Floundr fishing hits a peak


Ocean City flounder fishing has been excellent. The fish seem to be in almost all the channels of the bay, in the "flats" (water 4 feet to 7 feet deep) and even in the ocean outside the inlet.

Earlier in the season, anglers had to be out at just the right tide to catch the fish. Now, they seem to be biting the whole three hours before high tide and up to three hours after the high tide.

The flounder are hitting live minnows or frozen shiners with equal interest, and are especially enticed by a thin tapered strip of squid dangling beside the minnow or shiner bait.

Ernie Jones and George and Jimmy Roros of Ocean City kept 20 out of 30 flounder (fish under the legal size limit of 13 inches have to be thrown back) drifting at the mouth of the Commercial Harbor beside the stone wall. They were using a minnow and squid combination.

Max Angel of Paul's Tackle Shop said, "It does seem that the larger percentages of keeper flounder are either being caught in or near the bay behind Assateague, or back in the flats north of the Thorofare.

Evie and David Cohen of Silver Spring, who caught seven keeper flounder and 20 throwback flounder last Sunday, found that the flounder by the U.S. 50 bridge were small and the ones farther north in the bay were larger.

Boats averaged three to 20 keepers last weekend, with many anglers commenting that they caught as many as 30 to 40 throwbacks. The largest flounder reported in Ocean City last week was weighed in at Paul's Tackle Shop. The 4 1/2 pounder was taken by Al Bucci of Baltimore. He was drifting in front of Harbor Island at 14th Street with a live minnow.

Ocean City is seeing good sea trout fishing at night from the Oceanic Pier. Slim Griffin, who runs the pier, said, "They are using double-tied twister lures or bucktails and doing good with trout. Sometimes the blues come in, too." Anglers are also catching sea trout behind the pier casting from the sea wall at the inlet with bucktails with a plastic worm attached.

Anglers in boats are doing especially well with trout at the inlet. One man had 40 last weekend with a bucktail and plastic worm combination. Dick Kelly and Jay Ream of Ocean City ventured to the south jetty on Monday and caught six trout, 2 pounds each, casting double-tied pink twister lures, with a strip of squid attached.

David Townsend, owner of the Ocean Pier, said he had a busy weekend. "Friday and Saturday night [June 14-15], the croakers came in. Anglers were catching them with squid strips. Then Sunday, the croakers left, and the kingfish came in. These take bloodworms or squid. During the day, we had some flounder up to 16 inches, and a few blues, sharks and skates."

Flounder fishing has really picked up in Indian River Bay. Jack Sullivan of Old Inlet Bait and Tackle said the area around buoys 19A and 20 was particularly good. Walt Ciociola who works at Old Inlet caught more than 100 flounder last weekend and was able to keep 30.

Mr. Sullivan also said there are some nice-sized bluefish at the inlet. "The bluefish in the 3- to 4-pound range have been hitting two hours before the high tide, and again right at the change at low tide with bucktails with plastic worms," he said. "At night, the action is sea trout and stripers. The trout are taking bucktails or mirrolures, while the striper action is mostly on live eels," he added.

Surf fishing from Assateague to Cape Henlopen could only be called fair this past week. Anglers saw a few "miniblitzes" of action as blues and dusky sharks chased after schools of bait, but on the whole, surf fishing wasn't anything to write home about.

Offshore fishing, though, was good. The party boats are doing well with catches of black sea bass, though the size of the fish seem to be getting smaller. Sea bass are extremely easy to catch, and if you have a child who wants fishing experience without having a long day, look into Ocean City's many half-day fishing boats, which include the Taurus on Dorchester Street, the Judith M on 22nd Street and the Judy V at Shantytown.

Bluefishing was definitely slow last week. The hot weather drove them north to Lewes, Del., and as far offshore as the 20-fathom break -- a little too far for small boaters.

Those with bigger boats were happy to see lots of yellowfin tuna last weekend. Poor Man's Canyon from 60 to 100 fathoms was the hot spot. Anglers also caught tuna at the tip of the Washington Canyon. They were running 30 to 50 pounds, and some dolphin up to 25 pounds were caught in the same area.

The Top Gun II out of the O.C. Fishing Center with Capt. John Dahl had five yellowfin tuna up to 50 pounds. The boat's owner Carl Kephardt and a group of friends from Lancaster, Pa., were the anglers.

The private boat Stimulator with anglers David Coverdale, Jim Reed and Don Dickerson of Neward, Del., weighed in seven tuna between 36 and 40 pounds and an 18-pound dolphin at Delmarva Sports Center.

Shark fishing is still going strong, though most of the mako sharks are farther offshore in 30 to 40 fathoms of water. Angler Tom Law of Paradise, Pa., landed a 279-pound mako fishing aboard the Fish Finder out of Bahia Marina with Capt. Mark Sampson.

A few white marlin were released last weekend, and the first king mackerel were reported caught on the first lump of the bass grounds.

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