Ocean City anglers have been surprised to see triggerfish in the waters again, and the fish, which usually frequent more southern areas, have returned in numbers.
Most of these strange-looking striped fish have been caught in the Ocean City Inlet by anglers fishing for tautog. Some have been taken offshore on wrecks, while others have been showing up in the chum slicks of offshore fishermen looking for tuna or sharks.
If an angler is in a boat and sees a sea bass pot buoy, he or she can look beneath the float. There are often one or more triggerfish there.
Al Lyons of Seaside Bait and Tackle on Route 26, who was fishing the Lightship out of Indian River, reported catching 20 triggerfish recently. He had thrown out chunks of squid and had schools of triggerfish come to the surface to eat. The fish will take squid offshore, but inshore their favorite food is sand fleas.
The Ocean City Inlet has also been a good spot for sea trout. Skip Meushaw of Skip's Bait and Tackle says that sea trout fishing has improved for anglers in boats. He also says that fishing on the U.S. 50 bridge at night has been producing catches of sea trout as well as stripers.
The stripers must be released at this time of year. Gordon Griffith of Baltimore took a 4 1/2 -pound sea trout from the bridge at night while casting a bucktail.
Five-year-old Nick Palese of Baltimore landed a 5-pound, 14-ounce sea trout from his father's boat near the South Jetty. He was fishing with sand perch. Many anglers are using the tiny sand perch for bait since live spot has not been available.
Fishing from the Oceanic Pier picked up considerably for anglers catching sea trout and bluefish. The bluefish have been running through the inlet and into the bay on the incoming tide.
The sea trout are hitting best on the high slack water and also on the beginning of the outgoing tide. Large 1/4 -ounce spec rigs, bucktails and even strips of squid are working at night. By day, the pier has been a good place for flounder.
The Ocean Pier has seen a large variety of fish. Flounder, kingfish, sharks, skates, blowfish, sea trout, bluefish and Norfolk spot were reported. The best baits continue to be bloodworms, squid and mullet.
nTC Flounder fishing in the bay has been good, although there are many throwbacks. One man caught and released 65 flounder. None of them was legal-sized. Bob Laing of Ocean City had a catch of 30 flounder and was able to keep three. The action is there, however, and some days there are numerous catches of larger flounder.
The largest flounder last week was 6 1/2 pounds and was taken by Horst Berger. He was fishing the Thorofare with a live minnow when he took the big fish.
Two big flatties were weighed at Captain Mac's Bait and Tackle. Linda Balton of Lancaster, Pa., had a 4-pound, 1-ounce fluke while fishing north of the U.S. 50 bridge with a squid and minnow combination. Virgil DeSimone of Laurel picked up a 5-pound, 10-ounce flounder in the channel near the Convention Hall.
Flounder seem to be scattered throughout the bay. The fish are taking shiners as well as minnows, although the larger fish have been caught on minnows. Squid in combination with a minnow or a shiner seems to help when fishing for flounder.
The surf continues to be alive with kingfish, sand perch, tiny sand sharks and small sea trout. A number of flounder have also been reported. On Assateague Island, where anglers can surf fish all day, the news has been encouraging. Mary Brown of Buck's Place says that everyone who comes in the store reports catching something.
The best bet in the surf has been a piece of bloodworm sandwiched with a small strip of squid on a No. 6 hook.
Offshore action has been good at the Jackspot. Ocean City boaters have been "chunking" for bluefin tuna in the 40- to 50-pound range. The limit for this size fish is six, and many anglers report catching that limit.
Three large bigeye tuna were taken recently. The largest was 245 pounds and was caught by Greg Mueller of Baltimore while " fishing aboard the Gosling with Capt. Bill Anderson. They were fishing with a yellow smoker lure in the Washington Canyon.
A pair of 204-pound bigeye tuna were also reeled in. Rob Higgs of Ingleside caught one while fishing in the Washington Canyon aboard the Blue Thunder. Another was caught by Larry Harnly of Lancaster, Pa., with Capt. Rick Tshudy, while fishing the Washington Canyon with a ballyhoo bait.