Beautiful Weather, Real Good Fishing

By Scott Lenox

Beautiful Weather, Real Good Fishing

Hit the video for the Daily Catch at the Ocean City Fishing Center

It was a beautiful day in and around Ocean City today with temps in the low 80s, sunny skies and light winds.  It was a great day to be on the water….so I  was!  Kristen and I hit the bay for our annual “Ryan is Back in School” trip and had some success with the flounders.  We had two throwback fish and two keepers of 18″ and 19″ on the Deadly Double in chartreuse.  Action took place north of the route 50 bridge on the first of the outgoing tide.

There was some good flounder fishing in the ocean today as well with lots of personal limits around the rail of the Angler with Captain Chris Mizurak.  Captain Chris found the right spots and his anglers did the rest and put a bunch of nice flatties in the fish box.

Offshore fishing was good for some too today as there were some white marlin, tuna, mahi and wahoo caught.  This jumbo 95.5 pound wahoo was weighed at the Ocean City Fishing Center this afternoon.  The crew also had tuna and a blue marlin release.

The crew of the Spring Mix II with Captain Chris Watkowski had a nice day with a white marlin release, a yellowfin tuna and some mahi from the troll.

Captain Chase Eberle of Chasin’ Tides Charters put his one man crew to work today releasing a white marlin and boxing a few stud yellowfin and some tilefish.  Captain Cade had a nice day with some flounder and sea bass from this afternoon’s trip.

Captain Kane Bounds of the Fish Bound has been burning the flounder up in the ocean lately with limits on just about every full day trip.  Some of the fish have been doormatish too with fish over 5 pounds and afternoon trips have yielded some good trigger fishing.

Curt Presnell and his son Cody had a nice day of floundering over ocean structure too with a limit of fish from 18″ to 22″ and some triggerfish.

Big Bird Cropper had his friends Jamie and Rob out today and put them on some bluefish including Jamie’s first ever.

Captain Marc Spagnola of Dusk to Dawn Bowfishing has been putting his shooters on some great action for cow nosed and southern rays in the South Bay the past few days.

Captain Monty Hawkins of the Morning Star didn’t see many mahi today, but he did have plenty of nice sea bass and some flounder up to over 25″.

Fall. 

Not quite yet I suppose. Closer though. Always has been a favorite time of year. Lot of post-Labor Day regulars  & good fishing. 

Works. 

Like Charlie Brown with a football I’m perpetually in hope other boats will see how easy it is to add habitat with blocks. That’s why I try to get the ladies to help. Today Vic had two hotties, Ms Marlene of Erie PA & Lucy from York PA push reef blocks by the rail. They landed perfectly atop Capt. Bob Gowar’s Memorial Reef where I sincerely hope anglers will bow-up & grin for at least a few more centuries. 

Much of our remaining natural hardbottom reef habitat may have been exposed for millennia – a thousand years or more. While concrete we build with will certainly last that long, it also has to remain exposed—not sanded in. I  “fight the tape” by reef building atop shoals. Here sand moves around with each change of current, let alone in a big way with every storm. We know that truly robust pieces of reef—shipwrecks—have resisted complete scouring (being buried by sand) for approximately 100 years. I’m referring to Winter Quarter can buoy & Fenwick Island Shoal wrecks. What fabulous opportunities these reefs have afforded scuba & free divers across the decades. 

WQ almost straddles the VA/MD line, while FIS is on the DE/MD line. I should like very much to site bi-state artificial reef permits at both locations. . . 

Though I thought a mahi would take the pool this trip, it was instead Mark’s 24.5 inch flounder. Yup.. Lost our nearshore mahi today. Water turned green. Where last week we could see down 30 feet and caught mahi fine – today you’d lose sight of a piece of squid 2 or 3 feet down and only saw one mini-mahi all day. Could turn around, they could return. Doubtful. There will sure be inshore stragglers awhile too. Sadly, for now at least, algae and a greening sea again hold the upper hand. 

Assuming major successes in oyster reef restoration in both our major estuaries (from 70 to hundreds of miles away as water flows) we could witness nearshore water quality as I saw only occasionally in my youth. Though we’re certainly in need of marine seafloor reef restorations for essential fish habitat; no amount of marine reef building can repair ocean water quality. That repair has to come from massive biofilters far upstream – oyster restorations.

I’ve often written about billfish moving offshore every decade from the 1950s on — always off a bit further as oysters collapsed. They’ve moved from just 2 to 5 miles out in the 1920s & 30s, to 10 to 20 miles in the 1950s & even 60s, and today to 60 miles and beyond. 

Way beyond. 

Not because of abundance. We see new catch records quite often. It’s because of water quality. 

The Mid-Atlantic has, quite literally, turned green. 

Deep Blue Sea? 

Yeah, No. 

Once upon a time sort of story. 

In way of another comparison it’s also true that in the early/mid 1980s we called WQ can wreck “The Fishbowl.” You could see the bottom in it’s entirety. Every fish, skate, ray, shell, sand ripple – all of it. I hope fellows using the reef these days get a couple days a year like that now. Back then on approaching the wreck you’d see a dark shadow then seemingly thousands of spadefish (& a very rare triggerfish.) In those days bluefish were prolific. Only on the shallowest reef habitats, (such as WQ can & FIS) would you see amberjack. (They were on other wrecks, but we couldn’t see em 60 or 70 feet down. ) Huge schools of jacks to 60 or 70lbs would swim slowly around shallow structure. I’d cast a wooden Stan Gibbs pencil popper that I’d soaked in sea water (often for weeks) to get a bit more weight and better action. Fish would bust all around it on retrieve. Many times I remember seeing an aj open wide just astern of the plug, and a dagone bluefish would swipe it for a mouthful of treble hooks 

..all while plainly looking at the wreck as though at the Baltimore Aquarium.

We’d see all manner of rays including what I strongly suspect were barndoor skates, & sand tiger sharks too.. Simply enormous. Huge sea bass, tautog; great shoals of jack crevalle, amberjack, and especially spadefish .. My gosh it was amazing. 

It’s an ocean worth recreating. We absolutely can restore the Mid-Atlantic’s marine water quality. 

Shall. 

Following decade after decade of Can’t, today’s oyster restorationists know how. 

White marlin inside 25 miles everyday of summer? 

Yup. 

Doable. 

It’s only a matter of funding and effort now. 

What an amazing success it will have been. 

I’ve an idea my pyramid reef molds are going to become part of that repair. 

Visit ocreefs.org if you’d care to help. Have a couple great raffles going on too!

Cheers! 

Monty 

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