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Vol 48 | Num 4 | May 24, 2023

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Ocean City Report

Article by Capt. BJ Pietryak

Opening week of sea bass is always anxiously awaited by many anglers. This year sea bass did not cooperate the way they have in past years. With the states getting tougher on size and creel limits many anglers found themselves putting in a lot more effort to catch even a few fish to bring home for dinner. A few limits were had by various boats but many struggled to bring home a few nice keepers. Lots and lots of throwbacks was the word I got from many boats. Flounder remains strong in the back bays and continues to get better.

Sea Bass

As I stated, the opening day saw tons of boats at all the inshore bass locations. Anglers had to jockey for position to catch the coveted prize. The Great Eastern Reef was the hot spot, with quite a few limits coming from this area. Even though the ratio was about 6 throwbacks to one keeper, the Great Eastern Reef did produce a better quality of fish than other areas. Fresh clam and jigs accounted for many of the limits. Captain Victor Bunting of the “Ocean Princess” reported it has been a rocky start to the sea bass season, but his last trips showed a better quality and quantity of fish. Hopefully the season will continue to get better. Monty Hawkins of the “Morning Star” said after laying up for a day he finally made it out to fish. A northeast breeze is never a good ride but he stated it wasn't terrible either. Fishing was not as productive as he had hoped but some nice fish were brought home. Monty said there is plenty of life, and the fish they kept had sand eels and krill in their bellies. The “Angler” run by Captain Eric Shoaff went about 20 miles off the Ocean City coast with squid, clams, sand fleas, and crabs and returned with a nice bunch of fish for his clients. I guess the variety of bait makes a difference when the fish are picky. Captain Eric reported that their best fish of the day was a 4.25 pound bass. Many anglers ventured a little further offshore to deeper water and came back with better catch than those staying closer to the beach. Chuck Sharp and his group went down to Marine Electric, and although it took them a lot longer to catch keepers, they did manage a four man limit. Chuck stated that clam was working, but the better fish came on jigs. Team Ronin out of Ocean Pines, was also at Marine Electric and managed 45 keepers with one big 4.25 pound fish. They thanked Captain Minh Tri Dang for putting them on some nice sized fish. Walter Moore wouldn't admit it, but the 20+ mph winds did make him nervous. After three hours of fishing for a four man limit, including four different locations, he headed home with some nice fish. Walter stated there was not another boat anywhere around him and that they worked hard for every bite. To give you an idea how windy it was they picked up a Mothers Day balloon 20 miles offshore. Many anglers may not be aware but most charter boats will stop and retrieve balloons in the water to help protect the turtles and wildlife. This act only takes a few seconds and will help the turtles who are curious and get tangled in the balloon line. Brian Fenster had a slow start to the bass season and didn't find many of his regular spots willing to give up many fish. He, like many, moved to the Great Eastern Reef and found a decent bite, filling their coolers although not a limit. Tanner Virden along with Joe and Chris Huk had an awesome first trip bringing home their 9 man limit. The boat is the “Restless Lady 2”. Chris told me fishing was tough and took a little longer than usual, but the anglers fished hard and all managed a limit. The “Skipjack Sportfishing” boat said the wind laid down a little and had a decent bite to start off with, but that the bite soon turned off as other boats arrived. The crew worked hard all day, but fell just short of everyone's limit. Despite tough conditions the guys did manage to bring 75 tasty sea bass home for dinner. “Double J Sportfishing” also headed out this week on their opening day of sea bass and was rewarded with a fairly quick limit compared to many other boats. The “Ocean City Girl” ended up with an 8 man limit of 100 plus fish, but also conceded that the conditions and fish did nothing much in the way of cooperation. Much of this past week was a blow out or rough conditions so to all that ventured out in the tough conditions, congratulations on bringing home some of the seas most sought after prize... sea bass!

Flounder & Back Bays

Craig Cropper was at the RT 50 Bridge again catching a mess of bluefish. He said although the rock did not bite as hard as past weeks, the blues made for a great time. John Foreman got a quick two man limit near the Ocean City Inlet. He said the only hard part of the day was fighting the inlet parking during cruisers week. Russell Lederman, who has been catching big stripers all spring, reported he caught his smallest one of the year on sand fleas but didn't want this small guy to feel left out. John Darwicki finally got on the board when he pulled a beautiful 35” rock off the beach at Assateague Island. Besides a few skates that was his only real bite all day. Ryan West saw some good action on the RT 50 Bridge this past week and hauled in a giant overslot rockfish. Behind the airport, Jose Martinez got a nice rock while casting from shore. Angler Brock Coleman was at the bridge and caught a 28” striper on a speck rig as well as a double catch of redfish.

Beach Fishing

Fred Berfel had a nice day on the beach catching big bluefish. Nate Miller got a big 40” rock off the surf using fresh clam. George Kalorouma pulled in a 40” and a 38” rock using clam and fleas. Suzannah Cornue had a few great days on the beach catching a few nice blues. She said the highlight of the trip was watching a new foal come out of the woods still on wobbly legs. And we will finish this week’s report from Steve Maddox who pulled in 4 redfish and a striper.

Until next week...
Tight lines and fins up

Coastal Fisherman Merch
CF Merch



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