Fish ‘N OC

Fish ‘N OC

I will never forget the first time I hooked a mako shark. It was mid-June
and we were drifting along the 30 fathom line. We had been fishing for almost
two days, and all we had to show for it was an empty bottle of bunker oil, two
nearly empty chum bags and a cooler full of monster bluefish. We had been
fishing hard, and we had been doing a lot of catching — we just hadn’t gotten
what we came for.

About three o’clock in the afternoon things changed. I remember being sun
burnt, and I remember straining my eyes to watch the chum slick as I had
forgotten my sunglasses. I was taking a drink of water and looking out at our
baits when I saw some movement in the slick. I had trouble believing it at
first, but within seconds I could see for sure that it was a shark fin — a
dorsal fin, slicing through the water towards one of our baits. Before I knew
it, the fin submerged. Then, within just a few moments our balloon float went
down. The next couple seconds were sort of a blur. Some how I managed to grab
the rod, engage the reel, and set the hook on the fish because within seconds I
was watching the line peel off of the spool at a blistering pace. It was
intense, and it only got better as I watched the shark launch itself 10 feet
into the air and then crash back to the water with an enormous splash. It was
an incredible experience — one I will never forget.

This past week was shark week here in Ocean City. Every June, our local
fishing community gets revved up for the annual Mako Mania Shark Tournament
that is loads of fun for everyone involved. This year was no different. A lot
of sharks came to the scales this past week, including one true giant 627-pound
thresher shark that was just pounds shy of being a new state record. If you are
interested in sharks, this was the week to be here in Ocean City.

Toothy critters were not the only game in town this week though. The
striper fishing and the flounder fishing were excellent. I had a couple of
Inlet charters this week that were great on stripers. The local flounder boats
and the nighttime bridge-fishing crew have continued to clean up as well. June
is one of the best months for fishing in Ocean City, so if you are interested
in catching some fish now is the time to go. This past week was a very eventful
week. With all the tournament crowds, the nice weather and all the fishing that
has been going on, let’s move on to some of the reports from the tackle shops
this past week.

Sue Foster at Oyster Bay reports, “We had sharks in the surf with a few
blues and stripers here and there. A couple kingfish were reported. Anglers
reported seeing schools of blues, but nobody was fishing when they came by.
Fishing on the Route 50 Bridge and Oceanic Pier were still excellent with
bluefish and shad, though the tide got later and later as the week wore on.
Some stripers were in the mix as well. We saw some stripers from the South
Jetty, and some really nice flounder caught. Offshore sea bass bite is good.
Further offshore, the sharks are biting.”

At Bahia Marina, Adam reports, “This past weekend’s Mako Mania was a big
success. Forty-four boats entered the tournament with 196 anglers fishing two
out of three days. Over $60,000 in payouts this year. First place went to
"Team Country Wide" with a 293.6-pound mako. Second place went to "Salty
Sons" with a 236-pound mako. Third place went to the crew on the
"Marli" with a 191.8-pound mako. The largest fish weighed in the
tournament was a 627.6-pound thresher caught on the "Playin’ Hook-e".
This fish was so large that it couldn’t be lifted into the boat and had to be
towed back to the scales.”

Bev at Harbor Tackle reports, “If you have not caught your striper from the
surf, you may still have the opportunity to snag one. Fishermen from Assateague
Island have taken stripers, black drum, blues, skates, rays, lots of sharks,
some flounder and a few kingfish. The favorite baits have been fresh bunker and
live peelers. The Route 50 Bridge, the Inlet, and the Oceanic Pier are
producing stripers, blues, shad, tog, and flounder. On Friday, June 4, two of
my customers caught over 30 stripers and kept 28, 29 30, 38-inch fish using
live peelers. They also hooked up 15 tog and kept four in the 15- to 17-inch
range. Stinky Beach produced a 22 and 20-inch flounder on Memorial Day using
live minnows for bait. The tog and flounder fishing has been good this week.
There has been good sea bass fishing over the ocean wrecks. Congratulations to
John Wealand from Conestoga, Pa. for his 36-inch striper from Assateague. John
was so excited with his first legal striper. He has been fishing Assateague for
years and he finally hooked one.”

Captain Victor Bunting on the Ocean Princess reports that he caught a mix
of sea bass, taug, and cod over the past week on our fishing trips. He said,
“For the most part on our half day trips we had decent fishing. We have seen a
lot of throw back sea bass on some of our trips, but we have also been able to
pick up quite a few keepers on every trip. Some anglers have also had luck
fishing for tog on our half-day trips. Our biggest tog this week was an 8
pounder so there are still a few nice sized fish around. A couple folks were
also lucky enough to catch a keeper cod on our half day trips. The 12-hour trip
last week was excellent. That’s not to say that it was easy though. Even with a
light crowd, we had to really work for everything we caught. But, by the end of
the day, everyone had a nice catch of sea bass. We also caught a handful of
ling and codfish.”

Captain Drew Zerbe of the Tortuga reports, “Turbid waters and an abundance
of vegetation on the bottom of the coastal bays has made flounder fishing
difficult this past week, providing moderate action on throwbacks and few
19-inch-plus keeper fish. Most of the action has been south of the Route 50
Bridge and the Inlet area, although a few of the keepers were caught in the
Thorofare and East Channel to the north. Keep your eyes peeled for birds
working south of the 50 Bridge and inlet areas on schools of snapper blues that
pop up occasionally. We were able to capitalize on this one afternoon by casting
Gotcha plugs, netting a catch of 37 fish for our crew. As of our last trip
before press time, things were looking up with higher numbers of throwback and
keeper flounder (quite a few in the 17- to 19-inch range). Jennifer Woods from
Keedysville, Md. managed to catch herself two keepers at 20 and 20 ½ inches,
weighing 3 pounds and 3 pounds, 10 ounces, respectively. Come see us and try
your luck on the Tortuga at Bahia Marina, 22nd St. and the bay.”

Captain Chris Mizurak on the “Angler” reports, “Sea bass fishing has slowed
up just a little since the last report, but we are still enjoying some pretty
good fishing. We did not see many limits, but the high hook has been in the
high teens most days. We did catch our first flounder of the year, and we are
still catching a few codfish and tog. I expect the good sea bass fishing to
continue in the coming weeks, and we should start to see more flounders with
the rising water temperatures. We are sailing daily at 7:30 a.m., and returning
2-2:30 p.m. The fare is $60 per person, which includes rod, reel, and tackle.
We do have a few more deep drop trips scheduled for June 14, 21, and 28.
Reservations required for deep drop trips. For more information, call

JJ at the Oceanic Pier reports, “the flounder fishing is starting to turn
on, we had some really nice keepers brought over rail this week. Most are being
caught on live minnows and Berkley Gulp. We still have some great blue fish and
shad runs mostly on incoming tides and at night under the lights, got-cha and
spec rigs are the lures of choice. We still have some anglers catching stripers
at night, live eels are working the best. Tog fisherman are still having luck
even with the water temps getting warmer, sand fleas and green crabs are the
best baits. We are now open 24 hours a day.”

Katie at the O.C. Fishing Center reports, “the month of June has started
and so has the shark fishing. Everyone seems to be catching nice-sized sharks.
Today we had two mako sharks brought to the scales, one weighed in at 256
pounds and the other at 236 pounds. One of our charter boats “Tail to Tale”
went out for a half-day inshore charter and returned with some nice sea bass.
Another one of our charter boats that went shark fishing today was the
“Playmate”. They returned with a mako shark, they also reported releasing a
mako, and a few blue sharks. Finally to finish our day the “Bay Bee” reported
approximately 45 throwbacks and one keeper today. The keeper was 30” and
weighed 9 ½ pounds and was caught on a live minnow.”

Here at Skip’s Bait and Tackle Shop, we had some nice flounder weighed in
this week. Local Bob Gummer had a great week with several nice flatties brought
to the scales. The first weigh-in was over the weekend, with two nice flounder,
one was 23 inches and the other was 19 inches, both flatties came from the 4th
Street bulkhead and were caught on live minnows. Then during the week we saw
Bob again with another impressive flounder measuring 23 ½ inches, also caught
at the 4th Street bulk head on live minnows. Another nice flounder
was weighed in by Robert Teter of Baltimore, measuring 24 ½ inches and weighed
over 5 ½ pounds. It was caught just south of the Route 50 bridge on a live
minnow. Also this week, John and Deborah Imhoff of Meyersdale, Pa. came to the
shop with a nice catch of flounder and tog. The flounder measured 23 ½ inches
and 20 inches and were caught on shiners and Berkley Gulp, the tog were caught
with sand fleas. And, finally, Ed Norvell of Bristow, Va. was staying at the
White Marlin Marina and decided to soak some live minnows off the dock and
landed two nice flounder measuring 19 ½ and 21 ½ inches. This has been the best
week of flounder weigh-ins here at the tackle shop this season. This could be a
good indication of what’s in store for the summer flounder season. Good
management defiantly pays off in just a few short years.

We had some great charters this week, with some great striper trips on the
south jetty and also a great flounder trip for my mates and I when we had some
free time. The first striper charter was with CJ and Chris Sterious of Reading
Pa. It was only a two-hour charter and we landed four nice keepers — 38, 36,
32, and 28 inches, respectively. Plus, we released over 15 stripers, one being
44 inches. Chris was only 10 years old but he did a great job fighting the
powerful south jetty stripers on light tackle. Another great striper trip was
Ed Norvel and Mary Clarke of Bristow, Va. Ed came into the shop and told me he
would love to get Mary out fishing in the boat, but she was a little
apprehensive about it and didn’t have much fishing experience. Well we put the
trip together, another two-hour south jetty trip, for stripers. The first drift
Mary hooked up with a nice one, and it was game on. Mary out fished Ed the
whole trip, catching the first, the last and the most fish during the charter.
They ended up with three nice keepers and released over 20 stripers in just
over two hours. I think after the charter they both had a case of striper fever
and can’t wait till there next trip in July.

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 email me at or

The weather this weekend is going to be sunny and hot, and the fishing is
definitely on fire. So get out there and fish! Who knows? Maybe I’ll be writing
about you next week.

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