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Vol 43 | Num 7 | Jun 13, 2018

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Ocean City Fishing Report

Article by Larry Jock

Mother Nature just keeps throwing us curveballs, but fortunately, fishermen are a hard group to keep down, so whenever there was an opportunity to get out on the water last week, they did it with a vengeance.

Offshore, there were a lot of boats trolling in the Baltimore and Wilmington Canyons over the long weekend, and for good reason. Although we didn’t see the number of bluefins like we saw in previous weeks, an increase in yellowfins and bigeyes more than made up for it, especially on Friday and Saturday.

In the middle of the week, we saw some nice catches come more from the Baltimore Canyon where, on Wednesday, the “Restless Lady II” arrived at the Talbot Street Pier with 3 “under” bluefins and 9 yellowfins. The Captain reported that bluefins bit in the morning and the yellowfins surfaced in the afternoon. Also on Wednesday, anglers aboard the charter boats, “That’s Right” and “Marli” also returned with a couple of bluefins and 6 and 9 yellowfins.

On Thursday, the bite shifted to the southern end of the Wilmington Canyon where the “Marli” had a bluefin and 5 yellowfins and the charter boat, “Boss Hogg” returned with their 3 bluefins plus 3 yellowfins. Bluefins were also found in 30 to 35 fathoms around the Tea Cup.

The offshore bite really came alive on Friday with bigeye tuna entering the mix for trollers in the Wilmington Canyon. The charter boat, “Reel Chaos” was the first boat back to Sunset Marina and they were loaded up with 12 bigeyes and 6 yellowfins. It must have been one heckuva scene with them going 8 for 12 on one pass and 10 for 12 on another. The bigeyes were a beautiful class of fish with the heaviest tipping the scale at 107 lbs.

The bite was primarily in the 200 to 300 fathom range which is where the charter boat, “Marli” also racked up some impressive numbers, catching 12 bigeyes and a mahi. The “Boss Hogg” was right behind with 11 yellowfins and a mahi and they also jumped off a blue marlin that Capt. Brian Porter estimated at around 400 lbs. Just like the “Reel Chaos”, the bite on the “Boss Hogg” came in waves with anglers going 5 for 7, 5 for 7 and 1 for 1 on their yellowfins. Anglers on the “Hall Pass” were also in the Wilmington and returned with a yellowfin tuna and 4 bigeyes, weighing up to 112 lbs.

Saturday’s forecast looked horrible late in the day, so boats headed back out to the Wilmington and picked right up where they left off. Anglers on the “Primary Search” put 10 yellowfins in the box and the charter boat, “That’s Right”, with Capt. John Oughton at the wheel, returned with 7 good size bigeyes weighing between 92 and 114 lbs. The “Marli” continued their 3-day assault with another 13 yellowfins and a bluefin in the box from 200 fathoms and the “Boss Hogg” ended up with 14 yellowfins from 500 fathoms in the Wilmington. The biggest catch of the day came in on the “Reel Tight” with 19 yellowfins, also caught in the Wilmington. There were some bluefin bites on Saturday for boats further inshore, such as the charter boat, “Fish On” that had 15 bites near the Hot Dog.

We also saw the first longfin tuna catch of the season when Mike Lloyd returned from a day trolling in the Baltimore and Wilmington Canyons. The fish was estimated at 50 lbs. and was caught on a ballyhoo.

Late on Saturday afternoon, we had an absolutely horrible storm roll through Ocean City, dumping over 7-inches of rain and making the ride home very challenging for those returning to local marinas. Fortunately, everyone made it home safe and sound.

Although on land, Sunday was not the nicest of days, those who ventured offshore said it was beautiful 60+ miles from the beach. The charter boat, “That’s Right” had another good day in the Wilmington Canyon, returning with 10 yellowfins in the box caught on ballyhoo and spreader bars. The charter boat, “Boss Hogg” continued their great week with another 12 yellowfins and a bluefin caught in 500 fathoms in the Wilmington. We also saw another 2 longfin albacore tuna caught in 500 fathoms in the Wilmington Canyon by Pete Gudaitis on the “Blood Money”.

Inshore, sea bass fishing was decent with flounder starting to be mixed in. Some boats that are getting their fill of sea bassing are then heading out to the Baltimore Canyon and successfully deep dropping for golden tilefish. Squid is the bait of choice for these bottom dwellers.

In the bay, just as last weeks Coastal Fisherman was sent to the press, the first sheepshead of the season was caught by Hanna Bartell on the charter boat, “On the Run”. Hanna caught the 25-incher on a sand flea at the South Jetty. That wasn’t the only sheepshead we saw last week. On Friday night, Andrew Truitt was fishing with peeler crabs around the South Jetty when he hooked into a big one that measured 27-inches and weighed 15 lbs.
Flounder fishing in the bay was decent last week. As always, the key was finding clean water and when you did find it, so many boats converged on the area that it made fishing tough. The better bite last week was definitely in the bay behind Assateague Island near the Duck Blinds where Capt. Nick Clemente on the charter boat, “Get Sum” put his anglers on fish several days last week. Patience was key as you had to weed through a lot of throwbacks to get your keepers, with most measuring in the 18 to 20-inch range. We also saw keepers come in from those drifting minnows and Gulp artificial baits in the East Channel.

Fishing around the Rt. 50 Bridge produced catches of shad, small bluefish and throwback stripers for anglers fishing spec rigs, swim shads and Gulp artificial baits.

Upcoming Tournament

This weekend is the Ocean City Marlin Club Small Boat Tournament. You do not have to be a member of the club to fish in this tournament. Anglers fishing in boats 34-feet and under can hit the water on either Saturday or Sunday with weigh-ins at Sunset Marina from 3:00 PM to 6:30 PM each day.
Until next week, I’ll see you at the scales!

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