water... bluefin tuna were caught in 65-degree water in the Poor Man’s Canyon and along the west wall of the Baltimore Canyon... yellowfins were caught in the Poor Man’s, Baltimore and Washington Canyon in 500 fathoms... sea bass season opened on the 19th and the 2nd Lump, Great Eastern and Twin Wrecks were the hot spots... flounder fishing was hit or miss in the Thorofare... snapper bluefish were thick around the Rt. 50 Bridge... stripers and black drum continued to be caught by surfcasters off Assateague... the first sheepshead was caught by the Assateague Bridge... small stripers were hooked around the Rt. 50 Bridge... In Delaware, sea bass fishing was good at the DelJerseyLand reef site... flounder showed up in good numbers at the Old Grounds... black drum action at the Coral Beds heated up... croakers were in the Lewes Canal, Roosevelt Inlet and Broadkill River... water temperature in the IR Inlet was 59-degrees and snapper blues were caught in good numbers.
June 4, 2014 - A 314 lb. mako shark caught outside the Baltimore Canyon took 1st place in the Ocean City Shark Tournament... good numbers of sharks were caught in 25 fathoms inshore of the Washington Canyon... sharks were also caught at the Fingers and Sausages... a 338 lb. thresher was hooked at the Marine Electric... tough sea conditions hurt tuna fishing this week... yellowfins were caught around the 461 Lump... yellowfins (400 fathoms) and bluefins (100 fathoms) were caught in the Baltimore Canyon... the striper bite off Assateague Island was red hot this week and around the South Jetty... larger striped bass were caught around the Rt. 50 Bridge... flounder fishing in the Thorofare and behind the airport was excellent... sea bass were caught in good numbers at the Old Grounds, African Queen and the Jackspot... In Delaware, weakfish were caught off The Capt. Henlopen Pier and in the Broadkill River... shallow water off Broadkill also produced good catches of black drum... flounder fishing was decent in the Lewes Canal... spot arrived at the Cape Henlopen Pier... surfcasters got into small bluefish, kingfish, blowfish and stripers... in the Indian River Inlet, mainly small stripers were caught... bluefish were caught during the incoming tide.
June 11, 2014 - Anglers on the “Fin Chaser” landed a 610 lb. thresher shark at the Fingers... “Nontypical” won the Mako Mania Tournament with a 223.7 lb. mako caught in 60-degree water at the Hot Dog... most of the shark action was at the Hot Dog, Sausages and the Fingers... the yellowfin tuna bite was very good in 70-100 fathoms in the Baltimore and Poor Man’s Canyons... numerous bigeye tuna were caught in 70-degree water south of the Poor Man’s Canyon... dirty water hampered flounder fishing but the bite was good outside the South Jetty... it was a very good week for sea bass fishing for anglers dropping clams on ocean structure... a couple of sheepshead were caught at the South Jetty... striper fishing was decent off Assateague Island but bluefish, sharks, rays and kingfish dominated the action... In Delaware, anglers in the IR Inlet pecked away at snapper bluefish, stripers, flounder, shad and weakfish... croakers were caught in the IR Bay... a 317 lb. mako shark was caught in 500 fathoms in the Baltimore Canyon... in the DE Bay, the black drum run was over at the Coral Beds but some boomers were caught in the lower end of the Bayshore Channel... those anchored on Reef 5 got into croakers, kingfish, trout, spot and bluefish... flounder were caught in the Lewes Canal and in the Broadkill River.
June 18, 2014 - Yellowfin tuna action was very good in 70 fathoms in the Poor Man’s Canyon...on June 11th, the first white marlin was caught by Jon Henry in 150 fathoms between the Baltimore and Poor Man’s Canyons... a blue marlin was caught in 300 fathoms in the Baltimore Canyon by an angler on the “Boss Hogg”... many double-digit catches of yellowfins came in from 70-250 fathoms in the Poor Man’s... bigeye tuna were caught in the Washington Canyon and longfins showed up in the Poor Man’s Canyon... the first wahoo of the year was caught in 250 fathoms in the Poor Man’s in 69-degree water... a few makos were released around the Chicken Bone... it was a tough week for flounder fishing with the best bite coming from the outside of the South Jetty... better flounder fishing was found on ocean structure at the Old Grounds... a few weakfish were caught around the South Jetty... the best striper action was at night around the South Jetty... In Delaware, the first white marlin was released in 71.5-degree water in the Baltimore Canyon... anglers fishing in the Delaware Bay found good numbers of croakers, kingfish, puffers and small trout... quality weakies came in from the Broadkill River... good size flounder were caught in the Lewes Canal where stripers were also caught on pencil eels... in the IR Inlet, croakers, spot and sheepshead dominated the action along with a few bluefish, shad and stripers.
June 25, 2014 - flounder fishing was red hot in the bay, just south of Castaway’s Campground... there was also good flounder action behind the airport, in the Thorofare and in the East Channel, north of the bridge... the only striped bass being caught were around the Rt. 50 Bridge... numerous white marlin were caught in the Baltimore Canyon... yellowfin tuna were thick just south of the Baltimore Canyon and the fish were large with some boats averaging 55 lbs. per fish... bigeyes were caught in 650 fathoms in the Baltimore Canyon and around the 800/800... mako sharks were caught in 70-degree water in the Baltimore Canyon... sea bass and triggerfish were caught in good numbers at Winter Quarter Shoal... In Delaware, even Bert Adams caught a flounder this week... golden tilefish were caught by deep droppers in the Baltimore Canyon... flounder fishing was mixed at the Old Grounds but improved in the Lewes Canal and Broadkill River... in the IR Inlet, anglers contended with a lot of short stripers and only a few keepers... some flounder were caught off Bubble Gum Beach... a few weakfish were caught at night on Bass Assassins... large croakers were caught on Fishbites when the tide slowed down in the IR Inlet... offshore anglers out of Indian River found fantastic yellowfin action in the Wilmington and Baltimore Canyons.
July 2, 2014 - The big news was John Scharr catching a 131 lb. wahoo to set a new MD state record... Jon Henry caught 2 cobia large enough to break the MD state record, largest weighed 75 lbs.... flounder fishing was hit or miss with best bite in East and West Channels... flounder bite was better on ocean structure such as Russell’s Reef... small stripers were plentiful around the Rt. 50 Bridge in the early evening... Fenwick Shoal produced good catches of triggerfish and spadefish... with water temps in the low 70’s, white marlin were caught in the Poor Man’s and Baltimore Canyons... after a fantastic week of tuna fishing, this week was miserably slow... a few bluefins were caught north of the Tea Cup... bigeyes were caught in the bigeye hole in the Washington Canyon... wahoo were hooked in the Washington Canyon and at the Hot Dog... In Delaware, the 1st Annual Kids Catch-All Tournament was held at Indian River with 350 anglers participating... striped bass fishing was excellent in the IR Inlet and in the Lewes Canal... Site 11 and the Old Grounds saw hot flounder fishing... weakfish were found in the Roosevelt Inlet.
June 9, 2014 - “Jenny Poo” returned with a 267.2 lb. bigeye from the Washington Canyon... a lot of mahi were caught in the Washington and Baltimore Canyons... it was a good week for bigeye tuna fishing in the Washington Canyon... good catches of yellowfins were caught on the troll in the Washington Canyon with fish averaging between 45 and 55 lbs...wahoo were caught around the 461 Lump... flounder fishing was excellent on ocean structure at Winter Quarter Shoal and Fenwick Shoal... in the bay, flounder fishing was good in the East Channel... In Delaware, the big news was Butch Emmert’s 56.9 lb. dolphin that set a new DE state record... fish was caught in 50 fathoms at the tip of the Baltimore Canyon... mako sharks were caught at the Hot Dog... “Fish Whistle” returned with 3 bigeyes from the Washington Canyon... IR Inlet was loaded with croakers... flounder fishing on ocean structure was good between “DB” and “DA” Buoys... slot size stripers came in from the Lewes Canal and from along Broadkill Beach.
July 16, 2014 - “Espadon” won the OC Tuna Tournament with a 249 lb. bigeye caught in the Baltimore Canyon... chunking at night in the Washington Canyon was productive... blue marlin were released in the Washington Canyon... water cooled in the bay, putting a hamper on flounder fishing... better flounder fishing was found on ocean structure at the Old Grounds, Russell’s Reef, African Queen and at the Jackspot... Bill Linedinst caught a 14 lb. 4 oz. sheepshead off the North Jetty... Fenwick Shoal and Winter Quarter Shoal continue to produce good catches of triggerfish... small croakers were all over the bay... stripers and big bluefish were caught by anglers fishing off the Rt. 50 Bridge... In Delaware, flounder fishing was good on DE Bay reefs and in the Lewes Canal... stripers were found in the Lewes Canal... croaker fishing was very good in the Lewes Canal and at Site 5... croakers also invaded the IR Inlet and flounder fishing improved as well... a few weakfish were caught in the IR?Inlet and some sheepshead were landed along the jetty rocks.
July 23, 2014 - Over 380 junior anglers participated in the OC Marlin Club Kid’s Classic... it was a tough week for flounder fishing but the large amount of croakers in the bay kept rods bent... the East Channel and behind Harbour Island produced the best flounder catches... anglers tossing bucktails off the Rt. 50 Bridge are still finding stripers and the occasional bluefish... bigeye tuna continued to be caught in good numbers in the Washington Canyon and a lot of yellowfins were caught on trolled greensticks in the Washington Canyon as well... bluefins and yellowfins were caught at the Hot Dog with only bluefins at the Hambone... the Washington Canyon, Hot Dog and Hambone all produced excellent catches of mahi... white marlin were released in the Poor Man’s, Washington and Norfolk Canyons.
July 30, 2014 - “Reel Intents” won the inaugural Big Fish Classic with a 243.5 lb. bigeye caught in 200 fathoms in the Baltimore Canyon... 18 bigeyes were weighed in the tournament... the West Channel was the hot spot for flounder fishing where Haley Betz landed a 27-incher... inshore wrecks were the better locations to catch nice flounder, especially around the Bass Grounds, Old Grounds and African Queen... croaker were all over the bay and were caught on Fishbites... weakfish were caught around the South Jetty... yellowfin tuna fishing was excellent at the northeast corners of the Wilmington and Baltimore Canyons... longfin tuna were caught from the north end of the Poor Man’s Canyon down to the Washington Canyon... bluefin bite died at the Hot Dog and Hambone... white marlin were released in good numbers from the southern end of the Wilmington Canyon down to the Poor Man’s... In Delaware, you just couldn’t get away from croakers in the IR Inlet... short stripers were also found in the inlet and weakfish were picked up along the rocks... Site 10 produced excellent catches of flounder and croaker... sea bass fishing has been slow... in the Delaware Bay, flounder were found around Reef Sites 5, 6, 7 and 8... snapper blues showed up around the Star Site... water temperatures warmed up in the Lewes Canal and flounder fishing turned on.
August 6, 2014 - In the Ocean Pines Flounder Tournament, 231 anglers competed... white marlin were released in good numbers in 60-100 fathoms from the Wilmington Canyon down to the Norfolk... some blue marlin were hooked in the Washington Canyon... a sailfish was released just outside the Fingers and a spearfish was caught in the Baltimore Canyon... bigeye bite continued to roll along in the Washington Canyon... yellowfins and longfins were caught in the Wilmington and Washington Canyons... dolphin were caught all over the ocean... 1,000 lb. tiger shark entered the Ocean City Inlet and spent a few days in the bay behind OC... best flounder fishing was found in the West Channel... croaker fishing was strong behind Assateague... In Delaware, flounder fishing was better on ocean structure than in the bay, especially around the Old Grounds and at Site 10... plenty of croakers were found in the Delaware Bay near Reef Sites 5 & 8... tog, triggerfish, sheepshead and spadefish were caught at the Outer Wall... waters in the Indian River Bay and Inlet were loaded with croaker... triggerfish were plentiful at Fenwick Shoal.
August 13, 2014 - John Bayliss won the 41st Annual White Marlin Open with a 78 lb. white marlin worth over $1,290,000... bigeye tuna were caught between the Wilmington and Baltimore Canyons... yellowfins were caught by chunkers in the Wilmington Canyon with the best bite early in the day among the whales... flounder fishing off the coast was very good and the Middle Channel in the bay produced some nice catches of flatties as well... minnows seem to be the top producers lately... In the Delaware Bay, Steve Friend landed a 10 lb. flounder at Site 10... in the DE Bay, Reefs #5 and #8 were good for croakers, spot, spike trout, blowfish and kingfish... triggerfish came in from the Outer Wall and around the Lighthouse.
August 20, 2014 - the lady anglers on the “Tighten Up” won the Poor Girl’s Open with 8 white marlin releases in the Baltimore Canyon... wahoo were caught in the Baltimore Canyon... big yellowfins were landed in the Baltimore Canyon and dolphin were hooked in good numbers in the Poor Man’s... blue marlin were released in 500 fathoms in the Baltimore Canyon... early in the week, the yellowfin bite was in the Wilmington Canyon and shifted to the Washington Canyon over the weekend... the bigeye hole continued to produce quality eyeballs... white marlin were released in the Wilmington and Baltimore Canyons... “Reel Chaos” caught a 70 lb. swordfish while chunking in the Wilmington Canyon... water temperatures in the mid-to-upper 70’s produced excellent catches of dolphin from the Baltimore Canyon down to the Washington Canyon... flounder fishing in the bay was very slow for most of the week but picked up around the Rt. 50 Bridge over the weekend... the best flounder action continues to be on ocean structure at Fenwick Shoal, African Queen and at the Bass Grounds... In Delaware, hard running currents in the DE Bay hampered flounder fishing forcing most to hit ocean reefs and wrecks... Reef sites 9, 10 and 11 were all top producers... dolphin were caught at the Old Grounds... croakers were plentiful in the DE Bay... snapper bluefish showed up in the rip outside the Outer Wall... croakers and jumbo spot were thick in the Lewes Canal... small bluefish were caught in the Indian River Inlet.
August 27, 2014 - Ocean City boats dominated the Mid-Atlantic $500,000 again with 68 of the 127 boats fishing out of MD... 616 white marlin and 30 blue marlin were hooked during the 5-day tournament... bad weather turned it into a Monday, Thursday & Friday tournament... “Billfisher” caught a pair of 80 lb. white marlin to finish in 2nd & 3rd place... “Why Not” caught an 847 lb. blue marlin to win 1st place in the Blue Marlin Division... “Restless Lady” landed a 43 lb. dolphin to win the Dolphin Division... the white marlin bite started the week between the Wilmington and Baltimore Canyons and worked it’s way south into the Poor Man’s by the weekend... yellowfin have been scarce with a few being caught on the chunk in the Washington Canyon... it was not a good week for flounder fishing behind Ocean City, but flatties were caught in the ocean at the African Queen, Bass Grounds and several other shoals... the M.S.S.A. Beach & Boat Tournament was held and the top 3 locations for winning flounder were the Rt. 50 Bridge, South Jetty and behind the OC Airport... live spot and bunker started outproducing Gulp! Swimming Mullets... several wahoo were caught during the week in the Washington Canyon... croakers were caught around the Rt. 90 Bridge... the night time striped bass bite was good for anglers tossing lures from the Rt. 50 Bridge... bridge anglers also got into some snapper bluefish... In Delaware, flounder fishing on ocean structure continued to be the best in recent memory... in the bay, flounder were found in good numbers at the Brown Shoal Reefs... snapper blues were caught at the Outer Wall... huge spot and croakers were found in the Lewes Canal... stripers roamed the Lewes Canal and Broadkill River... surf action showed some improvement with kingfish and snapper blues... in the Indian River Inlet, anglers found a lot of small bluefish in the 3 to 5 lb. range.
September 3, 2014 - “Restless Lady” graced the cover with 4 bigeyes and 8 yellowfins caught in the Washington Canyon... flounder started stacking up around the Rt. 50 Bridge and in the East Channel... anglers discovered the “Middle Channel” with flounder started snapping... ocean flatties were caught in huge numbers on structure from Winter Quarter Shoal up to the Old Grounds... the billfish bite in 60-100 fathoms was outstanding, especially in the Poor Man’s Canyon... by the weekend, the white marlin bite moved to the Washington Canyon where several boats had double-digit days... the “Billfisher” had a great weekend with 11 white marlin releases on Friday, 14 on Saturday and another 10 on Sunday... the “Miss Annie” returned from an overnight trip with 25 white marlin releases... huge amounts of mahi were caught all week and the average size was definitely on the increase... “Moore Bills” returned with a 41 pounder in the Washington Canyon that committed suicide by leaping for a ballyhoo dangling off an outrigger... yellowfin had been scarce but chunkers found them in the Washington Canyon over the weekend... bigeye catches dominated the action with several caught in the Washington... a couple of wahoo were caught with 1 coming in from the Poor Man’s and another from the Rockpile... In Delaware, most of the flounder action took place on ocean reefs and wrecks, especially at the Old Grounds and Site 10... croakers were caught at the mouth of the DE Bay and were joined by kingfish and spike trout... wrecks at the entrance to the DE Bay held triggerfish... jumbo spot and croaker were caught in the Lewes Canal... deep droppers in the Baltimore Canyon found golden tilefish, blueline tilefish, rosefish, begalls, chub mackerel and hake... in the IR Inlet, anglers caught croakers, a few trout and short stripers and flounder.
September 10, 2014 - Once again, the MD state record for cobia was broken with Jack Latimer landing a 79 pounder only 1 mile out from the Ocean City Inlet... white marlin were caught and released in huge numbers in the Washington Canyon... a few blue marlin were released near the Rockpile and in the Washington Canyon... yellowfin action was tough with a mediocre bite in the Washington Canyon... dolphin were caught in big numbers in the Poor Man’s and Wilmington Canyons... red drum bite in the Ocean City Inlet improved, but was not as good as the previous year... water temperatures in the bay were in the 75 to 76-degree range... flounder fishing was the best around Bird Island and in the Fish Bowl... B.J. Truitt won the Bahia Marina Flounder Pounder with a 5 lb. 2 oz. flattie caught behind Frontier Town... snapper bluefish were all over the bay... surfcasters dealt with sharks, skates and rays... In Delaware, Reef Sites 9, 10 and 11 continued to produce the best flounder bite we have seen in years... big croakers were found between Site 10 and “DB” Buoy... the rip outside the Outer Wall was loaded with snapper bluefish.
September 17, 2014 - bad weather dominated the week, but when anglers could get offshore they returned with good catches of dolphin and white marlin releases... Cape May won the Challenge Cup for the 3rd straight year... a few yellowfins were caught in the Washington Canyon... In Delaware, those that put up with the bad weather and headed to the Old Grounds came back with good catches of flounder.. snapper bluefish dominated the action in the lower Delaware Bay... Reef Site #8 held croakers, kingfish, spot and trout... bluefish were caught in the surf.. anglers in the Indian River Inlet caught plenty of croakers, weakfish and flounder along with some small stripers and snapper bluefish.
October - December, 2014 - It was a very rough fall for fishing with constant wind preventing anglers from getting out on the water... the flounder bite on ocean structure stayed strong through September and a few were even caught by anglers trolling for stripers in November... sea bass fishing was fantastic with several headboats returning on many days with happy anglers who caught their limit of knotheads... the big news in Delaware was Dave Walker catching a 17.1 lb. sheepshead at Brandywine Light to set a new state record... although the first stripers showed up at the mouth of the Delaware Bay on November 5th, striper fishing seemed to really get rolling later than normal this year with nothing great happening until after Thanksgiving... At December 22nd, water temperatures were still around 46-degrees... the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries took the creel limit for striped bass down to 1 fish per person/per day effective January 1, 2015.