“Mama always said life is like a box of chocolates…” Some famous words, spoken by one of my all time favorite movie characters – Forest Gump. “You never know what you’re gonna get.” Though Forest was without a doubt a successful shrimp boat captain, chances are his profound statement was never intended to be applied to fishing. However, in my experience (and I’m sure many of yours as well), his words are definitely applicable to the world of fishing in general, as well as specifically here in Ocean City.
Those of you who have been around Delmarva for a while now, know that fishing is never boring here. Most saltwater fish are migratory, and our location along the coast puts us in a unique place to intercept many coldwater and warm water species. Summer gets very interesting as temperatures warm — fish move and begin to mix. As Forest would say, “You never know what you’re gonna get.”
Right now, we are in a transitional phase here in Ocean City, and a mixed bag of fish is present. Some of the bigger flounder have finally arrived to the area, which has been a delight to many of our local bay and bridge anglers. Most of the migratory rockfish have moved through, and the summer residents have set up shop in the Inlet and around the bridge. There are always some nice-sized resident fish that are pulled from the Inlet during summer months, so anglers should look for patterns to begin to develop for these fish. Blue fishing continues to be good. Rays and some nice “biter” sharks are being taken along the beach. Trigger fish are now being caught inshore in the bay and probably off the wrecks. I heard of a cobia that was taken last week. And speaking of a mixed bag, we caught a very pretty red drum on one of my charters just yesterday.
A lot has been going on around Ocean City this past week, and I have quite a few reports to share with you. So let’s get started. We’ll start out with a few of my charters this past week.
During and right after the full moon, things definitely slowed down out at the south jetty and in the bays. Actually, it was some of the slowest action I’ve experienced this summer. But we got through it and the last few days we have seen a big improvement with striper and flounder fishing. One of the trips this week we had a little excitement with a unusual catch for the south jetty. It was with a great group from Bradford County, Pa., Marilyn, Jacob and Jordan Grover, plus Jordan’s girlfriend, Jessica Tunnicliff. I had taken Marilyn and Jacob fishing a few years back when they were on their honeymoon, so they were experienced in fishing the south jetty. We made a few drifts over the tip with a few small stripers hooking up but nothing to get excited about. Then Jacob hooked up with a big fish that started to burn up some drag on the reel, at first I thought we hooked up with that big striper that everyone is hoping for. Jacob did a excellent job fighting this fish, with it making several runs back towards the jetty, but he always seemed to get it slowed down before it reached the rocks and cut the line. After about a five-minute fight, he finally got it close enough for us to see the fish. It turned out to be a big red drum. It still made two more runs from the boat before it tired enough for us to get it in the net. After a quick measurement of 32 inches, we realized it was too big to keep and released it back into the water for another angler to hopefully enjoy some day. Its funny, with customers most of the time your telling them the fish is just short of the legal limit and you have to release it back into the water, but its very seldom you tell them the fish is too big and you have to release it. With red drum there is a slot limit of 18 to 27 inches, so needless to say Jacob was a little disappointed, but he still had the thrill of the awesome fight the fish gave him.
The next charter was just yesterday with a great group from Rochester, N.Y. It was a group of two families that vacation together every year in Ocean City, the Cardamores and the Schlegels and Jerry Pelano, who put the trip together. It was one of those charters that we had action from the very first drift to the last, which always makes for a great day on the water. We started out at the south jetty with plenty of striper action, but we just couldn’t seem to get that 28 inches we needed for a keeper fish. But finally after two hours of non-stop shorts, Brent Schegel hooked into that big one we had been waiting for. It gave Brent an awesome fight with several drag burning runs that he barely stopped. But after what seemed like 10 minutes the beautiful stripper gave in and came to the boat and was netted, with lots of screams of excitement and high fives from everybody on the boat. After everybody calmed down, we measured the fish at 38 ½” with a weight well over 20 pounds. Not bad for Brent’s first keeper striper. We fished the south jetty for a while longer with still plenty of action, but no keepers. Then we decided to head up the bay for some flounder fishing. Once we got there and got the lines in, it didn’t take long for the first flattie to hit. It was a good bite but most fish were on the small side, until Jerry hooked up and the way the rod was bending we knew he had a keeper on. The flounder was a nice fat 19 ½ inches, which put a little excitement back into everybody. We fished about another hour or so with all the other fish coming in under the 18-inch minimum. Well I had a lot of other trips this week I would like to write about, but unfortunately, I don’t have the time or the room in this article if I’m putting in other reports from around O.C. But I would like to thank all my customers for fishing with me and hope they have lasting memories for years to come.
The first report comes from JJ at the Oceanic Pier. Lots of flounder this week, the best week of flounder fishing yet from the pier. Lots of spot and small sea bass all caught on bloodworms, great action for the kids. The tog are still biting, but all are undersized. The night fishing, lots of croaker, and still catching blues and shad some nights.
At the O.C. Fishing Center, Kathie reports lots of bluefin tuna hitting the docks, just a few yellowfin here and there. Lots of dolphin and also a few white marlin releases reported. Flounder fishing in the bays still is red hot, most fish are on the small size, with a few keepers mixed in.
Kathie at Buck’s Place reports Tyler Dubois of Baltimore caught some nice fish from the Route 50 Bridge, a bluefish that was 34 ½ inches plus a striper that measured 29 inches. We had lots of reports of good bluefish and striper bites from the bridge at night mostly on Got-cha Plugs. Surf fishing is slow, with most anglers catching blues, sharks, skates and rays. Flounder fishing is still good in the south and north bays, but most fish are throw backs.
At John Henry’s Bait & Tackle, Tim reports catching big blues and striper from the Route 50 Bridge. Coastal bays still producing good flounder bites. Surf fishing is slow but most fishermen are catching sharks and rays, but the kingfish are starting to show up with the spot and croaker.
Here at Talbot Street Bait & Tackle, Rick reports seeing some keeper flounder at the scales, most flatties are in the 18- to 22-inch range, most caught on Berkly Gulp and shinners. Also weighed in some big blues from the Route 50 Bridge all caught on Got-Cha Plugs. Also reports of sand sharks from the surf.
Beverly at Harbor Tackle reports: Fishing with their dad’s at Fenwick Shoal, Rayn Starner caught a 46 ½-inch, 27-pound, 5-ouce cobia, and Austin Bainbridge caught a 4-foot hammerhead shark. Bev also reports more sharks in the surf along with kingfish, blues, croakers, skates and rays. Some trigger fish and spade fish at the Inlet. A few more legal stripers from the Route 50 Bridge and, finally, lots of flounder, most under 18 inches.
Capt. Victor Bunting on the Ocean Princess reports fishing has been good again over the past week. He said they are still seeing a good number of flounder and triggerfish coming in on most of trips. The biggest flounder this week was a 24-incher caught on a morning trip by Joe Smith along with some other throw backs and keepers. They went back down to the same area in the afternoon and didn’t see another flounder the rest of the day. They still are picking away at the sea bass, some trips better than others. The first signs of ocean front croakers have appeared and they hope to be having some good days fishing for them coming up.
Finally our offshore report comes from the boat, the Restless Lady. They report heading to the Hambone and catching four bluefins, with one at 36 inches and 40 pounds and another at 64 inches and 140 pounds. All caught on ballyhoo and spreader bars on the troll. They went out to the Baltimore Canyon and hooked a mako and a white marlin and both threw the hooks while making jumps. The fishing seems to be improving as the water warms.
Well that about does it for this week’s fishing report, remember if you have a report or pictures you would like in The Dispatch or on my website at www.oceancityfishing.com, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally a few things about what’s going on here at Talbot Street Bait & Tackle. Our hours are 7 a.m.-7 p.m., seven days a week, and we do have live spot for sale, along with other great baits and tackle. We also are booking bay, Inlet, wreck, inshore, and offshore charters on my three different boats. Plus we have a great half-day “family adventure”, fishing, crabbing, clamming, and sight seeing for only $375. So stop by the Tackle Shop or give me a call at 410-430-5436 cell or 410-289-FISH(3474) and lets talk fishing.
The fishing is better then its been in years, so get out there and fish. Who knows? Maybe I’ll be writing about you next week.
(The writer is the owner and operator of Skips’s Charters and Guide Service.)