Ocean City's 12th Annual Tuna Tournament reports record winnings exceeding $140,000. Top honors went to captains Mike Baulsir and Butch Davis on the Reel Relief for their 151-pound bluefin tuna caught by angler John Miller while fishing at the Parking Lot, located approximately 30 miles east of Chincoteague. The highest total weight of tuna went to Captain Craig Ziegler, skipper of the Box Lunch. The crew returned to the docks with 465 pounds of bluefin tuna during the three day event.
What's the Catch?
Washington & Vicinity
POTOMAC RIVER -- Guide Ken Penrod of Life Outdoors Unlimited said Whites Ferry and Lander were the two hotspots last weekend. Tube baits, streamer flies and Wooly Buggers lured large numbers of bronzebacks to 15 inches. If you want to catch stripers, there are still a few legal size fish lurking in Washington Channel, where trolled Sassy Shads and deep diving crankbaits produced good results. The pilings in Pentagon Lagoon and Washing Sailing Marina were both good bets for bass anglers casting spinnerbaits and plastic worms. Downriver at the mouth of Pomonkey Creek, crankbaits lured largemouths from the edges of grass beds and along steep channel edges. Guide Bill Kramer of Potomac Guide Service found good numbers of largemouths lurking in the grass beds of Gunston Cove, the mouth of Powell Creek, Aquia Creek and the flats located upriver of Chopawamsic Creek.
SUSQUEHANNA RIVER -- Guide Bill Kramer of Potomac Guide Service said, "The only game in town is wet wading, which during the past few days has been excellent."
LOCH RAVEN RESERVOIR -- Loch Raven Fishing Center manager Kevin McComas said large numbers of white perch can be found throughout the impoundment's middle reaches, however, low water conditions hampered the activities of largemouth anglers fishing shallow coves. Good catches of crappie can still be made from among the pilings of Bridge #1 and the Dulaney Valley Bridge by suspending live minnows 12 to 15 feet beneath a small float. Scattered catches of chain pickerel and northern pike were made while trolling for inline spinners along the outer edges of grass beds, however, most of the pike were too small to keep.
DEEP CREEK LAKE -- The piers near Johnny's Bait House were a good bet for anglers casting a variety of small lures for largemouth bass last weekend. The largest bass weighed, a 4-pound, 10-ouncer, was caught by Cecil Travis II of Crellin, Md. Other noteworthy catches included a an 11-inch bluegill, several rainbow trout in the 3-pound category and numerous walleye up to 4 pounds. Nearly all of these fish were caught on live minnows.
LAKE ANNA -- Despite blistering heat, Dave Fauntleroy at Anna Point Marina weighed several largemouths, some nearly 7 pounds, and an 8-pound striper during the past few days. The marina's Tuesday Evening Bass Tournament registered and released more than 100 pounds of largemouths, most caught using deepwater tactics. Some stripers were caught near Rose Valley and the channel edges adjacent to the state park, but overall, higher than normal water temperatures reduced last weekend's action. Carlos Wood at Highpoint Marina said the bass are holding in depths ranging 12 to 18 feet, mainly along the edges of channels and submerged creek beds.
JAMES RIVER (Richmond area) -- Several monster catfish were weighed at Chester Ice House, the largest a 55 1/4-pound behemoth caught by Johnson Pyles of Palmyra, Va., while bottom-fishing with cut bait. More than a dozen catties in the 29- to 54-pound range were also caught, mostly from areas downriver of Richmond's I-95 Bridge.
SHENANDOAH RIVER -- Trace Noel at Shenandoah River Trips said, "Smallmouth bass fishing is the best it has been in years. In addition, fly rodders are catching good numbers of panfish, while bait dunkers catch a mix of catfish, bass and panfish alike."
SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE -- A 45-pound, 11-ounce striper was checked in at Camper's Paradise last weekend, but striper fishing remains only fair to good with scattered catches of fish ranging from 10 to 15 pounds.
UPPER BAY -- Mike Benjamin at Herb's Tackle Shop said stripers are really scarce at the Susquehanna Flats, but channel catfish and small white perch are plentiful throughout the area. Benjamin said there have been isolated reports of good tidewater largemouth bass catches made in lower Susquehanna River, upper Northeast and Sassafras rivers and among the rip-rap lining the Elk River's shores. Crabbing remains good at the Elk and Sassafras rivers, where chicken neckers managed to catch a half-bushel of medium size crabs between sunrise and 10 a.m. Clyde Blamberg at Clyde's Sport Shop in Baltimore said there have been lots of small rockfish caught near Love Point, Rock Hall and Key Bridge, but keeper fish, those measuring 18 inches or larger, remain quite scarce.
KENT ISLAND AREA -- Francis Toy at Toy's Outdoor Store said chummers managed to catch a few legal stripers just after sunrise, but by noon, the action was limited to lots of undersize fish and an occasional keeper. Toy said fair catches of croaker up to 15 inches were made above Rock Hall, with the best action taking place along the bay's eastern channel edge. Bottom-fished squid strips produced the best croaker catches, while bloodworms and clan snout lured perch and stripers.
BAY BRIDGE AREA -- John Lambert at the Angler's Sport Shop said stripers up to 20 inches were caught by chummers and trollers fishing along the relatively shallow drop-offs north of Chesapeake Bay Bridge. Just below the twin spans, at Hacketts, Thomas and Bloody points, anglers drift fishing with live minnows and squid strips caught a mix of croaker and flounder, both measuring 15 to 16 inches.
CHOPTANK RIVER AREA -- Keith Turner at Tommy's Sporting Goods said good nighttime action for croaker, white perch and striped bass was reported nearly every night last week by anglers fishing from the U.S. 50 Bridge fishing piers.
CHESAPEAKE BEACH -- The headboats Tom Hooker Rod 'n' Reel Dock and Lady Hooker are still fishing the Choptank River's mouth, where croaker of 14 to 16 inches dominated the action. The Rod 'n' Reel Dock charter fleet continues to troll between Parker's Creek and the Gas Docks, where they're catching stripers averaging 18 to 24 inches.
PATUXENT RIVER AREA -- Ken Lamb at the Tackle Box in Lexington Park said chummers continue to score well on striped bass at several locations south of Solomons, with some of the best action taking place near the Target Ship American Mariner. Lamb said flounder to 24 inches were taken by anglers drift fishing with live minnows on the shallow flats east of HS Buoy and near Buoy 74. Croaker are still plentiful throughout the area, with the larger fish, some measuring nearly 22 inches, taken just after sundown.
POINT LOOKOUT -- Captain Paul Kellam, skipper of the Patty Lee, has been chumming at the Southwest Middle Ground where he's catching a mix of striped bass and bluefish ranging from 18 to 24 inches. Kellam said there are good numbers of croaker and weakfish holding a few miles farther south near buoy 66. Captain Bruce Scheible at Scheible's Fishing Center reported great bottom-fishing action at several locations within sight of Smith Island. Scheible's catches consisted of croaker, flounder, weakfish, striped bass and bluefish.
HOOPER ISLAND AREA -- Captain Phil Gootee on the Fish Magnet chummed along the bay's eastern channel edge near HS Buoy for stripers, catching limits of 18- to 24-inch fish. Later in the evenings, he fished for croaker and weakfish at the same location and reporteded limit catches of both.
TANGIER SOUND -- The headboats Barbara Ann II and Barbara Ann III hammered large numbers of croaker and weakfish while bottom-fishing with squid strips in lower Tangier Sound near Watts Island. Captain Curtis Johns on the Karen Ray fished the sound's upper reaches near Buoy #9, a location that provided lots of action on flounder, weakfish and big croaker while drift-fishing with chunks of peeler crab.
REEDVILLE -- Captain Ferrell McLain, skipper of the Red Osprey, said, "Bottom fishing is still the No. 1 game. Grey Trout (weakfish) are abundant, some 18" to 20"." Captain Jim Hardy chummed at Buoy 62 and caught large numbers of bluefish in the 3-pound category.
CAPE CHARLES -- Chris's Bait & Tackle registered dozens of citation-size cobia last week, the largest a 91-pound, 13-ounce monster caught by a local angler. This and hundreds of others were caught at Lattimer Shoals while drifting chunks of cut menhaden in chum slicks of ground menhaden. Schools of foraging croaker can be found over the relatively flat bottom west of Kiptopeake, while at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel's third and fourth islands, spadefish up to 12 pounds were taken on tiny morsels of clam fished near the partly submerged boulders.
OCEAN CITY -- The Toyota Fins Tournament produced several large bluefin tuna, most caught at the Parking Lot, and dozens of dolphin up to 20 pounds caught by anglers trolling near Washington Canyon. Inshore, flounder action ranged fair to good above the U.S. 50 Bridge. Fair catches of weakfish and striped bass were reported by anglers fishing from the U.S. 50 Bridge at night, but when the sun comes up the action comes to a screeching halt.
VIRGINIA BEACH -- Headboats running from Virginia Beach Fishing Center reported good to excellent bottom-fishing for croaker and spot just inside the mouth of Chesapeake Bay, while offshore, the charter fleet concentrated on the deepwater stretch between The Cigar and southern tip of Norfolk Canyon. Offshore catches consisted of blue marlin, white marlin, small yellowfin tuna and lots of mid-size dolphin.
OUTER BANKS -- Hatteras-based charter boats continue to be plagued with towering seas and windy weather, however, on the two calm days last week, most boats returned to the docks with good catches of yellowfin tuna, a few wahoo, mid-size dolphin and an occasional sailfish. Inshore, the headboats caught a mix of Spanish mackerel, croaker, pompano and sea mullet.
Hear updates on this week's hottest fishing spots by calling Post-Haste at 202/334-9000 and entering category 3474 (FISH). Fishing columnist Gary Diamond files audio reports weekly. The call is free wherever 202 area codes are free. From Prince William County call 690-4110.