Flounder fishing in Ocean City was excellent again. The ratio of keeper flounder to throwback flounder (fish under the legal size limit of 13 inches) is discouraging to some anglers, but most fishermen are pleased with the action. Some boats may go out rTC fishing and keep three out of 15 fish, while other boats boast keeping six to 15 fish.
Max Angel of Paul's Tackle Shop says there are plenty of flounder being caught on the U.S. 50 bridge and also on the docks near the bridge. "We caught three legal flounder out of 20 Sunday, fishing from the Talbot Street dock. The guys on the U.S. 50 bridge say the flounder seem to be running a little larger this week. Most of the bridge fishermen are using frozen shiners for bait."
One of the largest flounder weighed in this week was caught by Al Barnhart of Hanover, Pa., who landed a 5 1/2 pounder while drifting in the Thorofare with a live minnow.
The best flounder tide this week has been the last three hours of the incoming tide and the first two hours of the outgoing tide. Yes, you can conceivably get five hours of good flounder fishing these days.
Be sure to take plenty of bait, because the crabs in the Ocean City bay are becoming troublesome. Most anglers are deleting the squid strip for bait because of the crabs. Live minnows or frozen shiners have been working equally well for the flounder.
The hot spots this week for flounder have been the north areas of the Thorofare, the Convention Hall channel near the bulkhead at 33rd Street, Buoy No. 10 and Buoy No. 3. Anglers say they're catching flounder as far north in the bay as the mouth of the St. Martin's River.
Slim Griffin from the Oceanic Pier, located at the southern end of Philadelphia Avenue, reports that the action is fair for flounder by day and good for bluefish and trout by night. The blues have been hitting on bucktails with twister worms, and the trout have been hitting the double tied chartreuse twister lures.
Linwood Donaway, manager of the Shantytown Pier, says that flounder fishing is good, but that the fish are running small. The action there at night has only been fair on trout and blues. Anglers fishing for flounder at night do well by adding frozen shiners to either a "spec rig" or a double tied twister lure. The pier is close to the water, so anglers with lighter tackle can still bring in a good-sized fish.
David Townsend, manager of the Ocean Pier, says Norfolk spot and sand perch are the big news. The sand perch, which get up to about 12 inches, give the anglers a good fight and are being caught with bloodworms. By night, the pier is seeing some bluefish action as well as some shark and very large rays.
Triggerfish were also in evidence. Even though these fish have a tough hide and are hard to clean, they are extremely good to eat. Max Angel of Paul's Tackle Shop reported that a man caught eight triggerfish from the Ninth Street Pier using squid. Normally, the triggerfish take sand fleas.
Triggerfish were also caught offshore on the party boats. Captain John Young of the Judy V at Shantytown had five triggerfish aboard last weekend along with a few sea trout and lots of sea bass. The Angler party boat got into a large school of triggerfish along with numerous sea bass last Sunday.
Surf fishing has only been fair. Anglers picked up some Norfolk spot and a few kings, along with some scattered bluefish. At night, anglers are hanging into some larger sharks and some of those huge stingrays up to 40 pounds.
About a mile off the beach at the artificial reef at 27th Street, anglers reported picking up some small trout, larger flounder and a few kingfish, along with some good-sized sea bass. Squid was the preferred bait.
Indian River Bay has seen an increase in its flounder catches this week. Robert Foster of Millville, Del., caught 11 keeper flounder in two hours last Saturday morning, drifting near the South Shore Marina. He was using a long leadered chartreuse spinner hook with a live minnow for bait.
Charles Nichols, owner of O.C. Fishing Center at Shantytown, says that offshore fishing was great on Saturday. "Anglers caught white marlin all week, mostly around the Washington Canyon. The yellowfin tuna were absolutely unbelievable on Saturday. The fish were right on top of the water."
He said that Joe Zimmer of Forest Hill almost set a record with the big eye tuna he reeled in last Sunday. The fish went 284 pounds and was caught at the Washington Canyon on a ballyhoo. Mr. Zimmer fought the fish for three hours and 10 minutes aboard the charter boat Sheila Ann with Capt. Allen Fields.
The first blue marlin was caught and released on Saturday at the Washington Canyon. It was taken by Ross Schaw of Sterling, Va., aboard the charter boat Charisma with Capt. Tom Harkins and was estimated to weigh about 400 pounds.
In last weekend's Ocean City Shark Tournament, Brian Tarr of Harwood, fishing aboard the Yankee Babe with Capt. Fred Ames, caught the largest mako shark. The huge shark weighed 395 pounds and was caught on a mackerel bait on the 20-fathom lump near the Fingers, which locals call the "Hambone" lump.
Offshore fishing was definitely good at the Washington Canyon last weekend. The best fishing was inside the canyon in the 45- to 50-fathom line. Yellowfin tuna and good-sized dolphin were reported. The Poor Man's Canyon also saw some action with the tuna and dolphin.
Inshore, anglers were hitting smaller bluefin tuna in the 20- to 30-fathom break.