It’s Groundhog Day for fishing!
Fishing is like ground hog day right now. It’s the same day over and over again, except for the part where you might … or might not … catch. Kingfish and sand perch have been the main catches in the surf. Small summer bluefish are starting to just now pick up; that has been random for a while using mullet rigs. We are starting to see small mullet in the back bays and we are seeing more catches of bluefish. Hammerhead sharks are pupping near shore as they always do, so some small or baby hammerheads are being caught. Reef and wreck sites are giving up trigger, sheepshead, and lots of oyster crackers. Sea bass are still being caught. Flounder has been best offshore and good one day and horrible the next. All in all it is deep summer fishing and typical for this time of year.
Cinder worms are spawning in the inland bays and giving many boaters quite a shock. These worms normally burrow in the mud but when they spawn they develop a paddle tail and swim erratically to spawn or swarm. The fishing during this can be off the hook if you know how to fish a cinder worm swarm. Fish go crazy for these swarms and will feed heavily on the cinder worms, especially striped bass. The hard part is fishing this swarm because all the fish want to eat are these worms and you can’t just grab one and put it on a hook; they will break apart. This is only a small part of the entire worm at this point. You can match the hatch so to speak with four-inch pink sluggos, or try pink Zooms. Soft plastics will be your best bet of the same color for sure. Moving water will induce more strikes and increase your chances. Fish will be hitting individual worms, you will have to anticipate the fish’s path to get in the strike zone. During the full-moon cycles when this spawn occurs you can use these soft plastics to increase your chances of catching striped bass. You best bet will be with fly fishing gear to match this hatch. It is difficult to do this with spinning gear, but it can happen. Move your plastics around with fast erratic action like the worms display. If you are in slow-moving water move the lure slower. Bass will be slurping these worms by the handful in slower water. Again you will have to anticipate the fish’s next move to get your lure in their face. It is easy to fish a spawn; just hard to catch
Before it started, the biggest story that came out of the White Marlin Open this year was a bar tab for twenty thousand dollars, that went viral. For Delaware the biggest story is the eighty-six pound white that came to the scales yesterday. The 2017 White Marlin Open started in a tornado, literally. The first day there were heavy storms in the area. We were headed to the scales to see if any of the hundred-and-thirty-plus boats would bring anything to the docks. Then the tornado warnings started popping up so we decided we would skip the scales and watch it live online. The storm headed out to sea, but not before putting Ocean City, Maryland under a tornado warning and the crews at the scales dealt with sixty-mile-per-hour plus winds and a lot of sideways rain. Glad I stayed home for that one. A couple of tuna and underweight whites came to the scales despite the storm. At least fish were being put on the board. There were some colorful descriptions of the trip back in from many anglers.
On the last day of the forty-fourth White Marlin Open, three-hundred-and-twenty-seven boats went fishing for their last shot at topping the leader board. The weather this year was the big player in the outcome of this tournament. Usually Thursday is the big day for turnovers, this year it was Friday, the last day. The crazy weather we had at the beginning of the week, Monday and Tuesday especially, kept a lot of boats at port. On Tuesday only twelve boats went fishing, but they brought fish to the scales in some rough seas. On Tuesday the marinas were packed with boats that didn’t go fishing. There were three-hundred-and-fifty-three boats that were registered, close to three thousand anglers, competing for $4.97 million dollars - the largest purse ever awarded in any fishing tournament.
The eighty-six pound white marlin that was in first place on Thursday was thought to be the largest we would see this year. Until the Wire Nut came to the scales at four on Friday with a large white caught by Angler Glen Frost. The white measured seventy-three inches long and fifteen-and-a-half inches wide. This was going to be a heavy fish easily over ninety pounds. The white weighed in at ninety-five-and-a-half pounds. This was the new leader and the fourth heaviest white marlin brought to the scales in the forty-four years of the White Marlin Open. It was also Glen Frost’s first white marlin ever caught, netting him $1,654,800 in prize money. Glen is from Stevensville, Maryland, which makes the winner a Delmarva local. Mike Donahue from Wilmington, Delaware was now in second place at eighty-six pounds worth $1,525,964 . Third place worth $164,673 was now held by Joe Andrews aboard Mr Ducks. Joe is from Ocean City, Maryland. This year Delmarva anglers dominated the white marlin leader board for the forty-fourth White Marlin Open.
Congratulations gentlemen and crews!