Vol 38 | Num 21 | Sep 18, 2013
Article by Larry Jock
Although this is the last issue of the Coastal Fisherman for the season, the fishing action around Ocean City and out in the canyons is far from over.
It was a good week for flounder fishing, especially if you ventured out to ocean structure. The Old Grounds, in particular, produced some fantastic catches of flatties for anglers who wanted to make the 16 mile run.
Pat Hurley’s anglers on the “Slack Grabber” had multiple days at the Old Grounds where they returned with their limit of flounder weighing up to 4 lbs. I spoke to Pat on Sunday and he said that rigs with silver blades and red hooks were definitely the hot set-up. When it comes to bait, nothing has been outproducing flounder and mahi belly. Anglers have been able to catch fish with Gulp! Swimming Mullets or scented Z-Man baits, but bellies were the primo bait to nab sizable flounder.
The largest flounder landed this week was Kenny Dodson’s 8 lb. 8 oz. flattie caught at the Old Grounds. Several other fish over 5 lbs. were caught throughout the week, including Mike Kinder’s 6 pounder caught at an artificial reef while mating on the “Morning Star”.
In the bay, flounder fishing wasn’t bad and some big ones were caught, primarily by anglers drifting in the East Channel like Chad Tate’s 25-inch, 6 lb. flattie caught on a 4-inch, chartreuse Gulp! near Bird Island. Other anglers were able to land big ones fishing both north and south of the Rt. 50 Bridge. Although the East Channel is a popular spot, don’t forget to work the edges of the West Channel as well, especially south of the Rt. 50 Bridge. Also keep in mind that these fish are still staging for their migration to ocean structure, so look for those holes along the north wall of the inlet and around the South Jetty.
Snapper bluefish have been in the surf for a couple of weeks now, and you can also find them around the pilings of the Rt. 50 Bridge. The big news last week was the 18 lb. chopper caught by Kevin Weber around the Rt. 50 Bridge. Kevin weighed the bluefish on the scale at Bahia Marina, but unfortunately nobody snapped a picture, so we won’t be able to see what that monster looked like.
Croakers continue to be caught by anglers drifting in the Ocean City Inlet, with stray fish being found in the West Channel as well. Fishbites or Gulp! artificial baits are perfect for these hardheads.
Anglers fishing around the pilings of the Rt. 50 Bridge are still hooking up with both red and black drum. Most of the drum are in the 20 to 24-inch range with fish being caught on sand fleas and cut bait.
We saw quite a few marlin flags flying from boats returning from canyons south of the inlet last week. Although most of our local boats found good results over the weekend in the Washington Canyon and at the Rockpile, the better bite, at least on Sunday, was down in the Norfolk Canyon.
In the middle of the week, we saw white marlin released in the Baltimore Canyon, where the “Sea Slammer” released 6 and the “Billfisher” released 7. On Saturday, the “Billfisher” moved to the Rockpile and racked up 13 white marlin releases. Sunday saw numerous local billfish boats head south with releases at the Rockpile by the “Grande Pez” (6), “Reel Joy” (5) and the “Billfisher” (3). The “Odinspear” released 4 white marlin at the Washington Canyon where the “Keep Er Wet” returned earlier from an overnighter with a blue marlin release, estimated at 250 lbs. Early in the week, the “Marli” also recorded a blue marlin release in the Washington Canyon, with theirs estimated at 400 lbs.
Although yellowfin tuna dominated the action for the week, we also saw quite a few bigeye tuna show up at the scale as well. All of the tuna action centered in the Washington Canyon where boats continued to spot whales in their tuna hole.
The “Restless Lady” had a heckuva week for both bigeyes and yellowfins. On Tuesday, they returned from an overnight trip with 3 bigeyes and their limit of yellowfins. On Wednesday, they added another 3 bigeyes to the tally along with 24 more yellowfins, and on Monday, they came back from an overnight trip with yellowfins and a 72-inch, 248 lb. bigeye. Quite a week!
A couple of other notable bigeye catches last week were the “Playmate” with 4 eyeballs on Thursday in the Washington Canyon, the “No Quarter”, who returned on Monday with their 20th bigeye of the season and the “Chain Reaction” who boated a 246 pounder on Sunday while trolling in the Washington.
Last week, boat after boat returned to the dock with their limit of yellowfin tuna. Although the vast majority were caught while chunking, a few were caught on the troll as well. The best bite seemed to occur between noon and 3:00 PM and then again right before dark. Several captains reported the fish being thick and coming right up to the back of the boat, providing anglers with quite a show. The “Marli”, “That’s Right”, “Fugitive”, “Playmate”, “No Quarter”, “Restless Lady” and “Reel Chaos” all had days with over 20 yellowfins in the box (sorry if I missed anyone). Amazingly enough, not only did most boats return with their limit of yellowfins, but many released as many as 50 more during their trip. If you want to get in on the action, NOW is the time to book a local charter boat.
A couple of wahoo were caught last week. On Wednesday, the “Reel Attitude” boxed a 65 pounder in 50 fathoms in the Baltimore Canyon and on Sunday, “The Stacey” brought one back from the Poor Man’s Canyon.
With this being the final Coastal Fisherman of the season, I want to thank some folks who make it all possible. First, thanks to our advertisers who support us all year. We really appreciate the business and hope that all of our readers make a special effort to support the advertisers who make it possible to bring you your copy each and every week.
Thanks to the tackle shops who make the time to take photos of their customers catches and send us pictures every week.
Thanks to all the dockhands and the mates who help set-up the fish for our pictures. I’m sure the last thing they want to do is sling around fish after a long trip, but their efforts certainly make for a better picture, and I thank them.
A big “thank you” to our columnists, Sue Foster, Steve Katz, Pat Schrawder, Mark Sampson, Julie Ball, Joe Morris and others who contributed quality news materials for our readers. It takes a lot of work to come up with a column every week, and I really appreciate their efforts.
I cannot thank my team at the Coastal Fisherman enough for their tireless work every week. They go at it strong from April through September, and I would be lost without them. Daina Behe, my parents, Maureen and Larry Jock, my wife, Mary and son, Larry III make up an incredible, hard working team and I thank God for them every day.
Finally, thank you to our readers. Their loyalty to the Coastal Fisherman is unmatched when it comes to publications and we appreciate all the nice comments we receive almost every week. It’s great to know that what you are doing is enjoyed and appreciated and we love bringing you the Coastal Fisherman each week.
Here’s wishing everyone a successful and safe rest of the fishing season. Keep an eye out for the first Coastal Hunter that will hit the stands on October 1st and then again on January 15th.
This “Paperboy” is now off looking for flounder and stripers!