A world record was almost broken in Ocean City.
Mark Aiello and his father, Joseph Aiello of Severna Park, were fishing in the Marlin Club's Light Tackle 20 Pound Test Release Tournament on the boat Reel'n and Deal'n on July 25 when Mark hung into a 298-pound big-eye tuna. Mark fought the fish for more than 4 1/2 hours. Finally, he could not move or even feel his hand anymore. He gave the rod to his father, who fought the huge fish for another half hour. Since two people handled the rod, it could not be considered as a world record for a big-eye tuna on 20-pound test.
Charles Nichols on the charter boat Liquidator with Capt. Bob Gowar won the Light Tackle Tournament. They had four white marlin releases. White marlin fishing has been much better recently. Most anglers think the better offshore fishing was due to a wind switch to the east, which gave cleaner water offshore.
Ocean City finally saw some large bluefin tuna. Rick Beall Jr. of Velva, N.D., caught one of the largest. It weighed 128 pounds. He was fishing on the June First with Capt. Walter Reynolds in the area of the Hot Dog, trolling with a Green Synder lure.
Dick Kramer, also fishing in the vicinity of the Hot Dog, landed a 123-pound bluefin tuna. Mr. Kramer, who is from Baltimore, was fishing aboard the Reel Action with a lure.
Steve Pfautz, of Manheim, Pa., hung into a 120-pound bluefin fishing aboard the Grand Slam, with Capt. Butch Davis. They were using ballyhoo for bait.
Many yellowfin tuna weighing as much as 80 pounds have also been reported. There were a couple of blue marlin releases and several white marlin releases, mostly around the Washington Canyon. Anglers fishing from the Jackspot to the Hot Dog and working the 20-fathom fingers in that area are doing well with king mackerel, some football-size bluefin tuna, Spanish mackerel and some dolphin. One man caught a 43-pound yellowfin tuna at the Jackspot, proving that at least a few larger tuna are not so far out.
The largest mako shark of the season was weighed in last weekend. The charter boat Reelistic with Capt. Billy Verbanas brought in a 942-pound mako shark.
Shark fishing is not just for folks fishing offshore. The Ocean Pier had pretty good shark action, too. On Saturday nights from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m., the chum bags go down and anglers start shark fishing. The inshore fare is generally sand and dusky sharks.
Daytime action on the pier has been good on legal size flounder, kingfish and Norfolk spot. Bloodworms or strips of mullet or squid are the best baits on the pier by day.
Flounder fishing has been quite decent. Sometimes when it rains the water gets dirty. This was not the case this past week. Anglers reported being able to see bottom clearly when drifting in 4 feet of water.
Donny Alimo of Ocean City and Mark Alimo of Glen Burnie caught more than a dozen flounder fishing the flats by buoy #13 north of the Convention Hall with live minnows last weekend. Daryl Wise of Severna Park landed a 3-pound flounder while drifting near Buoy #11 using a squid and shiner combination.
Flounder fishing was also good near the U.S. 50 bridge. Maryann Rohler of York, Pa., was drifting just north of the bridge with live minnows when she landed into a 4 1/2 -pound flounder. She had several other good size flounder as well.
One of the largest flounder of the week was weighed in at the newly opened Skip's Bait and Tackle on Talbot Street. The flounder was caught on the U.S. 50 bridge by Donald Bull of Westminster. It weighed 5 pounds and was taken on a shiner and squid sandwich. The folks at Skip's say flounder fishing from the bridge has been good, though many of the flounder have been throw-backs. Quite a number of bluefish have also been taken from the bridge. These blues were running in the 1 to 3 pound range.
Some larger blues have been caught in the Ocean City Inlet. Anglers here are either bottom fishing with bait or casting bucktails. Lowell Wadsworth of Greensburg, Pa., landed a 9 1/2 -pound blue while fishing for flounder with a minnow and squid combination.
Surf fishing from Assateague Island to Cape Henelopen has been fair. Good numbers of Norfolk spot have been taken on bloodworms. Several good sized kingfish, weighing up to 1 pound have been caught, mostly on the early morning tides. Last week, Standish McCleary of Ocean City caught six weighing up to 1 pound from surf on 13th Street.
Anglers are also reporting more and more flounder taken from the surf, which is typical this time of year. Some sea trout was reported last Saturday night from the surf in Ocean City. Anglers were cutting up the fresh spot they were catching and picking up trout weighing up to 2 1/2 pounds. Trout tend to feed toward dusk and into the night.