If there was one word
that I could use to sum up the past couple of weeks in Ocean City, it would be
"hot." Yes folks, summer has officially arrived. It seems like
everywhere I go air conditioners are cranking, ice cream shops are buzzing and
people are taking to the water to cool off.
Fortunately for us fishermen, the weather is not the only thing that has been
hot around Delmarva the past couple of weeks — the fishing has been pretty hot
as well. If you have spent much time fishing around town recently, you have
probably seen my boat in the Inlet. I’ve been chartering a lot lately, and it
is for good reason. The rockfish are here, and it seems like they are setting
up shop. Interestingly enough, on Friday of this past week, two of my clients
ended up catching three different keeper stripers that had my own broken off
rigs inside them —apparently from charters I had done earlier in the week.
What that tells me is
the fish we are catching right now are ones that have been sticking around
locally and aren’t migrating north. In fact, one of the before-mentioned fish
was caught in a local spot that I had not fished previously this season. So, it
is obvious that the fish aren’t migrating out of the area yet; instead they are
just moving around town shopping for groceries in different locations.
If you have been fishing around Ocean
City lately, chances are you haven’t been fishing alone. There have been a lot
of guys out and all the local spots have been producing. I have been seeing a
lot of nice fish on the dock and I’ve been receiving a lot of reports in lately
as well, so let’s take a look at some of them now.
Bev at Harbor Tackle reports, “Three- to five-foot sharks are showing in the
surf along with kingfish, spot, rays and blues. The flounder catch has increased;
however, for every keeper 20 to 50 undersized fish are caught. At the Route 50
Bridge and the Inlet, there are blues, shad, stripers and flounder.
The Ocean City Fishing Center reports, “Beautiful weather and wonderful fishing
make for a perfect day. The popular fish of today was the dolphin. To start the
‘Fish Bonz’ with Captain Mark Radcliffe caught a 45-pound cobia and two dolphin
while trolling. This is the first cobia of the year caught from this marina.
Nice job Captain Mark. Captain Keith Robinson on the ‘Tighten Up’ returned to
the docks with eight dolphin. Another one of our charter boats the ‘Game Over’
captained by Steve Pfeiffer had a total of three really nice gaffer dolphin,
one weighing in at 17 pounds. More dolphin were caught today by Captain Dale
Lisi on the ‘Foolish Pleasures’. He had a total of 6 beautiful dolphin, one of
which weighed 18 pounds a close contender for our offshore leaderboard here at
the Ocean City Fishing Center. Don’t let all of the dolphin fool you sharks are
still being caught. Captain Mark Sampson on the ‘Fish Finder’ released two
tiger sharks and a sandbar shark today, while killing one dolphin. Bay fishing
has finally picked up and we are seeing keeper size flounder being brought back
to the docks everyday. The ‘Get Sum’ with Captain Nick Clemente had a total of
six keepers today and 20 throwbacks along with a large amount of clams and
crabs. Our headboat, the ‘Bay Bee’ with Captain Bob Gowar, also had a fantastic
day with a total of three keepers, one of which was 24 inches along with 56
At Oyster Bay Bait and Tackle, Sue Foster reports, “Flounder fishing was up and
down. There were some nice ones caught. You just had to be at the right place
at the right time. Lots of ‘shorts.’ We saw the first good run of kingfish and
spot in the surf. Sharks and rays still abound in the surf along with a few
blues and a couple ‘mostly short’ stripers. Spot were reported in the bay along
with one report of croaker. Blues and shad were running great from the Oceanic
Pier and Route 50 Bridge at night. Still some stripers at night on the Route 50
Bridge and Inlet areas. Triggerfish are here at the inlets and bulkhead.
Offshore, we have had sharks and some tuna, though the tuna bite slowed down.
Dolphin showed up, yea!”
At Hook’em & Cook’em, Bert reports, “In the surf, the skates and sharks are
still the main catch out there, but word has it that at night you can get a
nice catch of kingfish while fishing with either live or artificial bloodworms.
Most people are using the surf king fish rigs or a top and bottom rig with
small hooks. Flounder fishing continues to be a good choice for the inlet.
There have been lots of throwbacks with some keepers in the mix. I would say
that for every 10 fish you catch you may find 1 keeper. A first-time fisherman,
Terry Stough, of York, Pa. came into the shop on Friday and asked for some
advice on what to use and where to go. We suggested a 6-inch Pearl Storm lure
and sent him out to the Inlet to try his luck and two hours later he returned
with an 8.8-pound flounder he landed. Sonny Maio, of Northern Virginia, caught
a 6.5-pound flounder while fishing over on the VFW Slough. He was using a
minnow on a plain flounder hook. The offshore bite has slowed down. Boats that
did try their hand at it came back in with mostly dolphin, gaffer size to
peanuts, and there were a few lucky ones that had a blue fin.”
Capt. Chris, on the Angler reports, “We had some decent fishing for sea bass
this week on some days, and on others not so hot. We have been catching plenty
of throwbacks along with a few nice ones in the mix. There has also been some
flounder caught and we expect this fishery to get better in the coming weeks.
Surface temperatures approached 75 degrees this week, bottom temps still much colder,
but it won’t be long before we see triggerfish, croakers, and maybe some
mahi-mahi. We are sailing daily at 730 a.m. and returning around 2 p.m.”
On the Tortuga, Capt Drew reports, “Round and round and up and down, same cycle
of conditions this week, Flounder fishing starting off good early in the week
and slacking off in the later part of the week. Thunderstorms, south and
southwest winds and the outgoing tide occurring mid day all combined to make
for less than perfect conditions any later than mid-morning. Oh and did I
mention the mats of floating grass? On the up side, the ‘Tortuga’ did catch a
keeper tautog and our first triggerfish of the season indicating more species
moving into the bay. Another plus this week was a few keepers being caught north
of the Route 50 bridge and the presence of smaller flounder in the Harbour
Island area indicate some fish moving into the Isle of Wight Bay. Since it
appears we’ve completed our weekly cycle of tough conditions, by the time you
read this things should be on the up-swing again, so come see us at Bahia
Marina/Fish Tales at 22nd St. and the bay and try your luck aboard the
‘Tortuga’ departing at 8 a.m., noon and 4 p.m. daily.”
Here at Skip’s Bait and Tackle, we have seen numerous examples of people doing
just that. For example, Gwen and Wyatt Anderson, 13-year-old twins from
Millerstown, Pa., went fishing with their family on a boat in the Ocean City
bay and managed to have a great day catching flounder and were able to put two
of them in the box by the end of the trip. One measuring 21 ½ inches and the
other measuring a solid 20 inches.
We also had Victoria and Jack Koslosky from Lamham Md., who made their day
perfect with a couple beautiful fish. Congrats to Victoria, who managed to
catch the biggest flounder of the day.
Another reputable catch brought into Skip’s Bait and Tackle was a solid 19-inch
flounder, caught by Gary Alexander Hardy Jr. who was fishing with his dad on
“Stinky Beach” with a live minnow. One of the few fish caught on Stinky Beach
that day, they said.
On Skip’s charter boat this week, we are showing no mercy. The fish are there
and we are catching them. Just as a quick wrap up from last week’s catches, we
had eight striper trips, which were all successful as far catching fish. Not
even the weather in one case could even make us not catch fish.
To start the week out on Wednesday, we had two trips the first with Ralph
Shoonover and his son Zach from Wyalusing, Pa., who had a great father-and-son
trip in which Zach caught his first keeper striper, not to mention the fact
that he out fished his dad. Our second trip we fished with Jeremy Mason from
Pocomoke, and Dave Grieg from Gainesville Va., who proved themselves with full
limits of stripers, one measuring over 40 inches.
On Thursday, we fished with a family from Baltimore. Augie, Nikki, Matt and
Vince Marcellino couldn’t stop reeling the fish in, one after another,
releasing over 20 fish and ending up with three in the box and plans for a big
fish fry, In the evening, we took Dave and Cody from Baltimore out fishing with
us and the trip started out great catching a few nice fish and then a storm
kicked up and killed the fun, the fish stopped biting and we got rained on the
thunder and lighting was everywhere but we are all safe and have a story to
Friday was our busiest day with a total of three trips. First, we had Joyce
Melborn and her grandson Trent Hammersmith from Olney, Md., who went totally
hardcore and were out on the boat at 5:30 in the morning. And as it goes the
early bird gets the worm and they sure did. Not only did they come back full of
smiles and stories to tell but they also came back with their limits, the
biggest fish being 36 ½ inches caught by Trent. The next charter was with Mike
and Josh Pangburn from Yoe Pa., who just wanted to catch some fish. Well, they
made a good choice and went fishing with us and had an amazing time. They
caught a bunch of stripers keeping two of them. Not only did the early bird get
the worm but so did the last one of the day. Joe Aita, one of our most frequent
anglers, and his son Alec, from Salisbury, fished with us later in the
afternoon and were in not stop action for most of the time.
Last, but definitely not least, was our charter on Monday, with Dr. Jack
McLean, John McIntyre Sr. and John McIntyre Jr. from Fruitland. Though the
weather was a little rougher and the seas a little strong on the tip of the
south jetty, they managed to catch and release quite a few stripers, having a
great time getting just enough action to keep the striper fever going.
We have come to the end of another great week of fishing but that is all it is
– the end of one week and right into another great week of fishing because the
fish are still here. So, pick up the phone and give us a call while we still
have space available. The week is filling up fast so book now.
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 6 a.m-9 p.m. If you have a report or pictures you would
like in The Dispatch or on www.oceancityfishing.com email me at
email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Get out there and fish! Who knows? Maybe I’ll be writing about you next week.
(Maguire is an outdoor writer and owner of Skip’s Bait and Tackle and Skip’s
Charter and Guide Service in Ocean City.)