Fishermen looking for some flounder fishing in the back bay areas of Ocean City and Assateague have been finding plenty of flounder but the throwback ratios have been very high lately. No one is complaining about the action though and most will admit if youíre on vacation its far better to catch throwbacks than nothing at all. The traditional squid and minnow or silverside baits are the most commonly employed and tend to make an irresistible treat for small flounder and a combination of small sea bass and croaker or other small non target species. A number of fishermen continue to drift live spot in search of the larger flounder that lurk in the channels and to a large part this tactic is working. A number of doormat sized flounder are being checked in at local tackle shops and many more are discreetly heading home in an ice chest. The channels close to the inlet and the Sinepuxent Bay area on the Maryland side of the line have been accounting for much of the flounder action lately.
At the Route 50 Bridge/Inlet area fishermen are catching a mix of small tautog, small sea bass and a few nice sheepshead and gray triggerfish on occasion. Pieces of green crab and sand fleas have been the baits of choice. The night crew has been catching a few nice striped bass in the area by casting soft plastic jigs, Got-Cha lures or by drifting live spot. Every once and a while someone comes up with a nice sea trout also. Small bluefish continue to move in and out of the inlet and offer good fishing at times.
Surf fishing has settled into two separate categories now that summer is in full swing. Early morning and evening offers the best opportunity to catch a mix of small summer species such as kingfish, croaker, spot, flounder, small sea trout and small bluefish. Most fishermen are using bloodworms, shrimp or imitation bloodworms for most of their fishing and finger mullet for the bluefish. Those with larger fish on their minds have been fishing late in the evenings and into the night with large outfits and bottom rigs baited with large baits for a variety of sharks. Sand tigers, sandbars and spinner sharks are the most common species being encountered and all are being released. Most fishermen that engage in this type of fishing have learned that it pays to file off the barb of their hooks so the hook can easily be removed with a dehooker and they get to save that expensive hook and release the shark in a better condition.
The boats headed out to the wreck sites report good fishing conditions but only fair to good fishing depending how one looks at life. The seas are calm, the water much cooler than being on land and it sure beats the crowds back on land. Most fishermen are catching enough sea bass to satisfy request for fish on the dinner menu back home but limit catches just arenít there at this time. A number of nice flounder are coming over the rail to bolster catches and captains continue to search the slough areas closer to port for the croakers they hope will arrive soon. When the croakers do arrive they really tend to be the highlight of a day and really can spark up a day. Warmer water temperatures have moved into the area so croaker and flounder fishing may very well improve this week.
Offshore fishermen have been taking advantage of the action inside of the 30-fathom line at lumps such as the Hambone, Hot dog and the Sausages for a mix of bluefin tuna, dolphin and wahoo. It was personally exciting for me to see the good bluefin tuna fishing fishermen have been experiencing while I was away on vacation. Bluefin tuna in the 80 lb to 100 lb size category are a real treat and to be able to keep one is the real icing on the cake. Fisheries biologist Steve Doctor informed me last night that the bluefin fishery may have shut down due to warmer water conditions moving into the region. These warmer water conditions will do much to improve fishing for white marlin and other warm water species in the offshore regions. He happened to mention that catches of white marlin have jumped in the last day or so in Virginia waters so we should see those fish moving within reach of the Ocean City fleet by the weekend. Some really impressive dolphin have been coming into the docks and
Steve Quigley holds up a big one he caught flipping a piece of squid near floating debris.
Click here to view recent bay region satellite images at mddnr.chesapeakebay.net/NASAimagery/EyesInTheSky.cfm
A Couple of Closing Notes...
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