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Vol 43 | 2018 Winter Issue | Jan 1, 2018

2017 Year in Review “Hunting and Fishing the Chesapeake" The Galley Chum Lines ASMFC Approves Cobia Plan Fish Stories Maryland Boaters Can Now Renew Their Vessels Online Maryland Sets 2018 Summer Flounder Season, Size and Creel Limits NOAA Sets Blueline Tilefish Regulations Recreational Black Sea Bass Fishery Closes Effective Jan. 1, 2018 Recreational Fishing Participation Increases Nearly 20% Over Past 10 Years Ship To Shore Thinking about buying a boat lift? Here's all you need to know. Issue Photos
2017 Year in Review

Article by Larry Jock

I think most anglers would agree that the 2017 fishing season is one that folks would be happy to forget. The few bright spots that immediately come to mind are sheepshead fishing around the South Jetty, flounder fishing on ocean reefs and wrecks (which was good but maybe not as good as in years past), bluefishing in the spring and the size (not numbers) of yellowfins caught during the summer. Other than that, not a lot was really noteworthy, but hey, we were due for a rocky season. You can really get a good sense of the billfish season by looking at the stats on the bottom of the Marlin Club Awards page in this issue. The numbers were noticeably down!

When it comes to notable catches this season you would have to put at the top of the list the new state record sheepshead caught by Robert Martin, the first recreationally caught opah by the guys on the “Primary Search” and the 184 lb. yellowfin tuna caught on the “Goin’ In Deep”.
We are saw an increased interest in swordfishing by offshore anglers and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a jump in the number of swordfish hitting the local scales in the upcoming years. There’s a knack to swordfishing and a definite learning curve, but anglers are getting the “fever” and more are giving it a shot.

Following is a summary of the fishing reports in each weeks issue of the Coastal Fisherman. Issue dates are in bold.

May 3, 2017 - Water temperatures never got as cold as we typically see resulting in species showing up earlier than expected. The first mako shark was caught on April 28th in 55 fathoms just north of the Rockpile, 17 days earlier than in 2016... blue sharks were thick in the canyons... yellowfins, bluefins and sharks were caught near the Triple 0’s in 67-degree water... Site 10 was a hot spot for tautog fishing... chopper bluefish were numerous in the surf off Assateague and Ocean City... striped bass in the surf were scarce but were plentiful in commercial boat nets off the beach... bluefish were thick in the bay with many in the 10 lb. range... small stripers were caught around the Rt. 50 pilings... the flounder bite picked up in the Thorofare for slow trollers... In Delaware, bluefish dominated the action for anglers in the surf and bay... small stripers were caught right up to the bluefish invasion... a few black drum were caught off the beaches in Bethany and Fenwick... a few kingfish and puffers were caught from the beach in Lower Delaware... a few keeper flounder were caught in the Lewes Canal during the week... black drum were caught off Broadkill, Augustine, Slaughter and Cape Henlopen beaches... larger stripers were caught off Broadkill and Cape Henlopen.

May 10, 2017 - Horrible weather ruined fishing for the majority of the week... Emma Matarese muscled in a 12 lb. bluefish in the East Channel... surfcasters caught some nice size stripers off Assateague late in the week... good numbers of stripers were caught by commercial boats just off the beach... chopper bluefish were caught in the bay, especially from 32nd Street down to the East Channel... big bluefish were also caught in the bay behind Frontier Town... flounder fishing showed some improvement in the Thorofare for slow trollers... weather kept offshore boats at the dock... In Delaware, the back bays behind Indian River was loaded with bluefish... surfcasters dealt with good numbers of skates in the suds... striper action was weak... short stripers were caught on the Rehoboth side of Herring Point.

May 17, 2017 - Victor Feleccio caught a 16 lb. 2 oz. tautog in 75-feet of water on ocean structure... windy conditions all week hindered fishing... bluefish dominated action in the bay and surf... when weather permitted, boats headed to 1,000 fathoms outside the Washington Canyon and caught yellowfin tuna, dolphin and mako sharks where water temperatures went from 65 to 73-degrees... commercial boats returned with good catches of bigeye tuna but none were found by recreational boats... good catches of tautog were found at wrecks in 75 to 100-feet of water... the hot tog bait was white leggers... sea bass opened on May 15th... big bluefish dominated action in the surf, but was not as good as previous weeks... striper fishing continued to be slow but a few big fish were caught in the surf off Assateague... Hog Island off Virginia was a hot spot for drum and stripers... the water around the Oceanic Pier was loaded with 20-inch stripers... flounder fishing was good in the Thorofare... In Delaware, most anglers were consumed with bluefish in the surf and bays... the chopper bite around the Cape Henlopen Pier was “epic”... the flounder bite in the Lewes Canal improved with the best coming during the incoming tide... black drum started to show up in the Coral Beds and off Broadkill Beach... striper fishing was weak, but a few were caught off 3R’s Road.

May 24, 2017 - Offshore boats headed to 500 fathoms in the Norfolk Canyon and returned with nice catches of yellowfins and dolphin... tilefishing near the Rockpile produced both golden and blueline tilefish... bluelines were also found in the Baltimore Canyon... the San Gil wreck, 32 miles from Ocean City, was a good spot to pick up keeper sea bass... surfcasters continued to struggle with striped bass but the bluefish bite remained very strong... choppers also were caught around the Rt. 50 Bridge and along the rocks off Martha’s Landing... a few flatties were caught in the East Channel... In Delaware, 335 anglers compteted in the Joe Morris Memorial Canal Flounder Tournament with a 4.3 pounder taking the top prize... the Coral Beds heated up for black drum with most fish in the 30 to 40 lb. range... weakfish were also caught around the Coral Beds and the Cape Henlopen Pier... most of the action around the Pier was on bluefish weighing up to 12 lbs... choppers were really snapping in the suds from Fenwick to 3R’s Road... there was a good kingfish bite off the Fenwick beach... a batch of stripers in the 37 to 43-inch range, were caught in the Indian River Inlet over the weekend... speckled trout were caught behind Burton’s Island... flounder fishing was tough, but a 23-incher was caught at the entrance to the Indian River Marina... anglers looking for sea bass had good luck at Site 11 and the Radford wreck.

May 31, 2017 - It was the week for thresher sharks... the crew on the “Stretchin’ Lips” graced the cover with a 412 lb. thresher shark caught in the Norfolk Canyon... the Pino boys caught the first thresher of the year on May 27th at the Fingers... a 437 pounder was caught by a couple of junior anglers at the Hambone... mako sharks were caught in the Norfolk Canyon and southeast of the Jackspot... bigeye tuna were caught 100 miles south of Ocean City in 70-degree water... yellowfins were caught in the Norfolk Canyon... sea bass fishing was good at the Twin Wrecks and the Great Eastern Reef... a 5 lb. 4 oz. knothead was caught at the Old Grounds... flounder fishing turned on in the bay, primarily in the Thorofare and behind Assateague Island... the South Jetty also produced some good catches of flounder... weakfish and speckled trout were caught along the South Jetty on Roy Rigs... the bluefish bite slowed... tautog were hooked in 45-feet of water... In Delaware, bluefish caught in the Indian River Inlet were in the 2 to 4 lb. range and caught during the incoming tide... a few stripers were caught at night... surfcasters landed a few kingfish on bloodworms and some small bluefish on cut mullet... Site 11 and the east side of the Del-Jersey-Land Reef were productive for those looking for sea bass... flounder were caught around “B” Buoy... threshers were found around “A” Buoy and blue sharks were caught at the Fingers... bluefish, flounder and weakfish were caught at the Cape Henlopen Pier... a good flounder bite was found in the Lewes Canal... weakfish were picked at around the Coral Beds.

June 7, 2017 - During the Mako Mania Shark Tournament, a 583 lb. thresher was caught at the Fingers by anglers on the “Teaser”... a 228 lb. mako was caught on the “Moore Bills” below the Tea Cup... big threshers were also hooked at the Marine Electric, Parking Lot, Chicken Bone, in Massey’s Canyon and just south of the Rockpile... several makos were caught around the Hot Dog, Sausages and in the Washington Canyon... a 461 lb. mako was boated at the Elephant Trunk by John Pendell... a few white marlin were caught and released 126 miles south of Ocean City... yellowfins and dolphin were also in the mix... yellowfins were caught at the 461 Lump and in the Poor Man’s Canyon... black sea bass were snapping on ocean structure in 100-feet of water with the best action coming at the Great Eastern Reef, the San Gil and the Del-Jersey-Land reef... flounder fishing in the bay was good behind Assateague Island and in the Thorofare, but short fish dominated the action... stripers were caught around the South Jetty and in the surf... snapper bluefish and small stripers were caught in good numbers around the Rt. 50 Bridge and South Jetty... Paul Lebling caught the first sheepshead of the year at the South Jetty... In Delaware, the flounder and striper bites improved in the Lewes Canal... bluefish bite slowed in the surf... big black drum caught on clams at the Coral Beds... most boats out of Delaware hit the Del-Jersey-Land reef for good sea bass fishing.. some big flounder, weighing up to 7 lbs. 10 oz. were caught in the Indian River Inlet, around Burton’s Island, the Coast Guard Station and the VFW... bluefin tuna were caught in 61.7-degree water in the Baltimore Canyon.

June 14, 2017 - Bluefin tuna were caught in 300 to 500 fathoms between the Baltimore and Poor Man’s Canyons... bigeyes were boated between the Rockpile and the 461 Lump where water temperatures were around 66-degrees... boats that went below the Norfolk Canyon crushed the yellowfin tuna... “Foolish Pleasures” had 14 yellowfins, a mako and a white marlin release... some mahi were caught in 800 fathoms in the Washington Canyon... sea bass fishing was hit-or-miss with larger knotheads found in 100+ feet of water... flounder fishing was weak in the bay but was excellent at the Old Grounds... the throwback ratio ran high in the bay... larger bluefish entered the bay and were caught around the Rt. 50 Bridge... a cobia was caught off the beach in Bethany Beach, DE and one was hooked in the Ocean City Inlet...weakfish and sheepshead were caught around the South Jetty... In Delaware, short stripers, chopper bluefish and kingfish were caught in the surf... bluefishing was strong in the Indian River Inlet and a few flounder were caught near the VFW?Slough... sharks dominated the surf action where anglers also found some kingfish and small bluefish... Fenwick Shoal also held snapper blues... flounder fishing was good at the Old Grounds... anglers on the “Valkyrie” boated a 408.2 lb. thresher shark at the Fingers.. a 328 lb. thresher was caught at Site 11... makos were caught in the Norfolk Canyon and at the Hambone... flounder fishing in the Lewes Canal improved, both in size and number of fish... the black drum bite at the Coral Beds died down.

June 21, 2017 - The first white marlin out the year out of O.C. was released on June 17th by Dave Taylor in 70 fathoms at the north end of the Poor Man’s Canyon... a 15 lb. 11 oz. bluefish was caught at the?Fingers... sea bass fishing was excellent at the San Gill and Old Grounds... sheepshead were caught around the South Jetty... a couple of cobia were surprisingly caught in the Inlet and behind Assateague Island... flounder were caught in the East?Channel on both sides of the bridge and near the duck blinds behind Assateague Island... yellowfins, bluefins and bigeyes were caught in 200 to 700 fathoms in the Poor Man’s Canyon where water temperature was around 66-degrees... mahi were also caught in the Poor Man’s... In Delaware, the big news was the first white marlin released by Ian Schwing in the Poor Man’s Canyon... small stripers were caught along the rocks in the Indian River Inlet... flounder fishing in the Inlet was sub-par but action on ocean reefs and wrecks improved greatly... sea bass fishing was good in 100-120 feet of water... closer to shore sea bass fishing was weak... small bluefish were found on Fenwick Shoal... surf fishing was dominated by sharks at night and a few kingfish during the day... flounder fishing in the Lewes Canal was better but the throwback ratio remained very high... the black drum bite at the Coral Beds was nonexistent... weakfish showed up on Delaware Bay structure.

June 28, 2017 - yellowfins were plentiful in 80 to 100 fathoms in the Baltimore and Poor Man’s Canyon... bluefins and yellowfins were caught at the Hot Dog... the first blue marlin of the year was released in 166 fathoms south of the Baltimore Canyon by Sasha Serpa on the “Maryland Pride”... another blue marlin was released on the “Primary Search”, also in the Baltimore... sea bass and flounder fishing continued to be good in deeper water... flounder fishing in the bay improved, particularly in the Thorofare, East Channel and West Channel, south of the bridge... big bluefish invaded the bay and were caught in good numbers around the Rt. 50 Bridge... sheepshead, tautog, flounder, small stripers and bluefish were caught around the South Jetty... In Delaware, anglers fishing at the Old Grounds found excellent flounder fishing with fish up to 9 lbs... a few weakfish were caught in the surf near Sea Colony... bluefish were still snapping at Fenwick Shoal... triggerfish started showing up on inshore structure... flounder were caught on jigs at the Inner Wall... sheepshead and triggerfish were caught along the rocks at the Indian River Inlet.

July 5, 2017 - Yellowfins were caught in good numbers in the triangle formed by the Hot Dog, Sausages and Hambone... a few yellowfins were also caught in the Washington and Spencer Canyons with most in the 50 lb. range... bluefins came in from the Hot Dog and Hambone... a few white marlin were released in the Washington Canyon and a blue marlin was released in the Spencer... the first wahoo of the season was caught near the Sausages, 1 month later than last year... flounder fishing in the bay was horrible compounded with a high throwback ratio... better flounder fishing was on ocean reefs and wrecks, especially at the Old Grounds... sheepshead, weighing up to 12 lbs., were caught in good numbers around the South Jetty... tautog were also caught at the South Jetty, but the vast majority are undersized... anglers continued to pick at bluefish in the OC Inlet and a 12 pounder was caught at the Rt. 50 Bridge.

July 12, 2017 - Wahoo were caught at the Tea Cup and at the Fingers... the flounder bite continued to be slow with the best action coming from near the duck blinds behind Assateague Island... water temperature in the bay was 69-degrees... the flounder throwback ratio was very high... sheepshead, tautog, flounder, short stripers and weakfish were all caught around the South Jetty... surfcasters had kingfish during the day and sharks at night... surprisingly a triggerfish was caught in the surf off 124th Street... a spearfisherman shot a cobia at the Sugar Lumps... flounder and sea bass fishing on ocean structure slowed down... most of the tuna action was in the area between the Hot Dog, Hambone and Sausages... yellowfins around the Hot Dog averaged around 50 lbs... boats started chunking for tuna in Massey’s Canyon... tilefishing was strong outside the Rockpile... In Delaware, a lot of flounder were caught in the Lewes Canal but the throwback ratio was off the charts with some boats reporting 40 short fish for every keeper... better flounder fishing was at the Old Grounds... slot stripers were caught in the Lewes Canal... DE?Bay reef sites held flounder, weakfish and kingfish... spot were caught in the Indian River Bay... flounder were caught in Massey’s Ditch... anglers hooked bluefins at the 12 Fathom Lump... sheepshead were captured by anglers fishing off the rocks at the Indian River Inlet... flounder fishing in the Inlet improved with fish weighing up to 5 lbs... a 417 lb. thresher shark was caught near “B” Buoy... a cobia was hooked at the Reliance wreck.

July 19, 2017 - The OC Tuna Tournament was held during the weekend and Jamie Romero took top honors for single heaviest fish with a 115 lb. bluefin caught at the 19 Fathom Lump... with the yellowfin bite on the slow side, not many 5-fish stringers were weighed... the best bite was 85-miles south of the Inlet at “Wayne’s World” and on the chunk at the Hambone and Hot Dog... the winning 24 lb. dolphin was caught inshore of Massey’s Canyon... wahoo were caught inshore of Massey’s Canyon and in the Baltimore Canyon... a 200 lb. swordfish was caught in 20 fathoms at the Chicken Bone... inshore sea bass and flounder fishing continued to be slow... fishing at the Old Grounds gave anglers a good shot at keeper flounder and triggerfish... snapper bluefish were caught on light tackle at Fenwick Shoal... flounder fishing in the bay was sporadic with a lot of short fish caught in the East and West Channels... In Delaware, a few flounder were caught in the I.R. Inlet but the best fishing was on ocean structure 7 to 10 miles off the beach... triggerfish and sheepshead were caught off the rocks in the I.R. Inlet... kingfish and small sharks in the surf... the wreck on Fenwick Shoal produced snapper blues, triggerfish and sea bass... yellowfins were caught at the Lobster Claw... the flounder bite in the Lewes Canal slowed down with a huge throwback percentage.. triggerfish were caught around the pilings at the Cape Henlopen Pier.

July 26, 2017 - Heavy storms rolled through the area, but the weekend was fishable... 400 junior anglers fished in the Kid’s Classic... 50 lb. class yellowfins were caught on the troll and chunk at the Chicken Bone and in Massey’s Canyon... flounder fishing at the Old Grounds produced good numbers of big fish... spot were caught in the bay behind Assateague.. croakers were found around the Rt. 90 Bridge and in the Thorofare... big wahoo came from the Hot Dog and Baltimore Canyon... offshore water temps ranged from 76 to 80 degrees... tuna fishing was slow, but a few good catches came in while chunking in Massey’s Canyon... dolphin were everywhere from the Fingers and Jackspot out to the canyons... tilefishing was good in the Baltimore Canyon... snapper bluefish were all over Fenwick Shoal... bay flounder fishing was horrible with some fish caught in the East Channel and Thorofare... croakers invaded the bay with catches coming from the Rt. 90 Bridge, the mouth of the Commercial Harbor and behind Assateague... good numbers of bluefish were caught around the Rt. 50 Bridge.
August 2, 2017 - The weekend was a blowout with bad weather but tuna fishing was good during the week around the Hot Dog and Massey’s Canyon with several double-digit catches of yellowfins hitting the scales... anglers needed to drop to 30 lb. leaders to hook picky yellowfins... “Bar South” released a sailfish in the Poor Man’s Canyon... the inshore sea bass and flounder bites were inconsistent... fishing at the 1st Lump produced catches of king and Spanish mackerel, bonitos, skippies, mahi and cobia... bay anglers continued to be frustrated with the high number of throwback flounder caught mainly in the East Channel... red and black drum were caught around the Rt. 50 Bridge... triggerfish were found around the South Jetty... In Delaware, a few flounder were pulled out of the Lewes Canal but overall it was slow with small fish dominating the action... slot stripers were picked at in the Canal around the Railroad Bridge... triggerfish were biting at the Ice Breakers, around the pier at Massey’s and along the rocks at the I.R. Inlet... red drum were caught in the I.R. Inlet near the Coast Guard Station... kingfish and sharks in the DE surf.

August 9, 2017 - The White Marlin Open had 353 boats competing which was 24 more than the year before... heading into the tournament the white marlin bite was decent in the Norfolk and Washington Canyons... a few blue marlin were released around the Rockpile and in the Washington and Baltimore Canyons... tuna fishing was hit-or-miss with chunkers finding fish in Massey’s Canyon and trollers getting them in the Poor Man’s and Washington... the quality of yellowfins remained strong with fish averaging in the 50-60 lb. range... dolphin were stretched up and down the line in the canyons and inshore at the Twin Wrecks and Bass Grounds... the sea bass bite was off the charts good, but fish were scattered... the Old Grounds continued to be the hot spot for flounder fishing... Fenwick Shoal held Spanish mackerel and snapper bluefish... flounder fishing in the bay was sporadic with most catches coming from the East Channel on squid and shiners... there were reports of croakers at the Rt. 90 Bridge... In Delaware, flounder were caught in the I.R. Inlet with pink grubs working the best... I.R. Inlet also produced short stripers, snapper bluefish and shad... headboat anglers had to weed through a lot of throwbacks to get their keeper flounder at Site 10... flounder fishing at the Cape May rips was good for those fishing with Gulp and minnow combinations... good triggerfish bite at the Walls.

August 16, 2017 - On the final day of the White Marlin Open, Glen Frost on the “Wire Nut” caught a 95.5 lb. white marlin to win the tournament and a $1,654,800 check... fishing in the tournament was slow with only 409 white marlin caught or released, down from 1,389 the year before... wahoo were caught in the Baltimore Canyon... no bigeyes were brought to the scale... bay flounder fishing continued to be dismal with a better bite at the Old Grounds... strips of belly meat was the top producer for larger flounder... sea bass fishing was hit-or-miss but if you visited several locations you could return with your limit... croakers were picked at around the Rt. 90 Bridge... small stripers and snapper bluefish were around the Rt. 50 Bridge... NOAA announced they were closing cobia fishing in Federal waters on September 5th... In Delaware, throwback flounder dominated the action in the I.R. Inlet... short stripers were caught along the rocks at the I.R. Inlet... inshore lumps produced catches of king mackerel, snapper blues, triggerfish, weakfish and black drum... yellowfins were caught in Massey’s Canyon and while chunking at the 12 Fathom Lump... fishing was very slow in the Lewes Canal.. sheepshead and triggerfish were caught at both Walls in the DE?Bay... the flounder bite picked up around Site 10... good size flatties came in from around “A” Buoy... small stripers were found at The Ditch.

August 23, 2017 - The Poor Girls Open had a record setting 765 anglers... white marlin were released in the Washington Canyon... yellowfins were hooked in 500 fathoms outside the Poor Man’s Canyon... wahoo were caught in the Norfolk Canyon... dolphin were found in 500 fathoms in the Washington Canyon... flounder fishing on inshore structure improved dramatically with most of the action at Sites 9, 10 & 11 off Delaware... Winter Quarter Shoal produced a mix of flounder and triggerfish... flounder fishing in the bay continued to be sporadic with water temperature ranging from 74 to 77-degrees... the East Channel was the top flounder spot... striped bass were caught around the Rt. 50 Bridge at night and black drum were hooked at the South Jetty... snapper bluefish were everywhere in the bay behind OC... In Delaware, short flounder dominated the action in the Lewes Canal... Spanish mackerel were caught between “A” Buoy and the Delaware Lightship on trolled spoons and feathers... croakers were thick at Site 10 and were caught on Fishbite bloodworms... Inner & Outer Walls held sheepshead and triggerfish... a 32-inch cobia was caught in the I.R. Inlet... reports of a lot of 16 1/2-inch flounder on inshore structure... small croakers were caught near Burton’s Island... sand bar and dusky sharks were caught in the suds... Capt. Brent Wiest won the Paradise Grill Flounder Tournament with an 11.4 pounder worth $100,000 in award money... tilefishing was strong in the Baltimore and Washington Canyons... good numbers of dolphin were caught in the Washington Canyon.

August 30, 2017 - In The MidAtlantic tournament, anglers on the “Goin’ in Deep” weighed a 680 lb. blue marlin and a 184 lb. yellowfin with both hooked outside the Wilmington Canyon... 420 white marlin were hooked in the tournament compared to 798 in 2016... a 677 lb. blue marlin was caught in the Washington Canyon... most of the white marlin were hooked in 50 fathoms in the Washington Canyon... dolphin were caught in the Washington Canyon and wahoo came from the Norfolk... flounder fishing on ocean reefs and wrecks really took off this week, especially at the Bass Grounds... high number of short flounder dominated action in the bay... black drum and sheepshead were found around the South Jetty... tilefishing was strong in the Baltimore Canyon... the first longfin tuna was caught on the “FFMD” while trolling in 1,000 fathoms outside the Norfolk Canyon... In Delaware, Tom Schanno caught a 46.5 lb. golden tilefish in 500 feet of water in the Baltimore Canyon to set a new DE?State Record... Sites 10 & 11 produced good catches of large flounder... the number of short flounder found on ocean reefs and wrecks increased... a decent number of flounder were caught in the Indian River Bay... flounder fishing in the Lewes Canal was weak... triggerfish were really snapping around the Outer Wall and Ice Breakers... an 8 lb. flounder was caught at the entrance to the I.R. Marina... triggerfish were caught along the rocks at the I.R. Inlet... snapper bluefish and small stripers were hooked at night in the Inlet... small croakers came in from the Causeway.. small bluefish and stripers dominated action in the surf.

September 6, 2017 - Sheepshead dominated the action this week around the South Jetty with several caught that weighed over 10 lbs.... Jeffrey Peregoy caught a 14 lb. 8 oz. sheepshead... storms caused water clarity to be sub-par, resulting in even worse flounder fishing... small flatties were hooked in the West Channel, south of the Rt. 50 Bridge... sporty seas dampened offshore fishing but some yellowfins were caught in the Washington Canyon... a few white marlin were also released in the Washington... wahoo were caught around the Rockpile... flounder weighing up to 5 lbs. were caught on inshore structure... In Delaware, plenty of peanut bunker entered the I.R. Inlet... sheepshead fishing remained strong along the rocks at the I.R. Inlet... good size spot were found in the I.R. Bay... smaller weakfish, in the 15-inch range, were caught in the Lewes Canal... snapper bluefish were in the surf.

September 13, 2017 - The Big Fish Classic was held this week after bad weather forced them to reschedule from their normal July date... anglers on the “Reel Chaos” boated an 80 lb. wahoo in 55 fathoms in the Poor Man’s Canyon... swordfish, yellowfins, white marlin and blue marlin were all hooked between the Baltimore and Poor Man’s Canyons... an 88.5 lb. wahoo was also caught in the Poor Man’s... the Bass Grounds was the hot flounder spot for anglers using belly meat, minnows and Gulp... sheepshead continued to dominate action in the bay with loads of fish caught around the South Jetty... red drum were also caught around the Jetty... keeper flounder, up to 24-inches were caught around the Rt. 50 Bridge... In Delaware, a 50-inch cobia was caught just off Indian River... an 86 lb. swordfish was captured in the Baltimore Canyon... some spot, small croakers, flounder and weakfish were caught near the Roosevelt Inlet... triggerfish were hooked along the rocks at Pot Nets... flounder fishing on ocean structure was weak... the best spot for sea bass fishing was the Del-Jersey-Land Reef for anglers fishing with clams or squid.

September 20, 2017 - Good size wahoo dominated the action at local MD and DE?scales... anglers on the “Stress Reel-ief” boated a 93.4 lb. speedster... anglers on the “Billfisher” caught a 93 lb. wahoo... most wahoo were caught in 75 to 100 fathoms from the southern end of the Baltimore Canyon to the northern end of the Poor Man’s... anglers on the “Marli” returned with 5 wahoo in the box from 70 fathoms in the Baltimore Canyon... a 164 lb. swordfish was caught in 1,400 feet of water on the north end of the Poor Man’s Canyon... good catches of flounder came in from the Bass Grounds, African Queen and Great Eastern Reef... the number of short flounder continued to increase on ocean structure... the hot flounder spot was Site 10... a good number of cobia were spotted cruising the surface around Fenwick Shoal... sheepshead continued to dominate action in the bay with many fish caught at the South Jetty... flounder fishing in the bay was very slow... there was an excellent red drum bite in the East Channel... anglers pecked away at flounder and croakers in the Lewes Canal... better flounder fishing was at the Old Grounds... short stripers were hooked under the lights near the Coast Guard Station in the I.R. Inlet... triggerfish and sheepshead were still being caught at the Walls in the Delaware?Bay... the Fenwick surf was loaded with snapper bluefish, 20-inch stripers and small sandbar sharks... small bluefish invaded the I.R. Inlet and were caught during the incoming tide... inshore anglers dealt with a large number of short flounder... a good number of croakers were captured on inshore structure.

October - December 2017 -For anglers fishing in the bay, catching sheepshead around the South Jetty was insane, probably too insane, with large numbers racked up for several weeks by anglers fishing with crabs and sand fleas.

Flounder fishing perked up a little in the East Channel, but anglers still had to contend with an extraordinary number of throwbacks. Flatties were also caught around the rocks of the South Jetty and in the Fish Bowl, but the better action was out on the ocean reefs and wrecks. The San Gil, African Queen and Great Eastern sites produced many catches of sea bass and flounder for boats willing to make the trek... those looking for a shorter run headed to the Old Grounds and Winter Quarter Shoal for their keeper flounder, sea bass and triggerfish.

Tautog fishermen found plenty of fish along the rocks at Martha’s Landing (West Channel), but unfortunately the vast majority were too short to keep. As always, larger fish were on ocean structure.

Striper fishing was rough. There really wasn’t much of a spring run, frustrating many surfcasters up and down the coast and the fall run, through the 1st half of December, was dismal with fish remaining off the coast of Jersey much longer than we typically see, although the last 2 years have seen similar conditions. Just as this paper was going to press before Christmas, the striper bite seemed to be coming to life with anglers finally marking bait, seeing whales and locating diving gannets signaling bait and fish underneath. Hopefully, the water won’t get cold too fast and a solid late December and January will save the season.

Offshore, the highlight of fall fishing had to be both the increase in the number of swordfish we saw come to the scale and the first 2 opahs caught by recreational anglers. The guys on the “Primary Search” had a remarkable fall season. During 4 trips in 42 days between October 22nd and December 2nd they racked up 15 sea bass, 4 swordfish, a 170 lb. bigeye, 28 mahi and 2 opahs.

The first opah weighed 105 lbs. and was caught on November 12th while deep dropping in the Poor Man’s Canyon. Although they had been caught by commercial anglers out of Ocean City in the past, nobody ever remembered one being caught by a recreational angler. Almost 3 weeks later, the guys were


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