Flounder fishing still strong


Despite last weekend's inclement weather, flounder fishing has remained good. Though Friday and Sunday were "wipeouts" due to the pouring rain, anglers caught flounder on Saturday, and then again on Monday, the day after the weather cleared, proving that the rain deterred the fishermen, but not the fish.

Roy, Brian and Jeff Newman of Clarksville showed that the flounder were there last Saturday. They hugged the bulkhead at 33rd Street and came up with 21 keeper flounder up to 3 1/2 pounds. There would have been 22 if one of the anglers hadn't missed with the net. They were using live minnows with a thin squid strip on the same hook for bait, and were fishing the high, outgoing tide.

The flounder are biting best three hours before high tide and then again about three hours after high tide. The dead slack tide can be slow fishing, but this tide only lasts about a half an hour. There are numerous throwback flounder, fish under the size limit of 13 inches, so be sure to take your ruler along. Department of Natural Resources police are out there checking, and fines are being assessed.

One of Ocean City's largest flounder was caught aboard the party boat Tortuga. It weighed 4 pounds, 9 ounces and was caught by Dennis Hershberger of Schwenksville, Pa. The boat was drifting near the Thorofare at the time. The flats, north of the Thorofare, was Ocean City's other hot spot for flounder last week.

Anglers without boats are catching flounder from the U.S. 50 bridge and Shantytown pier with good results, although there seem to be more throwbacks at the latter spot.

Slim Griffin from the Oceanic Pier reported that flounder fishing was good, but that night fishing was even better. The pier, which stays open 24 hours, has been a good spot for sea trout in the 2- to 4-pound range. For these, anglers are using either spec rigs, or double-tied chartreuse twister rigs. Occasionally, the bluefish come rushing through, like they did recently at at 1 a.m.

Anglers casting bucktails from the Ocean City Inlet got into a school of bluefish in the 6- to 8-pound range. They came through here, then hit the Oceanic Pier, and then rushed by the Shantytown pier. The northeast wind apparently drove these blues into the bay.

Anglers fishing the south jetty in boats have been doing well with sea trout, weather permitting. Jack Melocik of Towson took one of the largest last week. He ventured out last Sunday and caught a 7 1/4 -pound sea trout on a bucktail and a green worm.

David Townsend of the Ocean Pier in Ocean City said that anglers were catching flounder, mostly legal, last weekend along with some snapper bluefish. He said that last Saturday numerous sand perch were being caught in the 8- to 10-inch range on bloodworms.

Ocean City party boats were hampered by the strong northeast winds. Most of the boats stayed in port the entire weekend.

Surf fishing from Assateague to Cape Henlopen was sporadic again -- a few blues, a couple of sharks and a scattering of kingfish. Of course, the surf was unfishable most of last weekend because of the northeast wind.

Offshore fishing was quite good. Seven white marlin were caught and released while anglers were tuna fishing around the Poor Man's and the Washington canyons.

Jim Yannick of Old Inlet Bait and Tackle in Indian River reported that quite a number of tuna, makos and hammerheads were caught last Saturday. There were some bluefin tuna taken southeast of the Delaware Lightship, and a few caught around the Fingers and the Jackspot on the 20-fathom line.

Lots of yellowfin tuna, up to 50 pounds, were taken around the Poor Man's Canyon, and some good-sized dolphin were mixed in with the tuna, he said.

A 170-pound mako shark was caught by Laurie Culp of Rockville aboard the Set Back out of Fisherman's Marina. She was fishing for tuna when a small tuna grabbed the lure, and then the mako grabbed the tuna.

Ron Keller of Mount Airy landed a 198-pound mako fishing aboard the Pisces, also out of Fisherman's Marina. He was fishing with a mackerel bait near the lumps of the Washington Canyon.

Dick Kelly of Ocean City landed a 162-pound hammerhead shark. He was fishing aboard the Grappler with Capt. Dick Hamilton of Ocean View, Del. This big shark was taken on a mackerel bait at the east slope of the Hot Dog Lumps.

Though few large tuna were caught over the weekend, the numbers were there. Some boats had as many as 15 to 20 yellowfin tuna. Most were caught at the offshore canyons, with only a few fish caught inshore.

Offshore, bluefish are running deep. Gene Racz, owner of R and R Fishing Center in Rehoboth, said that the best fishing has been around B buoy and Fenwick Shoals.

He said that anglers were catching small trout in Delaware Bay in about 90 feet of water using squid strips on monofilament top and bottom rigs and that the best area has been near the !B Anchorage. He also said flounder fishing has been good, and the best places were the Cross Overs, Big Stone Beach, the 14-Foot Light and Flounder Alley.

Jack Redinger of Sea Hawk Fishing Center in Pocomoke said that flounder fishing in Virginia has been good too, especially in the Folly's Creek area, where a 6- or 7-pound flounder is not unusual.

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