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Vol 42 | Num 16 | Aug 16, 2017

Ocean City Fishing Report Delaware Fishing Report Fish Stories Chum Lines Ship to Shore The Galley NOAA reopens federal waters to cobia fishing for recreational and commercial anglers Issue Photos
Ocean City Fishing Report

Article by Larry Jock

We aren’t seeing the best fishing out of Ocean City right now, but it sure ended up being enough to make the 44th White Marlin Open interesting.

Overall, it was a slow week. For example, during last years tournament, anglers hooked 1,389 white marlin, but this year only 409 were either boated or released. Blue marlin were fairly close with 30 last year versus 34 during this years tournament.

However, just because the total numbers were down didn’t mean that the scales weren’t exciting. On Wednesday, Mike Donohue on the “Griffin” weighed an 86 lb. white marlin, the 9th largest in tournament history, to take a commanding lead in the White Marlin Division, a lead that not too many people thought would be overtaken. Mike’s catch in the Baltimore Canyon sat on top of the leaderboard until the final day when Glen Frost and the crew on the “Wirenut” arrived at the scale with a 95.5 lb. white marlin to take over 1st place. This fish was a stud, measuring 73-inches and sporting a 30-inch girth. The fish hit a naked ballyhoo, south of the Baltimore Canyon and was the 3rd largest white marlin caught in the tournament’s 44-year history.

The final day of the event was super exciting with every early-arriving boat causing a change in the leaderboard. The white marlin on the “Wirenut” wasn’t the only fish that had the crowd on it’s feet. The “MR Ducks” hit the scale right before the “Wirenut” with a 79.5 lb. white marlin caught by Joe Andrews that ended the tournament in 3rd place in the White Marlin Division. Their marlin was caught on a ballyhoo in the Norfolk Canyon, evidence that boats were spread out, searching up and down the coast for the winning white marlin.

The next boat in was the “Restless Lady” with the only shark weighed during the week. The 126 lb. mako was caught by Frank Snover in 50 fathoms in the Washington Canyon.

Next in line was the “Silly Money” with the only qualifying dolphin weighed throughout the week. Outside of the billfish numbers, having only 1 qualifying dolphin is evidence of how slow the fishing was. Andy Cohen caught the winning dolphin on a naked ballyhoo in the Washington Canyon.
Following the “Silly Money” was the “Lisa” with a 59 lb. yellowfin that took 1st place in the Small Boat Tuna Division. Their fish was caught while chunking in Massey’s Canyon. Incredibly, we didn’t have any bluefins or bigeye tuna weighed the entire week.

The final day ended up with Jimmy Michael on the “Dawg Haus” bringing a 58 lb. yellowfin to the scale to take 2nd place in the Small Boat Tuna Division.

There were no blue marlin brought to the scale and only a couple of wahoo. The largest wahoo of the tournament was caught on the first day by Gary Capuano on the “Hog Wild”. The 55 pounder was hooked on a rubber ballyhoo in the Baltimore Canyon. The 2nd place wahoo came in on Thursday when Seth Obetz on the “G-FORCE” boated a 53.5 pounder, also in the Baltimore Canyon.

As mentioned earlier, the Tuna Division was wide open with only yellowfins being weighed throughout the week. We all wondered when a bluefin or bigeye was going to arrive to break things open, but it never materialized. Joseph Sadler took 1st in the Tuna Division with a big 68.5 lb. yellowfin caught on Thursday in the Spencer Canyon that knocked a 67 pounder caught Wednesday on the “Blue Runner” out of the top spot. Earlier, the “Warden Pass” weighed a 67 lb. yellowfin that sat in 1st place for 15 minutes before being knocked out by the “Intents” and tying the “Blue Runner” for 2nd place.

The number of fish may have been down, but between the microburst that stormed through the weigh station on Monday and the battle in the White Marlin and Tuna Divisions, there was plenty of excitement to go around. Hats off to all of the tournament organizers and volunteers for another successful White Marlin Open.

Outside of the tournament, anglers fishing in the bay continue to struggle with small flounder dominating the action. Those looking for bigger fish looked in the deeper holes of the East Channel, but without much luck. Luckily, the flounder bite on inshore structure continues to get better and better with the Old Grounds still the top spot for bigger numbers and larger flounder. Fishing with strips of sea robin, strips of mahi belly and even Gulp artificial baits have been the top baits so far this season.

Sea bass fishing continues to be hit-or-miss. Fish are there to be caught, but don’t expect to get good numbers by fishing a single spot like most do successfully early in the season. Hitting several spots throughout the day with clams or squid will be the best way to return with a nice catch of knot heads.

We still haven’t seen any large influx of croaker in our bays, but anglers are picking at them around the Rt. 90 Bridge, at the mouth of the Commercial Harbor and in the East Channel. Sabiki rigs tipped with Fishbite bloodworms is a proven technique to hook hardheads.
Around the Rt. 50 Bridge, anglers are finding small striped bass and snapper bluefish interested in their offerings of live spot.

Finally, we received some good news from NOAA. Effective September 5th, previously closed Federal waters for cobia fishing will be reopened with changes in size and creel regulations. Check out the news column on page 59 of this issue for more details.

Upcoming Tournaments

This weekend is the famous Capt. Steve Harman’s Poor Girl’s Open at Bahia Marina. This is considered the largest womens-only billfish tournament in the world with proceeds going to the American Cancer Society for Breast Cancer Research. Weigh-ins are on Thursday, Friday and Saturday beginning at 4:00 PM.

The following Monday is the start of The MidAtlantic Tournament.This event has really grown in popularity, with anglers fishing out of both Cape May, NJ and Ocean City, MD. It’s a big money, 5-day tournament with local weigh-ins at Sunset Marina each night from 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM.

See you at the scales!

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