Fish ‘N OC

fishinoc29

“I’m
going to need a coffee,” I thought to myself. I had woken up early, gathered my
gear, and made haste to get to one of my favorite spots on the Route 50 Bridge.
There was a full moon out and I hoped to catch the last stages of the outgoing
tide and also to avoid some of the crowds that had poured into town the
previous week.

While
I stood there, perched high above the water, I soaked in that magical hour of
pre-dawn darkness, where the sky is just beginning to brighten as the sun
prepares to make its daily appearance over the Atlantic. Then, bam, I awoke
from my trance as a fish rocked my lure. I set the hook hard and my rod doubled
over, throbbing with the weight of a nice fish headed downstream between two
bridge pilings. I had waited all winter for this. Summer was here and it was
fish on!

I
know summer is not officially here yet, but it sure felt like it this week. The
sun was shining, the fish were biting and yes it was crowded. This past weekend
was Memorial Day weekend, which is one of Ocean City’s busiest holidays. This
year was no exception. In fact, I think we may have had more crowds here this
year than in the recent past. The weather has been beautiful so far, and with
the extra harsh conditions that we endured this past winter, I think most people
were ready for some fun in the sun — on the beach, on the Boardwalk and on the
water.

There
were certainly a lot of boats out on the water this weekend. I was out a couple
of times with different charters, and at times I had to remind myself that I was
in fact fishing, and not cruising for a space in the Wal-Mart parking lot.
Luckily, the crowds didn’t make things too frustrating for us, as the fish
really did cooperate well.

For
the daytime fishermen, lots of tog and flounder were the norm this week. At
times, it seemed tough to get to the bigger fish because there were so many
small ones willing to attack your bait. Still, it is hard to complain when you
are catching fish, especially when it is so much fun for the kids and family.

For
the nighttime fishermen and for those headed offshore, there were lots of big
fish available this week. The striper bite has remained very strong. Those who
fished the night tides on the bridge and at the inlet were rewarded with a lot
of keeper size fish being caught. Also, the boats that headed offshore found
the mako sharks snapping this week. We’ve been hearing numerous reports daily
of some very nice makos coming in, and even a report of the first blue fin tuna
of the season.

As
you can see, this past week was a very busy week. With all the crowds, the nice
weather, and all the fishing that has been going on, let’s move on to some of
the reports that I’ve received through email and through the tackle shop this
past week.

Adam
at Bahia Marina reports bay fishing seemed to pick up somewhat this past
weekend. Several nice flounder were brought in with reports of many throwbacks
in the 17- to 18-inch range. The Tortuga had a few keeper flounder on Saturday
and Sunday as well. The Judith M has continued to return from their half-day
bottom fishing trips with decent numbers of seabass. This past weekend the
largest seabass was 5 pounds and the largest tog was 10 pounds. Offshore, the
Sea Mistress returned from a charter on Memorial Day with a 116-pound mako. The
shark was caught around the parking lot on a whole mackerel. Three other makos
were also weighed in on the same day.

At
the Oceanic Pier, Richard Perry reports this week has been a lot better for
daytime flounder fishing, with some nice flounder being caught. We still have
tog fishermen doing well off the end of the pier and off the sea wall. At
night, under the lights, the blues and shad are still hitting spec rigs and
got-cha plugs. A few lucky anglers are scoring keeper stripers at night, mostly
on 6-inch swim shads and live eels. We are now open 24 hours a day, seven days
a week.

Sue
Foster at Oyster Bay reports we didn’t have the run of stripers on the surf we
had last week. A few were caught, but most of the action in the surf was sharks
and some snapper blues. Flounder fishing was up and down with the water
clarity. Fishing at night was still "off the hook" with anglers
catching blues from the Route 50 Bridge and Oceanic Pier after dark. Some nice
stripers were mixed in with these bluefish and shad. Tautog fishing was good.
Offshore, the sea bass were biting

Captain
Bobby Gower of the Bay Bee reports tough fishing this weekend because of all
the boat traffic and grass in the water. He managed three keepers on Saturday
and 30 throwbacks. When I called him Sunday afternoon, he said fishing was very
slow and he only had 14 throwbacks in the morning. Flounder is all about water
clarity and if the water is dirty, fishing is slower. I’m sure we’ll see more
flounder once the water cleans up.

On
Memorial Saturday, the Pony Island Express reports boating two keeper flounder
from their two-hour trip. Both were caught on minnows in the bay, behind the
O.C. Airport. Haley Betz caught a 19.5-inch flounder on a live minnow, in the
flats north of the Thorofare

Bev
at Harbor Tackle in West Ocean City reports last weekend three red drum were
caught at Assateague Island. The largest fish was over 50 inches. Striper
fishing is still good along with a few black drum, blues, skates, rays and
sharks. The most productive bait has been fresh bunker, live peelers and sand
fleas. The best places to look for flounder have been the south bay from the
airport south. Flounder have also been taken from the Route 90 Bridge area. At
the Route 50 Bridge and the Inlet, there are blues, flounder, shad and
stripers. One of Bev’s customers and his son were fishing the Inlet this week.
They caught about 40 blues in the 15- to 20-inch range, a 19-inch flounder on
cut bluefish and a 22-inch striper on a bucktail. Still plenty of tog, however,
most are under the 14-inch mark. Congratulations to Todd Russell from Salisbury
with his 26-pound, 8-ounce, 39-inch striper taken from Assateague Island using
fresh bunker on the outgoing tide.

Captain
Victor of the Ocean Princess reports some good sea bass fishing over the last
week on his full-day and half-day fishing trips. During the week, he sailed
from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on eight-hour trips and for the most part reported
excellent fishing. Most anglers had anywhere between a dozen and 25 fish on
these trips. A few lucky anglers during the week still managed to pick a couple
codfish and tog. Saturday was the official start to the half-day fishing
season. So far fishing on most of these trips has been decent. Most anglers
picked away at throwbacks and a couple keepers on these trips, and some caught
nothing but throwbacks. Victor reports still managing to catch a few tog and
codfish on these trips too. But if you are expecting a full day catch on a
half-day trip, Victor suggests that you sign up for one of his upcoming 12-hour
trips. The Ocean Princess will be sailing daily during the week, leaving the
dock at 8 a.m. and returning around 1 p.m. The boat runs 8 a.m.-noon and 1-5
p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Victor will run this schedule for the next couple
of weeks. He plans to stay out a little longer during the week, so that is
going to mean more fishing time and hopefully more fish. 

Captain
Mark Hoos Jr. reports the crew and charter on the Marli spent a beautiful day
fishing at the Great Eastern Reef. He came back to the dock with 47 black sea
bass and one angler was even surprised with a cod. All those aboard were kept
busy throughout the day throwing back numerous sea bass. Stay tuned for next
weeks fishing report. He will be fishing the Mako Mania – come visit the Marli
at Sunset Marina Slip C-9.

Lori
at John Henry’s Bait and Tackle reports lots of blues, sharks and skates on the
surf. She only heard of one keeper striper caught on the surf over the holiday
weekend. There’s been lots of sea grass in the bay, but if anglers find clean
water they will catch flounder. The Route 50 bridge is producing keeper
stripers during the night with rumors of some trout also.

Noah
at Ake Marine reports the big catch of the holiday weekend was a 525-pound
thresher shark caught on the “Rain E Daze” by Dave Raine of Mt. Airy, Md. Dave
fought the monster for over an hour. It was caught in 61-degree water at the
Fingers. The bait was a mackerel. Ake also had a 40-inch striper weighed in
over the weekend. The Route 50 is the hot spot for night fishing, with lots of
blues, shad, and keeper rock. The hot spot for flounder this past week seems to
be the Route 90 Bridge.

Here’s
a quick wrap up of some of the hot spots; offshore for thresher, makos, and
blue sharks, the hot spots are, the Fingers, Hot Dog, and the Sausages. The hot
baits are mackerel and blue fish.

The
offshore sea bass and tog fishing is on fire, with anglers doing well at all
the wreck and reef sites. The best baits are green crabs and sand fleas. If you
want the numbers for the best sites, go to any local tackle shop for the Ocean
City Reef Foundation packet for just $25. The money goes right back in to
building more sites off the Ocean City coast.

The
blue fish and shad are still making daily appearances with the incoming tides.
Some off the hot spots are the inlet off the north jetty and sea wall. The
Oceanic Pier under the lights, and the Route50 Bridge. The best lures are spec
rigs and got-cha plus.

Flounder
hot spots are south of the Route 50 Bridge in the east channel by boat, and
just north of the Route 90 Bridge in the main channel. By land, the Route 50
Bridge, 9th Street pier, and the Oceanic Pier. The best baits are shiners, live
minnows, squid, and Berkley Gulp.

For
tog, try the 2nd to 4th streets bulkhead and the 5th and 6th streets rock
piles. The north jetty, and of course the Rt. 50 bridge are always good too. By
boat, the south jetty is the ticket, green crabs and sand fleas are the baits.

Striped
bass are hitting hard during the early morning hours at the south jetty, mostly
on 6-inch swim shads and bucktails. If you can get your hands on some live spot
or bunker, its game on with non-stop action. I should have spot for sale within
a few days. For shoreline fishermen, the north jetty and Route 50 Bridge are the
hot spots.

This
coming weekend is the 14th Annual Mako Mania Shark Tournament held at Bahia
Marina. Weigh-ins are on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 4-7 p.m. This year’s
tournament should be an exciting one if its any thing like last weekends shark
fishing.

I have all the boats in the water and they’re geared up ready to fish. We
have a boat for every person’s needs. From bay to Inlet, inshore to offshore,
with half-day and full-day trips available. With some of Ocean City’s top
captains working for “Skip’s Charter and Guide Service” this year. Give me a
call at the tackle shop at 410-289-FISH (3474) or on my cell 410-430-5436 and
lets talk fishing. At the tackle shop we are open 7 a.m-7 p.m., seven days a
week, with a great staff that will answer any questions you may have about
fishing the Ocean City waters. If you have a report or pictures you would like
in The Dispatch or on www.oceancityfishing.com email me at
skipstackleshop@aol.com or captskip@oceancityfishing.com.  

There
may be some rain showers this weekend, but other wise it looks good for anglers
to get out there and catch some fish. So get out there and make some casts. Who
knows? Maybe I’ll be writing about you next week.

(The
writer is an outdoor writer and owner of Skip’s Bait and Tackle and Skip’s
Charter and Guide Service in Ocean City.)

 

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