Vol 37 | Num 15 | Aug 8, 2012
Article by Larry Jock
White Marlin Open
As this issue went to press on Monday night, 10 boats had ventured offshore in undesirable conditions during the first day of the 39th Annual White Marlin Open. A total of 253 boats are entered this year, an increase of 16 boats versus last year. Prize money is expected to exceed $2,300,000, also up from the $2,188,000 given out in 2011.
Marlin Club Ladies Tournament
On Friday and Saturday, the Ocean City Marlin Club Ladies Tournament was held at Sunset Marina. With the slow tuna bite, billfish releases dominated the action. On the first day of the tournament, the “Ravaganza” released 12 white marlin and held on to win the Billfish Release Division. The “Reel Joy” released 11 that same day and finished in 2nd place. The “Reelentless” released 10 whites and ended up in 3rd place.
The only tuna weighed during the tournament came in on Saturday when the lady anglers on the “Slaughterhouse” arrived with 2 yellowfin weighing 38.2 and 51.4 lbs. The fish were caught while chunking at the Sausages.
Dolphin didn’t show up until the final day when “Moore Bills” swept the Dolphin Division with mahi weighing 12.8, 17.8 and 36.2 lbs. The dolphin were caught in 1,000 fathoms outside the Washington Canyon.
Overall, 28 boats competed in the tournament, up from 23 boats in 2011.
Ocean Pines Chamber of Commerce Flounder Tournament
In 5 years, this 1-day tournament has grown incredibly fast, with 315 anglers competing this year. The tournament is unique, since it goes by the length of the fish, not the weight.
First place went to Gary Johnson with a 23 7/8-inch flattie caught on live spot in the Ocean City Inlet.
Frank “Fluke Killer” Zeccola of Fenwick, DE took second place with a flounder measuring 23 3/4-inches and tied Scott Chandler for third place with a 23 1/4-incher.
It looks like the warm water temperatures, coupled with dirty water, slowed down flounder fishing in the bay last week. Fish were still caught, just not in the numbers we have been accustomed to seeing this season.
The area along the rocks at Martha’s Landing seemed to be the best place to hook a keeper flounder last week for anglers fishing with live spot.
Flounder pounders fishing off of the 2nd Street Bulkhead have had a sensational season, but complained about the slow action last week.
No complaints came in from boats who ventured off to ocean wrecks and reefs. Good numbers of flounder were caught by anglers fishing with 6 oz. Spro bucktails tipped with cut bait (squid, bluefish or flounder belly). On Thursday, flounder fishermen on the “Sunkist” went to the African Queen and had 9 keepers with the heaviest weighing 10 lbs.
4 oz. “Just Add Sauce” took a trip on Saturday to a wreck south of the Inlet and had 15 nice keepers and 4 triggerfish, all caught on live bunker. “Bataboom” hit Russell’s Reef on Saturday and returned with 9 flatties.
The local head boats have also been pounding the ocean structure and had several very good days of flounder fishing last week. Rough conditions made it tough a couple of days, but when things settled down, good flounder fishing returned.
We usually don’t mention weakfish in this column since we don’t see a whole lot of them, but early in the week, the charter boat, “Lucky Break” did hook 11 weakies, releasing 6, in the Ocean City Inlet. They were caught on live peanut bunker at the beginning of the outgoing tide.
Croaker are really hit-or-miss in the bays behind Ocean City. We hadn’t heard much this year regarding a croaker bite until this weekend when anglers reported good action on Sunday morning.
The outstanding tuna bite anglers experienced at the Hot Dog, and just north of the Hot Dog, has fizzled out. A few have been caught by both chunkers and trollers, but nothing like what we have seen. Most of the boats returning with tuna had only a couple of yellowfins in the box, although the charter boat, “Restless Lady” did manage to get 9 during a trip to the Washington Canyon early in the week.
Right after last week’s issue went to press on Monday, the charter boat, “Espadon” returned to Sunset Marina with a 174 lb. yellowfin that was caught deep outside the Washington Canyon, where they also released 9 white marlin during their trip. This was the largest yellowfin to hit the docks in Ocean City since the “Sea Wolf” landed that 184 pounder during the 2006 Mid-Atlantic $500,000.
On Saturday, John Jennings from San Francisco, CA caught a 44 lb. wahoo while trolling on the west wall of the Baltimore Canyon. John was fishing on the “Finatic”.
Just in time for the White Marlin Open, billfish showed up in big numbers for boats venturing to 1,000 to 1,500 fathoms outside the Poor Man’s and Washington Canyons. All week, boats could be seen returning with double-digit white marlin releases and an occasional blue marlin or spearfish.
On Wednesday, the charter boats, “Billfisher” and “Reelentless” ended their day with 15 and 20 white flags flying from their riggers. The “Billfisher” also released a blue marlin during the trip.
On Thursday, double-digit white marlin releases were posted by “Amarula Sun”(12), “Let It Ride” (17), “Reelentless” (22), “Reel Joy” (23) and the “Billfisher” (32).
Heading into the weekend, on Friday the “Ravaganza” (12), “Reel Joy” (13) and the “Billfisher” (15) led the way, with most other boats having between 2 and 9 white marlin releases.
On Saturday, “Team Galati” released 26 white marlin outside the Poor Man’s and the “Billfisher” continued to rack up big numbers, releasing 20 from outside the Washington Canyon. “Full Pull” (18), “Tersea Ann” (16) and “Moore Bills” (10) each had a double-digit day. The “Predator” released a blue marlin while fishing in 1,000 fathoms outside the Washington Canyon.
Sunday saw most boats spending the day making preparations for the White Marlin Open, but the “Miss Annie” did head out to the Poor Man’s Canyon where they released 12 white marlin. The “Krazy Salts” fished outside the Washington Canyon, where they released 11 white marlin and a blue marlin.
All this action should make for an interesting 2012 White Marlin Open.
With the White Marlin Open ending on Friday, no tournaments are scheduled for the upcoming weekend.
The next tournament on the schedule is the Capt. Steve Harman Poor Girl’s Open on August 16th, 17th and 18th. The womans-only tournament is held at Bahia Marina and is definitely one of the best tournaments, for both anglers and spectators. A portion of tournament proceeds is donated towards breast cancer research.
See you at the scales.