If I had to choose only one word to describe Ocean City this past week, it would be “hot!” Up until now, we have been lucky enough to have had cooler than normal temperatures, but that surly was not the case this week. The air conditioners were cranking around OC, and people were heading to the water to keep cool.
Fortunately for us, the air is not the only thing that has been smoldering; the fishing has been pretty darn hot as well. This past week concluded another White Marlin Open” and the results were spectacular. An outstanding 93.5-pound white marlin took top prize, and a huge “grander” blue marlin took center stage and captured a new state record. The White Marlin Open always brings a lot of excitement to Ocean City, and this year was no different. In fact, with the extraordinary size of this year’s fish, the 2009 tournament has to go down as one of the best in the recent past.
Offshore fishing was not the only action going on around town this week, however. A lot of anglers reported good fishing inshore as well. Schools of croakers have been continuing to filter into the bay, along with spot, and some more decent-sized summer flounder. Striper fishing continues to be good around the Route 50 Bridge and the Inlet. In addition to fishing in the bay and Inlet, a lot of anglers like to fish from the surf this time of the year as well. Some very respectable sharks can be caught inshore during the summer months, and a lot of anglers have been turning out to catch these toothy critters from boats as well as from the surf. An 80-pound spinner shark can take drag like a tuna and will leap from the water like a marlin, an exciting experience for any angler for sure.
A lot of reports have filtered in from around Ocean City this past week. So, let’s take a look at them now.
The first reports I’m going to write about are a few of my charters this past week. The first was an inshore shark fishing trip, which are very popular with children of all ages, and even adults. We travel anywhere from four miles to 10 miles off the beach, so you can still see land from the boat, which is good for first-time anglers who aren’t sure how they will be fishing off the coast of Ocean City. It’s a good mix of sharks, mostly small dusky and thrasher sharks in the four- to five-foot range on light tackle, which is a great fight for most anglers. What’s nice is these size sharks are small enough that they’re easy to handle and everybody on the boat gets to see these toothy creatures up close and actually get to touch them before they’re released. I’ll be booking these trips for the rest of the summer and into the fall, so give me a call if you are interested in some great light tackle action that’s sure to make that drag sing.
The other charter I want to talk about was another great family trip, my bay flounder and croaker charters. This trip was a great group from Chicago, Ill. The Hoffman family, David and Lisa and their children Lindsey, Josh, and Ethan, and their pop pop, Neal Hoffman, who put the trip together for them. We started in the east channel with a lot of action with small flounder which the kids had a blast catching. By the way, the hot bait was Berkly Gulp with shinners or smelt. After a couple of hours, we made a move to the south bay by the airport. We had another good bite with the flounder being a little bit bigger with most being 16- to 17 ½-inch range, just shy of that 18 inches we were looking for. Pop Pop Neal ended up catching a 18 ½-inch flounder to put in the box, plus little Ethan landed a legal croaker that also went in the box. I’ll be booking these bay flounder and croaker trips for another month until the flounder season closes on Sept. 15.
Another great trip is offshore flounder wreck and reef fishing which is really starting to heat up quick and will only get better over the next few weeks. I will being doing some of these trips in the next few days, so hopefully I’ll have some great stories and pictures for my readers the next few weeks.
Let’s get to more reports from around Ocean City.
The first report comes from Tim at John Henrys Bait & Tackle, who said the surf fishing has really slowed this week. There are a few kingfish being caught, mostly on bloodworms, some surf anglers are still catching sharks and rays. The coastal bays are still producing some nice flounder, croaker, blues, and stripers. The tog are still biting around the jetties and the Route 50 Bridge with an occasional triggerfish mixed in.
At Buck’s Place, Shannon reports big sharks from the surf, as 8-foot and 9-foot sand tiger sharks were caught this week on cut baits. Flounder fishing was better toward the end of the week, but most anglers are still catching mostly shorts. Croaker fishing is really starting to take off, but most fish are on the smaller side, bloodworms and fish bites are the beast baits. Still some keeper stripers coming from the Inlet and Route 50 Bridge.
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. We 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. Here at the pier at night, they’re catching mostly blues and an occasional shad, mostly on Got-cha Plugs and Spec Rigs.
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.
Captain Victor on the Ocean Princess reports that fishing has been great. He said it’s the best he has seen in a long time. His groups are catching croakers and plenty of them. They aren’t the biggest fish but there are some nice ones mixed in. Some trips they catch small ones with a few big ones and other trips they will catch all nice-sized croakers. If you want to catch fish, now is the time to come. There are a few flounder, sea bass or trigger fish mixed in with the croakers but don’t count on them, this is a croaker fest.
At AllTackle in West Ocean City, 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.
Here at Talbot Street Bait and Tackle, the flounder fishing during the day is red hot off the Route 50 Bridge. It seems 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 buck tails. 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.
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 Skip’s Charters and Guide Service.)