Tuna turn up offshore in storm wake

ON THE OUTDOORS

July 18, 1996|By Peter Baker | Peter Baker,SUN STAFF

Hurricane Bertha made a mess of fishing conditions along Maryland's Atlantic Coast last weekend, roiling the back bays and keeping the deep sea fishing boats at the docks.

But as dozens of offshore fishermen make final preparations for the start of the O.C. Tuna Tournament, reports are that with Bertha's passing the waters over the canyons again are producing tuna.

The word yesterday from the O.C. Fishing Center, where the tournament is headquartered, was that "everything has settled down nicely, and the few boats that have been out this week already are catching tuna again."

The bulk of the action this week has been at Washington and Baltimore canyons. Before Bertha blew through, the Department Natural Resources reported bluefin tuna from the 20-fathom line to the Fingers, and yellowfin from the 50-fathom line to 100 fathoms.

The tuna tournament, which offers a $100,000 bonus prize to the angler who can break the 375-pound record for bigeye tuna (set off Ocean City 19 years ago), runs tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday. Weigh-ins are held each afternoon at the Ocean City Fishing Center, at the west end of the Route 50 bridge.

Inshore at Ocean City, reports from early in the week indicated that the inlet and back bays were murky, and uprooted grasses and debris were thick. However, by the weekend, fishing conditions should be better.

While Bertha shook up the coastal waters and the lower bay, the storm's impact on the upper and middle bay areas appears to have been negligible.

In the upper bay, channel catfish should be back on the bite over the shell bottom off Tolchester, Swann Point to Gratitude, Hawk Cove, Belevedere Shoals and Hodges Bar.

White perch have settled in over hard or oyster bottoms off the western shore from North Point at the mouth of the Patapsco River to Holland Point.

Good upper bay spots continue to be Snake Reef, Podickory Point, Bodkin Point and in the Chester River at the mouth of Grays Inn Creek, Copper Hill and Cliffs City.

In the middle bay area, from the Bay Bridges to the mouth of the Patuxent at Solomons, flounder catches have been good off James Island, False Channel and the northeast edge of the Poplar Island complex.

Croaker are a good choice for evening fishing at Sharp's Island, Cook's Point in the Choptank River, and in depths of 25 to 30 feet from Breezy Point to Holland Point Bar.

Spot, which have been plentiful in the lower bay recently, have moved into the middle bay.

In the lower bay, the Middle Grounds were producing excellent croaker fishing and decent bluefish action on 1- to 3-pounders in chum lines or breaking on the surface.

Tangier Sound, the mouth of the Honga River and Hooper Island Straits have been good for croaker, with sea trout at the Mud Leads, the mouth of the Potomac River and lower Honga River.

River and reservoir updates

In the Susquehanna River, flows have been up and the river murky, but white perch and smallmouth fishing can be resumed at outstanding levels as the river clears. . . . Upper and Middle Potomac Rivers offer a mixed bag, with water temperature 82 degrees at Williamsport. Bertha muddied the river from Antietam Creek downstream, according to DNR. Shiners, grubs and small spinners should do well for smallmouth bass and good catfish action in the Dickerson area. . . . Deep Creek Lake a great spot for large bluegill, yellow perch and smallmouth bass. Nightcrawlers, fished in shallow coves, around piers or floating docks will do well for bluegills. Shiners drifted in 6- to 12-foot depths will work well for smallmouths. . . . Oakland Point area and Morgan Run continue to be good choices for stripers at Liberty, with crappie and bluegill fishing good around shoreline brush and beaver huts. Bass in close to the shoreline early and late in the day. . . . Loch Raven has white perch on spinner and nightcrawler combinations trolled over the main channels and grass beds good choices for bass.

Pub Date: 7/18/96

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