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2012 Reports

We will continue to offer striper (rockfish) trips through the entire month of December. The fish are here and should remain around through December.

11/23/12 Out for a five hour striper trip with a crew of four. Trolled our way north until we found some fish on one of our inshore hills. The bite was slow but steady enough to keep us there. By the end of the trip we had two in the box, 29 & 37″, lost two others during the fight and had another half-dozen bites that didn’t come tight. Chad H  also did battle with the largest skate I’ve ever seen, putting his new spinning combo to the ultimate test.

11/10/12 & 11/11/12 Every see the movie “Groundhog Day”? Well, by the end of  Sunday’s trip I was feeling exactly like Bill Murray. This crew of tog professionals from NJ & NY experienced the exact same scenario as last weekend. A big blow comes through early/mid-week and the fish refuse to bite for several days. The only difference between this weekend and last, it took until late morning for the bite to get good.

11/04/12 Pulled out of the slip today for this 5 hr. trip with lots of trepidation. Decided to by-pass yesterday’s wreck and opt for one a little farther down the beach. As the baits went down I waited nervously. Much to my relief, it was clear the tog wanted to play. The next few hours held constant action with only one short “slack” period. When the horn finally blew, we had 15 in the box, 1 fish shy of the limit for 4 anglers.

11/03/12 After two weeks of sitting idle thanks to the feds extending the sea bass closure and super storm Sandy it was nice to be back at the helm. Today’s trip was to be a sea bass extravaganza but with the closure it’s gonna be a tog extravaganza instead. Baits went down on a super good wreck in fairly sporty winds but not much wave action. Five minutes pass, no bites. Ten minutes and nothing, now I’m worried. At the two hour mark we only have one in the box and had a handful of bites. To make matters worse, the wind in now a solid 20 to 25 knots and very chilly. After another hour of agony, I offer the guys the option of trimming the trip by a couple hours and saving lots of cash since the fish clearly aren’t biting. Back in the slip after a few hours with one lonely fish in the box.

10/20/12 This crew of super nice guys had a dilemma, go with the sure thing and slam some tog or roll-the-dice and run offshore looking for something big. They decide to go big but also wanted to take some crabs along as a back-up plan. Threw the spread out when we hit 40 fathoms in ugly, cold, green water. About 90 minutes into the day I smell something familiar. At the exact same moment I hear Dave say “oh no”, I turn around to see one of the guys eating the long evil fruit, aka banana. About 15 minutes later our shotgun rod takes off. As I’m handing the rod off the bridge I feel the hook pop free. The next two hours go on without a bite so the crew decides to throw in the towel and make the long run back inshore to the wrecks. The first two stops found OK action but way too many sea bass than tog. I decide to run in a little farther to a wreck that has been super over the last few trips. As I’m setting the anchor I hear the guys start to heckle one of their own. Somehow, he forgot he had a second banana in his stuff. “Well don’t expect much now” I jokingly toll them, never knowing I’d be all too correct. The last hour was painful knowing this wreck is loaded with tog but they didn’t want to bite. Back in the slip with only 3 keepers in the box, DANG BANANAS!!!!

10/14/12 Inshore action with two fathers and four 14/15 yr old boys. Sent the crabs down and before every bait hit the bottom, birthday boy had a nice tog headed for the box. The bite was great although the crew seemed to do much more feeding than catching. By late morning our limit was reached so we turned our attention to triggerfish. Problem was, the tog were so aggressive, the triggers didn’t have a chance. Largest tog of the day was 7 lb. caught after we had our limit so the big boy was released. Back in the slip with 14 tog and 3 triggers in the box.

10/13/12 A last minute 4 hour deal with a father and his 12 yr old son from northern MD. Anchored on one of my favorite near shore tog wrecks and found outstanding action. These guys we amazed just how hard tog can pull. The boys first fish nearly took the rod right out of his hands. Our limit was reached with ease so the rest of the fish were released to fight another day.

10/12/12 Out for a day of wreck action on a forecast that was predicting nasty winds by early afternoon, but “light” winds until then. I wanted to see if the sea bass bite had improved from what the other boats had experienced the prior week….poor action! Lines hit the water 17 mile from the inlet in winds that were far more that “light”. After a dozen drifts with ever increasing speed, it was clear the sea bass are still thumbing their nose at us. Decided to move back in to calmer water and hope the tog or triggers want to play. Spent the rest of the day 9 mile off the beach working small pieces of structure. By the days end we had a nice mix of triggerfish, sea bass and taylor bluefish in the box.

10/06/12 Today was an ashes scattering trip with a family from NJ.

10/05/12 With the deep gear getting hit hard the day before I decide our best chance for putting fish in the box is to work the 35-40 fathom line for wahoo, mahi and tuna. Our first bite takes about 45 minutes and it’s a wahoo. Ten feet from the gaff the fish makes a hard left creating enough slack in the line to allow him to shake the hook. Swung back over the same spot and had another short bite. Worked the area but couldn’t find any other fish so I decided to troll south to another hill. As soon as we get on the hill our deep rod takes off, fifteen minutes later we put a 40 lb. wahoo in the box. Worked the area hard but no other bites. Moved east a few miles and immediately get slammed on our deep rod again. This time we put a 30 lb. hoo in the box. Five minutes later the charter asks if we can go look for some sea bass since these fish are just too big for our 11 year old Jr. angler. We decide to troll the 15 miles and hope to get jumped by something the boy can handle. Thirty minutes later our short rigger get smashed by a nice gaffer mahi which also makes it to the box. I swing around and our deep rod gets hit but the wahoo gets the bait just behind the hook. A few minutes later another smaller mahi grabs a short bait and our Jr. angler has the fish he’s been wanting for over two years, a mahi  he landed all by himself.  The guys still want to spend a little time on the wreck so we pull in the lines and make the twenty twenty-five minute run. Spent the last little bit of the day messin with sea bass.

10/04/12 With five minutes left until the charter was supposed to arrive I get a call telling me they’re still 90 minutes away. Dave and I scrap the original plan of running to the deep gear for mahi since I know another guy who was going to try the same thing and with this delay he’ll be able to beat us there getting first dibs on the fish. Instead we decide to hang around the 40 fathom line and look for wahoo. About 90 minutes into the shortened day the shotgun line takes off and I’m sure we have a monster hoo on by the way the fish is pulling. Twenty minutes later we have the fish close to the boat but still can’t see because of the angle of the sun and chop on the water. Dave grabs the leader and let’s out a discussed groan, it’s a white marlin that’s foul-hooked. Worked hard the rest of the day but only had a couple small bites that never came tight. As for the other boat that ran to the gear, they came home with 35 mahi.

09/30/12 Out for a short day of trolling followed by some wreck fishing if the trolling doesn’t produce. Well, just like yesterday, we’re just about to throw in the towel when our short rigger goes down, it’s a wahoo. Suddenly another hoo comes across and grabs the tiny swivel on the main line that has the fish immediately cutting the line loosing the fish. Five seconds later our “shotgun” bridge rod takes off. I throw the drag to her and before I can hand the rod to down to the mate another bridge rod goes off and this is a good one, smoking the drag! Things are OK, one guys in the chair and the other has a stand-up belt. At some point the guy with the belt knocks the reel into free spool and before the mate can throw the drag back up,  the bigger wahoo is gone. Now our day revolves around this one fish that’s still hooked-up. A few minutes later we manage to put a 35 lb. wahoo in the box. What’s that saying about any luck being bad luck…..yea.

09/29/12 Out for a day of Wahoo & Mahi trolling with a crew from VA. Worked the 40 fa. line hard but only had one big wahoo sky out of the water missing our mid-rigger bait. Spirits were getting low and by late morning the guys were talking about heading for the wrecks. I told them at at any point things can go nuts. Honestly, two minutes later we pass a small piece of wood and a couple rods go down with mahi. The next couple hours produced plenty of bites but these buggers were throwing the hooks left & right. I can’t remember when we lost so many fish mid-way in the fight. Back in the slip with a couple mahi in the box, a small portion of what should have been in there. Brings to mind an old saying; lines break, hooks pull, it happens.

09/28/12 Out with the tog kings for another stab at some offshore action. Two weeks ago we threw a propeller blade and had to limp home with this crew. Set the spread after 45 miles and continued east. The first two hours produced only a couple mystery bites. Arrived in the deep and immediately got jumped by a 15 lb. mahi. Unfortunately, the fish threw the hook about half-way to the boat. The next couple hours produce sporadic action at best so I decide to troll west looking for a wahoo or yellowfin. After three miles a wahoo skies out of the water missing our long bait. That would normally be the end but this crazy fish is dogging the bait just like a marlin. Finally we crushes the bait and ten minutes later Andrew has his first Wahoo in the boat, a 55 lb. “fish of a lifetime” as he puts it. About thirty minutes later I spot a small board floating and swing past for a look. With fifty feet still to go several rods go down and we put a couple more mahi in the box.  On that note we ended the day and headed to the barn.

09/25/12 Same plan as yesterday since I was sure there were more fish left on the new gear I had found. Set the spread with three miles to troll to the gear. Over those miles we raised two white marlin, one which threw the hook after about a one minute fight. We also managed to put a couple mahi in the box as well. Found the gear and sure enough more fish. Spent the rest of the day working the gear both trolling and with light tackle. The crew of three had an absolute ball and by days end, they had put 45 mahi in the box.

09/24/12 Out with a crew who has become accustom to huge wahoo on Fin Chaser. We set the spread and I proceed to go into the captains lounge (aka: the head). Thirty seconds later I hear the bridge rod start to scream. The mate jumps up and grabs the rod so I know everything is fine. A couple minutes later and the wahoo crew notches another 35 pounder on their belt. Worked that area hard but just couldn’t buy another bite. Moved off to some deeper water and found some new gear. After the first couple balls we have a nice 15lb. mahi in the box. Worked the gear hard and managed to put a couple more in the box before we had to call it a day.

09/23/12 Rescheduled to Monday due to high winds.

09/22/12 Ran east with a regular crew looking for some “meat”. First two hours were very disappointing with no action. Moved south a couple miles and immediately had two rods go down with mahi, both pulled off. Ten minutes later we have a white in the spread messing with the baits. He finally grabs one and then lets go and swims off. A few minutes later another white is behind the short rigger. The mate feeds him the bait and it’s “game on”. After a blistering runs and several jumps the bugger throws the hook. Worked the area the rest of the day but only managed to put one mahi in the box. Ended the day early after a surprise southwest wind kicked up and the guys wanted to get in before things got bad.

09/21/12 Ran to the 40 fa. line in fairly sporty conditions with a crew of six looking for meat. First two hours held only small mahi & skipjack bites with only gaffer mahi. Around 9:00 I came across a 1 degree temp break and immediately one of the flat lines get smashed. A few minutes later we have a 45 lb. yellowfin in the box. Thirty minutes later we put another 35 lb. yellowfin in the box. Worked the same general area the rest of the day and had steady bites. By the end of the trip we added a couple more mahi to the box and released two white marlin while missing a third. The guys were thrilled with many thanks for a great day.

09/20/12 A short little 4 hour bottom fishing trip with a crew of five. My first suggestion was trolling for “turkeys” but this crew only wanted to bottom fish. Their catch included, sea bass, bluefish, scup and skate.

09/16/12 Out for a day of inshore trolling with a crew of 4 from NJ. About fifty minutes from the inlet I run over a huge school of “turkeys”. We throw out a three rod spread and immediately we have fish on ever rod. The next five hours is epic fishing. You could hardly put the rod in the rod holder before a fish would slam the bait. We were even seeing how close to the boat these guys would hit. Believe it or not, about four feet. With two hours left in the day the guys arms are just about ready to fall off and they tell me to head back. The one guy tells me he stopped counting at 60 and that was only after a few hours.

09/15/12 Ran 48 mile SE in a forecast that was calling for the winds to turn N and go 10-15. I figured the worst we would have would be a slightly longer ride home. The first two hours produce only one knock-down so I put the boat on a 40 degree heading. The water looks great just no bites. Suddenly both long baits get smashed, these fish are screaming off line. I suspect we’ve got a pair of big wahoo’s but when the first fish makes it to the boat I’m pleasantly surprised, it’s a nice fat yellowfin. The next 90 minutes are great, we put four yellowfin’s, up to 65 lb, in the box as well as a 55 lb wahoo and a single mahi. We also  had one fish pull the hook and two big explosions that didn’t come tight. Somewhere in the middle of all of this I hear a buddy of mine who is only 18 mile off the beach telling someone it’s gotta be blowing 30 knots and he’s heading back to OC and and only making 7 knots. As we’re putting the wahoo in the box I tell the crew we’ve gotta go and they totally agree. The next few hours is some of the worst stuff I’ve been in in quite a while. NW winds at 25-35 and sea’s at 8 to10 ft. with several 12+ thrown in just for fun.  The entire fleet is crawling for the beach, even the million dollar rigs are only making 10-11 knots. I always tell people Fin Chaser may be one of the smaller boats in the fleet but you and I will break before this Bertram will. Back in the slip at 4:40 with 4 yellowfin, one wahoo and one mahi in the box. A great day, all things considered.

09/14/12 Headed right back to the same numbers as yesterday with the tog experts from NY. Less than 20 minutes from the spot I hear the mate say “hey, look at this”. I turn around to see A.B. sitting on my engine box eating…you guessed it…the long evil fruit (banana). Less than 1 mile to go there’s a loud noise from the starboard side followed by a terrible vibration. I immediately put the boat into neutral and look for the problem. We haven’t hit anything and there’s no water coming in so I suspect I’ve just broken a gear or cracked a shaft. We turn around and start limping home (46 mile) on one engine with our full spread out. The mate thinks he can pop his head off my transom bracket and have a look under the boat so I grab my mask. He immediately see’s the problem, we’ve thrown a blade off the propeller. We’re back in the slip at 4pm and the diver is waiting to pull the broken wheel and replace it with my spare. 60 minutes later we’re good-to-go. Those darn banana’s!!!!

09/13/12 Pulled the throttles back after covering 40 mile with a crew of four from central PA. Worked an area that looked good, clean blue water, but after an hour with no bites I decided to run another 10 mile east. Set the spread and headed for the edge. Spent the day working the edge around some gear, trolling as well as light tackle. The mahi number weren’t fantastic but we did manage to put 20 in the box, a few nice ones too. With five minutes left in the day our short rigger get crushed. Mate thinks its a wahoo but I though it looked like, dare I say……yellowfin. Proving these 48 year old eyes aren’t completely shot yet. 15 minutes later we put a 58 lb yellowfin in the box and head for the barn.

09/09/12 Second day of a back-to-back with a crew from Ohio. Since the weather was too bad to fish yesterday we really wanted to make this trip happen even if it meant hanging close to the beach and cranking on turkeys. Even though no other boats were giving it a try we decided to poke our nose out the inlet. After 10 mile all is well so we try and make another 10. At the 20 mile mark everyone fine so I set my sights on a hill 14 mile ahead of us. Set the spread in fairly sporty conditions and commenced to trolling east. About 45 minutes later a nice gaffer mahi smashes our short rigger. Less than 15 feet from  the boat he throws the hook. After two more miles and no worse conditions I decide to pull in the spread and run another 7 mile east. Arrived in 35 fa. and immediately nearly ran over a big blue fish barrel which turned out to be a great thing. With all the cloud cover and white caps I would have never seen the barrel if we weren’t right on top of it. As the spread passes nearly every rod goes down, some with mahi and some with almaco jacks. These jacks are 3 to 6 lb. and like most jacks, a great fight, they’re also great for the smoker. The next several hours were spent hanging near the barrel picking away at jacks & mahi on the troll. With little time left in the day and increasing NW wind I decide to start trolling west to cut the distance we’re going to need to run with the sea on our nose. After a couple mile I spot a timber floating. Two quick passes add two more gaffer mahi to the box. Back in the slip with 25 fish in the box and some extremely happy anglers. Gotta love it when then million dollar rigs stay at dock and the yellow bertram gets the job done.

09/08/12 Cancelled due to rough conditions.

09/07/12 Ran 60 mile east with a couple from northern MD in search of mahi. Spent the morning going ball-to-ball with light tackle. Some of the gear held a couple and some were blank. Sometime around 11:00 with 25 mahi in the box I decide to troll back to 50 fathoms. Just inside the 50 line I spot a large board floating. The first pass see’s every rod go down with nice “gaffer’s”. A few more passes produce a couple more both on the troll and light tackle. Back in the slip with our limit, 40 mahi in the box.

09/06/12 Today’s forecast is perfect for our inshore trolling trip; 5 to 10 knot winds and only a 30%  chance of scattered showers. A few minutes after the spread is set the rain starts. Then the lightning and then the wind. On the bright side the fish were chewing. After a couple hours of fighting small (6 to 10 lb.) false albacore (aka: turkey), we decide to call it a day saving the guys some $$$ and allowing us to beat the next round of storms heading our way.

09/02/12 Second “no-show” of the year. Thanks A. Simonetti,  Dave and I enjoy loosing money.

09/01/12 Ran 55 mile east with a crew of great guys from MD DNR. About 45 minutes after line are set we have a blue marlin in the spread. Instead of eating our big baits, this crazy blue eats our smaller bait on a 30 lb. class reel so we’re in for a battle to keep this fish from spooling us. 35 minutes after the fish is hooked and countless spectacular jumps, Dave has the leader and the 175 lb. marlin is released. The next couple hours are spent in the super deep working some lobster gear which produced 8 small mahi. Decided to move back  to 60 fa. and look for another marlin. With 45 minutes left in the day a white marlin pops-up in the spread. After playing with two baits he nails our long rigger. 10 minutes later he’s next to the boat for pictures. Back in the slip the two anglers who had never caught marlin before take the traditional swim…good fun!

08/31/12 Out for a 8 hour inshore combo trip. Started off the morning on the troll but after two hours without a knock-down we turn our attentions to sea bass. Anchored on a wreck in 125′ of water and the guys start pounding the sea bass. Unfortunately, as is normal for this time of the year, not many are keepers. As the morning rolls on so do the winds, now blowing a steady 20 knots. Guys call it a day early to allow for ample time for the six hour drive home as well as a little fish cleaning.

08/30/12 Today’s trip has three guys who want to try a little of everything, trolling, wreck and bottom fishing. With barely enough light to see the lines our long goes off. After a nice little fight we put a 35 lb. wahoo in the box. The next two hours sees only turkeys. Anchor on a nearby wreck and the guys spend some of the day pounding sea bass, even manage a couple nice keepers. Pulled the hook and point toward the flounder hill with the trolling spread out. Pulled past a gear marker and our mid-rigger goes off. I can’t believe it but we’ve managed another barracuda. Yep, back-to-back days trolling up barracuda, CRAZY. Finished the day drifting for flounder, yet again, these buggers just didn’t want to eat.

08/29/12 Out for a 12 hour trip with with a couple guys who didn’t want a long boat ride nor were they looking for “meat”. These guys just want to crank on something that pulls. Sounds like it’s “turkey time”. Spent the morning bending rods on turkeys until the bite shut down around 11 am. Looked all over but only found a couple other bites, one of which turned out to be a 20 lb. barracuda.

08/28/12 Headed to the canyon’s with a crew from Leisure Pools in Baltimore. Forecast looked great but it was very clear after 30 mile NOAA must have have their A-team working on the hurricane, leaving the marine forecast to the D-team. In 5 to 6 footers with 20 knot winds we decide to stay put and work the 20/30 fathom line. Less than 20 minutes after lines Dave is putting a 30 lb. wahoo in the box. The rest of the morning held a steady bite of false albacore (aka: turkey) as well as a single mahi. The guys had caught enough and just before noon decided to call it a day.

08/27/12 Out with a crew from PA for a day of flounder fishing. Drift was good and the bites were there but the guys were a little trigger happy, which doesn’t work with flatties. Had a few oddballs too, a huge skate as well as angel shark. Back in the slip with 5 flounder two of which were over 23″ and a 3 lb. sea bass.

08/25/12 & 08/26/12 Cancelled due to high winds and rough seas.

08/24/12 Out with a crew of guys from Waynesboro, PA for a day of inshore trolling and bottom fishing. Started off on a piece of bottom I’ve drifted for sea bass but never flounder. After thirty minutes we have 2 flatties in the box but can’t seem to find number three so we decided to go trolling. Worked some nearby fish pot gear and manage to put four small Mahi in the box as well as a few fish that threw the hook. Ended the day to our north drifting for flounder. Conditions were ok but the fish just wouldn’t chew, only managed a couple keepers. Back in the slip with just enough in the box for a big olde fish fry.

08/23/12 Running to the canyons with a family from southern NY. Unfortunately, less than a ¼ mile from the inlet the 10 year old daughter isn’t doing real well. Might just be nerves, but none the less, I convince mom & dad not to take this little girl sixty mile offshore. Instead we hang much closer and spend the day playing with sea bass, mahi and flounder. The little girl does great and has a ball snapping pictures of her family as they’re catching fish.

08/22/12 Heading to the deep with a father and son from NY in super nice conditions. After about an hour our 10 year old jr. angler isn’t feeling very well so we change our plan. Instead of running deep looking for mahi we decide to hang much closer to the beach and look for them under some gear markers and then try for some sea bass. First two hours of open water trolling produce nothing. Arriving at the markers we see another boat working them over, but they finally give up and leave. A few passes and nothing. A few more and we have a small mahi on the line. The next few hours produce a few more small mahi, some find the hook and some don’t but the duo are thrilled since mahi was the target all along. Finished the day on some sea bass, a few keepers too.

08/21/12 Out for a day of flounder fishing with a crew from central PA. Arrived at the grounds to find the drift, or shall I say lack there of, horrible. We were nearly sitting still in the water which is terrible for flounder and not very good for sea bass this time of the year either. By late morning the drift had not changed so we put on sea bass rigs and made a 1/2 mile move. Found a good sea bass bite that even had some keepers mixed in. Back in the slip with a bucket full of sea bass and one lonely flounder.

08/20/12 Cancelled due to high winds & rough seas.

08/19/12 Charter decided to use the same game plan as the crew yesterday. Unfortunately by 10 am we were still waiting on our first trolling bite so the decision is made to run to the flounder grounds. First few drifts were rather slow, only a couple throw-backs. Made a small move that paid off big and a few drifts that were mind blowing. These five anglers went from zero in the box to their limit in under two hours with a couple fish well over 22″. Dave even took two for is family’s dinner. Back in the slip slightly early with 17 flatties in the box and some very happy anglers.

08/18/12 After hearing all the options and the risks associated with each today’s crew decided to hang a little tighter to the beach and look for a wahoo and if nothing happens by late morning, head for the wrecks. The first two hours was rather boring until a Dave see a small mahi screaming toward our one bait. At the same time there’s a big bite on our flat-line bait and this fish is going the other direction in a hurry. Ten minutes later we have a 71 lb. wahoo on the gaff. The next few hours are unproductive except for the occasional skipjack bite. Sometime around noon we get a big bite on our long rigger. By the way the fish is acting I think we might have another big wahoo, wrong! Turns out to be a 45 lb. yellowfin. Almost forgot what they look like. We worked the same area the rest of the day but no other bites.

08/17/12 Last minute cancellation due to a Ohio family’s medical issue.

08/16/12 Ran south with a father and daughter looking for anything in the deep. Worked some lobster gear early and it produced a couple mahi. Pulled by one ball and three rods get hit. As the first fish hits the deck it throws the hook right into Dave’s arm and its deep. The bolt cutters are needed to cut the shank of the hook. The rest is left in his arm and wrapped-up. Back in the slip around noon and Dave’s off to the the ER for stitches. He calls me later that afternoon telling me he’s good to go.

08/15/12 A day of flounder action with a crew of five from Harrisburg, PA. Drift was horrible, wrong direction and way too fast. Had to constantly work the throttles to keep the boat over the most productive bottom. Bite was good but a few too many throw backs. Guys decided to end the day an hour early since one of them has been sick since the get-go. Back in the slip 3 fish shy of our limit with 12 founder in the box the largest measuring just under 24″.

08/14/12 The trifecta, third day in a row the guys made the same decision after being given all the options.  I was a little worried that our numbers wouldn’t be acceptable, but after the first couple drifts, I knew we were fine. Worked hard all day to keep the boat on productive bottom and by the days end, this crew of three had 49 sea bass, 2 flounder, 1 cod and 1 pollock in the box.

08/13/12 The crew today made the same choice as yesterday, go for the sure thing and pony-up for the extra fuel. Ran 90 minutes to a wreck sitting in 130′ of water. Bite was great and the size still amazing for August. Back in the slip with 82 sea bass in the box.

08/12/12 Today was to be a 12 hr. canyon trip but due to the poor tuna action this crew decided to switch to a 12 hr, wreck trip instead. Ran 35 mile to a wreck outside the range of normal wreck trips but these guys were ok with the extra $$ needed for fuel. Fishing was spectacular and the average size, “holy cow”. These are number and size you would love to see in the spring or fall, not August. Back in the slip with 96 sea bass in the box.

08/10/12 A day of inshore trolling working the flags for mahi. Wind and seas were kinda sporty to start with and continued to build all morning. By noon, all the other boats had headed in except me and one other guy. When Monty told me his wind gauge was a steady 28 knots, we both knew it was time to roll. Back in the slip with one mahi in the box.

08/09/12 Out with a crew of anglers from PA for a day of flounder fishing. The bite started slow but then took-off. Ginger, a flounder novice, showed everyone how it was done by landing fish after fish, two true doormats too. Back in the slip with our limit of flatties the largest measuring 26.5″ and pushing the scale to 8 lb.

08/08/12 Paddled sixty mile south with a father and his three boys from Thompsontown, PA looking for a bite. Our first few encounters were with white marlin. One was hooked and put on a great show for about two minutes before throwing the hook in mid-jump. The next fish smacks at one bait and swims off. The next excitement was with a pair of fish, one finds the hook and one doesn’t. After a 15 minute battle, dad lands his first marlin. The next two hours are dead so we decide to make a run to a wreck that’s on our way home and try for some sea bass and mahi. Arrived at the spot and was lucky enough to find a few small mahi for the box. Set up for sea bass and was shocked at the size, lots of dandy’s.

08/07/12 Ran fifty-five mile south is super nice conditions with a crew of five looking for a fight. Midway there, Dave tells me we have two already down. “No way” I respond, “yes way” Dave says. Turns out they were up most of the night spending time with good old Buddywiser. The one guy was so bad he had to be carried to bed at 2 am. Ten minutes after the baits are set we have a nice 15 lb. mahi in the box. Thirty minutes late I spy a set of lobster gear markers out in the middle of nowhere and push over for a look. Dave breaks out the light tackle and the melee begins. Three of the crew are having a ball messing with mahi all the while trying to avoid the power chumming the other two were doing. Sometime around 10 bells the crew is considering going back since the chumming seems to be getting worse. In the spirit of the election year, the decision goes to a vote. Three vote to go, two vote to stay. Back in the slip way early with a dozen mahi in the box.

08/05/12 & 08/06/12 Cancelled due to high winds.

08/04/12 Looking for anything big, tuna, marlin, mahi, whatever,  with a crew of six from MD. Ran sixty mile southeast toward the area where in the last few days the marlin bite has been very good. First few hours of trolling found four white’s in our spread. Two very serious but our tuna baits and hooks were just a little too large. The other two were just window shopping and kinda playing with the baits. About an hour before lunch I noticed something in the distance that looked different, so I paddled that way for a look. Turned out to be a fairly nice weedline with a couple thicker mats. Pulled up to the thickest mat I could see and voila, mahi. Broke out the light tackle and the guys had a ball. The first fish hooked is a dandy, well over 30 lb., but he eventually gets caught-up with another fish and breaks. When the 90 minute melee is over we have 32 mahi in the box.

08/03/12 Out for a day of flattie fishing. Drift was good but way way too many snags. Bite was sporadic, some drifts very good some not so good. Throwbacks were appearing far to often but thankfully some keepers too. back in the slip with 6 flounder and 4 sea bass in the box. The largest flattie hitting the tape at 23″, nice!!

08/02/12 Out for a day of tuna trolling with a crew of anglers from PA. Ran to the Washington canyon looking to put our Jr. crew on some mahi. Pulled past 20+ lobster balls in ugly green water and no mahi. Talked it over and came up with a plan which consisted of a 30 minute run and then straight line trolling to a deep water wreck. Unfortunately, midway through that plan, our Sr. crew member tells us we need to head in now, so we immediately pull the spread and head for the barn.

08/01/12 Wreck fishing with a crew of three. Spent some of the morning fishing around downpours and in light drizzle. The drift was horrible and the bite not much better so we made a 10 mile run looking for better. Well, we never really found it. The drift remained too slow for much of the day while most of the flounder were throwbacks. back in the slip with a couple flatties in the box.

07/31/12 Cancelled due to am thunderstorms and a couple Jr. anglers who I didn’t want to scar for life.

07/30/12 Last minute reschedule to September

07/29/12 Called these guys last night to try and convince them to save their money and go wreck fishing instead of tuna fishing. Their decision, go trolling of a few hours and if that doesn’t produce and we don’t hear of anything, head for the wrecks. Well by 10 am we haven’t had a pull and the entire fleet, stretching some 50 miles north to south, is struggling for a bite. We pull in lines and paddle to the wrecks. The next three hours is some of the best flounder fishing I’ve seen in years. When the bell rang these guys had 16 flatties in the box, one measuring over 26″ and tipping the scales at nearly 9 lb. Several others over 5 lb. too. Back at the fish cleaners a buddy of mine who is a top notch tuna capt. has one yellowfin in the box after an entire day of trolling. My guys actually go home with more flounder meat than that crew took home of yellowfin.

07/28/12 Heading to the chunking hill with a little worry, has our epic tuna bite come to an end? The morning bite was spent cutting butterfish and watching dozens of other boats do the same thing we were, nothing! By 11:00 am I know of 5 fish caught by the 70 some boats, pathetic. Hating to see our two Jr. anglers not catch a fish, I offered the guys a run to the wrecks to try for some flatties, “YES” !!!. The flounder bite was great and our one Jr. angler was putting on a flounder fishing clinic. In less that 90 minutes of fishing we caught nearly 20 flatties and several sea bass. Back in the slip with six flounder in the box.

07/27/12 Out with a crew of regulars for some tuna fishing. Morning bite was dead except for one boat who was holding a few behind him and picking away. The rest of us were dreaming of a bite. Sometime around 9:30 we get our first pull but it doesn’t come tight. Twenty minutes later we have another yellowfin on but with the fish 20 feet from the boat the hook pulls. Shortly after that a buddy of mine resets his anchor dangerously close to us. I tell Dave “this might be a problem”. A few minutes later another rod goes off and the fish is hanging on our port side. Suddenly the tuna make a blistering run across the transom right into Jeff’s anchor rope. Both crews work like crazy to get our rod to his boat to allow them to free the line. Just before they have the rod the fish darts over to my rope. Now this crazed fish is hung on both ropes. They free the line from their rope and toss the rod back. Unfortunately it’s too late, the line finally broke. An hour passes without a pull and the folks decides they really want some steamed shrimp and cold beverages so I’m told to head back.

07/26/12 It’s not often I try and convince a crew not to go but that’s exactly what I did last night as well as this morning but these guys would hear nothing of it so we set out for the tuna grounds. The ride out wasn’t bad and I’m sure the guys were wondering why I was trying so hard to talk them out of going. That is, until they turned around to see exactly what we were going to have to go through to get home….YIKES!! After about thirty minutes of fishing one rod go off and we’re doing battle. The next 2½ hours was very good. I don’t think more than 10 minutes went by that we weren’t hooked-up. These fish have been taking 10 to 15 minutes to land on light leader but with all the current and wind today it was taking 20 minutes plus and several different anglers on the rod. As yellowfin #5 goes in the box the crew is toast and tell me to head home. Great call since one of the three teenage boys has been extremely sick since the ride out. Oh, and the ride home, exactly what I warned them about. That ride was the downfall of the two other teenagers as well.

07/25/12 Out with  the boyz from Sherwin-Williams of Philly, PA on what was to be a tuna trip but due to 20 knot north winds in the morning we decide to wait until noon and try for some flounder. Arrived at the secret spot in improving conditions and went to work. The first few drifts were awesome, one or two keepers per drift. After less than two hours of fishing and with the drive back to PA still ahead of them, the crew decides to call it a day. back in the slip with 11 founder, two of which are true “doormats”.

07/24/12 Today is to be super nice for this crew of three brothers ranging in age from early to late teens. Less than am hour at the chunking hole and things are getting nasty and the drift is crazy fast. Tried anchoring the old fashion way , by hand, only to find that our baits are going directly under the boat and ending up right next to the anchor line. After about a hour and only one small skipjack I decide we need to drift since even if we hook a fish while anchored it will likely just get wrapped in the anchor rope. The next few hours of mach one drifting produce three bites resulting in two yellowfin in the box. One is a dandy, well over 50.  Conditions are now really bad and most of the boats have left so we decide we need to roll not only because of the seas but also for the middle brother who had been very sick since the ride out. With 15 miles left to the beach thing lay-out nice so we decide to make due with the bait we have and try drifting for sea bass, flounder, whatever for 30 minutes to allow the middle brother to at least hold a fishing rod. Things go well yielding sea bass, sea robins, triggerfish and lots of 15-16″ flounder. Even manage to put a 18′ flounder in the box and one nice triggerfish too.

07/23/12 Arrived at the chunking hill and immediately noticed a small fleet of boats a few miles to our north. This fleet was also the topic of much radio chatter “whats going on up there?” and such. After a couple hours without a pull and only seeing three fish caught by boats within view, I decide to make the move. After the short run I pick a small hole in all the boats at set the hook. about ¾ of the way down the anchor windlass just stops. The mate pulls the anchor up by hand and I start looking for the problem. The breaker was tripped. Throw the line back out and power-down the remaining ¼. Just as there’s enough line out to hold, the windlass cuts out again. Start fishing even as we’re sliding ever so slightly on the hook. A few hours pass with any action and the only fish I’m seeing caught are coming from live bait, what look to be tinkers. Just about at the point where I’m going to need to pull the anchor one of our drifter lines get hit. Finally, we have a fish on.  The fight is going well until suddenly the fish make a run toward the boat and the angler stops reeling since he thinks the fish is gone. Dave and I scream “REEL”. Too late, the line comes tight the fish turns and the hook pulls. Spent the next hour trying to drift among all the boat but it’s nearly impossible. I decide to pro-rate the trip to a ten hour deal and return to dock early allowing me time to trouble shoot our problem child windlass.

07/22/12 After covering five mile of the forty-two mile run to the hotspot I’m given notice the matriarch of the family doesn’t wish to go any farther and the late teen boys are on the fence too.  The decision is made to turn around, kill an hour, then go flounder fishing instead. The bite was very good on both flounder and sea bass with a few personal bests going in the box. Around 11:00 the drift, which was boarder line too fast slowed to a nicer pace. Unfortunately, the bite die as well. Back in the slip with eight flounder and a few seas bass appetizers too.

07/21/12 Cancelled due to high winds and rough seas.

07/20/12 Headed out for a day of tuna chunking in what was to be fairly nice conditions. Less than five miles from the grounds things were picking-up. On the chunking hill, conditions were right nasty. First fish was in the box less than twenty minutes after we started. Next two bites pulled off. By 9:30 the sea was super nasty, even the half-million dollar rigs were complaining. Sometime around 10:30am I decided we better get while the gettin’ is good.

07/19/12 Back out for a day of tuna chunking with a father and son duo from Ohio. First bite took about fifteen minutes. After that, WOW!!!! By 9:45 our limit was reached and these guys absolutely couldn’t fight any more fish so we headed for the barn. Back in the slip with 7 fat yellowfin to 55 lbs.

07/18/12 Ran south to an area that has been very productive for flounder. With only a few miles to go I was worried that the increasing wind & seas would make drifting impossible. Gave it a try, but just too fast. Set up on a local wreck and the crew of four spent the trip catching sea bass, snapper bluefish and triggerfish. While most of the fish weren’t big, dad and the teenagers seemed to have a ball just catching fish.

07/17/12 AM trip; Out looking for founder with a crew from western PA. Bite was good with a decent keeper ration, even managed a couple doormats. Back in the slip with 8 flatties in the box.  PM trip; Ran back to the same spot but the drift and the water color went bad since the am trip. Set up on a nearby wreck and crew had a ball catching sea bass and snapper bluefish.

07/16/12 Well I stand corrected. Today was arguably some of the best chunking I’ve ever seen. Although it took four or five minutes for them to find us, after that, CRAZY!!! Less than ninety minutes of fishing produced 8 fat yellowfin. Then,  I hit the guys with a reality check. Reminding them of the fish cleaner’s bill as well as buying another cooler and ice for the tuna steaks. Not to mention the fact that it was getting hard to find anyone willing to fight another fish.  The decided was made to quit at 10. Fifteen minutes later we’re done.  Back in the slip well before noon with 10 beautiful yellowfin in the box.

07/15/12 I didn’t think the chunking action could get any better than yesterday…..wrong. It took the guys from Senate Termite Control about three minutes to hook our first fish. What transpired over the next 2.5 hours is the stuff dreams are made of. I truly don’t think more than ten minutes passed without a run-off or a hook-up. When all the sweat was wiped off and the blood washed away, we had 11 fat yellowfin in the box. Plus, one very ill guy longing for solid land. The decision was made to call it a day and we were back in the slip shortly after noon with a haul that made the fish cleaner smile.

07/14/12 Out with a crew of six for some tuna chunking. Less than five minutes into the day, the first fish in on. The next two hours was a chunking dream. Well, all except for the stupid light leaders and pulled hooks. Sometime around 10:00 the fish went deep and the bite stopped. With no action, except for the HUGE spotted ray we hooked but could not begin to slow down, we decide to do some trolling. Worked a weedline for a little over an hour but it only produced one tiny mahi bite. With a small amount of butterfish remaining we set up and continue chunking, rationing our chunks. With thirty minutes left in the day the yellowfin are boiling right behind the boat. One rod goes off and it’s game-on. Unfortunately, the hook pulls shortly into the fight. Back in the slip with six super nice yellowfin in the box and a crew of very happy anglers.

07/13/12 First no-show of the season. Way to go Jedidiah.

07/12/12 Out for a day of tuna fishing with a trio of anglers in what was forecast to be tolerable and improving conditions. After twenty mile it was clear they completely missed this forecast. It was so rough, even the half-million dollar rigs were crawling. My folks must have been descendants of vikings because they didn’t care. Arrived at the grounds and proceeded to set the hook (anchor) since it was way too rough to drift. After about an hour the deep rods gets hit. A few minutes later was have our “under” bluefin in the box. The next bite is a stud bluefin. After a thirty minute battle the fish make one final run catching the angler a little out of form and breaks the 50 lb. leader on the boats running gear. Now for some perspective, we normally troll with 90 lb. leader but these chunking fish are leader shy requiring way too light leader in order to get bites. Our next fish is another “under” and is popped free at the boat. The next couple bites don’t come tight. Final fish of the day is a nice yellowfin which makes it in the box. As we left the tuna grounds the seas were nearly as bad as when we had arrived and the winds, well, they hadn’t layed-out either.

07/11/12 Cancelled due to high winds & seas.

07/10/12 Out for a day of flounder fishing with a family from Harrisburg, PA. Morning bite was steady with a fair number of keepers. Sometime around 11:00 the wind kicked-up and messed-up our drift. The next two hours produced only a few fish which wasn’t bad considering we only had one or two people fishing at any given time. Guess the pills plus the early start was catching up to the teenagers. back in the slip with 8 flounder in the box.

07/09/12 Delayed our start by one hour to let the storms pass. Unfortunately, after 20 mile, new storms had fired-up and we were in the middle of them. Poked along at a slow pace and finally made it to the tuna grounds. Tried drifting but the drift was crazy fast, even 2 lbs. of lead wouldn’t keep our deep baits on the bottom. The first few hours produced only two run-off’s and one circle hook that somehow pulled in mid-fight. The charter decided they wanted to try some trolling so off we went. After ninety minutes and only one big explosion that didn’t come tight, I asked the guys if they wanted to try chunking again since the wind had died-out and a buddy of mine who was still chunking was catching fish. To my surprise, they said “nah”. Fourty-five minues later I swung by the other boat and the guys could see bent rods, suddenly they decide maybe we should switch back. With less than thirty minutes left in the day we start throwing chunks. Five minutes later, we’ve got two fish on. First fish makes it to the gaff, a nice 45 lb. yellowfin. The second angler is having a real struggle and claims the reel’s drag isn’t working properly. Turns out he accidentally knocked the drag back and the fish took over 75% of the spool. After an epic struggle and claims of his arm being ready to fall off, the 80 lb. bluefin is on our gaff and it’s time to head home.

07/08/12 Headed east with two flats of butterfish for some tuna chunking. Bite was rather sporadic. Some drifts produced fish, some just run-offs that didn’t come tight and some with nothing. Ended the day early with four tuna in the box.

07/07/12 Out with a crew from PA for a day of tuna action. Unfortunately, one of the party was 90 minutes late pretty much assuring us not to have a space in the chunking fleet so we decided to troll. After one quick stop on a great bluefin hole from years past we arrive at the 40 fathom line and set the spread. About 90 minutes later the starboard engine make a brief squeal and then a rubber smell. After checking it out I discovered the idler pulley bearing gave up. Worked that area on one engine for the next few hours and managed to put a nice yellowfin and mahi in the box. Trolled nearly the entire way home covering many good inshore bluefin haunts but no luck. Back in the slip two hours late with two fish in the box. After a couple quick turns of the wrench and a replacement pulley which the local diesel guy had waiting for me in my dockbox, were ready for tomorrow.

07/06/12 Out with the boyz from PA for a day of offshore fishing. Morning bite was good, a couple yellowfin & marlin bites as well as mahi. Unfortunately due to hooks pulling and fighting belt issues we only had one yellowfin in the box. The next couple hours were DEAD. Everyone on the radio was complaining about the same issue “no bites”. With fifteen minutes left in the day we get attacked by tiny mahi, just big enough to trip the rigger clips and tear-up the baits. Reset the spread and with less than five minutes left to fish, we get nailed by a nice fat yellowfin. Back in the slip with two yellowfin in the box.

07/05/12 Two half-day trips produced a great mixed catch. Sea Bass, flounder, triggerfish, snapper bluefish, spinner sharks and big ugly skates kept the anglers busy on both trips.

07/04/12 Today was some of the best bluefin chunking I’ve seen in years. The trio of anglers were totally shot by 10:00 am. The first fish alone went through all three nearly twice. Bite was that hot, the fish were boiling on the baits 10 feet next to the boat. With very little left in their tanks, I’m told to “start trolling”. Less than two hours later, and with feeling fianlly returning to their arms, the guys decide they really don’t care to fight any more fish today so we head for the barn. Back in the slip with two bluefin in the box 40 & 76 lbs.

07/03/12 Back out for bluefin with the chunking stuff. Morning bite was ok, but after two break-off’s and one jig rod hook pulling in mid-fight we only had one fish in the box by noon. Bite absolutely shut down around noon and we only had two “run-off’s” that never came tight in the afternoon.

07/02/12 Today’s marine forecast; light winds and seas with a slight chance of afternoon t-storms. Shortly after arriving at the fishing ground with a crew of five from PA we get nailed by a horrible storm. Can’t remember when I was in sustained winds that must have been well over 50 knots for at least 15 minutes. Seas went from flat calm to WOW in no time. Jogged with the bow right to her till the worst of the wind passes, at least 30 minutes. Finally got back to fishing in the remaining rough seas and proceeded to get nailed by a bluefin. After a 20 minute fight, we have a 80 lb. “over” in the box. Worked that area for a while but only one more explosion and he missed the bait. No more bites the rest of the morning. After watching two boats who were chunking catch a few fish, I offer the guys some chunking with butterfish one of my buddies was going to give us but the crew wasn’t interested. Back in the slip with one lonely bluefin in the box.

07/01/12 Out with Jr and the boyz for a day of tuna fishing. Nothing red-hot, but just enough action to keep things interesting. A few big explosions, a few light bites. With 30 minutes left in the day, Dave spots a school of rays (aka:bats). Sometimes, just sometimes, the tuna will hang out under these guys. Swung over the school and two rods go down, one comes tight and one doesn’t. Ended the day with three yellowfin and one bluefin in the box.

06/30/12 Fishing the same area as yesterday with a family of three from northern MD. Morning bite just didn’t happen, only one small mahi in the box. Sometime around 10:00 a huge bluefin blows-up on our long rigger but completely missed the bait. Shortly after noon, the mid-rigger gets nailed. A couple minutes later, we put a 35 lb. yellowfin in the box. Another pass and another yellowfin in the box. Worked the area for the rest of the day but could only manage one more mahi.

06/29/12 Ran 43 miles east for a day of tuna fishing with party of two. Morning bite was good but we just couldn’t find any “overs” (bluefin tuna over 47″) Afternoon held nothing but acres of bluefin on the surface, pushing water and rolling but not eating. Back in the slip with one 40 lb. bluefin in the box and three others released.

06/28/12 Today’s first trip, 8 hour bottom/wreck, found me running to the north with a couple newbies who want to try their hand at flounder fishing. Arrived to find a perfect drift but fairly dirty water. As soon as the baits hit the bottom I knew we were in trouble. The sea bass were that thick, they would savage the bait before the flounder ever had a chance. Managed a few keeper flounder but way too many throw back sea bass. Back in the slip with 4 legal flatties and a few sea bass. My second trip, a seven hour hybrid trolling trip, found me running 40 miles east trying to do a quick number on some bluefin tuna. Before the entire spread was set, both longs get nailed at the same time. Thirty-five minutes later we have two bluefin in the box. Worked the area hard for the next 2½ hours but only had one more fish, a 70 lb. bluefin which was released. Back in the slip super late with a 63 & 84 lb. bluefin in the box.

06/27/12 Headed east with two guys from York, PA for a ten hour trolling trip. Day started off great, less than twenty minutes after lines in, we have a yellowfin in the box. The next few hours produce nothing but a few misses. Pulled up on the hill and a white marlin shows up in the spread all “lit-up”. The marlin messes with three baits for several minutes but never actually taking the bait. Thirty minutes later the wwb (way-way back) takes off. I throw the boat in a hard turn and two more rods go off. The bluefin, which hit the wwb, pulls off close to the boat. The two other fish, both yellowfin, make it in the box. The guys are shot and I’m told to head for the barn.

06/25/12 Out for a five hour trip with a crew from E-town PA in fairly sporty conditions. Bite was good but the weather…not so good. Pulled in lines a few minutes early trying to beat the nasty storms heading our way.

06/24/12 Fun trip with my son and five of his buds from school. Spent a few hours in the morning looking for some tuna close to shore, no luck. Spent the afternoon wearing these guys out cranking on sea bass, flounder and triggerfish.

06/23/12 Today’s trip started last evening with a phone conversation where I told the guys they should REALLY consider shelling out a few more $$ and turning their 8 hour wreck trip into a 8 hour trolling trip with an extra $140 tacked-on for fuel to allow us to fish 40 mile off the beach. Now I was sure we wouldn’t have any problem getting some yellowfin bites. Sometime around 9:30 am, and no bites, I thought to myself, “why didn’t you just keep your mouth shut”. Made the run to the sea bass ground and spent the rest of the day hammering on sea bass. Felt so bad that I had talked these guys into spend extra $$, I added an extra hour to the trip.

06/22/12 Headed east with a pair of anglers from Williamsburg, VA. Thirty minutes after arriving at the tuna grounds we have our first yellowfin in the box. Sixty minutes later, Matt asks me to he wants to look for a bluefin. After some discussion, we decide to run to an area that might just hold both, bluefin and yellowfin. Spent the rest of the day pounding that area and putting four other fat yellowfin in the box. With fourty-five minutes left in the day and after fighting two yellowfin nearly back to back, Matt tells me he’s shot. Unfortunately, the other angler is his girlfriend and she made it very clear after one fish she doesn’t want to tangle with any more of these tuna so we head for the barn.

06/21/12 Out for eight hours with three father’s and son’s from PA. The first two hours were spent looking for a bluefin tuna. Just about the time I was ready to tell the guys I didn’t think it would happen, the flat line takes off and it’s GAME ON! Fifteen minutes later, Richard has his first bluefin, 40 lbs, on the gaff. The afternoon was spent harassing the sea bass, even pulled out a few keepers too.

06/20/12 Two five hour trips found some great sea bass action, especially on the AM trip. The sea bass bite slowed a little for the PM trip but the triggerfish made up for them. One of the guys from the second trip also got to tangle with the first spinner shark of the year, landing the thirty pound shark in slightly under 25 minutes on light weight spin tackle.

06/19/12 Four guys from western PA came down on short notice betting on some yellowfin. Morning bite was slow, by 9:00 we had one in the box and a second fish pulled the hook. Suddenly a marlin pops up under our short rigger and grabs the bait. Dave feeds the fish and hands the reel off to the lucky angler who had just mentioned the fact that he always wanted to catch a marlin. Ten minutes later, his wish was answered. Shortly after that, we headed for home with a leaking diesel injector pump, trolling as we go. The next 90 minutes found us fighting another yellowfin, which was lost close to the boat (failure to REEEEEEL!!!!!) as well as another marlin who was just window shopping. While this was going on, Mr Goodwrench, aka: Capt Dan fixed the issue and we spun around and trolled back to the grounds. After 90 minutes with no action I move a touch deeper and BANG. We put a double- header of yellowfin in the box. Another pass and eight of the ten rods go down at once. Some how, with lots of yelling, we manage to put seven of the eight in the box, a couple nice fat one too. With that it was time to head for the barn. Back in the slip with 10 in the box and a white marlin release.

06/18/12 Out with a crew of four looking for some tuna. Arrived at the hot spot and the wait wasn’t long, first fish in the box with-in the first 30 minutes. The rest of the day provided steady single and double bites, some came tight, some didn’t. By the days end, we had nine nice yellowfin in the box.

06/12/12 through 06/17/12 All trips cancelled due to nasty NE winds.

06/11/12 First canyon trip of the year with a party of five. The day started off great. Less than fifteen minutes after the spread was set, we had two yellowfin in the box. Since not much was happening elsewhere I decided to stay and pound the area hard resulting in three more bites and two more fish going in the box. After quite a while without any action and some very good boats struggling I decided to push south and a little deeper. Hit 80 fathoms and found a little bait. Worked that area the rest of the day and went one for two on bites. back in the slip with five yellowfin in the box ranging from the upper 30′s to middle 40 pound range.

06/10/12 Out with high hopes of a mako with a crew of three from VA. Today’s drift was quite possibly the worst I have ever seen. In six hours of fishing we had only covered 8/10 of a mile. On a good day, you want to drift at least 1 mile per hour. To make matters even worse, midway through the day our drift turned 180° and we nearly drifted right back to where we had started. The only sharks we saw were a 50 lb. hammerhead who just hung-around and wouldn’t even eat the chum as well as a 80 lb. dusky who wouldn’t touch anything on wire. Hooked him briefly on a mono bait but he cut through the leader in under a minute.

06/09/12 A shark/wreck combo found us looking for a mako in the morning. Drift was very poor and after one entire bucket of chum, all we had to show was one battle with a 70 lb. dusky shark. Spent a couple hours hammering the sea bass with this crew of five from the eastern shore of MD.

06/07 & 06/08/12 Two days off before the grind starts and what do I do…..go fishing. Spent both days with my buddy who I can’t believe is turning 18 this summer. Trevor and I put the iron (jigs) to the sea bass producing some fantastic upcoming meals for the Stauffer family.

06/06/12 Out with a pair of lady anglers from WV. These gals were thrilled with the sea bass bite, even though way too many were hitting the tape at 12¼. They even managed to hook the first flounder of our season. Back in the slip with 27 tasty sea bass in the box.

06/02/12 pm & 06/03/12 am  Two shorts trips with the same crew. First 3 hr. trip found us looking for tog on a nearby wreck. It took the crew a little time to figure out the tog but once they did, oh boy! Put five nice tog in the box while releasing lots of fish just under 16″. The guys were even so kind as to release a few large female’s to ensure our future tog fishing. The second 5 hr. trip found the guys messing with sea bass. Bite was good but not great, lots of “throwback” 12¼ inch fish which we should be able to harvest (very bad fisheries management going on these days). Back in the slip with a bakers dozen in the box.

06/01/12 Back out looking for sea bass. After making two or three drifts it was clear the wind and current just were not going to allow us to drift today. Spent the day working a few spots and weeding through “shorts”. Even though most of the fish were going back, the crew was having a ball catching fish, even two at a time. back in the slip with 25 sea bass in the box, more than enough for a huge fish fry which is exactly what they wanted. Gotta LOVE IT when the people drive away super happy.

05/30/12 Ran east with a crew from Quarry Ridge Construction in Lancaster Co. PA looking for some “keepers”. Arrived to find very tough drifting conditions, east/west drift instead of north/south. This kind of drift doesn’t allow much time on the “sweet spot”. Tried throwing the anchor as all of the other boats were doing but immediately experienced the same results they were seeing on anchor, hardly any bites. Decided to do the work in order to put fish in the box. Spent the rest of the day painstakingly maneuvering the boat and drifting tiny little pieces of structure. By days end we had 49 sea bass and 1 cod in the box. Fish picture only out of respect for our Amish friends.

05/29/12 Out with two younger couples for this half-day trip. Arrived to find a rather slow bite. First few drifts produced only a few fish. Re-adjusted our drifts a little and the bite improved but not to the level we have been seeing. About the same time that the bite improved the wind decided to kick-up hard out of the south too making the last few drifts way too fast. Back in the slip with 11 in the box.

05/28/12 Men’s Memorial Day sea bass trip. Ran 18 mile east looking for….what else, sea bass! Bite was crazy good. The guys were getting nailed before their baits even touched bottom. As for the throwback/keeper ratio. Well, it is what it is. Gotta weed through the shorts to find the keepers. Back in the slip with 62 sea bass heading to a fish fry.

05/26/12 (PM Trip)  Out with a group of guys looking to have some fun and perhaps catch dinner on this five hour trip. Bite was off-the-charts good with a fairly decent keeper ratio. Back in the slip with 28 sea bass in the box, more than enough for several epic meals.

05/26/12 Ran back to the same area that produced so well yesterday and the bite was even better. Fish hitting the rail from all sides, the mate didn’t know which way to turn next. The small bluefish were still there but not as bad as the day before. Back in the slip with 88 sea bass headed for northwestern MD.

05/25/12 Ran twenty miles to the south with four guys from MD looking to fill the box with sea bass. Bite was crazy good, fish breaking the surface at a break-neck speed. Add in the 16 to 18″ snapper bluefish that would jump our baits at times and needless to say, I’m tired! Back in the slip with 78 sea bass in the box.

05/24/12 Out with two of the nicest people you could ever wish to spend a day with. Bite was good but that darn throwback to keeper ratio was kinda tough. Worked hard all day moving from piece to piece looking for keepers. By days end, the box held 39 plump sea bass just waiting for the House Autry.

05/23/12 Ran 13 mile south with a family of four from northern NY looking to try their hand at sea bass fishing. Bite was great but way too many fish were ¼ inch under legal. Everyone was kept busy catching fish including our two Jr. anglers (ages 8 & 10). Back in the slip with 20 tasty sea bass heading for the fry pan. Nice little catch for a half-day trip.

05/22/12 Out for the first sea bass trip of the season with a crew from DC. Bite was steady with a throwback/keeper ratio around 6:1. Unfortunately most of the day was spent with only three lines in the water due to the effects of a lack of Dramine and a big swell pushing in from the east.  Back in the slip with 79 sea bass and 2 tog headed for the fish cleaner.

05/12/12 Ran to the south looking for some tasty tog for this repeat crew from last spring. Bite was super in the morning with a fair number of keepers. Bite slowed in the late morning and by noon had nearly shut down all together. Back in the slip with 15 tog in the box the largest just under 10 lb.

05/11/12 Half-day trip with three guys from MD, one who’s tying the knot tomorrow. Bite was good and very fitting that the groom-to-be had the best bite of the trio. Back in the slip with four nice keepers in the box.

05/07/12 Toggin with the boyz from FlexHead Industries. Bite was slow in the morning but really picked-up as the day progressed. At times it was red-hot, other times, not so much. Did manage a few dandies and one of the prettiest 8 lb. males I’ve seen in a long time. Back in the slip a little early with 13 tog in the box.

05/05/12 More tog fishing with a mixed crew, some experienced and a couple who have never held a rod before. Bite was spotty, red hot for a time then nothing. Unfortunately, some of the crew regretted their decision to stay up till 3 am and were out half-way through the day. Back in the slip with 9 tog in the box. Big fish was a tie, two 11 lb.  One caught by… you guessed it, the guy who had never been fishing before.

05/04/12 Out with three Tog experts looking for a limit. Bite was steady most of the day  with a huge number of very nice sea bass mixing in with our tog. Today, catching wasn’t an issue. However, anchoring, a whole different story. Even the guys throwing two hooks just couldn’t over their target. I never remember re-setting the anchor as many times as I did today to keep the guys on fish. Back in the slip with 11 tog, one shy of our goal.

04/29/12 The crew from yesterday, plus two. Day started off with a very slow pick. One or two little moves and the bite improved. Things were great, everyone enjoying the day. Then it happened. The long evil fruit (banana) made it’s first appearance of the year on the Fin Chaser. Less than a hour later a swell pushes in from the east and now the current is directly against the wind, a true anchoring nightmare. Worked hard the rest of the day to keep the guys on fish. Back in the slip with 18 tog in the box, one fish per man shy of our limit. The pool winner was one of the new guys who landed matching 10 lb. tog. Third place went to the “togfather” with a beautiful 8½ lb. male.

04/28/12 Same ringleader as last week with a slightly different crew, one of which turned out to be a tog fishing professor, Gregg M. The bite was steady, but never red hot, three or four 15″ fish, then a keeper. In the slip with 14 in the box, two shy of the limit. Big fish of the day was Bucktail Joe’s 11½ lb tog.

04/21/12 Stayed a little closer to home today working some structure that’s not too well know for tog. Bite was never red hot, but the numbers we good enough to keep me there most of the day. Frank S put on what I can only describe as a “tog clinic”. His numbers had the others ready to feed him to the sharks. By the end of the day our limit was reached, plus one extra for the capt. Back in the slip with 21 tog in the box.

04/20/12 First day of a three day tog extravaganza with the “Togfather” and his posse from NY. Swung for the fences today running 24 miles south to find the hottest tog bite I’ve ever seen. One big issue, nearly all the fish were anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 inch under this ridiculous new size limit. Back in the slip with 12 tog in the box.

04/19/12 First trip of the 2012 season! This half-day trip found me running a few miles south with a crew of four from western PA looking for tog. Bite was very good, but conditions, not so good for toggin’ , a touch of rain and a touch more wind.  The 2011 limit would have been hit with no problem, lots of beautiful 15″ fish. However, this is 2012. The “powers that be” have decided tog need more protection from the evil recreational anglers, can you say 16″ size limit. Simply BAD fisheries management compounded by BAD science. Back in the slip after a few hours with two nice tog in the box.

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2012 Reports

We will continue to offer striper (rockfish) trips through the entire month of December. The fish are here and should remain around through December.

11/23/12 Out for a five hour striper trip with a crew of four. Trolled our way north until we found some fish on one of our inshore hills. The bite was slow but steady enough to keep us there. By the end of the trip we had two in the box, 29 & 37″, lost two others during the fight and had another half-dozen bites that didn’t come tight. Chad H  also did battle with the largest skate I’ve ever seen, putting his new spinning combo to the ultimate test.

11/10/12 & 11/11/12 Every see the movie “Groundhog Day”? Well, by the end of  Sunday’s trip I was feeling exactly like Bill Murray. This crew of tog professionals from NJ & NY experienced the exact same scenario as last weekend. A big blow comes through early/mid-week and the fish refuse to bite for several days. The only difference between this weekend and last, it took until late morning for the bite to get good.

11/04/12 Pulled out of the slip today for this 5 hr. trip with lots of trepidation. Decided to by-pass yesterday’s wreck and opt for one a little farther down the beach. As the baits went down I waited nervously. Much to my relief, it was clear the tog wanted to play. The next few hours held constant action with only one short “slack” period. When the horn finally blew, we had 15 in the box, 1 fish shy of the limit for 4 anglers.

11/03/12 After two weeks of sitting idle thanks to the feds extending the sea bass closure and super storm Sandy it was nice to be back at the helm. Today’s trip was to be a sea bass extravaganza but with the closure it’s gonna be a tog extravaganza instead. Baits went down on a super good wreck in fairly sporty winds but not much wave action. Five minutes pass, no bites. Ten minutes and nothing, now I’m worried. At the two hour mark we only have one in the box and had a handful of bites. To make matters worse, the wind in now a solid 20 to 25 knots and very chilly. After another hour of agony, I offer the guys the option of trimming the trip by a couple hours and saving lots of cash since the fish clearly aren’t biting. Back in the slip after a few hours with one lonely fish in the box.

10/20/12 This crew of super nice guys had a dilemma, go with the sure thing and slam some tog or roll-the-dice and run offshore looking for something big. They decide to go big but also wanted to take some crabs along as a back-up plan. Threw the spread out when we hit 40 fathoms in ugly, cold, green water. About 90 minutes into the day I smell something familiar. At the exact same moment I hear Dave say “oh no”, I turn around to see one of the guys eating the long evil fruit, aka banana. About 15 minutes later our shotgun rod takes off. As I’m handing the rod off the bridge I feel the hook pop free. The next two hours go on without a bite so the crew decides to throw in the towel and make the long run back inshore to the wrecks. The first two stops found OK action but way too many sea bass than tog. I decide to run in a little farther to a wreck that has been super over the last few trips. As I’m setting the anchor I hear the guys start to heckle one of their own. Somehow, he forgot he had a second banana in his stuff. “Well don’t expect much now” I jokingly toll them, never knowing I’d be all too correct. The last hour was painful knowing this wreck is loaded with tog but they didn’t want to bite. Back in the slip with only 3 keepers in the box, DANG BANANAS!!!!

10/14/12 Inshore action with two fathers and four 14/15 yr old boys. Sent the crabs down and before every bait hit the bottom, birthday boy had a nice tog headed for the box. The bite was great although the crew seemed to do much more feeding than catching. By late morning our limit was reached so we turned our attention to triggerfish. Problem was, the tog were so aggressive, the triggers didn’t have a chance. Largest tog of the day was 7 lb. caught after we had our limit so the big boy was released. Back in the slip with 14 tog and 3 triggers in the box.

10/13/12 A last minute 4 hour deal with a father and his 12 yr old son from northern MD. Anchored on one of my favorite near shore tog wrecks and found outstanding action. These guys we amazed just how hard tog can pull. The boys first fish nearly took the rod right out of his hands. Our limit was reached with ease so the rest of the fish were released to fight another day.

10/12/12 Out for a day of wreck action on a forecast that was predicting nasty winds by early afternoon, but “light” winds until then. I wanted to see if the sea bass bite had improved from what the other boats had experienced the prior week….poor action! Lines hit the water 17 mile from the inlet in winds that were far more that “light”. After a dozen drifts with ever increasing speed, it was clear the sea bass are still thumbing their nose at us. Decided to move back in to calmer water and hope the tog or triggers want to play. Spent the rest of the day 9 mile off the beach working small pieces of structure. By the days end we had a nice mix of triggerfish, sea bass and taylor bluefish in the box.

10/06/12 Today was an ashes scattering trip with a family from NJ.

10/05/12 With the deep gear getting hit hard the day before I decide our best chance for putting fish in the box is to work the 35-40 fathom line for wahoo, mahi and tuna. Our first bite takes about 45 minutes and it’s a wahoo. Ten feet from the gaff the fish makes a hard left creating enough slack in the line to allow him to shake the hook. Swung back over the same spot and had another short bite. Worked the area but couldn’t find any other fish so I decided to troll south to another hill. As soon as we get on the hill our deep rod takes off, fifteen minutes later we put a 40 lb. wahoo in the box. Worked the area hard but no other bites. Moved east a few miles and immediately get slammed on our deep rod again. This time we put a 30 lb. hoo in the box. Five minutes later the charter asks if we can go look for some sea bass since these fish are just too big for our 11 year old Jr. angler. We decide to troll the 15 miles and hope to get jumped by something the boy can handle. Thirty minutes later our short rigger get smashed by a nice gaffer mahi which also makes it to the box. I swing around and our deep rod gets hit but the wahoo gets the bait just behind the hook. A few minutes later another smaller mahi grabs a short bait and our Jr. angler has the fish he’s been wanting for over two years, a mahi  he landed all by himself.  The guys still want to spend a little time on the wreck so we pull in the lines and make the twenty twenty-five minute run. Spent the last little bit of the day messin with sea bass.

10/04/12 With five minutes left until the charter was supposed to arrive I get a call telling me they’re still 90 minutes away. Dave and I scrap the original plan of running to the deep gear for mahi since I know another guy who was going to try the same thing and with this delay he’ll be able to beat us there getting first dibs on the fish. Instead we decide to hang around the 40 fathom line and look for wahoo. About 90 minutes into the shortened day the shotgun line takes off and I’m sure we have a monster hoo on by the way the fish is pulling. Twenty minutes later we have the fish close to the boat but still can’t see because of the angle of the sun and chop on the water. Dave grabs the leader and let’s out a discussed groan, it’s a white marlin that’s foul-hooked. Worked hard the rest of the day but only had a couple small bites that never came tight. As for the other boat that ran to the gear, they came home with 35 mahi.

09/30/12 Out for a short day of trolling followed by some wreck fishing if the trolling doesn’t produce. Well, just like yesterday, we’re just about to throw in the towel when our short rigger goes down, it’s a wahoo. Suddenly another hoo comes across and grabs the tiny swivel on the main line that has the fish immediately cutting the line loosing the fish. Five seconds later our “shotgun” bridge rod takes off. I throw the drag to her and before I can hand the rod to down to the mate another bridge rod goes off and this is a good one, smoking the drag! Things are OK, one guys in the chair and the other has a stand-up belt. At some point the guy with the belt knocks the reel into free spool and before the mate can throw the drag back up,  the bigger wahoo is gone. Now our day revolves around this one fish that’s still hooked-up. A few minutes later we manage to put a 35 lb. wahoo in the box. What’s that saying about any luck being bad luck…..yea.

09/29/12 Out for a day of Wahoo & Mahi trolling with a crew from VA. Worked the 40 fa. line hard but only had one big wahoo sky out of the water missing our mid-rigger bait. Spirits were getting low and by late morning the guys were talking about heading for the wrecks. I told them at at any point things can go nuts. Honestly, two minutes later we pass a small piece of wood and a couple rods go down with mahi. The next couple hours produced plenty of bites but these buggers were throwing the hooks left & right. I can’t remember when we lost so many fish mid-way in the fight. Back in the slip with a couple mahi in the box, a small portion of what should have been in there. Brings to mind an old saying; lines break, hooks pull, it happens.

09/28/12 Out with the tog kings for another stab at some offshore action. Two weeks ago we threw a propeller blade and had to limp home with this crew. Set the spread after 45 miles and continued east. The first two hours produced only a couple mystery bites. Arrived in the deep and immediately got jumped by a 15 lb. mahi. Unfortunately, the fish threw the hook about half-way to the boat. The next couple hours produce sporadic action at best so I decide to troll west looking for a wahoo or yellowfin. After three miles a wahoo skies out of the water missing our long bait. That would normally be the end but this crazy fish is dogging the bait just like a marlin. Finally we crushes the bait and ten minutes later Andrew has his first Wahoo in the boat, a 55 lb. “fish of a lifetime” as he puts it. About thirty minutes later I spot a small board floating and swing past for a look. With fifty feet still to go several rods go down and we put a couple more mahi in the box.  On that note we ended the day and headed to the barn.

09/25/12 Same plan as yesterday since I was sure there were more fish left on the new gear I had found. Set the spread with three miles to troll to the gear. Over those miles we raised two white marlin, one which threw the hook after about a one minute fight. We also managed to put a couple mahi in the box as well. Found the gear and sure enough more fish. Spent the rest of the day working the gear both trolling and with light tackle. The crew of three had an absolute ball and by days end, they had put 45 mahi in the box.

09/24/12 Out with a crew who has become accustom to huge wahoo on Fin Chaser. We set the spread and I proceed to go into the captains lounge (aka: the head). Thirty seconds later I hear the bridge rod start to scream. The mate jumps up and grabs the rod so I know everything is fine. A couple minutes later and the wahoo crew notches another 35 pounder on their belt. Worked that area hard but just couldn’t buy another bite. Moved off to some deeper water and found some new gear. After the first couple balls we have a nice 15lb. mahi in the box. Worked the gear hard and managed to put a couple more in the box before we had to call it a day.

09/23/12 Rescheduled to Monday due to high winds.

09/22/12 Ran east with a regular crew looking for some “meat”. First two hours were very disappointing with no action. Moved south a couple miles and immediately had two rods go down with mahi, both pulled off. Ten minutes later we have a white in the spread messing with the baits. He finally grabs one and then lets go and swims off. A few minutes later another white is behind the short rigger. The mate feeds him the bait and it’s “game on”. After a blistering runs and several jumps the bugger throws the hook. Worked the area the rest of the day but only managed to put one mahi in the box. Ended the day early after a surprise southwest wind kicked up and the guys wanted to get in before things got bad.

09/21/12 Ran to the 40 fa. line in fairly sporty conditions with a crew of six looking for meat. First two hours held only small mahi & skipjack bites with only gaffer mahi. Around 9:00 I came across a 1 degree temp break and immediately one of the flat lines get smashed. A few minutes later we have a 45 lb. yellowfin in the box. Thirty minutes later we put another 35 lb. yellowfin in the box. Worked the same general area the rest of the day and had steady bites. By the end of the trip we added a couple more mahi to the box and released two white marlin while missing a third. The guys were thrilled with many thanks for a great day.

09/20/12 A short little 4 hour bottom fishing trip with a crew of five. My first suggestion was trolling for “turkeys” but this crew only wanted to bottom fish. Their catch included, sea bass, bluefish, scup and skate.

09/16/12 Out for a day of inshore trolling with a crew of 4 from NJ. About fifty minutes from the inlet I run over a huge school of “turkeys”. We throw out a three rod spread and immediately we have fish on ever rod. The next five hours is epic fishing. You could hardly put the rod in the rod holder before a fish would slam the bait. We were even seeing how close to the boat these guys would hit. Believe it or not, about four feet. With two hours left in the day the guys arms are just about ready to fall off and they tell me to head back. The one guy tells me he stopped counting at 60 and that was only after a few hours.

09/15/12 Ran 48 mile SE in a forecast that was calling for the winds to turn N and go 10-15. I figured the worst we would have would be a slightly longer ride home. The first two hours produce only one knock-down so I put the boat on a 40 degree heading. The water looks great just no bites. Suddenly both long baits get smashed, these fish are screaming off line. I suspect we’ve got a pair of big wahoo’s but when the first fish makes it to the boat I’m pleasantly surprised, it’s a nice fat yellowfin. The next 90 minutes are great, we put four yellowfin’s, up to 65 lb, in the box as well as a 55 lb wahoo and a single mahi. We also  had one fish pull the hook and two big explosions that didn’t come tight. Somewhere in the middle of all of this I hear a buddy of mine who is only 18 mile off the beach telling someone it’s gotta be blowing 30 knots and he’s heading back to OC and and only making 7 knots. As we’re putting the wahoo in the box I tell the crew we’ve gotta go and they totally agree. The next few hours is some of the worst stuff I’ve been in in quite a while. NW winds at 25-35 and sea’s at 8 to10 ft. with several 12+ thrown in just for fun.  The entire fleet is crawling for the beach, even the million dollar rigs are only making 10-11 knots. I always tell people Fin Chaser may be one of the smaller boats in the fleet but you and I will break before this Bertram will. Back in the slip at 4:40 with 4 yellowfin, one wahoo and one mahi in the box. A great day, all things considered.

09/14/12 Headed right back to the same numbers as yesterday with the tog experts from NY. Less than 20 minutes from the spot I hear the mate say “hey, look at this”. I turn around to see A.B. sitting on my engine box eating…you guessed it…the long evil fruit (banana). Less than 1 mile to go there’s a loud noise from the starboard side followed by a terrible vibration. I immediately put the boat into neutral and look for the problem. We haven’t hit anything and there’s no water coming in so I suspect I’ve just broken a gear or cracked a shaft. We turn around and start limping home (46 mile) on one engine with our full spread out. The mate thinks he can pop his head off my transom bracket and have a look under the boat so I grab my mask. He immediately see’s the problem, we’ve thrown a blade off the propeller. We’re back in the slip at 4pm and the diver is waiting to pull the broken wheel and replace it with my spare. 60 minutes later we’re good-to-go. Those darn banana’s!!!!

09/13/12 Pulled the throttles back after covering 40 mile with a crew of four from central PA. Worked an area that looked good, clean blue water, but after an hour with no bites I decided to run another 10 mile east. Set the spread and headed for the edge. Spent the day working the edge around some gear, trolling as well as light tackle. The mahi number weren’t fantastic but we did manage to put 20 in the box, a few nice ones too. With five minutes left in the day our short rigger get crushed. Mate thinks its a wahoo but I though it looked like, dare I say……yellowfin. Proving these 48 year old eyes aren’t completely shot yet. 15 minutes later we put a 58 lb yellowfin in the box and head for the barn.

09/09/12 Second day of a back-to-back with a crew from Ohio. Since the weather was too bad to fish yesterday we really wanted to make this trip happen even if it meant hanging close to the beach and cranking on turkeys. Even though no other boats were giving it a try we decided to poke our nose out the inlet. After 10 mile all is well so we try and make another 10. At the 20 mile mark everyone fine so I set my sights on a hill 14 mile ahead of us. Set the spread in fairly sporty conditions and commenced to trolling east. About 45 minutes later a nice gaffer mahi smashes our short rigger. Less than 15 feet from  the boat he throws the hook. After two more miles and no worse conditions I decide to pull in the spread and run another 7 mile east. Arrived in 35 fa. and immediately nearly ran over a big blue fish barrel which turned out to be a great thing. With all the cloud cover and white caps I would have never seen the barrel if we weren’t right on top of it. As the spread passes nearly every rod goes down, some with mahi and some with almaco jacks. These jacks are 3 to 6 lb. and like most jacks, a great fight, they’re also great for the smoker. The next several hours were spent hanging near the barrel picking away at jacks & mahi on the troll. With little time left in the day and increasing NW wind I decide to start trolling west to cut the distance we’re going to need to run with the sea on our nose. After a couple mile I spot a timber floating. Two quick passes add two more gaffer mahi to the box. Back in the slip with 25 fish in the box and some extremely happy anglers. Gotta love it when then million dollar rigs stay at dock and the yellow bertram gets the job done.

09/08/12 Cancelled due to rough conditions.

09/07/12 Ran 60 mile east with a couple from northern MD in search of mahi. Spent the morning going ball-to-ball with light tackle. Some of the gear held a couple and some were blank. Sometime around 11:00 with 25 mahi in the box I decide to troll back to 50 fathoms. Just inside the 50 line I spot a large board floating. The first pass see’s every rod go down with nice “gaffer’s”. A few more passes produce a couple more both on the troll and light tackle. Back in the slip with our limit, 40 mahi in the box.

09/06/12 Today’s forecast is perfect for our inshore trolling trip; 5 to 10 knot winds and only a 30%  chance of scattered showers. A few minutes after the spread is set the rain starts. Then the lightning and then the wind. On the bright side the fish were chewing. After a couple hours of fighting small (6 to 10 lb.) false albacore (aka: turkey), we decide to call it a day saving the guys some $$$ and allowing us to beat the next round of storms heading our way.

09/02/12 Second “no-show” of the year. Thanks A. Simonetti,  Dave and I enjoy loosing money.

09/01/12 Ran 55 mile east with a crew of great guys from MD DNR. About 45 minutes after line are set we have a blue marlin in the spread. Instead of eating our big baits, this crazy blue eats our smaller bait on a 30 lb. class reel so we’re in for a battle to keep this fish from spooling us. 35 minutes after the fish is hooked and countless spectacular jumps, Dave has the leader and the 175 lb. marlin is released. The next couple hours are spent in the super deep working some lobster gear which produced 8 small mahi. Decided to move back  to 60 fa. and look for another marlin. With 45 minutes left in the day a white marlin pops-up in the spread. After playing with two baits he nails our long rigger. 10 minutes later he’s next to the boat for pictures. Back in the slip the two anglers who had never caught marlin before take the traditional swim…good fun!

08/31/12 Out for a 8 hour inshore combo trip. Started off the morning on the troll but after two hours without a knock-down we turn our attentions to sea bass. Anchored on a wreck in 125′ of water and the guys start pounding the sea bass. Unfortunately, as is normal for this time of the year, not many are keepers. As the morning rolls on so do the winds, now blowing a steady 20 knots. Guys call it a day early to allow for ample time for the six hour drive home as well as a little fish cleaning.

08/30/12 Today’s trip has three guys who want to try a little of everything, trolling, wreck and bottom fishing. With barely enough light to see the lines our long goes off. After a nice little fight we put a 35 lb. wahoo in the box. The next two hours sees only turkeys. Anchor on a nearby wreck and the guys spend some of the day pounding sea bass, even manage a couple nice keepers. Pulled the hook and point toward the flounder hill with the trolling spread out. Pulled past a gear marker and our mid-rigger goes off. I can’t believe it but we’ve managed another barracuda. Yep, back-to-back days trolling up barracuda, CRAZY. Finished the day drifting for flounder, yet again, these buggers just didn’t want to eat.

08/29/12 Out for a 12 hour trip with with a couple guys who didn’t want a long boat ride nor were they looking for “meat”. These guys just want to crank on something that pulls. Sounds like it’s “turkey time”. Spent the morning bending rods on turkeys until the bite shut down around 11 am. Looked all over but only found a couple other bites, one of which turned out to be a 20 lb. barracuda.

08/28/12 Headed to the canyon’s with a crew from Leisure Pools in Baltimore. Forecast looked great but it was very clear after 30 mile NOAA must have have their A-team working on the hurricane, leaving the marine forecast to the D-team. In 5 to 6 footers with 20 knot winds we decide to stay put and work the 20/30 fathom line. Less than 20 minutes after lines Dave is putting a 30 lb. wahoo in the box. The rest of the morning held a steady bite of false albacore (aka: turkey) as well as a single mahi. The guys had caught enough and just before noon decided to call it a day.

08/27/12 Out with a crew from PA for a day of flounder fishing. Drift was good and the bites were there but the guys were a little trigger happy, which doesn’t work with flatties. Had a few oddballs too, a huge skate as well as angel shark. Back in the slip with 5 flounder two of which were over 23″ and a 3 lb. sea bass.

08/25/12 & 08/26/12 Cancelled due to high winds and rough seas.

08/24/12 Out with a crew of guys from Waynesboro, PA for a day of inshore trolling and bottom fishing. Started off on a piece of bottom I’ve drifted for sea bass but never flounder. After thirty minutes we have 2 flatties in the box but can’t seem to find number three so we decided to go trolling. Worked some nearby fish pot gear and manage to put four small Mahi in the box as well as a few fish that threw the hook. Ended the day to our north drifting for flounder. Conditions were ok but the fish just wouldn’t chew, only managed a couple keepers. Back in the slip with just enough in the box for a big olde fish fry.

08/23/12 Running to the canyons with a family from southern NY. Unfortunately, less than a ¼ mile from the inlet the 10 year old daughter isn’t doing real well. Might just be nerves, but none the less, I convince mom & dad not to take this little girl sixty mile offshore. Instead we hang much closer and spend the day playing with sea bass, mahi and flounder. The little girl does great and has a ball snapping pictures of her family as they’re catching fish.

08/22/12 Heading to the deep with a father and son from NY in super nice conditions. After about an hour our 10 year old jr. angler isn’t feeling very well so we change our plan. Instead of running deep looking for mahi we decide to hang much closer to the beach and look for them under some gear markers and then try for some sea bass. First two hours of open water trolling produce nothing. Arriving at the markers we see another boat working them over, but they finally give up and leave. A few passes and nothing. A few more and we have a small mahi on the line. The next few hours produce a few more small mahi, some find the hook and some don’t but the duo are thrilled since mahi was the target all along. Finished the day on some sea bass, a few keepers too.

08/21/12 Out for a day of flounder fishing with a crew from central PA. Arrived at the grounds to find the drift, or shall I say lack there of, horrible. We were nearly sitting still in the water which is terrible for flounder and not very good for sea bass this time of the year either. By late morning the drift had not changed so we put on sea bass rigs and made a 1/2 mile move. Found a good sea bass bite that even had some keepers mixed in. Back in the slip with a bucket full of sea bass and one lonely flounder.

08/20/12 Cancelled due to high winds & rough seas.

08/19/12 Charter decided to use the same game plan as the crew yesterday. Unfortunately by 10 am we were still waiting on our first trolling bite so the decision is made to run to the flounder grounds. First few drifts were rather slow, only a couple throw-backs. Made a small move that paid off big and a few drifts that were mind blowing. These five anglers went from zero in the box to their limit in under two hours with a couple fish well over 22″. Dave even took two for is family’s dinner. Back in the slip slightly early with 17 flatties in the box and some very happy anglers.

08/18/12 After hearing all the options and the risks associated with each today’s crew decided to hang a little tighter to the beach and look for a wahoo and if nothing happens by late morning, head for the wrecks. The first two hours was rather boring until a Dave see a small mahi screaming toward our one bait. At the same time there’s a big bite on our flat-line bait and this fish is going the other direction in a hurry. Ten minutes later we have a 71 lb. wahoo on the gaff. The next few hours are unproductive except for the occasional skipjack bite. Sometime around noon we get a big bite on our long rigger. By the way the fish is acting I think we might have another big wahoo, wrong! Turns out to be a 45 lb. yellowfin. Almost forgot what they look like. We worked the same area the rest of the day but no other bites.

08/17/12 Last minute cancellation due to a Ohio family’s medical issue.

08/16/12 Ran south with a father and daughter looking for anything in the deep. Worked some lobster gear early and it produced a couple mahi. Pulled by one ball and three rods get hit. As the first fish hits the deck it throws the hook right into Dave’s arm and its deep. The bolt cutters are needed to cut the shank of the hook. The rest is left in his arm and wrapped-up. Back in the slip around noon and Dave’s off to the the ER for stitches. He calls me later that afternoon telling me he’s good to go.

08/15/12 A day of flounder action with a crew of five from Harrisburg, PA. Drift was horrible, wrong direction and way too fast. Had to constantly work the throttles to keep the boat over the most productive bottom. Bite was good but a few too many throw backs. Guys decided to end the day an hour early since one of them has been sick since the get-go. Back in the slip 3 fish shy of our limit with 12 founder in the box the largest measuring just under 24″.

08/14/12 The trifecta, third day in a row the guys made the same decision after being given all the options.  I was a little worried that our numbers wouldn’t be acceptable, but after the first couple drifts, I knew we were fine. Worked hard all day to keep the boat on productive bottom and by the days end, this crew of three had 49 sea bass, 2 flounder, 1 cod and 1 pollock in the box.

08/13/12 The crew today made the same choice as yesterday, go for the sure thing and pony-up for the extra fuel. Ran 90 minutes to a wreck sitting in 130′ of water. Bite was great and the size still amazing for August. Back in the slip with 82 sea bass in the box.

08/12/12 Today was to be a 12 hr. canyon trip but due to the poor tuna action this crew decided to switch to a 12 hr, wreck trip instead. Ran 35 mile to a wreck outside the range of normal wreck trips but these guys were ok with the extra $$ needed for fuel. Fishing was spectacular and the average size, “holy cow”. These are number and size you would love to see in the spring or fall, not August. Back in the slip with 96 sea bass in the box.

08/10/12 A day of inshore trolling working the flags for mahi. Wind and seas were kinda sporty to start with and continued to build all morning. By noon, all the other boats had headed in except me and one other guy. When Monty told me his wind gauge was a steady 28 knots, we both knew it was time to roll. Back in the slip with one mahi in the box.

08/09/12 Out with a crew of anglers from PA for a day of flounder fishing. The bite started slow but then took-off. Ginger, a flounder novice, showed everyone how it was done by landing fish after fish, two true doormats too. Back in the slip with our limit of flatties the largest measuring 26.5″ and pushing the scale to 8 lb.

08/08/12 Paddled sixty mile south with a father and his three boys from Thompsontown, PA looking for a bite. Our first few encounters were with white marlin. One was hooked and put on a great show for about two minutes before throwing the hook in mid-jump. The next fish smacks at one bait and swims off. The next excitement was with a pair of fish, one finds the hook and one doesn’t. After a 15 minute battle, dad lands his first marlin. The next two hours are dead so we decide to make a run to a wreck that’s on our way home and try for some sea bass and mahi. Arrived at the spot and was lucky enough to find a few small mahi for the box. Set up for sea bass and was shocked at the size, lots of dandy’s.

08/07/12 Ran fifty-five mile south is super nice conditions with a crew of five looking for a fight. Midway there, Dave tells me we have two already down. “No way” I respond, “yes way” Dave says. Turns out they were up most of the night spending time with good old Buddywiser. The one guy was so bad he had to be carried to bed at 2 am. Ten minutes after the baits are set we have a nice 15 lb. mahi in the box. Thirty minutes late I spy a set of lobster gear markers out in the middle of nowhere and push over for a look. Dave breaks out the light tackle and the melee begins. Three of the crew are having a ball messing with mahi all the while trying to avoid the power chumming the other two were doing. Sometime around 10 bells the crew is considering going back since the chumming seems to be getting worse. In the spirit of the election year, the decision goes to a vote. Three vote to go, two vote to stay. Back in the slip way early with a dozen mahi in the box.

08/05/12 & 08/06/12 Cancelled due to high winds.

08/04/12 Looking for anything big, tuna, marlin, mahi, whatever,  with a crew of six from MD. Ran sixty mile southeast toward the area where in the last few days the marlin bite has been very good. First few hours of trolling found four white’s in our spread. Two very serious but our tuna baits and hooks were just a little too large. The other two were just window shopping and kinda playing with the baits. About an hour before lunch I noticed something in the distance that looked different, so I paddled that way for a look. Turned out to be a fairly nice weedline with a couple thicker mats. Pulled up to the thickest mat I could see and voila, mahi. Broke out the light tackle and the guys had a ball. The first fish hooked is a dandy, well over 30 lb., but he eventually gets caught-up with another fish and breaks. When the 90 minute melee is over we have 32 mahi in the box.

08/03/12 Out for a day of flattie fishing. Drift was good but way way too many snags. Bite was sporadic, some drifts very good some not so good. Throwbacks were appearing far to often but thankfully some keepers too. back in the slip with 6 flounder and 4 sea bass in the box. The largest flattie hitting the tape at 23″, nice!!

08/02/12 Out for a day of tuna trolling with a crew of anglers from PA. Ran to the Washington canyon looking to put our Jr. crew on some mahi. Pulled past 20+ lobster balls in ugly green water and no mahi. Talked it over and came up with a plan which consisted of a 30 minute run and then straight line trolling to a deep water wreck. Unfortunately, midway through that plan, our Sr. crew member tells us we need to head in now, so we immediately pull the spread and head for the barn.

08/01/12 Wreck fishing with a crew of three. Spent some of the morning fishing around downpours and in light drizzle. The drift was horrible and the bite not much better so we made a 10 mile run looking for better. Well, we never really found it. The drift remained too slow for much of the day while most of the flounder were throwbacks. back in the slip with a couple flatties in the box.

07/31/12 Cancelled due to am thunderstorms and a couple Jr. anglers who I didn’t want to scar for life.

07/30/12 Last minute reschedule to September

07/29/12 Called these guys last night to try and convince them to save their money and go wreck fishing instead of tuna fishing. Their decision, go trolling of a few hours and if that doesn’t produce and we don’t hear of anything, head for the wrecks. Well by 10 am we haven’t had a pull and the entire fleet, stretching some 50 miles north to south, is struggling for a bite. We pull in lines and paddle to the wrecks. The next three hours is some of the best flounder fishing I’ve seen in years. When the bell rang these guys had 16 flatties in the box, one measuring over 26″ and tipping the scales at nearly 9 lb. Several others over 5 lb. too. Back at the fish cleaners a buddy of mine who is a top notch tuna capt. has one yellowfin in the box after an entire day of trolling. My guys actually go home with more flounder meat than that crew took home of yellowfin.

07/28/12 Heading to the chunking hill with a little worry, has our epic tuna bite come to an end? The morning bite was spent cutting butterfish and watching dozens of other boats do the same thing we were, nothing! By 11:00 am I know of 5 fish caught by the 70 some boats, pathetic. Hating to see our two Jr. anglers not catch a fish, I offered the guys a run to the wrecks to try for some flatties, “YES” !!!. The flounder bite was great and our one Jr. angler was putting on a flounder fishing clinic. In less that 90 minutes of fishing we caught nearly 20 flatties and several sea bass. Back in the slip with six flounder in the box.

07/27/12 Out with a crew of regulars for some tuna fishing. Morning bite was dead except for one boat who was holding a few behind him and picking away. The rest of us were dreaming of a bite. Sometime around 9:30 we get our first pull but it doesn’t come tight. Twenty minutes later we have another yellowfin on but with the fish 20 feet from the boat the hook pulls. Shortly after that a buddy of mine resets his anchor dangerously close to us. I tell Dave “this might be a problem”. A few minutes later another rod goes off and the fish is hanging on our port side. Suddenly the tuna make a blistering run across the transom right into Jeff’s anchor rope. Both crews work like crazy to get our rod to his boat to allow them to free the line. Just before they have the rod the fish darts over to my rope. Now this crazed fish is hung on both ropes. They free the line from their rope and toss the rod back. Unfortunately it’s too late, the line finally broke. An hour passes without a pull and the folks decides they really want some steamed shrimp and cold beverages so I’m told to head back.

07/26/12 It’s not often I try and convince a crew not to go but that’s exactly what I did last night as well as this morning but these guys would hear nothing of it so we set out for the tuna grounds. The ride out wasn’t bad and I’m sure the guys were wondering why I was trying so hard to talk them out of going. That is, until they turned around to see exactly what we were going to have to go through to get home….YIKES!! After about thirty minutes of fishing one rod go off and we’re doing battle. The next 2½ hours was very good. I don’t think more than 10 minutes went by that we weren’t hooked-up. These fish have been taking 10 to 15 minutes to land on light leader but with all the current and wind today it was taking 20 minutes plus and several different anglers on the rod. As yellowfin #5 goes in the box the crew is toast and tell me to head home. Great call since one of the three teenage boys has been extremely sick since the ride out. Oh, and the ride home, exactly what I warned them about. That ride was the downfall of the two other teenagers as well.

07/25/12 Out with  the boyz from Sherwin-Williams of Philly, PA on what was to be a tuna trip but due to 20 knot north winds in the morning we decide to wait until noon and try for some flounder. Arrived at the secret spot in improving conditions and went to work. The first few drifts were awesome, one or two keepers per drift. After less than two hours of fishing and with the drive back to PA still ahead of them, the crew decides to call it a day. back in the slip with 11 founder, two of which are true “doormats”.

07/24/12 Today is to be super nice for this crew of three brothers ranging in age from early to late teens. Less than am hour at the chunking hole and things are getting nasty and the drift is crazy fast. Tried anchoring the old fashion way , by hand, only to find that our baits are going directly under the boat and ending up right next to the anchor line. After about a hour and only one small skipjack I decide we need to drift since even if we hook a fish while anchored it will likely just get wrapped in the anchor rope. The next few hours of mach one drifting produce three bites resulting in two yellowfin in the box. One is a dandy, well over 50.  Conditions are now really bad and most of the boats have left so we decide we need to roll not only because of the seas but also for the middle brother who had been very sick since the ride out. With 15 miles left to the beach thing lay-out nice so we decide to make due with the bait we have and try drifting for sea bass, flounder, whatever for 30 minutes to allow the middle brother to at least hold a fishing rod. Things go well yielding sea bass, sea robins, triggerfish and lots of 15-16″ flounder. Even manage to put a 18′ flounder in the box and one nice triggerfish too.

07/23/12 Arrived at the chunking hill and immediately noticed a small fleet of boats a few miles to our north. This fleet was also the topic of much radio chatter “whats going on up there?” and such. After a couple hours without a pull and only seeing three fish caught by boats within view, I decide to make the move. After the short run I pick a small hole in all the boats at set the hook. about ¾ of the way down the anchor windlass just stops. The mate pulls the anchor up by hand and I start looking for the problem. The breaker was tripped. Throw the line back out and power-down the remaining ¼. Just as there’s enough line out to hold, the windlass cuts out again. Start fishing even as we’re sliding ever so slightly on the hook. A few hours pass with any action and the only fish I’m seeing caught are coming from live bait, what look to be tinkers. Just about at the point where I’m going to need to pull the anchor one of our drifter lines get hit. Finally, we have a fish on.  The fight is going well until suddenly the fish make a run toward the boat and the angler stops reeling since he thinks the fish is gone. Dave and I scream “REEL”. Too late, the line comes tight the fish turns and the hook pulls. Spent the next hour trying to drift among all the boat but it’s nearly impossible. I decide to pro-rate the trip to a ten hour deal and return to dock early allowing me time to trouble shoot our problem child windlass.

07/22/12 After covering five mile of the forty-two mile run to the hotspot I’m given notice the matriarch of the family doesn’t wish to go any farther and the late teen boys are on the fence too.  The decision is made to turn around, kill an hour, then go flounder fishing instead. The bite was very good on both flounder and sea bass with a few personal bests going in the box. Around 11:00 the drift, which was boarder line too fast slowed to a nicer pace. Unfortunately, the bite die as well. Back in the slip with eight flounder and a few seas bass appetizers too.

07/21/12 Cancelled due to high winds and rough seas.

07/20/12 Headed out for a day of tuna chunking in what was to be fairly nice conditions. Less than five miles from the grounds things were picking-up. On the chunking hill, conditions were right nasty. First fish was in the box less than twenty minutes after we started. Next two bites pulled off. By 9:30 the sea was super nasty, even the half-million dollar rigs were complaining. Sometime around 10:30am I decided we better get while the gettin’ is good.

07/19/12 Back out for a day of tuna chunking with a father and son duo from Ohio. First bite took about fifteen minutes. After that, WOW!!!! By 9:45 our limit was reached and these guys absolutely couldn’t fight any more fish so we headed for the barn. Back in the slip with 7 fat yellowfin to 55 lbs.

07/18/12 Ran south to an area that has been very productive for flounder. With only a few miles to go I was worried that the increasing wind & seas would make drifting impossible. Gave it a try, but just too fast. Set up on a local wreck and the crew of four spent the trip catching sea bass, snapper bluefish and triggerfish. While most of the fish weren’t big, dad and the teenagers seemed to have a ball just catching fish.

07/17/12 AM trip; Out looking for founder with a crew from western PA. Bite was good with a decent keeper ration, even managed a couple doormats. Back in the slip with 8 flatties in the box.  PM trip; Ran back to the same spot but the drift and the water color went bad since the am trip. Set up on a nearby wreck and crew had a ball catching sea bass and snapper bluefish.

07/16/12 Well I stand corrected. Today was arguably some of the best chunking I’ve ever seen. Although it took four or five minutes for them to find us, after that, CRAZY!!! Less than ninety minutes of fishing produced 8 fat yellowfin. Then,  I hit the guys with a reality check. Reminding them of the fish cleaner’s bill as well as buying another cooler and ice for the tuna steaks. Not to mention the fact that it was getting hard to find anyone willing to fight another fish.  The decided was made to quit at 10. Fifteen minutes later we’re done.  Back in the slip well before noon with 10 beautiful yellowfin in the box.

07/15/12 I didn’t think the chunking action could get any better than yesterday…..wrong. It took the guys from Senate Termite Control about three minutes to hook our first fish. What transpired over the next 2.5 hours is the stuff dreams are made of. I truly don’t think more than ten minutes passed without a run-off or a hook-up. When all the sweat was wiped off and the blood washed away, we had 11 fat yellowfin in the box. Plus, one very ill guy longing for solid land. The decision was made to call it a day and we were back in the slip shortly after noon with a haul that made the fish cleaner smile.

07/14/12 Out with a crew of six for some tuna chunking. Less than five minutes into the day, the first fish in on. The next two hours was a chunking dream. Well, all except for the stupid light leaders and pulled hooks. Sometime around 10:00 the fish went deep and the bite stopped. With no action, except for the HUGE spotted ray we hooked but could not begin to slow down, we decide to do some trolling. Worked a weedline for a little over an hour but it only produced one tiny mahi bite. With a small amount of butterfish remaining we set up and continue chunking, rationing our chunks. With thirty minutes left in the day the yellowfin are boiling right behind the boat. One rod goes off and it’s game-on. Unfortunately, the hook pulls shortly into the fight. Back in the slip with six super nice yellowfin in the box and a crew of very happy anglers.

07/13/12 First no-show of the season. Way to go Jedidiah.

07/12/12 Out for a day of tuna fishing with a trio of anglers in what was forecast to be tolerable and improving conditions. After twenty mile it was clear they completely missed this forecast. It was so rough, even the half-million dollar rigs were crawling. My folks must have been descendants of vikings because they didn’t care. Arrived at the grounds and proceeded to set the hook (anchor) since it was way too rough to drift. After about an hour the deep rods gets hit. A few minutes later was have our “under” bluefin in the box. The next bite is a stud bluefin. After a thirty minute battle the fish make one final run catching the angler a little out of form and breaks the 50 lb. leader on the boats running gear. Now for some perspective, we normally troll with 90 lb. leader but these chunking fish are leader shy requiring way too light leader in order to get bites. Our next fish is another “under” and is popped free at the boat. The next couple bites don’t come tight. Final fish of the day is a nice yellowfin which makes it in the box. As we left the tuna grounds the seas were nearly as bad as when we had arrived and the winds, well, they hadn’t layed-out either.

07/11/12 Cancelled due to high winds & seas.

07/10/12 Out for a day of flounder fishing with a family from Harrisburg, PA. Morning bite was steady with a fair number of keepers. Sometime around 11:00 the wind kicked-up and messed-up our drift. The next two hours produced only a few fish which wasn’t bad considering we only had one or two people fishing at any given time. Guess the pills plus the early start was catching up to the teenagers. back in the slip with 8 flounder in the box.

07/09/12 Delayed our start by one hour to let the storms pass. Unfortunately, after 20 mile, new storms had fired-up and we were in the middle of them. Poked along at a slow pace and finally made it to the tuna grounds. Tried drifting but the drift was crazy fast, even 2 lbs. of lead wouldn’t keep our deep baits on the bottom. The first few hours produced only two run-off’s and one circle hook that somehow pulled in mid-fight. The charter decided they wanted to try some trolling so off we went. After ninety minutes and only one big explosion that didn’t come tight, I asked the guys if they wanted to try chunking again since the wind had died-out and a buddy of mine who was still chunking was catching fish. To my surprise, they said “nah”. Fourty-five minues later I swung by the other boat and the guys could see bent rods, suddenly they decide maybe we should switch back. With less than thirty minutes left in the day we start throwing chunks. Five minutes later, we’ve got two fish on. First fish makes it to the gaff, a nice 45 lb. yellowfin. The second angler is having a real struggle and claims the reel’s drag isn’t working properly. Turns out he accidentally knocked the drag back and the fish took over 75% of the spool. After an epic struggle and claims of his arm being ready to fall off, the 80 lb. bluefin is on our gaff and it’s time to head home.

07/08/12 Headed east with two flats of butterfish for some tuna chunking. Bite was rather sporadic. Some drifts produced fish, some just run-offs that didn’t come tight and some with nothing. Ended the day early with four tuna in the box.

07/07/12 Out with a crew from PA for a day of tuna action. Unfortunately, one of the party was 90 minutes late pretty much assuring us not to have a space in the chunking fleet so we decided to troll. After one quick stop on a great bluefin hole from years past we arrive at the 40 fathom line and set the spread. About 90 minutes later the starboard engine make a brief squeal and then a rubber smell. After checking it out I discovered the idler pulley bearing gave up. Worked that area on one engine for the next few hours and managed to put a nice yellowfin and mahi in the box. Trolled nearly the entire way home covering many good inshore bluefin haunts but no luck. Back in the slip two hours late with two fish in the box. After a couple quick turns of the wrench and a replacement pulley which the local diesel guy had waiting for me in my dockbox, were ready for tomorrow.

07/06/12 Out with the boyz from PA for a day of offshore fishing. Morning bite was good, a couple yellowfin & marlin bites as well as mahi. Unfortunately due to hooks pulling and fighting belt issues we only had one yellowfin in the box. The next couple hours were DEAD. Everyone on the radio was complaining about the same issue “no bites”. With fifteen minutes left in the day we get attacked by tiny mahi, just big enough to trip the rigger clips and tear-up the baits. Reset the spread and with less than five minutes left to fish, we get nailed by a nice fat yellowfin. Back in the slip with two yellowfin in the box.

07/05/12 Two half-day trips produced a great mixed catch. Sea Bass, flounder, triggerfish, snapper bluefish, spinner sharks and big ugly skates kept the anglers busy on both trips.

07/04/12 Today was some of the best bluefin chunking I’ve seen in years. The trio of anglers were totally shot by 10:00 am. The first fish alone went through all three nearly twice. Bite was that hot, the fish were boiling on the baits 10 feet next to the boat. With very little left in their tanks, I’m told to “start trolling”. Less than two hours later, and with feeling fianlly returning to their arms, the guys decide they really don’t care to fight any more fish today so we head for the barn. Back in the slip with two bluefin in the box 40 & 76 lbs.

07/03/12 Back out for bluefin with the chunking stuff. Morning bite was ok, but after two break-off’s and one jig rod hook pulling in mid-fight we only had one fish in the box by noon. Bite absolutely shut down around noon and we only had two “run-off’s” that never came tight in the afternoon.

07/02/12 Today’s marine forecast; light winds and seas with a slight chance of afternoon t-storms. Shortly after arriving at the fishing ground with a crew of five from PA we get nailed by a horrible storm. Can’t remember when I was in sustained winds that must have been well over 50 knots for at least 15 minutes. Seas went from flat calm to WOW in no time. Jogged with the bow right to her till the worst of the wind passes, at least 30 minutes. Finally got back to fishing in the remaining rough seas and proceeded to get nailed by a bluefin. After a 20 minute fight, we have a 80 lb. “over” in the box. Worked that area for a while but only one more explosion and he missed the bait. No more bites the rest of the morning. After watching two boats who were chunking catch a few fish, I offer the guys some chunking with butterfish one of my buddies was going to give us but the crew wasn’t interested. Back in the slip with one lonely bluefin in the box.

07/01/12 Out with Jr and the boyz for a day of tuna fishing. Nothing red-hot, but just enough action to keep things interesting. A few big explosions, a few light bites. With 30 minutes left in the day, Dave spots a school of rays (aka:bats). Sometimes, just sometimes, the tuna will hang out under these guys. Swung over the school and two rods go down, one comes tight and one doesn’t. Ended the day with three yellowfin and one bluefin in the box.

06/30/12 Fishing the same area as yesterday with a family of three from northern MD. Morning bite just didn’t happen, only one small mahi in the box. Sometime around 10:00 a huge bluefin blows-up on our long rigger but completely missed the bait. Shortly after noon, the mid-rigger gets nailed. A couple minutes later, we put a 35 lb. yellowfin in the box. Another pass and another yellowfin in the box. Worked the area for the rest of the day but could only manage one more mahi.

06/29/12 Ran 43 miles east for a day of tuna fishing with party of two. Morning bite was good but we just couldn’t find any “overs” (bluefin tuna over 47″) Afternoon held nothing but acres of bluefin on the surface, pushing water and rolling but not eating. Back in the slip with one 40 lb. bluefin in the box and three others released.

06/28/12 Today’s first trip, 8 hour bottom/wreck, found me running to the north with a couple newbies who want to try their hand at flounder fishing. Arrived to find a perfect drift but fairly dirty water. As soon as the baits hit the bottom I knew we were in trouble. The sea bass were that thick, they would savage the bait before the flounder ever had a chance. Managed a few keeper flounder but way too many throw back sea bass. Back in the slip with 4 legal flatties and a few sea bass. My second trip, a seven hour hybrid trolling trip, found me running 40 miles east trying to do a quick number on some bluefin tuna. Before the entire spread was set, both longs get nailed at the same time. Thirty-five minutes later we have two bluefin in the box. Worked the area hard for the next 2½ hours but only had one more fish, a 70 lb. bluefin which was released. Back in the slip super late with a 63 & 84 lb. bluefin in the box.

06/27/12 Headed east with two guys from York, PA for a ten hour trolling trip. Day started off great, less than twenty minutes after lines in, we have a yellowfin in the box. The next few hours produce nothing but a few misses. Pulled up on the hill and a white marlin shows up in the spread all “lit-up”. The marlin messes with three baits for several minutes but never actually taking the bait. Thirty minutes later the wwb (way-way back) takes off. I throw the boat in a hard turn and two more rods go off. The bluefin, which hit the wwb, pulls off close to the boat. The two other fish, both yellowfin, make it in the box. The guys are shot and I’m told to head for the barn.

06/25/12 Out for a five hour trip with a crew from E-town PA in fairly sporty conditions. Bite was good but the weather…not so good. Pulled in lines a few minutes early trying to beat the nasty storms heading our way.

06/24/12 Fun trip with my son and five of his buds from school. Spent a few hours in the morning looking for some tuna close to shore, no luck. Spent the afternoon wearing these guys out cranking on sea bass, flounder and triggerfish.

06/23/12 Today’s trip started last evening with a phone conversation where I told the guys they should REALLY consider shelling out a few more $$ and turning their 8 hour wreck trip into a 8 hour trolling trip with an extra $140 tacked-on for fuel to allow us to fish 40 mile off the beach. Now I was sure we wouldn’t have any problem getting some yellowfin bites. Sometime around 9:30 am, and no bites, I thought to myself, “why didn’t you just keep your mouth shut”. Made the run to the sea bass ground and spent the rest of the day hammering on sea bass. Felt so bad that I had talked these guys into spend extra $$, I added an extra hour to the trip.

06/22/12 Headed east with a pair of anglers from Williamsburg, VA. Thirty minutes after arriving at the tuna grounds we have our first yellowfin in the box. Sixty minutes later, Matt asks me to he wants to look for a bluefin. After some discussion, we decide to run to an area that might just hold both, bluefin and yellowfin. Spent the rest of the day pounding that area and putting four other fat yellowfin in the box. With fourty-five minutes left in the day and after fighting two yellowfin nearly back to back, Matt tells me he’s shot. Unfortunately, the other angler is his girlfriend and she made it very clear after one fish she doesn’t want to tangle with any more of these tuna so we head for the barn.

06/21/12 Out for eight hours with three father’s and son’s from PA. The first two hours were spent looking for a bluefin tuna. Just about the time I was ready to tell the guys I didn’t think it would happen, the flat line takes off and it’s GAME ON! Fifteen minutes later, Richard has his first bluefin, 40 lbs, on the gaff. The afternoon was spent harassing the sea bass, even pulled out a few keepers too.

06/20/12 Two five hour trips found some great sea bass action, especially on the AM trip. The sea bass bite slowed a little for the PM trip but the triggerfish made up for them. One of the guys from the second trip also got to tangle with the first spinner shark of the year, landing the thirty pound shark in slightly under 25 minutes on light weight spin tackle.

06/19/12 Four guys from western PA came down on short notice betting on some yellowfin. Morning bite was slow, by 9:00 we had one in the box and a second fish pulled the hook. Suddenly a marlin pops up under our short rigger and grabs the bait. Dave feeds the fish and hands the reel off to the lucky angler who had just mentioned the fact that he always wanted to catch a marlin. Ten minutes later, his wish was answered. Shortly after that, we headed for home with a leaking diesel injector pump, trolling as we go. The next 90 minutes found us fighting another yellowfin, which was lost close to the boat (failure to REEEEEEL!!!!!) as well as another marlin who was just window shopping. While this was going on, Mr Goodwrench, aka: Capt Dan fixed the issue and we spun around and trolled back to the grounds. After 90 minutes with no action I move a touch deeper and BANG. We put a double- header of yellowfin in the box. Another pass and eight of the ten rods go down at once. Some how, with lots of yelling, we manage to put seven of the eight in the box, a couple nice fat one too. With that it was time to head for the barn. Back in the slip with 10 in the box and a white marlin release.

06/18/12 Out with a crew of four looking for some tuna. Arrived at the hot spot and the wait wasn’t long, first fish in the box with-in the first 30 minutes. The rest of the day provided steady single and double bites, some came tight, some didn’t. By the days end, we had nine nice yellowfin in the box.

06/12/12 through 06/17/12 All trips cancelled due to nasty NE winds.

06/11/12 First canyon trip of the year with a party of five. The day started off great. Less than fifteen minutes after the spread was set, we had two yellowfin in the box. Since not much was happening elsewhere I decided to stay and pound the area hard resulting in three more bites and two more fish going in the box. After quite a while without any action and some very good boats struggling I decided to push south and a little deeper. Hit 80 fathoms and found a little bait. Worked that area the rest of the day and went one for two on bites. back in the slip with five yellowfin in the box ranging from the upper 30′s to middle 40 pound range.

06/10/12 Out with high hopes of a mako with a crew of three from VA. Today’s drift was quite possibly the worst I have ever seen. In six hours of fishing we had only covered 8/10 of a mile. On a good day, you want to drift at least 1 mile per hour. To make matters even worse, midway through the day our drift turned 180° and we nearly drifted right back to where we had started. The only sharks we saw were a 50 lb. hammerhead who just hung-around and wouldn’t even eat the chum as well as a 80 lb. dusky who wouldn’t touch anything on wire. Hooked him briefly on a mono bait but he cut through the leader in under a minute.

06/09/12 A shark/wreck combo found us looking for a mako in the morning. Drift was very poor and after one entire bucket of chum, all we had to show was one battle with a 70 lb. dusky shark. Spent a couple hours hammering the sea bass with this crew of five from the eastern shore of MD.

06/07 & 06/08/12 Two days off before the grind starts and what do I do…..go fishing. Spent both days with my buddy who I can’t believe is turning 18 this summer. Trevor and I put the iron (jigs) to the sea bass producing some fantastic upcoming meals for the Stauffer family.

06/06/12 Out with a pair of lady anglers from WV. These gals were thrilled with the sea bass bite, even though way too many were hitting the tape at 12¼. They even managed to hook the first flounder of our season. Back in the slip with 27 tasty sea bass in the box.

06/02/12 pm & 06/03/12 am  Two shorts trips with the same crew. First 3 hr. trip found us looking for tog on a nearby wreck. It took the crew a little time to figure out the tog but once they did, oh boy! Put five nice tog in the box while releasing lots of fish just under 16″. The guys were even so kind as to release a few large female’s to ensure our future tog fishing. The second 5 hr. trip found the guys messing with sea bass. Bite was good but not great, lots of “throwback” 12¼ inch fish which we should be able to harvest (very bad fisheries management going on these days). Back in the slip with a bakers dozen in the box.

06/01/12 Back out looking for sea bass. After making two or three drifts it was clear the wind and current just were not going to allow us to drift today. Spent the day working a few spots and weeding through “shorts”. Even though most of the fish were going back, the crew was having a ball catching fish, even two at a time. back in the slip with 25 sea bass in the box, more than enough for a huge fish fry which is exactly what they wanted. Gotta LOVE IT when the people drive away super happy.

05/30/12 Ran east with a crew from Quarry Ridge Construction in Lancaster Co. PA looking for some “keepers”. Arrived to find very tough drifting conditions, east/west drift instead of north/south. This kind of drift doesn’t allow much time on the “sweet spot”. Tried throwing the anchor as all of the other boats were doing but immediately experienced the same results they were seeing on anchor, hardly any bites. Decided to do the work in order to put fish in the box. Spent the rest of the day painstakingly maneuvering the boat and drifting tiny little pieces of structure. By days end we had 49 sea bass and 1 cod in the box. Fish picture only out of respect for our Amish friends.

05/29/12 Out with two younger couples for this half-day trip. Arrived to find a rather slow bite. First few drifts produced only a few fish. Re-adjusted our drifts a little and the bite improved but not to the level we have been seeing. About the same time that the bite improved the wind decided to kick-up hard out of the south too making the last few drifts way too fast. Back in the slip with 11 in the box.

05/28/12 Men’s Memorial Day sea bass trip. Ran 18 mile east looking for….what else, sea bass! Bite was crazy good. The guys were getting nailed before their baits even touched bottom. As for the throwback/keeper ratio. Well, it is what it is. Gotta weed through the shorts to find the keepers. Back in the slip with 62 sea bass heading to a fish fry.

05/26/12 (PM Trip)  Out with a group of guys looking to have some fun and perhaps catch dinner on this five hour trip. Bite was off-the-charts good with a fairly decent keeper ratio. Back in the slip with 28 sea bass in the box, more than enough for several epic meals.

05/26/12 Ran back to the same area that produced so well yesterday and the bite was even better. Fish hitting the rail from all sides, the mate didn’t know which way to turn next. The small bluefish were still there but not as bad as the day before. Back in the slip with 88 sea bass headed for northwestern MD.

05/25/12 Ran twenty miles to the south with four guys from MD looking to fill the box with sea bass. Bite was crazy good, fish breaking the surface at a break-neck speed. Add in the 16 to 18″ snapper bluefish that would jump our baits at times and needless to say, I’m tired! Back in the slip with 78 sea bass in the box.

05/24/12 Out with two of the nicest people you could ever wish to spend a day with. Bite was good but that darn throwback to keeper ratio was kinda tough. Worked hard all day moving from piece to piece looking for keepers. By days end, the box held 39 plump sea bass just waiting for the House Autry.

05/23/12 Ran 13 mile south with a family of four from northern NY looking to try their hand at sea bass fishing. Bite was great but way too many fish were ¼ inch under legal. Everyone was kept busy catching fish including our two Jr. anglers (ages 8 & 10). Back in the slip with 20 tasty sea bass heading for the fry pan. Nice little catch for a half-day trip.

05/22/12 Out for the first sea bass trip of the season with a crew from DC. Bite was steady with a throwback/keeper ratio around 6:1. Unfortunately most of the day was spent with only three lines in the water due to the effects of a lack of Dramine and a big swell pushing in from the east.  Back in the slip with 79 sea bass and 2 tog headed for the fish cleaner.

05/12/12 Ran to the south looking for some tasty tog for this repeat crew from last spring. Bite was super in the morning with a fair number of keepers. Bite slowed in the late morning and by noon had nearly shut down all together. Back in the slip with 15 tog in the box the largest just under 10 lb.

05/11/12 Half-day trip with three guys from MD, one who’s tying the knot tomorrow. Bite was good and very fitting that the groom-to-be had the best bite of the trio. Back in the slip with four nice keepers in the box.

05/07/12 Toggin with the boyz from FlexHead Industries. Bite was slow in the morning but really picked-up as the day progressed. At times it was red-hot, other times, not so much. Did manage a few dandies and one of the prettiest 8 lb. males I’ve seen in a long time. Back in the slip a little early with 13 tog in the box.

05/05/12 More tog fishing with a mixed crew, some experienced and a couple who have never held a rod before. Bite was spotty, red hot for a time then nothing. Unfortunately, some of the crew regretted their decision to stay up till 3 am and were out half-way through the day. Back in the slip with 9 tog in the box. Big fish was a tie, two 11 lb.  One caught by… you guessed it, the guy who had never been fishing before.

05/04/12 Out with three Tog experts looking for a limit. Bite was steady most of the day  with a huge number of very nice sea bass mixing in with our tog. Today, catching wasn’t an issue. However, anchoring, a whole different story. Even the guys throwing two hooks just couldn’t over their target. I never remember re-setting the anchor as many times as I did today to keep the guys on fish. Back in the slip with 11 tog, one shy of our goal.

04/29/12 The crew from yesterday, plus two. Day started off with a very slow pick. One or two little moves and the bite improved. Things were great, everyone enjoying the day. Then it happened. The long evil fruit (banana) made it’s first appearance of the year on the Fin Chaser. Less than a hour later a swell pushes in from the east and now the current is directly against the wind, a true anchoring nightmare. Worked hard the rest of the day to keep the guys on fish. Back in the slip with 18 tog in the box, one fish per man shy of our limit. The pool winner was one of the new guys who landed matching 10 lb. tog. Third place went to the “togfather” with a beautiful 8½ lb. male.

04/28/12 Same ringleader as last week with a slightly different crew, one of which turned out to be a tog fishing professor, Gregg M. The bite was steady, but never red hot, three or four 15″ fish, then a keeper. In the slip with 14 in the box, two shy of the limit. Big fish of the day was Bucktail Joe’s 11½ lb tog.

04/21/12 Stayed a little closer to home today working some structure that’s not too well know for tog. Bite was never red hot, but the numbers we good enough to keep me there most of the day. Frank S put on what I can only describe as a “tog clinic”. His numbers had the others ready to feed him to the sharks. By the end of the day our limit was reached, plus one extra for the capt. Back in the slip with 21 tog in the box.

04/20/12 First day of a three day tog extravaganza with the “Togfather” and his posse from NY. Swung for the fences today running 24 miles south to find the hottest tog bite I’ve ever seen. One big issue, nearly all the fish were anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 inch under this ridiculous new size limit. Back in the slip with 12 tog in the box.

04/19/12 First trip of the 2012 season! This half-day trip found me running a few miles south with a crew of four from western PA looking for tog. Bite was very good, but conditions, not so good for toggin’ , a touch of rain and a touch more wind.  The 2011 limit would have been hit with no problem, lots of beautiful 15″ fish. However, this is 2012. The “powers that be” have decided tog need more protection from the evil recreational anglers, can you say 16″ size limit. Simply BAD fisheries management compounded by BAD science. Back in the slip after a few hours with two nice tog in the box.