Vol 41 | Num 17 | Aug 24, 2016
Article by Larry Jock
As this report is being written on Monday, The MidAtlantic tournament has rolled into town with boats fishing out of Cape May, NJ and Sunset Marina. They put a cap on the number of boats fishing out of each port, and Ocean City filled up all 86 spots with no problem.
Outside of Monday, the weather report for the week is a nice one, so hopefully we will see some nice catches at the dock. Boats fishing out of Ocean City have always done well in this tournament, and some years they really put a whooping on those fishing out of New Jersey. It should be another interesting tournament.
Last weekend was the 23rd Annual Capt. Steve Harman’s Poor Girls Tournament out of Bahia Marina and it was record setting in the number of boat (160), number of anglers (746), total prize money ($189,920) and the contribution to the American Cancer Society ($100,000). This tournament is really growing, up 21 boats versus last year.
In the Billfish Release Division, anglers on the “Playmate” released 5 white marlin on the second day of the tournament while fishing in the Washington Canyon. Near them was the “Judge” that also released 5 white marlin on the same day, but their last one came just over 30 minutes after the “Playmate” putting the “Judge” in 2nd place. Also on Friday in the Washington Canyon, anglers on the “Sea Slammer” recorded 4 releases with a Grand Slam consisting of a blue marlin, 2 white marlin and a sailfish. This put the “Sea Slammer” in 3rd place in the Billfish Release Division and the top 3 remained there throughout the event.
There were a couple of protests filed against the “Playmate” claiming infractions while the white marlin were being fought, but at press time those protests were not settled so the final results in the Billfish Release Division were not final.
The Dolphin Division saw a lot of activity at the scale with many boated during the 3 days of fishing. Danielle Doetsch on “Rhonda’s Osprey” took the early lead with a 33 pounder caught in the Baltimore Canyon. Liz Newell on the “M.R. Ducks” finished Day 1 in 2nd place with a 26.7 lb. dolphin caught while trolling in the Washington Canyon. These catches held the top two spots until one of the last boats arrived on the final day of the tournament on Saturday. Heather Warren on the “Maverick” decked a 38 pounder in 50 fathoms, north of the Washington Canyon to take 1st place in the Dolphin Division, bumping Danielle and Liz to 2nd and 3rd place.
In the Wahoo Division, Abby Conway on the “Bubblehead” hooked a 50.3 pounder on opening day while trolling in the Poor Man’s Canyon but got bumped by Shelby Shea on the “Voodoo Child” who caught a 57.8 lb. speedster on the second day of the tournament. Shelby hooked the winner on a dink ballyhoo at the Rockpile. Third place in the Wahoo Division was won by Mariah Amos on the “Fishin’ Permission” who boated a 29 pounder on the final day of the tournament while trolling in 50 fathoms in the Poor Man’s Canyon.
Finally, the Tuna Division was an exciting one this year. Jessica McKeldin on the “No Limits” muscled in a 191.4 lb. bigeye tuna at the Bigeye Hole. Everyone at the scale felt that this was going to be the winning fish, but on the final day, Karen Peet on the “No Quarter” showed up with a 200 lb. bigeye to win the division, pushing Jessica into 2nd place. Karen also caught her fish at the Bigeye Hole where the Captain told me that he marked several bigeyes as he was making a slight turn, dropping his Joe Shute lure to the kill zone 30-feet below.
There were several other notable catches in the tournament. On the first day of the tournament, anglers on “Rhonda’s Osprey” recorded a Grand Slam in the Baltimore Canyon by releasing a sailfish, a white marlin and a spearfish. On Day 2, anglers on the “Bar South” caught and released 2 white marlin and 2 sailfish in the Washington Canyon in addition to catching 27 dolphin in the Norfolk. Brittany Meadows on the “JoJo” released her first blue marlin while trolling outside the 000’s and Erin Konig released a blue marlin, estimated at 400 lbs. while fishing outside the 461 Lump on the “Reel Fin Addict”.
Overall, it was another great Poor Girls Open with a lot of excitement and smiling faces all around Bahia Marina.
Right now, tuna fishing is not good. A few fish were caught on the chunk in Massey’s Canyon in the middle of last week and there are plenty of small yellowfins in the Washington Canyon. We also saw those 2 bigeyes caught at the Bigeye Hole, but that’s about it.
As we normally see this time of year, flounder fishing in the bay is a struggle. Days have been incredibly hot and water temperatures are just too high. We did see some big fish caught last week, in the deeper holes in the East Channel and behind Harbour Island, but the good flounder bite is on the ocean reefs and wrecks. The Old Grounds and Site 10 off the coast of Delaware gave up most of the better fish last week, but we also saw some nice catches come in from the African Queen and at the Bass Grounds. The big news on the flounder front was Tony Munoz’s 11 lb. 14 oz. flounder that took 1st place in the Paradise Grill/Shorts Marine Flounder Pounder. Tony hooked it on a minnow while fishing at the Old Grounds on Friday.
Also on Friday, we saw a great catch come in from Bruce Lynch, David Steen and Jerry Shockley. The guys headed to Site 10 and returned with their limit of flounder up to 9 lbs. 8 oz. Their top 3 fish measured 17, 28 and 28 1/4-inches. All were caught on cobia belly.
As we have mentioned in many past reports, flounder belly, mahi belly, cobia belly and strips of sea robins are all baits that work really well when fishing for flounder.
Croakers & Bluefish
There are plenty of croaker in the bay for anglers fishing with cut bait and Fishbites. The waters in the East Channel, behind Harbour Island and at the mouth of the Commercial Harbor are all good places to pick up hardheads.
Small bluefish are being caught around the Rt. 50 Bridge.
Plenty of cobia have seen cruising just off the coast, and on Sunday, Chris Trovitch and Julia Keenan were on their way back to their dock in West Ocean City when Chris spotted a school of rays, 8 miles south of the Inlet. Chris threw a live bunker into the school and a 65 lb. cobia picked it up and fought Julia for 50 minutes before they got it into the boat.
As always this time of year, there are plenty of sharks to be caught by anglers fishing in the suds off Assateague and North Ocean City. However, if you are looking to land sharks in the suds, you want to be aware of the new ordinance passed by the Town of Ocean City making it illegal to kayak your baits off the coastline or chum while fishing for sharks. A violation could cost anglers up to $1,000. The town commissioners claim that it is a safety issue, but my money says it has all to do with not wanting beachgoers to see big sharks coming from the surf.
The next tournament on the schedule is the Ocean City Marlin Club’s 38th Annual Labor Day White Marlin Tournament on September 2nd, 3rd and 4th. Anglers can fish 2 of 3 days with weigh-ins from 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM at Sunset Marina.
See you at the scales!