With White Marlin Open In The Books It’s On To Some Big Ol’ Flounders

By Scott Lenox

With White Marlin Open In The Books It’s On To Some Big Ol’ Flounders

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All the checks are written and the awards are all passed out for the 50th anniversary of the White Marlin Open!!  In the end the three biggest check winners were the crews of Reel Tight for their 265 lb bigeye tuna worth $1,019,441, RoShamBo for their 215 lb bigeye tuna worth $1,753,478 and Floor Reel with their 640.5 lb blue marlin worth $6,235,436!!  Congratulations to all of the winners of the 50th White Marlin Open!!  Thanks to Brendan Hanley of Pure Lure for the pic!

There was some pretty great flounder fishing over ocean structure today in flat calm seas for some of  the fleet.  Blake Gunther, Derek Yobst and crew had an awesome day with some very big fish up to 27″ and 8.3 pounds.  The guys also had some spadefish, a tautog and some nice triggerfish today.

Rich Daiker left the WMO awards this afternoon and headed to the route 50 bridge where he did what he does best and put the net on a big 26″ flounder using live bunker.

Anglers on board the Angler with Captain Chris Mizurak had picky sea bass fishing, but did manage some keepers and some keeper flounder.

The crew of MobSquad Outdoors with Captain Nick Sampson had a great deep drop trip with several very nice blueline tilefish coming aboard.

Captain Marc Spagnola of Dusk to Dawn Bowfishing hasn’t slept this month, but his customers don’t care because he’s putting them on cow nosed and southern rays both day and night.

Captain Monty Hawkins of the Morning Star treated his anglers to calm seas and tasty fillets today.

Scent aerosolized by waves breaking easily against Assateague Island in the morning calm, a light southerly breeze carried the unmistakable natural freshness of salt air across the backbay and into the wheelhouse. Although as familiar as home, it’s rarely so sweet as it was this morning. The inlet offered nothing to rebuff our leaving land behind. As we cleared the entrance buoys a gorgeous day lay ahead. After the young marine habitat reconstruction firm of Keegan, Colton & Carter launched our reef blocks by the rail, we headed on off a bit further. Clients caught near-about all sea bass today with just a few fluke and one cutlassfish. A couple fellows made it into double digits too – amazing considering how hard they had to work for every bite. Sanford sealed the deal on the pool with a sweet bull sea bass; everyone piled into the group snap.. Nice day.I’ve wondered of late what would people have said in the 1950s had anyone warned, “we’re going to turn the ‘deep blue sea’ into a pea-green ocean.”I sure don’t think anyone guessed it was happening.  Even today there’s just a handful of marine ecologists coming to the realization of a greening sea. (Scientists rarely believe fishermen.) About a decade ago I was at a conference where a presentation on anoxia/hypoxia (absence of/low oxygen) in Chesapeake waters was given by one of the finest marine ecologists you could ever hope to meet. At its conclusion a line was drawn across the mouth of the Bay delineating its over-nutrified, algae laden waters when this quote was given: “..and the ocean just absorbs it.” I stood up right then and gave the room an earful about Maryland’s marlin fishery and its steady march offshore across many decades as the Mid-Atlantic ocean grew greener & greener. I had a bluewater skipper, a marlin fishermen, describe fishing just 4 to 5 miles out on his daily trips in the 1930s, (have even heard 2 miles out described in the 1920s!) to 15 & 20 miles through the 1950s into the 1970s. Nowadays, of course, marlin boats will run to the canyons & much further. At 55 miles offshore, Poor Man’s Canyon is so named because you burn less fuel getting there–it’s the closest one.. Several captains this week told me green water extended to 60 miles. Pulses of green water going beyond 100 fathoms like that have not been unusual this last decade. Only recently has an article come out in “Nature” (a cutting edge science source if ever there was) about ocean greening. Those authors write about far more ocean than I’m referring to though, & lay blame on warming. What I’ve documented isn’t that. It’s the collapse of oysters leading to unfiltered and therefore overnutrified outflows of our two largest estuaries turning the Mid-Atlantic green over the course of 70+ years. I believe the absence of a keystone species, oysters, & not climate change, is the cause. I think this greening would have occurred given a mini ice age. I do hope we repair marine water quality before grouper take a liking to our reefs though. Why here? Why not Palm Beach and Jupiter inlet along Florida’s east coast too? How come those fellows can target sailfish where great grandad did but we have to run further & further with each generation?A presentation given by Dr. Jon Hare some fifteen years ago (now boss of bosses at NMFS Science) showed the Gulf Stream a meter higher on its north side as it careened off Cape Hatteras. The Labrador current, so powerful off Cape Cod, wanders south more slowly  to its terminus off Chesapeake Bay. Together I believe they form a dam that traps our nutrient rich estuarine outflows allowing more & more algae to flourish; a dam that all but prevents marine flushing making our Mid-Atlantic waters more green than anywhere else along our coast. Last few years we’ve had good fortune with east winds pushing cleaner green water inshore in summer – even ‘blended water’ on occasion with a bit of blue in it. In my youth many clients and skippers told me of dolphin fishing in blue water at Great Gull buoy (5 miles out) into the 1970s. Twenty miles out this year you can only see down a couple feet at best. Last few years mahi came inshore in better water. They were even caught ten miles out. I thought our newly recovered oyster bars & reefs, the start of a recovery still thought impossible by some, were having an impact on water quality – and they must be. But for now? Back to the green grind with no hope of nearshore mahi at the moment. Could change in a day though.. Lot of water moves around off there. Cheers, Monty

Hit the vid for our flounder fishing trip last week…..Subscribe!!

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