Vol 37 | Num 10 | Jul 4, 2012
Article by Larry Jock
If you were around the docks in Ocean City last week, and especially over the weekend, you saw the results of some incredible fishing.
Anglers trolling in the Washington Canyon near the 800/800 found bigeye tuna in the same place and at the same time as last year. Capt. Eric Blanks on the “Lucky Duck II” told me he literally plugged in the same coordinates as last year, and there they were mixed in with the whales. In total, 16 bigeyes were landed over the weekend. Here’s how it played out:
(163.4, 208.0, 224.0)
“Lucky Duck II”
(139.0, 188.6, 218.2 219.0)
(180.0, 189.0, 209.0)
“Sea Slammer” (223.0)
“White Lightning” (210.8)
“Tighten Up” (176.0)
“Moore Bills” (160.0)
“Foolish Pleasures” (137.0)
Yellowfins were scattered up and down the 50-75 fathom line. Some boats that were targeting bigeyes in the Washington Canyon over the weekend also returned with yellowfins in the box. Others trolling ballyhoo and spreader bars further north in the Baltimore and Wilmington Canyons had nice catches, with some hitting double digits.
We saw quite a few large bluefin tuna show up at the scales last week with the bite stretching from the Crotch to the Tea Cup, but centered at the Hot Dog and in the Baltimore Canyon. Early in the week, “That’s Right” released an 80-incher but returned with a pair (44” & 52”) from the Hot Dog. On Thursday, “Moore Bills” was trolling in the Baltimore Canyon and decked a 59-incher. On Saturday, “Worry Free” was at the Sausages when they hooked an 81 lb. bluefin and the “Myra HT” returned with a 70 pounder from the Hot Dog. Finally, on Sunday the “Jezebel” was at the Hot Dog and boated a 78.4 lb. bluefin.
A reminder to everyone that the giant bluefin season is closed south of Great Egg Inlet, NJ.
Overshadowed by the bigeye tuna bite, we saw a good number of white marlin releases last week from the Washington Canyon to the Wilmington Canyon. The marlin are in there feasting on little tunas, so anglers that picked up yellowfins had a good shot at a white marlin.
There was also at least one blue marlin released last week. On Saturday in the Canyon Kick-Off, the “Double Trouble” released a blue marlin in the Baltimore.
Anglers chasing yellowfin tuna continue to return with a couple of dolphin in the box and the average size of the mahi is definitely increasing. Most of the mahi were hooked in the Baltimore Canyon and around the Hot Dog.
On Sunday, Gregory Benn from Fenwick Island caught a 50 lb. snowy grouper during a trip to the north wall of the Norfolk Canyon. Gregory used a diamond jig to hook the monster that hopefully will be recognized as a Maryland state record catch. Right now, Maryland does not have a snowy grouper category for their state records.
This was probably the best week of flounder fishing so far this year. The best bite was in the East Channel around the Cement Plant (near the Rt. 50 Bridge), along the rocks at Martha’s Landing (West Channel) and in the waters surrounding Harbour Island. We also saw several fish caught in the bay behind Assateague Island, in back of Castaway’s Campground and further south near the Assateague Bridge. Rocky bottoms, whether at the South Jetty, along the bulkhead in the East Channel or along Martha’s Landing, seem to be the favored spots for flatties this season.
J.J. at the Oceanic Pier also reported an excellent flounder bite by anglers fishing off the end of the pier.
Nothing rivaled the 31-incher we saw caught the previous week by Bob Gummer off the 1st Street Bulkhead, but several fish over 20-inches were caught. Big Bird Cropper pulled a 22” and a 23” flattie from the Rt. 50 Bridge pilings while using a jig head tipped with a salt and pepper rubber swim shad on Friday. Also on Friday, Laurel Pinckney on the “Ocean City Guide Service” pulled a 23.5 incher out of the East Channel while using live spot for bait.
There is a lot of bunker and spot in our bays, so if you can fill your live well with live bait, you have the best chance at catching a keeper. Otherwise, 4-inch and 6-inch Gulp! Alive Swimming Mullets have also performed well all season.
Boats headed out to ocean reefs and wrecks in search of sea bass are seeing their throwback percentage decreasing but still very high. Capt. Monty on the “Morning Star” reported that 50 fish per person would be a slow day, but a high percentage are tossed back. Numerous pool winners were above 3 lbs.
The striper bite around the Rt. 50 Bridge at night has been very good for anglers fishing with live spot or eels. The top of the high tide was productive but not necessary to catch fish. Small stripers were also hooked around the South Jetty.
From the Beach
We are into our usual selection of fish being caught off the beach during the summer months. Anglers are getting into kingfish, spot, snapper bluefish, skates and some larger sharks at night.
Anglers looking for some fun and targeting the smaller fish are doing well when baited up with Fishbites bloodworms.
I know it is hard to believe, but there are actually no tournaments this upcoming weekend in Ocean City. The next event is the Ocean City Tuna Tournament on July 13, 14 and 15 at the Ocean City Fishing Center.
See you at the scales!