Dusky and sand sharks hit the beaches last week. Yes, these sporting sharks -- which, by the way, do not bother people -- are being caught by surf fishermen.
The secret to catching sharks in the surf is to cast out as far as you can with a long surf rod -- the longer the better. These sharks cruise off the coast and tend to come in closer toward the evening hours. The larger percentage of sharks are taken after 7 p.m.
These sharks will eat almost any kind of cut bait such as mullet, cut bluefish and even squid. Squid is a popular bait since it is tough and stays on the hook. It is best to use a single, long-leadered steelon surf rig with a large cork float, so the bait stays off the bottom away from bothersome crabs.
Some of the sharks we saw ran from 10 to 30 pounds. There were also small sand sharks in the surf. Besides the sand and dusky sharks, anglers were hitting large skates and rays.
A flurry of snapper blues did hit the beaches last weekend, but the bad news is the kingfish action slowed down. Even the small sea trout did a disappearing act this past week.
Shark action was good on the Ocean Pier. A chum bag goes
down three nights a week -- from 11 p.m. until 2 a.m. -- on Saturdays, Mondays and Wednesdays. Last Saturday, the sand and dusky sharks in the 37- to 42-inch range were numerous. Besides the sharks, anglers on the Ocean Pier were picking up flounder, kingfish, skates and an occasional spot.
Flounder fishing continues to be good, although there were numerous throwback flounder (fish under the legal-size limit of 14 inches). Flounder were hitting in relatively shallow water.
Rosella Compello of Baltimore picked up her flounder on the flats. She had a 2 1/4 -pounder and a 2 3/4 -pounder from the shoal waters north of the Thorofare on live minnows.
George Winter of York, Pa., landed one of the largest flounders of the week. His catch of the day weighed 5 pounds, 14 ounces. He was also fishing the flats, north of the Thorofare with a live minnow. This big flounder was weighed in at Bahia Marina.
Gerald Klahr of Pennsylvania caught his large 5 1/4 -pound flounder south of the U.S. 50 bridge on a live minnow. This area has also been a hot spot for flounder on the high tide turning to go out.
Sea trout fishing has been good for anglers in boats working the waters near the South Jetty. Anglers are having success with small, live sand perch for bait. Jimmy Powell of Ocean City, fishing with his 5-year-old son Matt, caught four trout in the 4- to 5-pound range last weekend with sand perch.
The Oceanic Pier and U.S. 50 bridge saw trout action at night last week as well.
Indian River Inlet had a flurry of bluefish over the weekend. At the change of tide, the snapper blues would bite, mostly on bucktails with plastic worms.
At night, the trout action has been good as well as the striper fishing. The stripers have been taking live eels. Indian River Bay had an excellent week on flounder. Many anglers reported catching their limit.
Offshore fishing offered a mixed bag of fishing action last week. For anglers fishing closer inshore in areas like the Fenwick Shoal and the Jackspot, cobia were plentiful. Although cobia take lures, most anglers use bait such as live eels, snapper bluefish, big bunkers or squid. Many people hang a chum pot off the bow of the boat or throw chunks of bait into the water to attract these delicious fish.
There were a number of king and Spanish mackerel in the same area. Many anglers went for bluefin tuna and limited out by "chunking" in the vicinity of the Jackspot.
The first wahoo was caught last week by Chuck Gowan of Oslo, Minn. He was fishing aboard the Jazzy-Sazzy. It went 23 pounds.
A number of white marlin were spotted last week, scattered from the Hot Dog to the Washington Canyon.
Tim McCleary of Alexandria, Va., took a 105-pound yellowfin tuna while fishing with Capt. Jim Karl aboard the Remedy II. They caught the big tuna on a whole squid.
A 246-pound bigeye tuna was taken by Ross Vickers of Newark, Del. He was fishing aboard the Nasty Habit II with Capt. Mark Babiarz. They were fishing south of the Washington Canyon in 75 fathoms of water with a green machine.
A huge 754-pound mako shark was caught over the week end by Ron Jasion of Baltimore. He was fishing aboard the Fightin' Chance with Capt. Jim Smith. The fish was caught in 140 fathoms of water in the Poor Man's Canyon.