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Elusive flounder tease the anglers


Flounder fishing in Ocean City can only be called fair. A couple of large fluke were weighed in, proving there are some big fish, but these doormat-sized flounder are few and far between.

Captain Dave from Bahia Marina found the catches unpredictable. "Some trips out on our party boat Tortuga we may catch 25 small throw back flounder along with a couple nice ones," he said. "The next day we may only catch one small flounder along with a few keepers."

It was hard to rate flounder fishing over Memorial Day weekend. A 15-knot southwest blow kept the bay fairly choppy and the water murky. Between the wind and the heavy boat traffic, a good drift was hard to find. By last Monday, though, more flounder catches were being reported.

The largest flounder of the week was caught by Steve Hollinger of Hanover, Pa. It was caught in the Thorofare on a minnow and squid combination and weighed in at Bahia Marina at 6 1/2 pounds. Bahia also weighed in a 4 1/2 pound flounder caught by Russell Milburn of Baltimore. He was drifting near Drum Point, also using a minnow and squid combination. And a 5 1/2 -pound flounder was weighed in at Delmarva Sport Center.

It seems the flounder are biting best on the high outgoing tide, drifting out of the bay's deeper holes. Though the Thorofare seems to be a hot spot, flounder have been reported all over the bay, including the U.S. 50 bridge.

Larger sea trout, up to 10 1/4 pounds, were reported caught from the area of the south jetty. These fish, usually averaging 3 to 7 pounds, are taking bucktails dressed with either peeler or a plastic worm. The high flood tide is the best time to cast toward the rip at the end of the jetty. Trout can also be caught drifting through the inlet, and on the south side of the jetty.

Tautog, or blackfish, are always biting along the jetty and sea wall in Ocean City. Though many of the tautog are running small, there are some good-sized ones mixed in. The deeper holes, on the ebbing tides, catch the largest ones. Live sand fleas or speckled crabs are doing best for the tautog.

Surf fishing, from Assateague to Cape Henlopen, was only fair this past week. There were some catches of larger dusky sharks, but the bluefish action was slow. There were some reports of blues here and there, running up to 3 pounds. Some kingfish and blowfish were taken on bloodworms. One angler reported catching six kingfish on Assateague. The blues were hitting mullet or mackerel, and the sharks were taking squid.

Ocean City saw a lot of action on the party boats this week. Sea bass -- and plenty of them -- were the story. The boat captains were happy to report that they were large, too. Monty Hawkins, captain of the O.C. Princess, said, "The biggest sea bass we had went 6 1/4 pounds. It was caught by Bill Kassakatis of Annapolis. )) Lawrence Rawlings of Annapolis landed a huge 13 3/4 pound tautog."

He also said he's been doing bluefish chumming trips and the best success was at the Delaware Lightship. "Usually the guys average four or five big blues each," he said.

Lloyd Lewis, owner of Talbot St. Pier, reports that big blues in the 10- to 14-pound range have been hitting southeast of the Jackspot and also at the Southeast Lumps. "The charter boat Pursuer had 43 on Saturday," he said. "We also had some blue JTC sharks caught and released. They were running close to 100 pounds."

Mako sharks were caught this week -- the first one aboard the charter boat Reelistic out of Indian River. It weighed 368 pounds.

Bruce McGuigan of Captain Mac's Bait and Tackle reported that three other makos were caught out of Ocean City. "Joe Reichert aboard the No Problem had a 307 pounder," he said, adding, "The charter boat Mo Jo had a 225 pounder, and another private boat had a 97 pounder. Most of these fish were taken 25 to 30 miles offshore in the area of the 'fingers,' which is northeast of the Jackspot."

Ocean City anglers are still waiting for other offshore fish such as tuna and marlin. There have been some bonita and false albacore. Mr. McGuigan predicts that the tuna should show at any time.

Fishing from the Indian River Inlet has been up and down on bluefish. Sometimes they show, and sometimes they don't. If the blues do rush through the inlet, it is generally on the last two hours of the high tide.

Anglers are still picking up sea trout at the Indian River Inlet at night, and tautog fishing has been good by day, though lots of smaller throw-back tautog are appearing.

Gene Racz of R and R Fishing Center in Rehoboth reports that the entire Delaware Bay has "turned on." "Anglers are catching large tide-runner trout up north in the area of the Cross Ledge and the Abandoned Light," he said. The fish are running in the 8- to 12-pound range.

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