Ocean City saw its first mako shark Memorial Day weekend. The charter boat Grand Slam, captained by Butch Davis, caught and released the first mako shark of the year. The shark was estimated at 30 pounds. The boat was trolling in the 500-fathom line in the Washington Canyon.
Mako sharks, which generally turn up in June in this area, are related to the white sharks. They are usually caught by fishermen trolling at least 25 miles offshore. They are cobalt to blue-gray in color, streamlined, and are often seen feeding on the surface. They feed on tuna, bonito and even swordfish.
This may be why the mako shark is similar to the swordfish in taste. Mako shark is one of the tastiest of sharks to eat, besides being the most popular to catch.
There were two firsts in one week in the offshore waters of Ocean City. Besides the first mako, Ocean City saw its first yellowfin tuna. The charter boat Coupon Lady, with Capt. Tom Baldwin fishing the 1,000-fathom line in the Poor Man's Canyon, came across the fish as they were trolling.
David Dodd of Milton, Del., landed the 28-pound tuna. The party also saw a dolphin hiding behind a floating board, but could not catch it. This is extremely early for the first tuna. The captain reported finding a finger of water that was 75 degrees. As any Ocean City swimmer can tell you, there is not much water around that is that warm.
Capt. John Brown, aboard the charter boat Master, had an interesting catch this past weekend while fishing for bluefish. As the anglers were trolling, the boat slowed down for a turn. As the hoochy lure slowly sank toward the bottom, a huge, 28-pound striper grabbed the lure. The fish was released.
Offshore bluefishing was good over the Memorial Day weekend. Boaters reported seeing huge schools of fish. The only problem was they were not always biting well for the anglers trolling. Anglers began casting lures to the fish and did much better. Other anglers used bait such as mullet or mackerel with much success, while others jigged spoons and bucktails. Fishermen who were chumming did well.
Boaters found that the blues were not far offshore. Anglers fishing five miles off did just as well as anglers trolling 28 miles offshore at the Jackspot. The party boat O.C. Princess had excellent results fishing for bluefish over the weekend on night fishing trips.
All the Ocean City party boats continue to do well on catches of sea bass. The party boat Miss Ocean City had a private charter of 30 men one day last week. Between them, they caught 800 sea bass.
Anglers looking for action off the beaches found it. Though there were not any blitzes like we had two weeks ago, surf anglers came up with some good catches of large bluefish. Charles Schek of Catonsville topped the scales with a 10-pound, 14-ounce bluefish he landed from the shore on Maryland Avenue Fenwick Island. He was using mullet for bait.
Bill Lytle of Fenwick Island landed an 8 3/4 -pound blue from the Fenwick State Park. Like many other anglers, he was having good luck with filleted pieces of mullet.
Assateague Island had a flurry of bluefish. The average blue was two to four pounds. Anglers there also reported many small flounder and a number of small kingfish.
The U.S. Route 50 Bridge and Shantytown Pier also saw a number of these chopper-size bluefish. While anglers were fishing for flounder, the blues came into the bay all at once and started grabbing shiners, minnows, spoons or whatever the angler had in the water.
Sea trout came into the Ocean City Inlet over the Memorial Day weekend. The party boat Tortuga, out of Bahia Marina, started the action by picking up four sea trout, along with catches of flounder by the south jetty.
Grover Collins of Snow Hill, fishing with Eddie Donaway of Newark, caught 19 trout weighing 3 to 6 pounds on bucktails dressed with peeler crab and plastic worms. They also had flounder up to 4 pounds. Steve Harmon of Ocean City had 12 trout. He and a friend were using minnows and squid for bait, proving one did not have to have a peeler to catch a trout.
Charlie Gross of Ocean City caught one of the largest trout from the U.S. 50 Bridge. It weighed 6 3/4 pounds and was taken on a grub lure. Mr. Gross also reported catching several small speckled trout, which he released.
Flounder fishing in the Ocean City area remains good, though many of the fish are under the legal limit of 13 inches and have to be thrown back. Most of the flounder reported were caught in the Thorofare area or the south jetty. One group of anglers had five keeper flounder from buoy No. 5, which is near the Thorofare. One of the largest flounders weighed in was caught by William Bundy Jr. of East Petersburg, Pa.