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246-pound big-eye bags big prize in tuna tournament


Ross Vickers won $4,200 with his first place 246-pound big-eye tuna at last weekend's sixth annual Ocean City Tuna Tournament. Vickers was fishing aboard Capt. Mark Babiarz's Nasty Habit II. The world record big-eye was caught off of Ocean City by Cecil Brown back in 1977. Brown's fish weighed a staggering 375 pounds.

Joe O'Boyle's MoJo took first place for total pounds of tuna caught when the boat's three fish weighed in at 210 pounds. The typical tuna hits the scales at between 30 and 50 pounds, to add some perspective to the tournament winners. Capt. Mike Connellee's Sweet Water won the prize for most tuna tagged and released -- three. Nearly 50 tuna were checked in during the three-day event which had the Ocean City Fishing Center as its host. Many small tuna were reported to have been released by anglers.

I fished the tournament last Saturday aboard the Liquidator II, captained by John Runhel, with no luck. We dropped our lines about 43 miles out after a 1 3/4 -hour run and in 40 fathoms of water. By the end of the day we had covered some 150 miles while fishing primarily in the area of Poor Man's Canyon and in very rough seas. I blame our bad luck on warm water. When we dropped our lines, the water was at 78 degrees, but by the time we called it quits late in the afternoon, it had risen to 83 degrees. Mate Dave McKay thinks the "ideal range is between 74 and 78 degrees".

Safety course

All first-time hunters in Maryland are required to complete and pass a certified hunter's safety course before they can purchase a hunting license. Now, well in advance of the approaching fall hunting seasons, is the time for new or prospective hunters to get this task accomplished.

Courses are set to begin Aug. 10, 31 and Sept. 28 at Fort Meade. Call Ed Bromble at (410) 761-2089 to sign-up. The Stoney Creek Club will conduct a course beginning Sept. 20 and you should call Earl Zoeller at (410) 360-0872 for details. Call Buddy Abner at (410) 987-0107 about the Aug. 24 or Sept. 13 classes at Three Rivers Sportsman's Club. The Anne Arundel Fish & Game will begin a course Sept. 14 and you can call Tom Carpenter at (410) 757-1945 to sign-up. Two classes are set for the Trinity Bible Church -- Aug. 3 and Sept. 7 and Lee Collison can give you the details at (410) 787-8786.

Saltwater harvest changes

Monday evening saw an unusual joint meeting of the Department of Natural Resources Sportfishing and Tidal Fisheries Advisory Commissions that was heavily attended by Bay area sportsmen and watermen.

Some of highlights were: "we expect this year's oyster harvest to come in under 100,000 bushels," reported Fisheries honcho Pete Jensen. To counter that look for an oyster season delay from Oct. 15 to Nov. 1 instead of cuts on the catch limits. A black drum management plan is in the works that will address setting a commercial limit where none presently exists. Sport anglers have been limited to a drum-a-day for some time.

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