Fishermen looking for flounder in the back bay areas of Ocean City and Assateague Island are finding plenty of action but with a high throwback ratio. Most say catching small flounder is better than drifting around in the hot sun and not catching anything. Some of the better flounder have been coming from the channels close to the inlet such as the Main East Channel. Although some very nice flounder are being caught on the standard squid/minnow combination; percentage wise the largest flounder are being caught on live spot. There are a lot of feisty and hungry small sea bass inside the inlet and they just love squid and minnows so fishing live spot cuts down on this free lunch line.
Croakers are starting to show up with more regularity now inside the inlet and are becoming part of the days catch for those drifting for flounder with squid.
In and around the inlet fishermen are catching small tautog, small sea bass, small bluefish and a few sheepshead and triggerfish during the day. During the evening hours and into the night, fishermen have been casting swimming shad lures, crankbaits and Got-Cha lures to catch a mix of bluefish and striped bass. A number of fishermen are also drifting live spot and catching large flounder and the occasional large sea trout.
The surf temperature is running about 74-degrees at the moment and fishermen are finding the best fishing late in the evening and very early in the morning. Most fishermen are targeting a summer mix of small species such as kingfish, croaker, spot and small bluefish. Bloodworms, squid or alternative baits have been the most popular choice and the bluefish are being caught on finger mullet. Flounder are in the surf and are being caught on a variety of strip baits or squid.
The evening crowd with the big sticks has been fishing large cut bait for a variety of summer shark species. This is strictly a catch and release fishery for species such as this nice sand tiger shark that Todd Bathgate recently caught and released after this picture was taken.
Captains who have been transporting fishermen out to the wreck sites report sea bass fishing has picked up some in the past week; especially on the wrecks that are farther out. Flounder are becoming a more common part of the daily catch and fishermen are also seeing other species mixed in at times such as small dolphin at some of the wrecks farther offshore.
Much of the offshore fishing focus is of course the White Marlin Open which runs till Friday the 8th of August. Fisheries biologist Steve Doctor is working the scales at the dock and sent in this report from Mondays catches.
I worked at the tournament last night tagging billfish and bluefin, so I can give you a feel for the fishing so far. There were seven white marlin brought to the scale from 53 to 81 pounds. Second place is tied at 71.5 pounds. There was a 432 pound blue marlin landed that didnít meet the 500 pound minimum. Fisheries biologist Allison Luettel sent in this picture from Tuesdays weigh in of a blue marlin that did make the minimum weight and then some.
They added a daily for dolphin, and wahoo. There perhaps six dolphin from 25 to 33- pounds weighed. Three bluefin between 93 and 104- pounds and around 15 yellowfin about from 67 to 90- pounds were brought to the scales as well. My guess based on times of arrival is that the yellowfin came from the Baltimore and the majority of the billfish are coming from the Norfolk. As far as the laundry I saw from the outriggers, the best I saw was one boat with four white marlin releases and one kept, and another boat released a blue marlin, a white marlin, and a sailfish and kept one white marlin.
Click here to view recent bay region satellite images at mddnr.chesapeakebay.net/NASAimagery/EyesInTheSky.cfm
A Couple of Closing Notes...
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