Foul weather actually benefited tuna tournament

On the Outdoors

July 25, 1996|By Peter Baker | Peter Baker,SUN STAFF

Hurricane Bertha forced the rescheduling of the Ocean City Tuna Tournament to last weekend, and, according to weigh-master Bill Runkle, the postponement resulted in "the most numerous and some of the heaviest fish we've weighed over the past five years."

Wes Denton of Baltimore caught a 179-pound bluefin tuna, which won the largest single tuna category for Team Cummins and earned a prize of $16,575. Team Cummins was fishing aboard the Liquidator.

Despite the one-week postponement, rough weather kept many of the 51 boats entered inshore of the canyons and brought mostly bluefin tuna to the scales at the Ocean City Fishing Center.

The first bluefin weighed in at 97 pounds and set the tone for the three-day tournament, which officials said produced bluefins averaging 80-100 pounds.

The boat Box Lunch won the most pounds of tuna category, with 310 pounds caught in one day.

Dirt Merchant won the tag-and-release division with six releases, and Careless won the dolphin catch division with a 23-pounder.

Tuna closure

The National Marine Fisheries Service will close the fishery for school Atlantic bluefin tuna tonight at 11: 30 for the rest of the year from waters off Delaware and states south.

NMFS is closing the fishery because it has determined the allowable catch quota of 65 metric tons has been met for that area.

School bluefin are sized from 27 inches to 47 inches.

Buck Fever

Buck Fever, the hunting show, will be held tomorrow through Sunday at the Talbot Community Center on Route 50 in Easton.

Buck Fever is a comprehensive deer hunting show, with seminars each day, taxidermists, guides, outfitters and equipment retailers booking parties and selling the latest gear.

During the show, the Free State Big Buck Awards will be presented, including for the first time awards to juniors, women and Delaware hunters.

Show hours are 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. tomorrow, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $6 for adults, $3 for ages 6 to 12.

For more information, call (410) 922-5549.

Powerboat races

The Chesapeake Challenge, two days of offshore powerboat races, will be held Saturday and Sunday in the Chesapeake Bay off Kent Island south of the Bay Bridge.

The competition has drawn more than 60 entrants. The largest boats in the field will be close to 50 feet in length and have engines totaling 4,000 horsepower.

Racing will begin at noon Saturday and at 1: 30 p.m. Sunday. Spectator areas will be set up at the Bay Bridge Marina and Matapeake State Park. Admission is $10 for adults.

Fishing updates

Upper Chesapeake: White perch fishing is good, with bay bridge pilings, Snake Reef, 7-foot Knoll and Sparty's Lump good choices and 11-inchers not uncommon. Still good action for smaller perch off western shore over hard or oyster bottoms, as well as in the lower Chester River. Channel catfish still offer some of the best fishing in the region, with some boats reporting 30-50 per day, according to the Department of Natural Resources. Many weigh from 1-3 pounds, but range upward of 8 pounds. Good locations have been Swann Point to Tolchester, Belvedere Shoals, Poole's Island, Eastern Neck Island and Turkey Point.

Middle Chesapeake: White perch, often accompanied by numbers of catch-and-release rockfish, continue to be consistent in 20-25-foot depths from Hackett's to the mouth of the West River. Croaker fishing has been hit or miss, but Sharp's Island, mouth of the Patuxent and lower Choptank are good areas. Flounder action also spotty, but deep, sharp edges hold possibilities at James Island, False Channel and the northeast edge of the Poplar Island complex.

Lower Chesapeake: Sea trout numbers are increasing at the Mud Leads, Hooper Straits and at the mouth of the Potomac, but DNR reports most are under the 14-inch minimum. Sporadic catches of sea trout, spot and croaker up to the mouth of the Patuxent, and up the river white perch at Sheridan Point and Benedict. Lower Tangier Sound still hot for croaker and spot. Middle Grounds also good for croaker and some 1-3-pound bluefish in chum lines.

River and reservoirs: In the Susquehanna River, smallmouth on crankbaits and spinnerbaits; catfish on clam snouts. . . . Upper and Middle Potomac Rivers fishable despite thunderstorm activity, with smallmouth on shiners, grubs and small spinners. Catfish on cut baits or stink baits. . . . Deep Creek Lake has great bluegill fishing around docks and piers, trout near the dam on mealworms, and smallmouths on drifted shiners in 6- to 12-foot depths. . . . At Liberty Reservoir, Oakland Point area and Morgan Run continue to be good choices for stripers, with state record holder Jerry Sauter checking in a 39-incher weighing 28 pounds. 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 night crawler combinations trolled over the main channels and grass beds good choices for bass, with Feather Island, Schoolhouse Cove and Peerce's Cove good locations.

Pub Date: 7/25/96

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