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Vol 42 | Num 12 | Jul 19, 2017

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Ocean City Fishing Report

Article by Larry Jock

Last weekend was dominated by the annual Ocean City Tuna Tournament at the Ocean City Fishing Center. Every year, it seems like there is a fantastic finish and this year was no exception. The yellowfin bite was slow, as it had been all week leading up to the event, so we didn’t see too many 5-fish stringers being weighed, keeping the door open for many boats heading into the final day. With a 106 lb. bluefin tuna on top of the leaderboard, most boats opted to stay inshore and look to knock it off with a big bruiser. With the scales closing at 7:00 PM, it looked like Annie Roe’s bluefin might hold onto the lead, but around 6:00 PM Glenda Cahall on the “No Slack” showed up with a 109 pounder caught at the 19 Fathom Lump, a popular location all weekend for anglers looking for big bluefins. Glenda’s fish jumped into the lead for a few minutes until the “Absolut Pleasure” arrived next with Jamie Romero’s 115 lb. bluefin that was also caught at the 19 Fathom Lump with only 30 minutes left in the day.
The Heaviest Stringer Division also saw some excitement with the “Stalker” being the heavy favorite to take the top prize after having a spectacular day on Saturday, boating 19 yellowfins at the Lobster Claw. Angler Curtis Macomber said that action was so hot and heavy that they were releasing 30 lb. class fish. Unfortunately for the “Stalker” team, Sunday was a tough day and they were only able to catch 1 yellowfin. This opened the door for the last boat to arrive at the scale, the “Sushi”, who headed 85 miles south of the Inlet, down to an area known as Wayne’s World and caught a 4-fish stringer of yellowfins weighing 209 lbs., giving them a 2-day total of 470 lbs. and the top spot in the Heaviest Stringer Division. All of the fish were caught in 25 fathoms where they found water temperatures hovering around 79-degrees.

Good size dolphin were scarce in the tournament with the “Primary Search” winning 1st place with a 24 pounder caught inshore of Massey’s Canyon on the second day of the tournament. It bumped out the 22 pounder caught on Day 1 aboard the “Fish Whistle”, also inshore of Massey’s Canyon.

A couple of wahoo were boated in the tournament. The first came in on the second day aboard the “Legasea” when Mike Runk weighed a 55 pounder that he hooked inshore of Massey’s Canyon. The fish stayed on top of the leaderboard but was threatened later in the day when Wayne Anderson on the “Talkin Trash” arrived with a 52 pounder caught in the Baltimore Canyon.

Junior Angler, Annie Roe from Salisbury, MD had a great tournament, boating the 106 lb. bluefin on Saturday while fishing on her family’s boat, “Wayne’s World” inshore of Massey’s Canyon. Annie sat on top of the leaderboard for Heaviest Single Fish right until the end, but got bumped to 3rd place. However, she ended up winning 1st place for Top Junior Angler and 2nd place for Top Lady Angler. A tournament to remember for the young lady!

Finally, at the Awards Banquet, Capt. Franky Pettolina from the charter boat, “Last Call” won the prestigious Capt. Robert Gowar Award for his contributions to the local fishing community. Franky has been President of the Ocean City Marlin Club for the past 10 years and has done a wonderful job. I’m sure Franky hears his share of griping, as do all leaders of organizations, but all you have to do is look at the growth of the club during Franky’s terms and there is no doubt what a great job he has done. He has also been instrumental in starting several area tournaments throughout the years. Franky was very well deserving of the honor.

As I stated earlier, the yellowfin bite was slow heading into the weekend with scattered bites all along the coast. Most of the yellowfins that came in were caught on the chunk around the Hot Dog and Hambone, but we also saw a few come in from down south. Bigeye tuna have been noticably absent after the good early season action with smaller fish. I know boats have been looking down at the familiar Bigeye Hole, but with no luck.

The surprise catch of the weekend has to be the 200 lb. swordfish caught on the “Git R Done” in 20 fathoms at the Chicken Bone. The 78-inch swordfish ate a skirted ballyhoo on Sunday and took 3 hours to get to the boat. The anglers thought they had a blue marlin on the line and didn’t know it was a swordfish until it came up next to the boat.

Inshore, the sea bass and flounder bite on ocean structure has been on the slow side, but anglers are starting to boat some nice size flatties. Dropping squid, cut bait or Gulp! has worked well. Heading up to the Old Grounds has been the best move for anglers looking for big flounder. Capt. Kane Bounds on the “Fish Bound” returned one day with 9 quality flounder and 18 triggerfish. On another trip, Kane had his anglers around “A” Buoy and picked up a 28 1/2-incher that weighed over 8 lbs. Snapper bluefish have shown up again at Fenwick Shoal where anglers have also found triggerfish and some sea bass on the wreck.

Around the South Jetty, anglers are still finding sheepshead, black drum, red drum and flounder interested in their offerings.

Flounder fishing in the bay continues to be sporadic with anglers still battling an incredibly high throwback-to-keeper ratio. Unless those fish move offshore, which they probably will in the fall, the shear number of fish being caught bodes well for future seasons. The keepers that we did see caught last week came in from the East Channel, West Channel along Martha’s Landing and in the bay behind Assateague Island, mainly in front of Castaway’s Campground. On Friday, Budd Heim boated a nice 24 1/2-incher in the East Channel on a circle hook tipped with a Gulp! artificial bait and a mullet. Also on Friday, Darren Neidigh on the charter boat, “Ocean City Guide Service” caught a 23 1/4-incher on a live spot along the rocks off Martha’s Landing and Joey Marowski, the mate on the headboat, “Bay Bee” took matters into his own hands and boated a 23 1/2-incher on a shiner in the East Channel. On Sunday, Chuck Wenzel boated a 23-incher in the bay behind Assateague Island and Adrian Magnan caught a 3 lb. 5 oz. flattie while fishing at the South Jetty on the headboat, “Tortuga”.

Upcoming Tournament

This weekend is the world famous Ocean City Marlin Club Kid’s Tournament. Junior anglers can fish on both days, Saturday and Sunday. This tournament is incredible and last year it drew 343 anglers and donated $3,755 to the Wish-A-Fish Foundation. Weigh-ins are at Sunset Marina from 3:00 to 6:30 on Saturday and 3:00 to 6:00 on Sunday. Swing on by and check it out. You are guaranteed to see a lot of smiling faces!

Until next week, I’ll see you at the scales.

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