“I need a cup of coffee…” I thought as I continued down Coastal Highway. It was 2:30 a.m., and I had just spent four hours on Indian River Inlet’s north jetty. My back was a little bit stiff, and my pride was running a little bit low from the skunking I had just taken. It wasn’t a total skunking, however. I had a chance. As the tide was just about slack, I had a very nice hit on my live eel. I was fishing it weightless and reeling very slowly when the fish hit violently. In my surprise, I reacted too quickly and pulled the eel from the fish’s mouth. Five minutes later, the guy to my left caught a nice 38 incher. I shook my head — sometimes that’s just how it goes.
Some years summertime fishing for rockfish can be very good on Delmarva and other years it is just okay. Regardless, there are almost always some nice-sized resident fish that stay in our area for the entire summer. Usually you will see most of these fish (and anglers for that matter) sticking around the inlets — like the Ocean City Inlet and the Indian River Inlet to our north. Live or rigged eels are generally the choice baits. However, you will occasionally see fish taken on rubber shads or plugs. Generally, though, summertime fish prefer snakes in one form or another. I like to fish two hours on either end of slack tide. Most anglers prefer fishing around the high slack tide, but in my opinion (and based on certain spots) it doesn’t really matter — sometimes the hours surrounding low slack can be even better.
On a warm summer’s night, I’d rather get out and take a chance at catching a nice striper, than sit at home and watch TV or go out drinking at bar. So when your wife and kids have gone to bed for the night or the next time you just need something to do — pick up a couple eels and head to one of the Inlets this summer. You’ll be surprised at what you might catch.
Let’s take some time now to recap some of the fishing reports that have come in from around Ocean City this past week.
Josh at Bahia Marina reports the flounder fishing still continues to be good, best we’ve seen in years, even though there are lots of throw backs. The croaker are starting to bite in the north and south bays, just have to find them and the bite is on. The Judith M is caching croaker and trigger fish every day. The offshore charter boats are catching bluefin, marlin and lots of dolphin. The surf fishing is producing kingfish, spot, and lots of small sharks, and finally, the Route 50 Bridge is still hot at night with anglers still catching stripers and bluefish.
At John Henry’s Bait & Tackle, Jim reports surf fishing is still some what slow, but fishermen still are catching some kingfish, spot and some smaller sharks on cut bait. The bay fishing continues to still be red hot for flounder and croakers. The croakers are biting on blood worms and fish bites.
Claire at the Ocean City Fishing Center reports a new state record this week caught on the charter boat “Fish Finder” with Captain Mark Sampson. It was a 72-pound cobia. The bluefin tuna bite has slacked off, but the yellowfin is definitely picking up for most boats. The dolphin and marlin bite is red hot. Some anglers are still catching stripers at the jetties and around the bays, mostly on live spot. While flounder fishing is still getting better with more keepers being brought to the docks daily.
At the Oceanic Pier, JJ reports a good week for flounder, lots of numbers and lots of keepers. We’re seeing lots of croakers now, with most anglers using blood worms for baits. They are seeing lots of small spot and sea bass, great for the young kids to catch, non-stop action, also blood worms are the best bait for them. Lots of stripers from the seawall and Route 50 Bridge, most anglers are fishing live eels. At the pier at night, they’re catching mostly blues and a occasional shad, mostly on Got-cha Plugs and Spec Rigs.
At AllTackle, John reports bay fishermen are seeing lots of flounder and hard head. The surf fishing has definitely slowed down the last few weeks, but anglers are still catching some kingfish, croaker, and spot. Offshore fishing is hit or miss for most boats, but the marlin bite is better, with most boats catching them not far offshore.
Beverly at Harbor Tackle reports nothing much has changed in the past few weeks. The surf fishing is producing more big sharks, croakers, blues and kingfish, along with plenty of rays and skates. Lots of flounder caught in the usual places, however, most are under the 18-inch minimum. The croaker catch is getting better. Some small tog are around. The Inlet and Route 50 Bridge are producing legal stripers, blues and flounder. And finally David Moore caught a 8 ½-foot shark at Assateague Island using fresh bunker as bait.
Here at Talbot Street Bait and Tackle, the flounder fishing during the day is red hot off the Route 50 Bridge. Bridge spreader bars are the ticket, rigged with minnows and squid or shinners and squid. There’s still a good night bite off the Bridge, with anglers scoring some keeper stripers and blues. Most are being caught on Gotcha Plugs, Rubber Shads and Bucktails. The croaker bite in the bay has gotten red hot the last few days, with most fishermen using blood worms and Berkley Gulp. The tog bite is mostly in the inlet area with some anglers also catching triggerfish also.
The Bay Bee reports lots of action but only a few keepers. Last Thursday, there were 62 throw backs and only three keepers. On the Friday morning trip, they had 50 throw backs and only three keepers. On the afternoon trip, 96 throw backs and only one keeper. On the Saturday morning trip, the boat had 50 throw backs and one keeper. On the afternoon trip, it was 54 throw backs and one keeper. Captain Bobby says there’s lots of action but not much for the dinner table. Its still a lot of family fun for four hours with lots of rod bending action.
Captain Victor Bunting on the Ocean Princess reports that the croakers are finally here and the fishing has been pretty good. We just started catching croakers this past Tuesday afternoon and have had good luck fishing for them. Earlier in the week, they were seeing mostly small fish come in but as the week went on the size of the fish has improved. Night fishing has been consistently the best fishing trip this week. Night trips are usually the best trip when fishing for croakers. They have not had to run very far from shore, usually just three to five miles up the beach so there has been getting plenty of extra fishing time. With any luck, these fish will hang around here through August and into September. Don’t forget the Ocean Princess is the closest boat to the Inlet, which means more fishing time than other half-day boat. There is also no waiting for the Route 50 Bridge to open.
I’ve had some great trips this week for stripers and flounder, the striper bite continues to be good around the south jetty. The bait of choice is live spot, you want to rig them with about two-ounce of lead and always use fluorocarbon leader. Stop by the tackle shop and I’ll show you how to rig it up. I’ve also been doing very well fishing for flounder in the east channel and also in the south bay by the airport. I’ve been using Berkley Gulp and shinners, here at the tackle shop we’re stock up with all the best colors of Gulp so stop by. I still have some charter dates open so give me a call at 410-430-5436.
Well that about does it for this week’s fishing report, remember if you have a report or pictures you would like in the “Coast Dispatch” or on 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.)