Anglers find kingfish turn out in royal form

June 13, 1993|By Sue Hayes | Sue Hayes,Contributing Writer

Ocean City anglers have been pleasantly surprised by good catches of kingfish. Kingfish, or whiting as they are also called, are small but tasty fare.

These silver-gray fish, which rarely weigh more than 1 1/2 pounds, are tough fighters for their size. When a kingfish hits the bait, you know that a fish is there.

They feed close to shore on little crabs and worms that have been turned over by the waves. This is why kingfish can even be caught right in the white water.

Since kings have small mouths, the hook size must also be small. A No. 8 hook held slightly off the bottom with a 1-inch or 1 1/2 -inch Styrofoam or cork float is the ticket to catching kings. Put two of these floater hooks on a top and bottom rig with a 2- or 3-ounce sinker and you're almost ready to go surf fishing for kingfish.

The most important ingredient is the bait. Bloodworms, cut into quarter-inch pieces and threaded on the hook, are what the kingfish likes best. One can also make a sandwich bait, adding a triangle of squid or mullet to the hook.

Some anglers, watching their pocketbooks, use night crawlers instead of bloodworms with some success.

Fishing for kingfish and other smaller fish calls for lighter equipment. Anglers can even fish with their fresh-water equipment on calm, summer days. The best setup, however, is an 8- or 9-foot medium to medium-light surf rod with a medium-sized reel spun with 12- to 15-pound test.

Cast out, and reel in, ever so slowly, toward shore for the best kingfish results. Kingfish tend to run toward shore after being hooked, so once you get that first initial tug, keep on reeling.

If you use the right bait and rigs, you may be as lucky as Buck Brown from Buck's Place on Route 611. He went to Assateague Island and fished the surf there last Sunday and surprised even himself with a catch of nine kingfish and one blowfish. Another man fishing the surf on Assateague came away with a 2 1/2 -pound sea trout, while other anglers tackled a school of bluefish that hit the beach late last Sunday afternoon.

Mitch Linzey of Ocean City has been catching kingfish all week in Ocean City. He has been fishing 118th Street and also 66th Street. Anglers fishing the Fenwick State Park reported catching anywhere from one to six kings a day last weekend.

Flounder fishing in Ocean City has been good, although some days have been slow because of windy weather. The drift in front of the Coast Guard Station has been a productive spot, but you need to catch the tide at the right time. The high

tide, as it starts out, has been best. Other good areas have been the Thorofare, the south side of the South Jetty and the channel in front of Shantytown.

Bob Coolick of Ocean Pines had a good catch of flounder taken in a deep hole near the Route 90 bridge. He had six flounder between 2 1/2 and 4 pounds. Gordon Brown of York, Pa., had a stringer of flounder up to 20 inches taken from the south side of the South Jetty. These fish were measured at Delmarva Sport Center.

The Tortuga, a bay party boat out of Bahia Marina, had a good flounder trip last weekend. The party caught 25 fish, of which 12 were keepers. The keeper-to-throwback ratio is much greater than last year at this time.

Folks without boats are having good luck with flounder from the Route 50 bridge, downtown docks, the Oceanic Pier and even the Ocean Pier.

Sea trout have been scarce in Ocean City so far. Bob Gregson of Ocean Pines did manage to snare a couple. He took a 4- and a 5-pounder from the North Jetty on a grub lure.

Indian River Inlet did see some bluefish action last weekend along with good-sized stripers.

Party boats had an excellent catch of tautog this past week. Besides quantity of fish, there was also size. Monty Hawkins, captain of the O.C. Princess, caught a whopping 14-pounder. Phil Cathell of Berlin took a 14-pound, 5-ounce tautog while fishing on the winter quarter wreck with a piece of crab. Bill Slot of Ocean Pines, fishing aboard his private boat the Bottom Line, took a 12 1/4 -pound tautog. Joe Kitchenman of Ocean Pines, fishing on the same boat, took a 4- and 5-pound sea bass. They were fishing a wreck near the Third Lump.

Mako fishing continues to be good. Several were weighed in between 162 and 567 pounds. Chuck Jewell of Kent Island landed a 217-pound mako aboard the boat DNT. Russell Chandler of Columbia caught a 225-pound mako last Sunday aboard the Virginia out of Bahia Marina. Most of these fish have been taken in the area of the Fingers.

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