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Vol 49 | Num 6 | Jun 5, 2024

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

Article by Larry Budd

After weeks of having to fill this space with anecdotes and predictions of things to come, it looks like we have turned a corner. As we slid into June it was like a light switch turned on in the canyon. In one short week we got reports of the first white marlin, the first bluefin tuna and the first mahi for 2024! The first offshore tournament was held and more beautiful whale sightings were shared.

The release of the first white marlin of the year is a highly anticipated event. As we reported last week there had been sightings, but no one had one on the hook yet. That changed last Saturday. It was a beautiful day, unlike one we had seen in a while given the wet and cool May we experienced. Lots and lots of boats headed out looking to get in on the recent tuna bite. Like most that day, Capt. Andrew Dotterweich on the charter boat “Fish On” was trolling for tuna. He was outside the Baltimore Canyon in deeper water and was not finding a bite! Around 1:30 PM mate Jake Emche heard the pin pop out of the long rigger line that had a Sea Witch and the crew new what they had. He quickly slid out a ballyhoo with a circle hook and maneuvered it into the spread and they did indeed have ‘Fish On’. Great start of the year for captain and crew as well as boat owner Todd Willard.
The tuna pattern from the prior week has continued with limited catches. Most boats are finding 1 or 2, if any yellowfins. Many are on the small side. We did have a couple exceptions however this week. First, I heard from Capt. Mark Hoos last Friday on the charter boat “MARLI”. He texted from offshore (got to love Starlink) that he had a 60” bluefin tuna in the box as well as four yellowfins. He was trolling in the Poor Man’s Canyon working a patch of warm water that he saw had pushed in. The 122 lb. bluefin ate the only chain allowed on the “MARLI”, a Sterling one! The yellowfins were attracted to MagicTail Lures with a ballyhoo. Angler Andrew Link now holds the First Fish honor for bluefin this year. Saturday saw calls from offshore (more love for Starlink) starting in the early afternoon. Around 2PM Capt. Brian Porter on the charter boat “Boss Hogg” called to share he already had 10 yellowfin on ice and was still fishing. He also hinted that he heard the first white might have been caught! Capt. Brian was first to admit he got lucky. They hit a decent sized school, and at one point got covered up with 5, getting all to the boat. A couple more doubles and single and the box was full. He had to work for that amount, starting in the Poor Man’s and trolling well south fishing in water ranging from 62° to 66.5°. It was a great day for his nephew Chris Porter and his work friends. The new “Primary Search” returned to Sunset Marina and put 6 yellowfins on the dock from the Poor Man’s Canyon. Unlike the others, his crew picked at them all morning before trying for swordfish.

“Restless Lady” owner Sean Welsh with Capt. Todd Kurtz headed out of the Talbot Street Pier for an overnight trip. They were in the Poor Man’s as well and managed two chunky yellowfins, one at 72.5 lbs. and the other at 88.5 lbs. The larger one is the Heaviest Yellowfin Tuna of the season so far. The night time hours provided lots of action as well. They released several sharks including a tiger estimated at 600 lbs, a ~400 lb. hammerhead and a mako while trolling.

We had one other report of a big bluefin tuna from Capt. Chris Keller of the charter boat “Action Jackson” out of Indian River Marina. He was trolling at the Fenwick Shoals and chased a ~100” bluefin for an hour but could not get it to bite!

The Battle for the Buckle Tournament sponsored by Pure Lure returned for its second time, in association with the PBR Bull Riding Event that took place in Ocean City. 20 boats registered and $75,000 as well as the prized cowboy styles belt buckles were up for grabs during the 3 day event. The first boat to the scales on Day 1 was the “Relentless”. This crew had decided to take a different approach to the tournament, focusing on the Heaviest Fish Buckle. They decided to target swordfish and it paid off. They barely had their spread in the waters of the Poor Man’s Canyon when they hooked up with a sword in 1,100 ft. of water. Billy West lead the effort, and the whole crew helped get it up from the deep. That 125” fish held on to take the 1st Place Buckle for Heaviest fish and the top tournament award of $31,329. The charter boat “Talkin’ Trash” took the Buckle for Heaviest Stringer, earning $21,969 and the charter boat “30 Deep” pocketed $9,684 for a 17 lb. mahi. This is one of these events with a lot of energy at the scales, so well worth checking out!

Mahi were in the mix this week! There was actually a little competition on who would grab the spot for First Fish. Initially we heard from Gene Arantowicz about the peanut mahi he caught in the Poor Man’s Canyon on May 29th. That was the first we had heard about so far this season, but it was only a few hours later that we learned that Finbar Rishko had reeled in a gaffer dolphin the day before from outside the Baltimore Canyon locking in the title. That one hit on a wide tracker tuna spread that was in 65° water. A new Heaviest Mahi of the season was set as well with the 17 pounder caught on the “30 Deep” during the Battle for the Buckle Tournament. All of these were caught on the troll, but still a good sign.

Tile fishing remained strong with more bluelines reported this week than goldens. The aforementioned “Restless Lady” trip boated a bunch of bluelines from their overnighter. The “Bill Slayer” out of Indian River Marina took their first trip of the season looking for tuna but switched up and stuffed the cooler with 28 tiles! Glen Clawson reported a nice sized golden as did Capt. Chris Keller from one of his trips on the charter boat “Action Jackson”.
We have been sharing some of the great whale sightings that anglers have seen recently while on the deep blue. Pure Lure founder Brendan Hanley shared this picture of a whale breeching in the Washington Canyon while they were fishing in the Battle for the Buckle Tournament. Apparently, they got a show that lasted for over an hour!

We also want to recognize the local boat “Christine Marie”. They entered the Swansboro Rotary Bluewater Fishing Tournament out of Swansboro, NC and won top honors for Largest Blue Marlin with a 557.3 lb. blue. Congrats to Capt. Brian Behe and angler Steve Summers.

Several tournaments are coming up for bluefish and tuna that should provide lots of action, so until next time, go fishing and share with us your experiences!

Upcoming Tournaments
• Bahia Marina holds it’s 3rd Annual Blues for DU Bluefish Tournament on June 7-8. Scales open at 4PM at Fish Tales. More at BahiaMarina.com.
• The Patapsco Open team hosts their OC Smack Down Tuna Tournament on June 7-8 based at the White Marlin Marina. Scales are open from 4-7. More on Facebook under Patapsco Open.
• The 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. More at TunaandTiaras.com or on Facebook.

Coastal Fisherman Merch
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