This past week I was fortunate enough to spend a little time going through some old photographs that I hadn’t looked at in years. I was rummaging through my office, when I came upon on an old picture album that had some hunting and fishing photos from my youth. Once I got past the initial shock and awe of how much better looking I was back then, the wave of nostalgia finally hit me, and I began to reminisce about some of my past experiences in the outdoors.
One photo in particular caught my eye. It was a picture of me with my father and grandfather after a long day of fishing on the Susquehanna River. We had a stringer of nice smallmouth bass that we caught by drifting hellgrammites in and out of the current seams and eddies formed by the many boulders and rock ledges that characterize the river. One of the bass on the stringer was much bigger than the others, and I will never forget that dad caught it. The water was clear that day, and I got lucky when I saw the fish first, before my dad or grandpa. I decided I would get and jump on them and I tried to make a quick cast to it. Unfortunately for me, my reel ended up in an awful tangle. Dad quickly caught on to what was happening and seized the opportunity — made one cast and caught the best bass of the trip. At the time, I was mad, but looking back now all I can do is laugh. What a great memory. I feel very fortunate to have been brought up by a dad and granddad who enjoyed the outdoors and took me along with them.
As a charter captain today, I am also fortunate to take families out on the water here in Ocean City. I take great joy in being a part of the memories made between fathers and sons, husbands and wives and even mothers and daughters. One thing I know for sure is that if you put a rod in the hand of child, and a striped bass is thrashing on the other end, he or she will immediately forget about the TV shows or video games from the night before. Having said that, I’d like to encourage you to please make an effort to get the kids in your life involved in the outdoors — they (and maybe even you) will make memories that last a lifetime.
Moving on, this past week was the Fourth of July, one of our busiest weeks here in Ocean City. I saw a lot of people out fishing this week and without a doubt there were a lot of memories made by anglers all around town. Let’s take some time to talk about some of them now.
It was another great week of charters, with lots of rod bending striper action on the south jetty and plenty of fast and furious flounder action in the upper bay. One trip I would like to talk about was a great group from Pennsylvania, the Cline Family, Shawn, Judy, Josh, MJ and their good friend “Wild Bill”. We started the trip out at the south jetty, looking for striped bass. It didn’t take long. The very first drift we had a double hook up, but unfortunately both fish spit the baits. This went on for several drifts, with the guys just not being able to set the hooks when their baits got bit. Finally, Judy told the guys to give her a chance. Well, she showed them that girls can out fish the guys. The very first drift with Judy on one of the rods, she hooked up and got the striper to the boat in just a few minutes.
Unfortunately the striper wasn’t a keeper, just measuring a inch short of the minimum 28 inches, but Judy sure showed the guys how its done. We worked the tip of the south jetty for a few hours with lots of action, with between 25 to 30 stripers boated, but we just couldn’t get a keeper. So we finally decided to head up the bay for some flounder fishing. It didn’t take long before we had the first hook up. We didn’t even have all the lines in yet. This went on for at least two hours before the bite slowed down, but with all the flattie action, we still couldn’t manage to get a keeper in the box. The Clines still said it was the best fishing trip they ever experienced as a family, with non-stop action from the time we started to the last few minutes of the trip. The next day Shawn emailed me: “We had a great time that will have lasting memories for everyone. Already this morning, I was asked when we are going back.”
There’s one other trip this week I’d like to write about and that was a husband and wife duo, Suzanne and Dennis Benzi from Laflin, Pa. It turns out that Dennis is the fisherman in the family, and Suzanne came along just to enjoy the sun and scenery. Well, I talked her into fishing with Dennis just to see if see had the touch that most female anglers have. I was right. She had five stripers in the boat before Dennis even hooked his first one. We all had a lot of good laughs with every fish she boated, with Dennis just shaking his head in disbelief. We worked the tip of the jetty for well over three hours with lots of action, but no keepers. So we headed north to the east channel for some flounder fishing. It started out a little slow, but it wasn’t long before the switch turned on, and it was game on with the flatties. We ended up with four nice keepers with the largest being 20 inches, all caught on Berkley Gulp and smelt.
I must say it seems like the bigger flounder are starting to move into the bay. On the charter I had on Tuesday morming, one angler boated a nice, fat, 22-inch flounder. So things are looking up for keeper flounder compared to the last few weeks. Enough of my charters – lets get to the rest of the reports coming in this week from tackle shops and other charter boats.
The first report comes from the O.C Fishing Center. Katie reports Capt. Luke Bloom on the “Press Time” boated a 135-pound bluefin tuna this week along with another charter boat “Moore Bills”, who also landed a 135-pound bluefin. The marina also reports still lots of yellowfin hitting the dock in the 35-pound class. Katie also reports lots of flounder action on the incoming tide in the shallows.
The next report comes from Travis at Buck’s Place, where they weighed in three nice rock from the Route 50 Bridge this week. They were all in the 30-inch class and were caught by locals Tyler Phillip and Dylan Duboif on buck tails. The surf fishing has slowed this week, but we have had reports of a few kingfish and croaker being caught on bloodworms. Flounder fishing still continues to be good.
At Alltackle.com, John reports stripers at night from the Route 50 Bridge with most being caught on salt and pepper plastics and got-cha plugs. The surf fishing has been slow, with most anglers catching kingfish, hardhead and spot. We also are starting to see more keeper flounder here at the tackle shop.
Beverly at Harbor Tackle reports a 18- and 22-inch flounder were caught at the beach yesterday. Other than that no other reports from the surf. Triggerfish and tog at the Inlet and a few stripers at the Route 50 Bridge. The bay is starting to produce more keeper flounder.
And finally at John Henry’s Bait & Tackle, Tim reports the coastal bays still has plenty of good fishing with the flounder bite still strong. Most of the keepers are being caught on live spot. Blues and stripers off the Route 50 Bridge and croaker at the Inlet and in the south bay.
The next few reports are from local charter boats. Capt Victor Bunting on the Ocean Princess reports he had another good week of fishing. Every now and then he says they still have the occasional “slow” trip, but they have seen many more good trips than bad. Still picking away at the sea bass, mostly throwbacks, but he said his charters are also seeing some nice sized keepers come in. More flounder are starting to show up with some well over the 20-inch size. Some trips get on them pretty good, other trips they don’t see any. The triggerfish have also still been hanging around and keepers are being seen on every trip. Hopefully these fish will hang around until the croakers show up.
Capt. Steve on the Happy Hooker reports the second half of this week brought the best number of keepers seen recently in both the north and south bay. He saw a decrease in the number of smaller flounder and 90 percent of the fish being caught were on shiners. Cow nose rays, love them or hate them, have also showed up in increasing numbers and to the young fishermen’s delight, a few smooth dogfish (small sharks) have been hooked. Scattered schools of eight- to 11-inch croakers have been caught in both the commercial harbor and the north bay near green #5. Once again not a bad week for inshore fishing in Ocean City.
The last report of the week is from the Restless Lady. The tuna bite has slowed down, but they did manage to get some yellowfin, gaffer dolphin and one nice white marlin about 75 pounds. We fished the Baltimore, Washington and the 30 fathom lumps inside the Washington. We’re fishing all week weather permitting and capping the week with the OC Tuna Tournament.
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 my website at www.oceancityfishing.com shoot me an email at [email protected]
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.)