Vol 39 | Num 13 | Jul 23, 2014
Article by Larry Jock
Mother Nature isn’t making it easy for anglers this year. Windy weather kept a lot of boats at the dock, especially over the weekend, with seas rough enough to make the canyons uncomfortable and anglers regretting the spaghetti dinner they had the night before. We even had whitecaps in the bay on Sunday morning.
Marlin Club Kid’s Classic
The 10th Annual Ocean City Marlin Club Kid’s Classic was another success with 388 junior anglers participating. Mother Nature made it rough on the kids with sporty seas on Saturday and Sunday, keeping most anglers in the bay or closer to shore. A few did venture out to the canyons and returned with nice catches of tuna and dolphin.
I can’t believe there is a single croaker left in the bay because we must have seen a thousand of them at the scale in addition to spot, blowfish, flounder, mackerel and several other species.
The main thing is that the kids had a great time and we saw a lot of smiles at the weigh-ins. The Marlin Club, as usual, did a fantastic job. Hats off to Amanda and weighmasters Ed and Jack for making the tournament a memorable one for the kids and their parents.
Capt. Nick on the charter boat, “Get Sum” reported a tough week for flounder fishing. His anglers had no trouble bending a rod though, with croakers all over the bay, especially during the outgoing tide. Capt. Nick said that water clarity wasn’t a problem, with clean, 66-68 degree water during the incoming tide. Windy weather however, especially when it fought the tide, created challenging flounder fishing conditions. Anglers picked at flatties throughout the day, picking up a flounder at one location before heading somewhere else to find another. The East Channel, in addition to the area behind Harbour Island were the best places to pick up a keeper flounder, but the area behind Frontier Town and Castaway’s Campground also held fish.
Capt. Nick said that white Gulp! Swimming Mullets are still producing well, but squid and shiners seemed to do better last week.
Frank and Lee Baker had a good day on Saturday, picking up a surprising 8 keeper flounder while drifting Gulp! Swimming Mullets in the bay behind Frontier Town.
Croaker & Spot
As mentioned earlier, there are thousands of croaker in our bays right now, so it is a perfect time to take a kid fishing. When you are flounder fishing, croakers can become annoying, but for little kids looking to bend a rod, it can be fantastic! Put some Fishbite bloodworms strips or just plain old squid on a hook and head to the bay behind Snug Harbour (south bay), the West Channel off Martha’s Landing or anywhere in the East Channel from the Rt. 50 Bridge up to the area behind Harbour Island. The fish are there waiting to make a kid smile.
Earlier this year, all the spot being caught in the bay were too large to use for flounder bait but it looks like that has changed. Many of the spot that we saw weighed at the Kid’s Classic are a perfect size to entice a keeper flattie or striped bass.
Striped Bass & Bluefish
Anglers are still quietly catching striped bass and bluefish while tossing bucktails off the Rt. 50 Bridge or drifting live spot or rigs tipped with swim shads around the pilings.
David Konick reported that there are acres of snapper bluefish on Great Gull Shoal just waiting to be hooked on bucktails or small spoons.
Bigeye tuna continue to be caught in the Washington Canyon. On Friday, we saw several arrive at the dock with the “milliRem”, “Cookie Monster” (154 lbs.), “Reel Toy”, “D.A. Sea”, “Reel Chaos” (156 lbs.) and “White Lightning” (119 lbs. & 151 lbs.) all boating eyeballs in the Washington bigeye hole.
On Saturday, the “Evil Eye” decked a 171 pounder while fishing in the Washington Canyon around a freighter that was dead in the water.
Yellowfin tuna are being caught by trollers in the Washington Canyon in addition to anglers either trolling or chunking at the Hot Dog. The new recreational fishing technique of greensticking has been hot for those trolling in the Washington Canyon when combined with traditionals methods. Jigging cedar plugs while trolling has also been a very productive technique recently.
We didn’t see much early in the week, but on Thursday, the charter boat, “Marli” returned with 15 yellowfins in the box while trolling their greenstick, ballyhoo and spreader bars in the Washington. On Thursday night, those that overnighted in the Washington Canyon crushed the yellowfins while chunking among the whales from 3pm through the night.
On Friday, the tuna were on the surface and the bite was scattered. On Saturday, trollers picked at yellowfins in the Washington Canyon and the stick boats were able to pick-up 3 or 4 yellowfins more than those trolling ballyhoo and spreader bars. Sunday was not a good day weather-wise, but a few boats headed to the Hot Dog and crushed yellowfin on the chunk. The “Marli” did get rewarded for their trip to the Washington, ending up with 8 yellowfins.
The Hot Dog continues to produce catches of both bluefins and yellowfins for chunkers. Those at the Hambone are usually finding only bluefins. There is also a scattered tuna bite in the Baltimore Canyon for those trolling ballyhoo and spreader bars.
The great news is that a good batch of water is heading our way that had been in the Lindenkohl Canyon where boats were having double digit yellowfin days last week.
Mahi are being boated in good numbers by anglers trolling for tuna in the Washington Canyon and at the Hot Dog and Hambone. Most of the fish are bailers but we did see a few nice size gaffers during the week, led by the 37 pounder caught at the Hambone by Jeff Brescia on the “All In”.
White marlin are being released in the Poor Man’s, Washington and Norfolk Canyons. On Saturday, the “Partner-ship” released 3 whites while trolling towards home along the 50 fathom line around the Rockpile. On Friday, the “Pipe Dreamer” released 2 blue marlin in the Washington Canyon.
The 1st Annual Big Fish Classic will be held at the Talbot Street Pier. Anglers can fish from 7:00 AM on Saturday, July 26th to 3:00 PM on Sunday, July 27th. They can also leave from any port between New Jersey and Virginia, but they must weigh their catch at the Talbot Street Pier. With a guaranteed purse of $20,000, the main event centers around the largest fish caught in the tournament, whether it is a shark, tuna, billfish, etc. There are also calcuttas for heaviest tuna, yellowfin, billfish and sharks in addition to one for small boats. Weigh-ins are at the Talbot Street Pier from 4:00 PM to 9:00 PM on Saturday and 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM on Sunday.
See you at the scales!