Mahi and Flounder in the Ocean, Sheepshead in the Bay

By Scott Lenox

Mahi and Flounder in the Ocean, Sheepshead in the Bay

It was a hot one today with temps in the mid 90s for most of us.  Inshore, there was a pretty stiff breeze out of the west too which had the bay a little churned up.  Fishing was still good around the south jetty for the bottom fishing folks, and there were some more mahi and flounder out in the ocean for the party boat fleet.

Captain Chris Mizurak of the Angler reported a slow sea bass bite today, but he did manage some nice flounder for his anglers that stuck it out.

Captain Monty Hawkins of the Morning Star had to labor it out for his anglers today, but the extra effort worked and got some fish in the boat.

Mini-Mahi (w/o the Mayhem) 9/4/23 Labor Day Ocean calm, air warm, inlet piped down from offshore hurricane swells of late; toss in a sunrise worth getting up for? Dern sure a fine start to this day. My crew pressed Bernie into duty on today’s block drop. On my mark twenty blocks went by the stern rail & swiftly to the bottom. They’re now on their slow journey to becoming coral reef. Our mahi trip, which I thought would be a simple thing, turned into labor. Very first drop we nicked a few; thereafter we had just enough to tease us into further pursuit. Good thing I had a light rail of hearty anglers. They worked on mahi until dern near 3 (when I should have been halfway home!) and then I switched em to sea bass to make sure everyone had dinner – or tried to. (I’m guessing pics of trash are not from WOC Wawa..)Yesterday I saw my first Bryde’s Whale (that’s ‘BruDez Whale’ and, yeah no, I did not think of that pronunciation!) Wasn’t quite midday today when nearly two dozen mini-mahi went scattering fan-like a couple hundred feet off the port bow. Center aft this burst of surface activity emerged a broad, swept-back dorsal with heavy shoulders and stout bill – ever so briefly but unquestionably, a blue marlin made plain why those mahi were trying hard to get somewhere else. I’d wager some didn’t. Three years ago me and the boys were off tilefishing on a fun trip when a little blue marlin ate a tuna feather. Elephants eat peanuts? Yup. Why not.. Man. I backed for over an hour. When finally brought astern that grand fish had given its all ..yet was three inches short. I had to, by law, do the most shameful thing I’d ever done – to me as if I’d shot a farmers cow and drove away leaving it for a buzzards’ feast, we let that marlin sink into the depths. I suppose biologically it was as if a whalefall. Nothing truly goes to waste at sea at recreational levels of impact. Still, a size limit on a fish that could feed a hundred people in the event of a mortality; yet is routinely released by sportsmen to swim thousands more miles no matter how big..I squandered that fish. It troubles me still. Ocean City Fishing Center picked up my ‘Maryland Sport Fisheries Achievement Award’ and made a FB post of it.  Nice to have recognition yet again but it sure seems like any success owing my endeavors remains over the horizon.. I know so. What I saw today happening for several months? Yup. That. I believe we can restore the marlin fishery to Jackspot – promise. That’s the finish line. Billfishing there, just 20 miles out, made Ocean City the ‘White Marlin Capital of the World.’ Everything that’s been broken since the 1950s can be put back. Most of the repair is in estuarine & marine hardbottom reef. The rest is in giving science and management factual catch information.. Repairing sea & bay floor habitat takes care of some food web issues, the biggest part of water quality–oysters in MD’s Chesapeake will return bluewater to our famous shoals; numbers of reef fish not seen since the 1950s can be made to swim again – there for the catching too as surplus production. That IS fishery management’s promise. That’s WHY we can catch fish and still watch their number grow. I guarantee fishing off the Maryland coast can be made incredibly better. I hope to see it done. Fishing’s statistics may not be for everyone, but dern sure a lot of you are helping to restore corals off the beach.. ocreefs.orgI’ll still be cbassin, but for those who luv them pointy nose critters, the benthic/pelagic coupling is real and it’s huge. (oysters to marlin) Ocean work isn’t just in corals. Have to fund oyster reef building – restore estuarine biofilters. I like CCA MD’s Chesapeake reef work. They realize they don’t need ‘special’ substrates.. State of MD/Fed work too because, well, they just have more money! Putting marlin back on Jackspot will require everything to be repaired. Lets aget after it. Laying in tomorrow. Tuesday after the big holiday is a good time to rest a day. Cheers,Monty

Jeff Weeks and Dave Weller hit the south jetty with live sand fleas today where they had some throwback tautog and some sheepshead including this nice citation fish at 6.88 pounds.

Duane Hardy, Nick Stake and Trenton Kane from Huntington County, PA were part of a five man group of anglers that had one heck of a day with the sheepshead.  The group caught a limit of fish up to 6.5 pounds on board the private boat Reel Steel.

Shaun Flaherty got in on the sheepshead action today as well and put these two nice keepers in the cooler.

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