Steve Doctor, Maryland Coastal Fisheries Biologist - Most of the activity in Ocean City this week was focused on the tuna tournament. The winning single fish was 191 pound bluefin, followed by a 183 pound bluefin. Bluefin have been making a great showing at the near shore shoals between 20 and 30 fathoms. The largest part of the catch is dominated by fish 52 to 56 inches weighing 80 to 115 pounds.
My devotion to bring a good fishing report this week drove me to fish the Baltimore canyon on Saturday. We were fishing the east wall of the canyon when we had a blast of action. About the time everyone started dozing off, release clips started popping and everything was hit except for the planner (8 rods). We landed three yellowfin 40-45 pounds each, two of which were on the spreader bars.. The water temperature at the Baltimore was 77 degrees, and the water was dark. We only saw one sprig of sargassum all day. No turtles and no opa. There were lots of small bait pods on top. They looked to me like large mullet, about a foot long. We also saw fish dimpling the surface the same way menhaden do in the bay, but we were 60 miles offshore?
The Baltimore tip was full of lobster balls, but they looked fresh, and there was little growth on them. They were barren. After trolling awhile with no more action, we headed towards the Hot Dog. On the way we fished a few more lobster balls. There were a few dolphin, triggers and cobia under them, but we couldn’t get them to hit. The captain saw some large tuna putting on an airshow about four miles before the Hot Dog, so we set down and trawled a while to no avail.
Monday saw an awesome bluefin bite at the Hot Dog. There was a dismal bite on Tuesday with one 163 pound fish landed, and the Tuna tournament started on Thursday. Thursday was dominated by bluefin from 50 to 56 inches weighing from 80 to 115 pounds. The weekend catch was also dominated by bluefin of that size.
The past two weeks there was a strong up welling along the beach out to about 20 fathoms, and water temperatures were in the low 60's. On Saturday that broke, and the surf warmed up to the low 70's. Saturday and Sunday saw many rip currents along the beach with hundreds of swimmer rescued by the courageous beach patrol on Saturday alone. Inside saw clean water on the outgoing tide because of the lack of rain. Big surf, churned up with rips from Bertha, clouded the water of the incoming tides. Local head boat operators report a pick up in flounder fishing. Peanut bunker and small spot are abundant in the bays, and there are some speckled trout up in the creeks.
The week ahead should be interesting for the offshore fishermen with big surf and hopefully some Gulf Stream gyres loaded with large pelagics being hurled toward us from Bertha. Little rain should keep the outgoing tide clear, keeping fishing interesting for flounder fisherman as well.
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A Couple of Closing Notes...
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