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Vol 49 | Num 7 | Jun 12, 2024

Offshore Report Ocean City Report Delaware Report Virginia Report Snarky Lines Ship to Shore The Galley Issue Photos
Offshore Report

Article by Larry Budd

Hard to believe we are publishing our 7th Edition for 2024 on June 12th and the offshore condition in the canyons remain poor for pelagic life. While we have reported the capture or release of many canyon runners like the first white marlin and all tuna’s except longfin, the bite remains elusive. For the week past we only have reports of one or two tuna caught, even though I am sure there were some other single catches that did not get to us. Even with this doom & gloom opening there were a couple highlights to the week.

Most notable was the 250.6 lb. thresher shark caught by Paul Plummer on June 8th. It graces our cover on the tournament scales at Hook’em & Cook’em at the Indian River Marina. It has been a couple years since we have seen one at the Coastal Fisherman and even longer for the crew at Hook’em & Cook’em. Paul was fishing with Eric Daughtry on the “Salty Hooker” around B-Buoy when the 80” fish hit on a whole mackerel.
Coincidentally, a thresher was spotted swimming around the Rt. 50 Bridge chasing the bluefish. I don’t think any of the boats nearby were set up to chase that one! All in all it was great to see one on the dock as they are a challenge to catch, and especially to get to the boat without being slapped by the tail!

As for a tuna forecast, it’s hard to say. According to Ripcharts and the Sea Surface Temperature charts we follow from Rutgers University, the water in the canyons and well to the west of them is in the mid to upper 60°s. Even warmer south of the Washington Canyon and in the Norfolk. It seems the water is there and a lot of sea life like the whales we have been reporting, just not tuna and billfish. As I pen this report on Monday, I got a report from Capt. Chris Ragni on the charter boat “Bill Slayer” that as of 9AM they already had three bigeye tunas in the boat, and one looked quite a nice size. He was trolling outside the Baltimore Canyon when 4 eyeballs hit. Not much of the fleet is out today, so we will have to see how the others fare.

This does allow me the opportunity to open a discussion about an event I witnessed last week while on the docks. A charter boat had just returned with a charter group of 6 and they put a single small yellowfin on the dock. While not naming names, this was a boat known for their tuna fishing prowess. I observed one of the charter guests was quite agitated, seemingly at the lack of more fish in the box and was engaging the captain in an aggressive manner. In a nutshell, this charter group berated the captain and decided to not tip the mates for the trip. I can understand the frustration as I have had a couple tuna trips with no fish, one did not even have a bite! That however is not an excuse to insult the captain and shortchange the mates. I often find they work even harder to find a bite when things are hard. Mates work exclusively for tips, so to not respect their effort at all is a crime.

As the age old saying goes it is called fishing, not catching. If you do charter, please make sure you communicate with your captain about the current conditions and what is being caught around the time of your trip. Most will offer to cancel the trip if your heart is set on tuna, but they are not hot. Even better, they can set your group up to catch any number of other species like tilefish, sea bass and maybe a swordfish if you are up for it.

Speaking of tilefish, that action does remain solid. Lots of blueline tilefish boat limits were reported with some nice goldens in the mix. Most of these fish are being found around 100 fathoms or a little less. It is quite the challenge if you decide to reel in these deep water fish manually. Hauling in a 15 lb. fish with a 5 lb. weight from 600 feet can challenge any angler! Of course, most charter boats have electric reels to offer when targeting deep water fish. The “Reel Desire” out of Fisherman’s Marina caught 15 goldens up to 24 lbs. as well as some bluelines and sea bass in 100 fathoms.
Capt. Chris Ragni on the charter boat “Bill Slayer” based at the Indian River Marina put a boat limit of 30 bluelines on the dock on one trip last week. They were deep in the Baltimore Canyon on 500’ of water. The private boat “Sea Hunt” caught a limit also using cut ballyhoo in the Baltimore Canyon. If you enjoy catching these fish it is a great time to get on a charter.

We are entering tournament season in earnest and one of the more recent and popular ones is this weekend, the 3rd annual Tuna & Tiaras Ladies Tuna Tournament. This is a spirited event that includes of course, the excitement of the weigh ins, but anglers also create team themes and dress accordingly! There is also a vendor fair and the new and expanded Mickey Finns! So consider dropping by the Ocean City Fishing Center and check out the action.

Until next week I will see you at the scales and hopefully some tuna too! §

Upcoming Tournaments

• The 3rd Annual Tuna & Tiaras Ladies Tuna Tournament returns to the Ocean City Fishing Center on June 14-15th. This event is always a show with lots of action, vendors and fun at Micky Finns. Weigh ins are from 4-7PM each day. More at
TunaandTiaras.com or on Facebook.
• The weekend of June 22-23 will be a busy one with three concurrent tournament events.
• First is the family friendly Indian River Marina Kid’s Catch All from June 22-23. This is a great event for kids of all ages, even for those just coming out to see what is caught. Weigh ins are 3-6:30PM on Saturday and 3-6PM on Sunday.
More at kidscatchall.com.
• The Ocean City Marlin Club holds it’s Small Boat Tournament June 22-23. You do not have to be a member to participate. You can check out the action from 3-6:30PM at Sunset Marina. More at ocmarlinclub.com.
• Kayaks will swarm the Ocean City bays for the 6th Annual Fish N Paddle Saltwater Slam on June 22 & 23. This event showcases some great fish, and is one of the premier kayak tournaments on the East Coast. Fish will be weighed in at Atlantic Tackle in West OC from 12-4PM each day.

Coastal Fisherman Merch
CF Merch

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