The month of July has brought many firsts. Tim Walters of Baltimore, fishing in the Baltimore Canyon with Capt. John Sippel on the boat Wirenut, pulled in Ocean City's first blue marlin. It weighed 269 pounds. They were trolling with a "soft head"
artificial lure when they caught the huge fish the week of July 5.
A wahoo was taken from Ocean City waters that same week. It weighed only 21 pounds, but it was the first. The boat Gator with Capt. Ron Gates had a nice catch of tuna as well. They were trolling with ballyhoos and artificial lures.
There have been many sightings of cobia. The anglers on the party boat Miss Ocean City saw them on the surface down by Winter Quarter Shoal as they were fishing for sea bass. Bradley Schnider, 6, of Middletown, Del., was lucky enough to catch one of these excellent eating fish. He was on a private boat trolling for fresh squid at the Jackspot. Last season, many anglers found that chum attracted cobia.
The season's largest big-eye tuna was taken on the American Lady out of the White Marlin Marina. It weighed 305 pounds and took more than four hours to bring in. Capt. Joe Drosey was trolling the Washington Canyon with a ballyhoo dressed with a skirt. Mr. Drosey's boat has been the only boat to bring in big-eye tuna this year.
A huge mako shark was caught near the Baltimore Canyon in 500 fathoms of water. Angler Tim Humphrey of Middletown, Del., was trolling for bluefish during an overnight trip on the charter boat Profit Sharing when he hung into the 574-pound shark. Its stomach was empty, meaning the 574 pounds was all fish.
Now that area waters are warming up (mid-70s off the beach) we are beginning to see more dolphin action. The charter boat Remedy II with Capt. Barry DePristo, out of Dorchester Street Dock, had a 30-pound dolphin last week, one of the largest we have seen so far this season.
The annual Tuna Tournament ended last Sunday. Though the fish were scattered, some good size fish were weighed in. Most of the fish were taken on ballyhoo or lures, such as green machines, around the Baltimore Canyon in water 40 to 100 fathoms. The largest fish -- 89-pound yellowfin tuna -- was caught on the boat the Catspurr.
The big news last week was king mackerel. Boats have been finding these fish breaking water within 5 miles of the beach. Big Gull Shoal, Ilse of Wight Shoal, the Bass Grounds, Fenwick Shoal, B Buoy and the Pimple have all been good spots for the kings. Carl Chirrichella of Burtonsville caught a rather large king mackerel. It went 25 pounds and was taken on a spoon on the First Lump with Capt. Ben Gillberth on the boat Carol Lynn.
Bob Foster, Fred Winward and Fred Winward Jr., fishing aboard the private boat Spirit out of Millville, Del., caught seven king mackerel and one Spanish mackerel at the Pimple last Sunday and were back at the dock at 1 p.m. These fish seem to bite early in the morning and then later toward the afternoon, especially during a full moon.
Spoons rigged with heavy 60 to 80 pound monofilament leader and weighted down with a 2 to 4 ounce trolling sinker, or carried down with a size # 2 planer, is the best way to go for the king mackerel. Many anglers are also using rigged ballyhoo.
Inshore fishing has been very active with flounder, though many were too small to keep. Cindy Maycock and Dee Morris had a good catch. They were fishing in the Thorofare last Sunday with minnows and squid and caught 50 flounder, six of them keepers. The largest went 4 1/2 pounds and the second largest went 3 1/2 pounds.
Jim Trimble of Ocean City ventured to the Thorofare on Monday and had 19 keeper flounder.
Al Costa of Baltimore definitely had a keeper. His flounder also went 4 1/2 pounds and was caught drifting near the U.S. 50 bridge. Melissa Hiens of Aberdeen also picked up a 4 1/2 -pound flounder while fishing the Thorofare with a live minnow.
Anglers are picking up sea trout in the inlet, but most of them have been taken on live spot. Live spot is one of those baits that can rarely be bought; you must catch it yourself with tiny hooks and pieces of bloodworm or by throwing a cast net. Locals Alan Fields and Earl Simpson have been catching trout almost every day with the spot. These fish are ranging 3 to 8 pounds.
Indian River Inlet has been seeing some excellent bluefish action during the day. These fish are ranging 1 to 3 pounds. At night, the sea trout are around, but they have been averaging only 2 pounds. These trout were taking bucktails with a plastic worm, ++ as were the bluefish. Anglers in the inlet have also caught a scattering of triggerfish and sheepshead using sand fleas for bait.
The surf has been alive with Norfolk spot. Beau Chaffinch of Seaford, Del., who just turned 8, caught 16 of these fish himself on bloodworms in the Fenwick State Park.
Snapper blues and sand sharks are more plentiful, giving anglers lots of action. The blues, which are only running a half pound to 2 pounds, are taking mullet chunks or spoons. The sharks, as always, prefer squid.
Mary Brown from Buck's Place on Assateague Island said the Assateague beaches were very active last Sunday with anglers catching snapper blues, spot and some kings.