Some Swords in the Deep

By Scott Lenox

Some Swords in the Deep

Check out the Daily Catch at Sunset Marina!

The beautiful weather weekend continued today with sunny skies, almost zero wind and warm temps and there were lots of anglers out taking advantage of it!

Captain Brian Porter and the crew of the Boss Hogg had an insane day out in the deep with a nice bigeye, a wahoo, and a pile of mahi and blue line tilefish.

Captain Austin Ensor and the #gang on Primary Search had a great day in the deep with a 51″ swordfish and over 193 pounds of nice mahi.

The crew of the private boat Reel Escape had a nice day offshore today with a swordfish and some nice gaffer mahi.

Captain Jake Schaffer and the crew of Turnin’ Fins had a great day today with a white marlin release, a wahoo and some mahi.

Captain Joe Drosey of Rhonda’s Osprey fishing out of Fishermen’s Marina had a great day with a load of mahi and blue line tilefish.

Captain Bob Layton and the crew of the Wrecker out of the Ocean City Fishing Center found the meat today too with a swordfish and a pile of mahi.

The crew of the Ocean City Girl had a nice day with some gaffer mahi.

Captain Chase Eberle of Chasin’ Tides Charters has been having some great luck in the ocean lately with several trips finding mahi, flounder and big sea bass.

There was some good fishing on board the Judith M out of Bahia Marina today with some good flounder coming over the rail.

Brian Yacimowicz, Steve Diffendorfer and Curt Greening had a nice day at Massey’s Canyon today with some false albacore and 15 mahi.

Captain Monty Hawkins of the Morning Star caught a yellowfin tuna yesterday and today he saw a white marlin in a similar spot.

An outboard, it’s owner perhaps more accustomed to multi-lane beltway traffic than a wide open ocean, passed close abeam on my starboard side before sunup. Those little waves, his wake, would be the heaviest seas we would encounter this day. 

Man it was nice off there. Crowded for our piece of coast, but flat calm. 

Too calm. Everyone was out! Boats Everywhere!

While some boats got on the mahi – nice ones at that; all I could do was scratch a few up. The most perfect conditions imaginable – even an old school sargassum weed line – and, as my old friend Capt Ricky used to say, I “couldn’t catch my backpocket with a handful of treble hooks.” 

Rich took the day’s mahi-only fish pool. 

Thankfully I happened upon a sea bass now and then as the day went along too. Nick a few, pic a few cbass; box up a handful of mahi; comes a white marlin swimming by the bow.. 

Whuuut?!? 

Yes, really. 

Yesterday we caught a yellowfin tuna – a first for me while nearshore fishing (..have caught many offshore further over the years where yft ‘belong.’.) 

Then, today, while kicking around my home grounds, a white swims by. 

If you fish or dive in the mid-Atlantic ocean; find a group that’s restoring oysters in Chesapeake or Delaware Bay and support the heck out of em. 

As oysters completely collapsed in the mid-1970s white marlin moved further and further offshore. These billfish were once found just a few miles out in fabulous crystal clear blue waters during the early 1900s. They were avoided because tackle of that era didn’t always survive a marlin encounter. In the 1950s/60s whites were so thick at Jackspot Shoal 20 miles out we became “the white marlin capitol of the world.” Oysters collapsed – water quality grew worse & worse & worse.. By 1990 whites were primarily a canyon fishery 55+ miles offshore. 

Among fishery restorations’ many tasks, I think this one hardest for people to wrap their arms around. This isn’t a problem “catch restriction” can help with; it’s what marine scientists call a ‘benthic/pelagic coupling’ – where the abundance of a pelagic species is tied directly to some aspect of benthic ecology, and here the two are so very distant from one another – Yes, oysters and marlin are inextricably bound together. 

Often readers may think I’m trying to grow oysters on our marine reef sites with my Reef Foundation work. No, in the ocean we have a multiyear succession coming from rapidly colonizing animals such as mussels and bryozoa, to eventually soft and hard corals after we’ve put a hard substrate like concrete on the seafloor. It usually takes nearly a decade to get good coral growth. 

And while perhaps our marine reefs contribute minimally to water quality, (it’s mostly fish habitat work in my eyes) – it was our region’s once-vast oyster populations in both large estuaries that once filtered all manner of nutrients and algae from those huge bay water outflows. “Biofiltered” thusly via healthy oyster populations, Chesapeake & DE Bay’s clean waters allowed the ocean to stay blue – sometimes almost to the beaches. 

In fact, I’ve had numerous reports of blue water inside the Chesapeake – reports from sailors in the 1960s that witnessed it – experienced mariners who knew of what they spoke. 

In my time beginning with the 1980s the ocean turned green. Dark green. 

Releasing white marlin is nearly 100% these days save those very few that might become multi-million dollar tournament winners. Wasn’t always so! I can remember Capt Jay Coleman, a gray-haired charter skipper from Talbot Street docks back in the early 1980s: “No use throwing marlin back! The blue water’s all gone! where are they going to live?!”

He meant it too.. 

Even if blue water was just a bit further off than he’d known in his career – the line between clear blue & pea green ocean water was always moving a bit further off. 

I think that’s changing. 

A little! 

Our waters appear to be improving. 

Long way to go yet. But where dern near everyone used to say “Can’t!” – We can’t restore oysters because of disease and overharvest – now we can plainly see successes in estuarine oyster restoration. 

Big time. 

We KNOW how to restore oyster reefs and bars. 

Every reef worked on now with an industrial scale comes to life. And this industrial response befits an industrial fishing caused problem. 

There’s so much to do – and our ignorance of marine habitat is vast. 

One step at a time I suppose.. 

Boy is there a lot to do. 

Help fund oyster restoration work. It’s a big part of it. 

Cheers 

Monty 

For Chesapeake oyster work I like MD CCA’s efforts – 

https://www.ccamd.org/living-reef-action-campaign/

For our grass roots coastal coral and seafloor restoration efforts – ocreefs.org Ocean City Reef Foundation.. 

Someone please tell me who’s making progress in DE Bay.. 

TY!

NEW Back Deck Fishing Report is up on our YouTube….check it out!!

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