Can you imagine an 857-pound fish on the end of your line? How aboutone that can bite back?
My hat goes off to Bill Bennett of Timonium for wrestling an 857-pound mako shark into the charter boat Job Site earlier this month.
Last week, the Department of Natural Resources declared the sharka state record, surpassing the old mark by almost 100 pounds.
TheJob Site, by the way, fishes out of the Ocean City Fishing Center.
Normally, sharks are caught on live bait. But this monster took a trolled, handmade lure and jumped out of the water six times, with some leaps as high as 15 feet, before being boated. The shark almost filled the cockpit of the 53-foot charter boat. That's a lot of fish.
My wife, Cathy, and I took a fishermen's holiday last weekend and went to the Ocean City Fishing Center for a little tuna fishing. We arrived the first day of the Ocean City Tuna Tournament and watched big,beautiful, chunks of sushi being weighed-in.
The Liquidator, skippered by Capt. Bob Gower, had caught 27 yellowfin tuna and released 17. We were scheduled to fish with Bob the following day.
The following day was lousy. Low, gray clouds hung over the Ocean City inlet. A sharp 20-knot southeast wind produced 3- to 5-foot waves. Waves, the ocean fishermen say, have no back in them because they are short and choppy.
We boarded at 5:30 a.m., but it didn't look promising.
We ran out of the inlet, and it was nasty. After an hour, we were only about 15 miles off the beach. Bob said we still had another 50 miles to go if we wanted to catch anything, so we opted to try again Sunday.
Sunday dawned beautiful. The wind had backed around to the south, but it was manageable. There were still a few bumps left over from the day before, but we were able to run.
We headed for the area between Poorboy and Washington Canyon. The day was beautiful, but Saturday's storm had blown our fish away. We had one marlin bite, and he or she did not get hooked.
It was a lovely weekend -- even the fish enjoyed this one.
The Ocean City Fishing Center offers more than just offshore charter fishing. The new headboat, O.C. Princess, is bottom-fishing daily for sea bass and offers specialty trips, such as a 24-hour trip for shark and tuna.
For more information, contact the Ocean City Fishing Center at (301) 289-8121.
ChesapeakeBay fishing is not all that bad. You have to pick and choose your spots and species, but there is a fair amount of action.
Surprisingly, we in the upper bay have an above-average shot at making the better catches. We still have white perch as far south as Belvidere Shoals, and there are a few bluefish on Swan Point Bar starting about buoy 60B.
Big Norfolk spot are mixed with the white perch, along with many undersized croakers or hardhead. Rockfish are everywhere, so be careful when you release them. Spot prefer bloodworms but will bite well on night crawlers.
On a good day, you can catch spot, sea trout, drum, Spanish mackerel and bluefish in the Deale-Chesapeake Bay-Tilghman Island area. The problem is, there haven't been many good days lately.
Spot fishing in the Choptank probably is the most reliableof the fishing. The other species seem to come and go at will.
Itis very difficult getting a fishing report out of Solomon's because almost everyone is bottom-fishing for spot in the Patuxent. I know ofonly two charter captains who went trolling in the bay last weekend.
I know there are a few trout and flounder around Hooper Island Light and in Hooper Strait. Not many folks are talking about them, but then not many folks have been fishing lately.
The best fishing this weekend probably is Tangier and Pocomoke Sounds. If you are willingto look around, you can find sea trout, spotted sea trout, flounder,Norfolk spot, cobia, porgy and bluefish. We did last Wednesday morning, but more about that on Sunday.
The Department of Natural Resources has announced proposed changes to freshwater fishing regulations for next year. The changes will be discussed at a series of public meetings, the closest to Anne Arundel County being the meeting July 31 at the Hereford Middle School.
Specific changes under consideration are:
* Addition of Israel Creek, Sharpsburg Community Pondand Big Pool in Washington County to the put-and-take trout fishing areas.
* Addition of a closure period to Accident Community Pond in Garrett County.
* Addition of Leonard Mill Pond in Wicomico County to trophy largemouth bass areas.
* Addition of Little Seneca Creek downstream of Little Seneca Creek Dam to catch-and-return trout fishing areas limited to the use of artificial lures.
Bob Spore is a Coast Guard-licensed charter boat captain from Pasadena. His Outdoors column appears every Friday and Sunday in The Anne Arundel County Sun.