The flounder are back. After a couple of slower weeks of TTC flounder fishing in Ocean City, we are again seeing an increase in numbers. Jim Walters of Fenwick Island counted his catch last week at more than 150 fish. Out of this tremendous catch he was only able to keep about a dozen.
Mr. Walters, along with many other boaters, has been doing well in the "flats" north of the Thorofare between buoys 10 and 16. Live minnows and a squid strip combination have been working well. Area fishermen are also doing equally well with frozen shiners.
George Orr of Martinsburg, W. Va., caught one of the largest flounder. He was drifting the Thorofare with a baited bucktailed hook when he hooked a 4 3/4 -pounder. He also had a couple other flounder over 2 pounds, proving that the big ones are there.
Many flounder anglers are finding larger fish in the bay behind Assateague. Dick Kelly and Libby Hall caught more than a dozen keepers behind the airport after leaving the Route 90 area where they could only catch throw-backs. Dan and Liz Mumford of Ocean City caught 10 keeper flounder in only six drifts in the vicinity of Horn Island.
If you are only catching small flounder, try another flounder hole. Schools of flounder are often the same size. Moving to another location will give you a shot at a different bunch of fish.
Trout fishing has been especially good by the South Jetty. Unfortunately, the preferred bait was live spot, which is hard to come by. Anglers must bait up tiny No. 12 hooks with pieces of bloodworms and fish in the lagoons, canals or close to marshes to catch the bait fish. Then the spot must be kept alive in an aerated bucket until the tide is right for the sea trout. The best tide is the top of the flood high tide. Bob Hoffman and party caught a dozen trout weighing up to 8 pounds fishing the live spot over two days.
Anglers are also catching trout with pieces of peeler crab hanging on a bucktail or by simply casting a bucktail dressed with a strip of squid or a plastic worm.
Large Norfolk spot weighing up to half a pound have hit the area surf and bay. John Belain of Fenwick Island celebrated the Fourth of July by catching six kingfish and 12 large spot on the Fenwick surf before the fireworks began. He was using small hooks and pieces of bloodworm.
The surf has also seen some flurries of bluefish in the 1-to-3 pound range caught with strips of mullet or fresh spot. In the evenings, some sea trout have been taken on strips of squid or a combination of a squid strip and a piece of bloodworm. The kingfish, which most anglers are fishing for, tend to hit best on the high, outgoing tide.
The Indian River Inlet has been active with sea trout and stripers at night and bluefish by day. A bucktail dressed with a plastic worm and rigged with an end-line sinker is the preferred lure at the inlet. Whether fishing the Ocean City or Indian River Inlet, always remember that the change of either tide is the time to go fishing.
Vacationers were happy to find the blue crabs crawling around the back bays. With the cloudy weather Ocean City has seen recently, crabbing has become a relaxing past-time. With a chicken neck dangling on a piece of string and a crab net one can quickly become a crabber. Ocean City offers several public crabbing areas for vacationers to try.
The first big-eye tuna of the season were caught last week. The American Lady with Capt. Joe Drosey, boated two of these huge fish. The largest big-eye was caught by Robert Bowman of Laurel. This fish went 232 pounds and ate a ballyhoo dressed with a skirt at the southern tip of the Washington Canyon in 115 fathoms of water. The second big-eye weighed 228 pounds.
Phil Ashley of Centerville, fishing aboard the Notorious with Capt. Brian Porter, landed a 123-pound bluefin tuna. They were fishing the Jackspot with a green machine.
The yellowfin tuna, which had been concentrated at the Washington Canyon, have scattered. The yellowfin were hitting at the Washington, Baltimore and Poor Man's canyons. Judy Hudson of Bishopville, fishing aboard he Fishin' Mission with her husband, Capt. Judd Hudson, caught an 83-pound yellowfin tuna just south of the Poor Man's Canyon on a green machine.
Brian Hacker of Potomac, fishing aboard the Green Machine with Capt. John Knight pulled in an 82-pound yellowfin. He was fishing with ballyhoo also in the Poor Man's Canyon.
The big news recently was the many king mackerel. The kings were seen quite close to the beach. Anglers were catching them with spoons, feathers or rigged ballyhoo at the Isle of Wight Shoal, Fenwick Shoal, the Bass Grounds, Jackspot, and even in as close as inside the Great Gull Buoy. Among the kings are Atlantic bonito and some Spanish mackerel. Use smaller spoons for the Spanish mackerel.