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Vol 46 | Num 19 | Sep 8, 2021

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

Article by Larry Budd

This Week Last Year
• The “Reel Joy” took top honors in the Billfish Release Division of the OCMC Annual White Marlin Tournament scoring 1,400 points. The “Blood Money” held 1st Place in the Tuna Division with a 63.3 lb yellowfin tuna. The “Schedule Sea” had the top 2 slots in the Dolphin Division but did not enter that calcutta!
• Longfin tuna finally started showing up at the docks. Mostly from the Poor Man’s Canyon. The “Marli” boated 18 on one trip and the “Boss Hogg” had a trip with 10. Most were in the 30-50 lb. range.
• White marlin releases were abundant with many boats reporting multiple releases per trip. The “Buckshot” had 5 releases at the Rockpile and got another 14 a few days later!

With Labor Day come and gone the season may feel like it is winding down, however this is the time of year we look for more marlin action offshore.

The Ocean City Marlin Club kicks off this season with their Annual Labor Day White Marlin Tournament and the 63rd edition was held last weekend. The windy weather mid week and a poor forecast for Friday put a damper on participation compared to years past, however 21 boats entered the fray. The normally 3 day event was effectively reduced to 2 days as all the boats chose not to fish on Friday. While there are calcuttas for meat fish, this is primarily a billfish tournament, so all the boats were working their white marlin spreads on light tackle. This made for interesting catches as the crews ran into schools of tuna taking the baits on dink rods! The Tuna Division also proved to be the most volatile with the top three only separated by ounces until the very end. So let’s do a quick roundup.

Both days were tough for billfish with most reporting none or single or double releases. Day 1’s standout was the “Blood Money” who went outside the Washington and Poor Man’s Canyons in 100 fathoms to raise 3 white marlin and a blue marlin earning 550 points and setting a clear lead. Likewise, Day 2 saw similar mixes with the “Primary Search” finding and releasing 3 whites and a blue outside the Washington Canyon as well to end the tournament with 450 points and securing 2nd Place in that Division. The “Blood Money” returned to the same area and padded their lead by another 100 points by releasing a single white for the day.

The Tuna Division was dominated over both of the fishing days by yellowfins with the top contenders in the mid 50 pound range. At one point the top three were only separated by 0.4 lbs. The “Roll Grove” put some space in the leaderboard with a 60 lb. tuna they caught in the Washington Canyon on Sunday but were eventually bumped to 3rd Place by the “Sea Wolf” who brought in 2 big yellowfins with only 15 minutes left at the scales. Their 75 lb. and 67 lb. fish slammed them into both 1st and 2nd Place.
Lastly, the Dolphin Division was tight owing to the limited size of the mahi we are seeing currently The top spot went to the “Reel Chaos” for a 12 lb. fish and they also took 2/3rds of 3rd place with a 3 way tie at 11.2 lbs. Again not a big spread across the top three spots and most were caught in the Washington usually around weed lines or other floating debris. Our coverage includes the cover shot and details starting on page 56.

Outside the tournament the action offshore was slow most of last week due to the remnants of Hurricane Ida moving through the area. However it looks like the fishing turned on a little bit over the weekend especially for yellowfin tuna. Let’s do the roundup.


As we highlighted in the tournament summary, billfish were hard to find. Single bites for the day or just a couple were common. Boats with sonar equipment faired a little better but not reporting big release counts like this time last year. The “Big Stick” did an overnight trip over the weekend and came back with 5 white marlin and 1 blue marlin release flags flying. Most went offshore of the Poor Man’s and Washington canyons in deep water of 700 fathoms or more, however several single release were reported at the Hot Dog.

We had a notable blue marlin release by Trey Mattes on the “God Willing”. Treye was one of the good samaritans that came to the aid of the two boats that collided last week in the Baltimore Canyon. He returned to the same spot the following day and released a large blue marlin that he knew was in part the spirit of Capt. Chris Ragni, Sr. who lost his life the day before. He dedicated this fish in Chris’ memory.


Anglers are finding yellowfin catches in the 5 to 10 range usually running into one large school and getting covered up or having a couple multiple hookups for the day. Several captains report finding schools of yellows boiling at the surface in feeding frenzies and being able to catch as many as you wanted. The trick was finding them! The Poor Man’s and the Rockpile were hot spots this week followed by the Baltimore. Saturday saw the “Marli” return from the Rockpile with 14 yellowfins, going 7 for 8 on one hookup alone. A notable however was the “Blue Label” that brought in a 137.5 lb. allison yellowfin tuna on Saturday.

Rounding out the rest, we continued to see consistent bailer mahi action across the canyons and at the inshore reefs and wrecks through Saturday, however it appears to be slowing down as we entered the week. A new heaviest wahoo was reported by the “Quick Draw” that found a 101 lb. speedster at the rockpile in 350 ft.

Upcoming Tournaments

• Always a fun family event, the Ocean City Fishing Center will host the 19th Annual Sept. 11th Memorial Spot Fishing Tournament held on September 11th this year. The event has multiple age categories and offers rewards for each. Entry fee is only $5 and registration starts a 4PM with fishing from the docks from 5-6:00PM. Call 410-213-1121 for more details.
• Bahia Marina in Ocean City will hold it’s one day Flounder Pounder on September 12th. This tournament is a lot of fun and great for the kids. You may fish from your own boat or rent a skiff, skimmer, or pontoon from the marina if you wish. Call 410-289-7438 for more info.
The main tournament season may be winding down, but we still have some fun ones to go! There are also more fall events so keep an eye on our schedule in the paper and on-line to keep up to date!

Until next week, I will see you at the scales!

Coastal Fisherman Merch
CF Merch



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