09/16/14 Back to the same area as yesterday since I heard nothing from any other boats that seemed better. No longer found the weeds and the crazy wind started. Now today’s forecast was calling for winds at 10 – 15 but I think they meant 10 +15. The first few encounters were kinda annoying since only two of four fish made it in the box. I finally found a little edge we could work that was producing a fish every few passes. After a couple more mahi we get jumped by a nice fat wahoo which after a very impressive fight meets the sharp end of our gaff. With much reluctance I leave the weeds and point toward home since the winds are now NW (worst possible direction) and we’ve got nearly 40 miles to cover. Back in the slip with a couple nice mahi and a 60 lb. wahoo.
09/15/14 Out with a couple great guys who normally tog fish with me but try to get one offshore trip in each year. Found the weeds but they were all tore apart. Worked hard trying to find any little edges we could work all the while Trevor was clearing grass from the baits. Managed to put a couple mahi in the box but the highlight of the day for this crew was the release of their first ever marlin.
09/14/14 Last minute cancellation.
09/13/14 Out with a crew of four from upstate NY for a day of offshore action. Today like Friday the weeds were nearly impossible to fish and those areas where we could pull a bait for more than 100 feet with getting all grassed-up didn’t seem to be holding any fish. While trying to move from one broken line to another a blue marlin crushes our flat line and strips off 200 yards of line in no time flat. The next 20 minutes provides several spectacular aerial shows culminating in pictures of this 225 -250 lb. beauty next to the boat before being released to fight another day. Back in the slip with a handful of mahi and memories of a blue marlin that will last a lifetime for these NY anglers.
09/12/14 Cancelled due to high winds and rough seas.
09/11/14 Broke the inlet with a crew from Lancaster PA and fifty miles ahead of us. Arrived to find much more sporty conditions than called for. Worked the weeds as much as possible but the horrible winds of the last two days turned our nice weed lines and patches in unmanageable hay fields. In between clearing grass off the baits we did manage to snag a few mahi. Pulled in lines a little early to beat the ever increasing wind & seas.
09/08/14 & 09/09/14 Cancelled due to high winds and rough seas.
09/07/14 Today’s twelve hour offshore trip is trimmed down to a near shore trolling trip due to the winds forecast to hit this afternoon. The ride out is find and the first half-hour of fishing is in clam seas. Over the next thirty minutes the winds go to twenty knots and the seas turn nasty so we head back after a few hours of crushing the false albacore (aka: turkeys).
09/06/14 Ran east with a crew of roofers from PA hoping to find the weeds again and more mahi action. Found a small line slightly inshore of where we’ve been fishing so I give it a go. After a couple micro mahi bites we find a couple more respectable fish but seem to have rubber hooks today. Finally we put a couple in the box. Trolling toward deeper water I start to think about the fact that I’m leaving fish to find fish so I turn back determined to find better size mahi in this weed line somewhere. Worked this line through the morning with good results and a couple super nice fish too, one pushing the scale to 23 lb. While we were busy messing with these mahi the seas and winds started to rage and just after noon the guys tell me they’ve caught enough and we can head in. Back in the slip with 21 mahi in the box, four over 15 lbs.
09/05/14 Looking for some light tackle mahi action with a pair of anglers from the empire state. After several miles of looking for the weeds I finally locate a couple nice weed beds. Surprisingly, the first couple are blank, holding nothing more than jacks. I notice a large patch off to the side and paddle over for a look. Just before getting there a marlin pops up under our short rigger. After turning off he streaks back with vengeance and finds the hook. Several minutes later we have Brian’s first marlin at the boat for pictures. I swing back to the weed patch I was heading for and find it’s holding a school of very nice mahi. The guys have a ball fighting these fish on light tackle and with quite a bit of time still left in the day the guys tell me they’ve had a great time and we can head back with a very nice box full of mahi.
09/04/14 Out with a crew of Amish for a day of offshore action. Our first encounter is a white marlin who slams our long rigger and after a spectacular show we have Benny’s first marlin next to the boat. The next few fish are small mahi, some make it in the box other don’t find the hook. Things are quiet for a while before another white marlin jumps our short rigger and a few minutes later is next to the boat for a release. Our final bite has me sure we’ve got a nice wahoo on the line. Much to my surprise a nice yellowfin tuna comes in to view and meets our gaff. Sorry, no pictures out of respect for our Amish fiends.
09/03/14 Pushed east today in conditions that were much worse than forecast. Two hours after throwing the bait in the water and only one long bite that doesn’t come tight I see the weeds in the distance. We no longer get to the line and we have a couple mahi on the line. Our next bite burns the reel and after a great fight we put a nice wahoo in the box. Found a weed patch holding some mahi so we break out the light tackle and turn the guys loose. After that we’re back on the troll and get hammered by another wahoo which make it in the box too. With less than an hour left in the day our long rigger rod takes off and we have another hoo on. Unfortunately, while fooling with the belt/butt cushion the angler stops reeling for a split second and that’s all the fish needed to throw the hook. Back in the slip with two nice wahoo and about twenty mahi.
09/02/14 Out with a pair of anglers from NJ looking for the weeds. After about ninety minutes of searching at a fast troll speed we locate some nice lines and beds. Within five minutes we’re rewarded with the first mahi of the day. Spent the rest of the day crushing the mahi mostly on light tackle. By days end we not only have the anglers limit but the crews (Dave & I) limit too, which we gladly let the charter take back to NJ.
09/01/14 Today began with a big discussion about today’s seas and a refund offer if the crew didn’t want to go, but this crew from MD really wanted to get their soon to be married buddy out on the water. After a two hour ride in some pretty serious stuff we set the spread. The next couple hours provide good mahi action as well as the loss of way too much tackle to a couple wahoos. Finally I’ve had enough and tell Dave to put out all wire. The mahi bite continues and with less than thirty minutes left in the day we get jumped by two hoos and both make it to the box thanks to our wire. Back in the slip with a bunch of nice mahi and two wahoos.
08/30/14 Just call us the Banana Boat. Out for an extended offshore trip with a crew from PA. With ten miles left to run I hear Dave yell “oh no!” Curiously I glance over my shoulder to see a bunch of the long evil fruit going overboard. Now mind you I’m not superstitious but I have no way of explaining the rest of the day. The first four marlin we saw we couldn’t get a hook in them. The next two throw the hook midway into the fight. The next marlin breaks the 220 lb. swivel and we get cut off by a wahoo. Fortunately, we find a weed line holding good numbers of very hungry mahi as well as a wahoo that pulls the hook five feet from the boat. With 30 nice mahi in the box the guys decided to leave fish to find fish….you know my thoughts on this. So off we go looking for a tuna bite even though I’ve not heard of any being caught by the other boats who’v been fishing for them all day. About an hour after setting the tuna spread a fourty lb. yellowfin crashes our spreader bar and it’s game on. Less than a minute later the hook pulls and that’s out last bite of the trip. Thinking about getting one of those banana stickers with the red line across it like the old Ghostbusters stickers.
08/29/14 Cleared the inlet with a crew of six for a day of offshore action in slightly choppy seas. Before making the final turn ½ mile out the inlet I asked the crew if everyone was fine and that they still wanted to run offshore. The answer, a resounding YES. Less than two minutes later Dave comes up on the bridge and tells me one of the younger crew members is feeling bad and the guys wanna hang tighter to the beach an try for bluefish and turkeys. I make the offer to run the twenty some year old back to the dock and head back offshore but they think he’ll be fine and this is only a precautionary measure. Get to the hill and find outstanding action on slightly nicer size bluefish than we’ve been seeing on past trips. Unfortunately Ryan is now feeling horrible so after a few hours of filling the box with fish for the smoker (smoked bluefish should be considered a delicacy, it’s truly awesome) we head back to the dock.
08/28/14 Today’s trip started with a warning that if the forecast is slightly off and the NW winds come up harder than they’re calling for it could be a very rough ride home. A refund or shorter trip was offered but this crew of three really wanted to see a marlin so off to the deep we went. Arrived to find pretty nice conditions, but less than fifteen minutes (yes, you heard that correctly; fifteen minutes) after the spread, was set the wind suddenly went to a solid 15 knots straight out of the west. Worked this area with four other mega boats and finally go our shot when a white marlin pops up behind our long rigger and then makes a beeline for our mid rigger bait. Ten minutes later we have Mike’s lifelong dream next to the boat for pictures. Worked the area until 11 am with two other shots but neither came tight. Just prior to this the winds took another jump now at a solid 20+ and the seas had built to 4-5 and super tight so it was time to go.
08/26/14 First trip since the big blow finds we heading south with a crew of five from PA for some overnight fun. Ten mile north of the canyon it was obvious the weatherman was wrong again and the wind and sea’s hadn’t settled down at all. And then there were the weeds, like I’ve never seen them before. Thirteen straight miles of solid hay field. Worked the weeds throughout the afternoon with pretty good results on mahi, white marlin and a nice wahoo. Sometime around 6 pm the guys take a vote and tell me to troll toward home since four of the five don’t want to stay out all night. As we’re just about to loose all our light my shotgun rod takes off and the crew gets a bonus fish, a 40 lb. yellowfin. Back in the slip around 11:30 pm.
08/24/14 & 08/25/14 Cancelled due to rough seas
08/22/14 & 08/23/14 Two nearshore trolling trips found me twenty some miles offshore bending the rods on turkeys, bluefish, bonito & mahi. Both crews absolutely love bluefish for their smokers and these are the perfect size. The turkeys gave the guys a nice tussle for the money and each crew got the bonus of a nice gaffer mahi one pushing the needle to over 20 lbs. Acton was non-stop both days producing nearly 75 trolling bites each day.
08/21/14 Today found me running east with a crew of five looking for a reported weedline. Since this crew really wants tuna I shared a rumor that I heard on the radio and they immediately told me to turn the boat and head toward that area. Even though I didn’t want to, the charter is always right so off we went hoping the story is true. With three miles to go I realized it wasn’t, not a boat in sight. Worked the area but all we could get were turkey bites. Now we’re in a pickle since my original plan is out of the question so I push east and start looking. After two hours of trolling I see a couple boats working an area and then I see the weeds. These mats and lines looked awesome but they must had been hit hard prior to our arrival. Worked extra hard the rest of the day but all we could manage was six gaffer mahi.
08/20/14 Ran south with a crew of three from Erie PA for a day of inshore trolling. Yesterdays bite was epic but today’s bite is truly unbelievable. I would no longer put the boat in gear and we’d have another fish on. After a couple hours the bite shut down so we decided to see if the flounder wanted to play. It took a couple drifts to zero in on the flatties but once we did it was game-on! With less than 10 minutes left in the day we hit the magic number and limited out.
08/18/14 Out with a couple from the Harrisburg, PA area for an inshore trolling trip. The morning bite was incredible and the hard pulling turkeys quickly wore out this couple so we pushed slightly east looking for a mahi bite. After about an hour our long rigger get slammed and we’re not sure what we have. A couple minutes later I see the beautiful colors of a mahi in the water and the fish is quickly put in the box. Unfortunately the leftover choppy seas for the day before are taking their toll and Tammy so we pull lines and head back in.
08/17/14 Pushed SE with the crew from Allen Chicken for an eight hour inshore trolling trip. The turkey bite was epic and after a few hours of pulling on these supercharged football tunas we decided to paddle elsewhere in hopes for something else. I worked some inshore gear which hasn’t been very productive this year but as we passed one of the pot markers our two short riggers get slammed by a pair of gaffer mahi. A few minutes later and nifty gaff work by Trevor we have both fish (12 & 15 lb.) in the box. Finished the day off with a few more stray turkey bites.
08/16/14 Out for a day of flounder action with the boyz from D & D Auto Body of Rockville, MD. Morning was more choppy than the forecast was calling for and the drift, horrible! Worked hard using short pinpoint drifts and managed to put a couple flatties in the box. Shorty before noon the seas calmed and the drift turned to the perfect direction. The next two hours provided outstanding flounder action adding several doormats to the box, five of which were over 24″. The surprise of the day was when a mahi followed in a hooked flounder. Nadi quickly tossed out his rig and the mahi snatched it. Back in the slip one flounder shy of our limit (19) and Nadi’s mahi.
08/15/14 Made the big run today for some tasty tilefish. With a couple miles to go we throw out a few baits and point to the deep drop area. With about two miles to go a marlin pops-up in the spread and starts dogging one of our baits. Trevor quickly grabs the rod and feeds the fish like a pro. Ten minutes and a few jumps later Chris has his first marlin next to the boat for pictures. The next couple hours provide fantastic tilefish action yielding some of the largest gray, aka: blueline, tilefish we’ve seen in quite some time. While moving between drop points another white nearly rips my rigger down going after our dangler bait but we never could get a hook in this bugger. Back in the slip with 32 tilefish, 1 mahi and a white marlin release.
08/14/15 Taking three Ohio guys out for a few hours of rod bending. This crew doesn’t care to keep any fish they’re just looking for a fight. Spent several hours in some pretty sporty conditions cranking on some very aggressive “turkeys”. The bonus of the day is when a nice gaffer mahi crushes our short rigger and we convince the guys they REALLY want to thrown him on the BBQ back at their campsite. In a little early since one of the three wasn’t feeling very well.
08/13/14 Out with two families in some fairly sporty conditions for some inshore trolling. The first couple hours were slow with only one mahi going in the box. Made a nine mile run to a different hill and set the spread. The next two hours were outstanding providing numerous mahi encounters for this crew of six. Back in the slip with seven beautiful mahi in the box the largest tipping the scales at over 20 lbs. and caught by our youngest angler on board.
08/12/14 Rescheduled to September due to very high winds and large seas.
08/11/14 Out with the lucky crew, a father and daughter who’ve had some great fishing with us in the past. Worked a large area during the morning with nothing to show except a couple micro mahi to small for our hooks. Decided to look for some flounder bait and then see if the flatties wanna bite. Trolled up the bait, small bluefish and mackerel, and headed for the wreck. The bite was good and every drift, albeit short, was yielding a few fish. The pair hit their magic number after about 90 minutes and then added a couple for Dave’s quota. Back in the slip with 10 flatties in the box the largest was Emmy’s 25″ doormat.
08/10/14 Ran east with a crew if five on a rumor about a weed line holding some mahi. Arrived at the reported location to find nothing. Trolled east here we finally ran into some large weed patches. Pulled past a couple without any bites before finally finding one holding a fairly large school of mahi. We broke out the light tackle and proceeded to have a ball filling the box with 22 mahi before the school went deep and shut down. Made a two mile move and dropped down a couple tilefish rigs to see if they wanted to play. The answer took less than ten seconds after hitting bottom. Spent the next couple hours cranking on golden & blueline tilefish before calling it a day with 28 tiles added to the box.
08/08/14 When life gives you lemons make lemonade. Well we’ve been making some pretty tasty lemonade these last few trips with the canyon bite being so terrible right now but today that all ended. All me made today was bitter lemon juice. No mahi, just a bunch of trashy bluefish & mackerel . We did manage to add a little sugar to our mix by ending the day with six flounder going in the box.
08/07/14 Ran 23 mile south with a crew of four from Baltimore just looking for some fun bending a rod. The bite was outstanding yielding bluefish, atlantic bonito, mackerel and a 12 lb. mahi. I doubt we went more than 10 minutes at any point up until 10 am without a fish on and these fish were perfect for our Jr. angler and his mom.
08/06/14 Another 8 hour inshore trip finds us looking for another yellowfin where we managed to capture one yesterday. Worked the area most of the morning without any luck. Moved south toward some gear and just before we hit the string a nice gaffer mahi grabs the short rigger and is quickly put in the box. Worked the gear hard but couldn’t find any other fish. With 90 minutes left in the day we set up to drift looking for a few keeper sea bass which we were lucky enough to capture.
08/05/14 Out with a crew of four for an 8 hour combo trip. Lines hit the water after a brief 50 minute run from OC. Less than 20 minutes later we have our first bite and a 20 lb. yellowfin goes in the box. A couple turns later our first “turkey” (false albacore) crushes a green machine/bird combo and goes in the box for bait. By now three other boats are making circles in the same area and the bait is disappearing quickly. Worked the area for another hour without any great shakes except for a few small mahi bites. By now the guys are asking about doing a little sea bass fishing so we troll our way to one of our little pieces of bottom known for sea bass. While a couple guys are sleeping in the cabin the others are having a ball with sea bass. And yes, even the throwbacks are fun. While this is going on suddenly I hear a drag go off from one of my bridge rods we have dangling and see a big mahi swimming off with the bait. As that rod is being passed to one of the guys I see a second mahi under the dangler on the other side but this fish is just looking at the bait. I fire our deadly little jig his way and he immediately crushes it. After a spectacular fight on light tackle Paul has a beautiful mahi on the gaff. Back in the slip with a handful of sea bass, 20 lb. yellowfin & two mahi 15 & 21 lb. Not too bad for an 8 hour near shore trip.
08/04/14 Headed east toward the canyons looking to score big with mahi for this crew of four from PA. As the boats from the WMO (White Marlin Open) start arriving I’m perplexed as several of them start going pot-to-pot looking for mahi too. I think to myself ”you’ve gotta be kidding, these guys really doing this on the first day of fishing”. Someone needs to explain the program to a couple of these captains. With the race for gear getting absolutely stupid and our first five bites either not finding the hook or pulling off right at the boat I’m starting to wonder if someone sneaked a banana on board without my knowledge. As I’m wondering what to do Dave is talking to the guys about yesterdays trip and much to my surprise they wanna try that. After explaining the risk of making that run they tell me to do it. Twenty three miles later we’re sitting where we were yesterday and fire the baits to the bottom. While no quite as good as the day before it’s still pretty darn good fishing with regular keepers and a few dandies too. Midway through our sea bass slaughter two nice mahi swim to our danglers. After some chaos we manage to put both fish in the box. With a little time left in the day the guy have plenty and tell me to head for the barn with 47 sea bass, four ling cod and two 15 lb. mahi in the box.
08/03/14 Made a big run for this 9 hour wreck trip looking to see if the early August phenomenon will hold true this year. Within the first three minutes we had our answer….YES! This crew of four absolutely crushed some dandy sea bass. This was fishing like you’d expect to see in the spring or fall but not August. While we were drifting we put to “danglers” out on our long riggers to see if anything that might swim by would be interested. Well that paid off handsomely when a 12 lb. mahi snatched it and quickly made it to Dave’s gaff and in the box. After 2½ hours of red hot action the guys had their limit plus a couple extra for Dave & I so we threw out some baits and trolled toward the beach. Fifteen minutes later we have another nice gaffer mahi on the long rigger and he too goes in the box. At the dock we throw 75 beautiful sea bass and a 10 & 12 lb. mahi on the dock.
08/02/14 Turned around after ¼ mile to to very rough seas.
08/01/14 Charter was put on another boat so I can attend Nancy’s mothers funeral in PA.
07/30/14 First 36 hour trip on the new boat found me heading south with two anglers, old friends from Chicago. We started the day by hitting lots of gear but none of it was holding any fish. Deeper into the canyon I realized why, there was the lobster boat hauling the gear. We set our the trolling spread and point toward the corner where we’re gonna concentrate our efforts. Our first fish of the trip is a small mahi that hits the box. Pulled around for a while looking for a tuna bite but nothing so I head north a touch toward some different gear. Five minutes later I notice a white marlin swimming next to the boat right under our outrigger. I drop the dangler that I just happen to have hanging from that rigger and he immediately starts to dog it. A couple of swats and he hooked. Unfortunately, the white throws the hook after a short fight. Just before noon we decide to try some chunking in among the pilot whales. Our first drift doesn’t produce so I get right in the middle of the whales. The next nine hours can only be described as chunking nirvana. All the yellowfin you care to fight ranging from 28″ blt’s to 45 minute long back breaking 50# fish. At 9 pm the backs are shot so the guys enjoy a fine cigar before going to bed while I jog the boat 16 mile north to where we hope to find some mahi in the morning. The mahi hunt starts at 7 am and by 10 we’ve hit the number the duo is looking for so we head back to OC a little early. Our catch total for the trip: 24 yellowfin, 13 mahi, 6 skipjack and a 100# dusky shark. Many of these fish were released to fight another day.
07/29/14 Came back in shortly after lines hit the water due to one guy who wasn’t doing well at all and discovered that taking the magic pill only thirty minutes prior to boarding is all but useless. We did have the lines in long enough to put a 15 lb. mahi in the box for this crew of three from PA.
07/28/14 Cancelled due to high winds forecast for the fishing grounds.
07/27/14 Today’s forecast is SW winds 10-15 becoming S 10-15, perfect for what we need to do. On the ride out I notice the wind and seas are already out of the south making me very happy. Lines no longer hit the water and a nice 20 lb. bull mahi crushes one of our rigger baits. A few minutes later he goes in the box. At the one hour mark we notice the winds are back to SW and 15 knots. Thirty minutes later they’re W at 20 and increasing. By 9:00 it’s nasty blowing 25 straight out of the west and I tell the folks we gotta get while the gettin is good. Three of us fishing the same area forming a freight train and bust our way back to OC headed by Capt. Jeff’s heavy hatchet boat.
07/26/14 Yet another trip to my little bluefin hotspot. Within an hour of lines in we have two bluefin in the box and continue looking for more allowing everyone on board the experience of fighting a tuna. Midway through the bluefin bite our long rigger get nailed by a nice gaffer mahi which goes in the box too. The guys decide to end the day fairly early allowing them ample time to make it back to DC for tonight’s party.
07/25/14 Back to the same hill as yesterday looking for more tuna. Our late start doesn’t help matters and by the time we arrive several other boats are working the area and mentioning on the radio that their bites came first thing and nothing since. We manage a nice gaffer mahi fifteen minutes after we start but as we hit the 2 hour mark nothing else except for a big boil on our flat line. by now the other boats have moved on but I not giving up on my little spot just yet. After plowing the hill for nearly 45 minutes I finally mark the tuna about 30′ down and immediately throw the boat into a hard turn, 30 seconds later our long bait gets crushed and a few minutes later we have our first bluefin in the box. The next 90 minutes produce nothing and by the sound of the radio it’s not just our little area that’s not giving up its fish. To make matters worse today is much rougher than the forecast was calling for and our twenty year old and his father are both very sick. Out of pity I make an offer to the guys to convert this 12 hour day to 8 hours and get our to patients back to solid land. Without hesitation they jump at the offer.
07/24/14 Paddled east with a crew of six from MD looking for a couple bluefin bites. About 45 minutes after the lines hit the water we have our first under in the box. Thirty minutes later we add a second under to the box. The rest of the day found me pounding one little area that was providing fairly stead action on smallish, 25 -30 lb., bluefin. I would have loved to run somewhere else and look for an “over” or even a yellowfin but we seemed to be one of very very few boats seeing any action at all so I decided not to push my luck and leave fish to find fish. By the days end we’ve done battle with 9 bluefin, two of which are headed home with us.
07/22/14 Ran east with a crew of five from PA looking to bring home some fresh tuna for their vacation meals. Within ten minutes of setting the spread we have our first bluefin in the box. Another couple passes yield only one bite and that fish misses the hook. Worked a nearby hill that was holding schools of skipjack and managed pull another bluefin out of the skippys for our box. The next hour is dead so I decide to make a 8 mile run to the north. Ten minutes after arriving we have a big bite on our long rigger but the hook pulls. A couple turns later and the same rigger gets crushed and we release a 35 lb. bluefin since we already have our two “unders” in the box. Low on options I decide to run to some inshore gear looking for a mahi or two. After checking a few markers we find one holding a nice 12 lb. gaffer and manage a bite on light tackle adding that fish to the box as well. Today was far from action packed but the charter is very happy since they’ve heard my radio and know what’s been going on, or should I say NOT going on, today. This was the slowest day of fishing the OC fleet has seen so far this season. Many very good tuna boats were still looking for their first fish or in some cases their first bite, at 2:30 when we called it a day.
07/21/14 Every have one of those days when every decision you make is wrong…….yea. Ran to the chunking hill with high expectations with a crew of four from mid-state NY. Excitement slowly turned into board-um when after a few hours we hadn’t had our first pull yet except for a small mahi. All the while I’m listening to a buddy of mine who’s trolling and having a great day. Finally around 9:30 I can’t take it anymore and pull in the butterfish and head for a different area. As soon as we arrive we put another nicer mahi in the box and go one for two on bluefin bites adding a 30 lb. bluefin to the box as well. The next two hours produce…….NOTHING. I call a couple other boats who have been trolling and their bites have stopped too. The crew decides to throw in the towel a little early to beat what looked to be t-storms building to our west. A phone call later in the evening reveals the chunking bite turned on heavy about an hour after we left.
07/20/14 Turned around due to rough conditions.
07/19/14 Our first chunking trip of the season and ten minutes after we set the baits I know it’s gonna be a good one. The bite was hot but the current was even hotter making landing these fat yellowfin super tough, turning what should be 10-15 minute fights into 30-45 minute back breakers. By 9:30 backs and arms are shot and the guys call it a day with 325 pounds of yellowfin in the box.
07/18/14 Hero to zero in less than twenty-four hours. Worked hard looking for fish today for this crew of five but it just wasn’t to be. A quick swing through a small fleet of boats chunking told me that would be the ticket. Even though we didn’t have a huge amount of chunk with us I felt what we did have would be enough to get our final bluefin. With two “under” bluefin already in the box the guys decide against chunking and tell me to stick with the trolling and see what we can find. Looked everywhere but could only manage to add one more to the box, a small gaffer mahi.
07/17/14 Ran east with two dads and two lads looking to bend a rod on some tuna. The morning bite was pretty good yielding bluefin, yellowfin and a 15 lb. mahi. After going nearly 90 minutes without a pull I decide to make a 5 mile troll to another of our favorite bluefin hills since we need one more under to hit the limit. as we’re climbing the outside edge of the hill we get hit and a few minutes later we put our last bluefin in the box. About twenty minutes later I notice some bait on the surface. I swing the boat pulling the spread through the bait and wham; nine rods go down. All four angles are cranking like made and somehow we manage to get eight of the fish to the boat. Back in the slip with three bluefin, one fat yellowfin, two mahi and four very happy anglers.
07/16/14 Turned back after 45 minutes due to building seas and increasing winds.
07/15/14 Rescheduled to September due to weather.
07/14/14 Today’s trip began last evening with a call urging the family to consider cancelling due to the forecast. After 15 minutes of consideration they decide to give it a go. Pulling out of the slip I double check to make sure they haven’t changed their minds, nope. Arrived at the bluefin hill with one of the kids already down. Within 30 minutes we have two more family members down. After an hour in very sporty conditions and with only a white marlin encounter dad decides to call the trip. After arriving back in the slip the family told me “you tried to warn us”. Something I heard one time; If the guy who runs the roller coaster urges you not to ride it, you might want to listen to him.
07/12/14 & 07/13/14 Out for our first 24 hours trip on the new boat. After running south to the Washington canyon we decide to kill some time by looking under lobster gear for mahi while the daytime trolling fleet thins-out. Other than a few micro mahi we nab nothing. By 3:30 boats are starting to leave so we change the spread and go looking for tuna. Our first bite takes less than five minutes but the fish completely missed the hook. The next encounter is a double blow-up and both of these yellowfin miss too. Seems I’m trolling in the blind tuna area. An hour passes and nothing then suddenly we get hit by three at once. One fish never comes tight but the other two find the hook and by the amount of drag they’re pulling both are fat fish. One makes it in the box but the other gets too close too fast and our angler can’t dump the rod quick enough to avoid getting cut-off under the boat. Sometime around 8 pm a buddy of mine tells me to throw some chunks, it’s working! Since our plan was to use the $$ saved by not buying butterfish to cover the fuel required to run 45 mile north overnight to the bluefin grounds I wondering how long we can last with the four boxes of squid I threw on just for any how. Dave ties some chunking rigs and start feeding out two lines. Less than ten pulls later we have the first fish hooked-up. The next few hours provide steady action on super mean yellowfin. The only problem, we can’t go with leader any heavier than 50 lb. or the fish would just not touch the bait. Many of these fish were taking multiple anglers and 30+ minutes to land, very very feisty fish tonight. Shortly after midnight the bite nearly stops. Sometime around 3 am a bigeye tuna decides to grab our chunk bait. Seventy-five minutes and six anglers later we see the fish (125 lb. range) but the light leader can’t take any more and chaffs through with thirty feet left to go. The morning yields only a couple small fish and we wrap it up by 8 am. At the end of the trip the scorecard reads six in the box, four broken off and one straightened out circle hook.
07/11/14 Today found us looking for bluefin at one of our favorite hills. Within thirty minutes of lines in we have both of our “unders”so we put out the big baits and go in search of our “over”. I looked all over this hill as well as three others but couldn’t buy a big bite just a couple more under bites. I even went so far as to scan the radio but it seemed that the few overs that we caught today taken between 6 & 6:30. Bad news since my guys were 25 minutes late to the boat.
07/10/14 Ran north with a crew from Lancaster PA looking for some bluefin tuna. Worked an area for about 45 minutes without a pull and no marks on the sounder. All the while I’m listening to a couple buddies of mine doing very well about 14 miles to our south and through some very rough seas. Thank heaven for the 35 which made the run tolerable. The bite was great with only a few slack times in the action. We put two “unders” in the box rather quickly and release several others. Just before 11 am we get the right bite and put our “over” a 55 inch 85 lb. bluefin in the box. At that point the crew decides to roll home since one guy hasn’t been doing very well since that first run.
07/09/14 Another offshore crew that opted for a day of triggerfish action as opposed to sitting on the beach. The morning bite was steady but shortly before noon the fish shut down completely. Back in the slip a little early with 19 triggers in the box.
07/07/14 & 07/08/14 cancelled due to weather.
07/06/14 Out with a solo angler looking to break a string of bad trips. Frank has been out on three different boat in OC and never had any success. After a 2¼hour run east Dave sets the spread. Fifteen minutes later Frank is doing battle with his first marlin and after a 10 minute fight the fish is next to the boat for pictures. With one species down we turn our attention to tuna. I make a 14 mile troll to an area that I think will give him his best shot at his first tuna. With ¾ of a mile left to go I see a school of tuna rolling on the surface. I make a hard turn and pull the spread right through school. Five rods go down at the same time, and remember, I only have one angler on board. One fish pulls off immediately but the other four are solidly hooked. After 30 minutes of shear chaos, we have all four in the box ranging in size from 45 to 62 lbs. Completely exhausted and one fish over his limit Frank tells me to head for the barn.
07/05/14 Today’s trip was to be offshore for tuna but the big blow from yesterday still had things too rough in the canyons. Fortunately this crew just wanted some fun and were absolutely fine with a near shore trip looking for triggers. After an hour ride in fairly nice seas we set up on one of my favorite triggerfish haunts. During the next few hours the action was furious. The only break was when the spinner sharks would cruise through and we’d try to snag one of them. Back in the slip with the charters limit plus a few we allowed them to throw in the box for Dave and I.
07/04/14 Cancelled due to weather.
07/03/14 Our for a day of wreck with a crew from the island of Trinidad. Pushed our way south in choppy conditions to arrive at my favorite triggerfish area just in time for a couple rain/wind squall lines. After the weather passed we found fair action yielding triggerfish, tog and sea bass. Back in the slip an hour early with a nice mixed bag of fish in the box.
07/02/14 Ran south in heavy seas with a great group of guys all guards from Allenwood Prison in PA. Didn’t figure we’d have any problems putting fish in the box based on yesterdays trip….wrong. Arrived at the honey hole with three other boats and set out the baits. Hours go by without a pull. Finally around noon we have a double header of tuna.. but they’re both very small yellowfins. One makes it, the other gets tossed back. Try as I may, I could not get a bite the rest of the day. While everyone had slow fishing I have no excuse. Two of the other boats had three in the box and Capt. Mark had five. I really prefer catching as opposed to fishing
07/01/14 A day of tuna fishing with a grandfather and his sixteen year old grandson. We were gonna look for some mahi but decided to push through the seas and head south to try and get Nick his first yellowfin. Lines no longer hit the water and we have our first fish of the day, a small mahi. Arrive at the yellowfin hole and start to mark circles like the other 30 boats are doing. Sometime around 11:00 two yellowfin blow-up on our sreader bars, one comes tight and 10 minutes later Nick has is 45 lb. tuna in the box. The next couple hours produce three more yellowfin, two blt’s (barely legal tuna) and one solid 50 lb. fish.
06/29/14 Ran east with a crew from southern VA looking for some action. Shortly after throwing the lines in I notice something in the distance, weeds, and lots of them. Less than 45 seconds after entering the “hay field” we have our first mahi on the line. A couple fish later a white marlin crashes our long rigger and Ben’s joins a select club who can hold that marlin release flag. Spent the rest of the day picking away at the mahi, with a couple nice gaffers mixed in too.
06/28/14 Last minute cancellation.
06/27/14 Pushed east with a crew of six looking to catch their first tuna. Dave no longer get the spread set and our middle rigger get nailed. A few minutes later we put a small yellowfin in the box. A few minutes late a nice gaffer mahi hangs himself on our long rigger. I swing around for another pass and this time we have another mahi bite that doesn’t come tight. With high hopes I work the area for another thirty minutes without a pull so I decide to push over the edge and see what’s there. Several miles of trolling and I see and hear of nothing so I decide to head back to where we had the morning action. With less than a mile to go the wind suddenly starts ripping out of the north. In no time the ocean had gone from flat slicky calm to choppy whitecaps and building. Work the area for about an hour before I decide we need to get while the getting is good. Thank heaven for the new boat. The extra size and weight made the ride home fairly comfortable in very crappy conditions.
06/26/14 Today started last evening with a phone call offering to take this south for trigger action as opposed to the scheduled 8 hour bluefin trip. Reason for the offer, simple, I don’t know of any bluefin on our inshore lumps yet. The crew decided to stick with their initial plan realizing we might end up with the dreaded “skunk”. Looked all over a couple of our favorite bluefin haunts but never had a pull or marked any fish/bait. Luckily we did find a couple mahi (3) so we didn’t have to face the skunk.
06/24/14 Another day of trigger action on a different wreck but in the same area as yesterday. Bite was as good as I’ve even seen it with triggers everywhere. Missing today were the spadefish, one one in the box. Back in the slip early with 40+ tasty triggers ready for the blackening seasoning or deep fryer.
06/23/14 Ran to my favorite triggerfish hole with a crew from PA for a day of fun. The bite was awesome with a mix of triggers, spadefish, tog and a big sheepshead. With a box full of fish, the guys called it a day early.
06/21/14 Another tilefish trip with a super great crew from D & D Auto Body of Frederick, MD. Bite was off the charts good although we didn’t see as many goldens as yesterday. However, we did get one 25 lb. golden and several jumbo blueline. Sometime around noon we hit the magic number so we throw out a makeshift trolling spread and point toward the barn. Back in the slip with 35 tilefish in the box and ready for Avak’s grill.
06/20/14 Today’s deep drop trip started off with a little trolling while heading toward the tilefish hole. It figures, the day we’re not really looking for tunas we get nailed. Before even arriving at the drop site we have four nice yellowfins in the box and several others that missed the hooks. The tilefish bite was red hot with a nice mix of goldens & bluelines. Back in the slip with four yellowfin and thirty tilefish in the box.
06/19/14 Took my best buddy and some of his buds from PA out for a day of fun fishing. Bite started slow but after our 3rd move, we hit the jackpot. The next few hours was crazy with triggerfish, spadefish and a very nice 7½ lb. sheepshead landed by Evan G. Back in the slip with a cooler full of fish ready for the evening fish fry.
06/17/14 Out with a family from western PA for some tog & triggerfish action. Bite was red hot with a mixed bag of ½” under tog and an occasional triggerfish flury. Sent the family back to their condo with pure white fillets from 14 triggers.
06/16/14 Two half-day trips found surprisingly good tog & triggerfish action over some very sticky bottom. Sent both crews home with some very tasty fish for dinner.
06/15/14 Spent today with the boyz of Denlinger Fisher Builders from Strasburg, PA. We wanted to run for tuna but the NW winds that nailed us yesterday we still puffing offshore so we hung close to the beach and played with the tog & triggerfish for a few hours. The bite was good and held on for most of the five hour trip. Sent the guys back to PA with enough fish for a company fish fry.
06/14/14 First tuna trip of the year finds us pushing east in light seas and a favorable forecast. Set the spread and the hunt begins. About 15 minutes later there’s a huge boil behind the one spreader bar but the fish never comes back. I swing around and after two passes over the same area we have something playing with a rigger bait. The mate drops it back but the fish just keeps toying with it. After the teasing stopped I assumed it was a micro mahi too small for the hook. Suddenly my bridge rod is being messed with so I feed the bait and throw up the drag….got him! Sure that we have a mahi I’m shocked to see a white marlin jumping behind the boat. Ten minutes later Trevor pulls Tim’s first marlin into the boat for a couple quick pictures before being released. Fifteen minutes later while working the same little area we have a another rigger bite that doesn’t come tight. Made another couple passes and wham!!! We get jumped on by four yellowfins. One pulls off almost immediately but the other 3 make it in the box. While this was all happening the winds, which were not to be bad at all, have gone to 20 -25 knots out of the northwest and the seas are building fast. Unfortunately a few of the anglers who battled the tunas aren’t feeling so great and they ask to head back.
06/12/14 Today was to be a full day sea bass trip but due to the lack of keeper size sea bass we decide to do a 5 hour tog trip instead. Fishing was a little slow for the first 30 minutes but then the tog must have had their first cup of coffee and the bite took off, well, at least for some of the crew. The others, well , lets just say the fish ate very well that day. Managed to put a couple keepers in the box the largest was Rich’s at just under 5 lb.
06/10/14 Out for a half-day tog trip with two 13 year old boys and granddad. I guess the late night and early morning combo didn’t work for these two youngsters from WV. One was fast asleep in the cabin, the other joined him after about five minutes of fishing. This left granddad as the only angler. Unfortunately, knee & foot issues only allowed him to feed the tog for a few minutes at a time between breaks. After a couple hours it was clear the boys weren’t gonna wake up so granddad told me to head back.
06/09/14 First deep drop trip of the year started with much discussion about the forecast prior to leaving and a deposit refund offer. After a boat ride which made me very happy I’d bought the 35 when set up for a drift in slightly shallower water on an area I’ve always wanted to drop on. Two drifts and nothing prompts me to head deeper. Set up on one of my favorite golden tile holes and sent the baits down. First couple drifts produced bites but no fish. Moved to a second deep hole with the same outcome. Now it is early in the day and clouds are hiding the sun but come-on fish. Our third deep stop sees fish on every rod….finally. As they break the surface I’m kinda surprised to see black belly rosefish hanging from the hook, and nice ones at that. Spent the next two hours picking away at the rosefish with a nice 25 lb. golden thrown in for good measure and then it happened. The current started running so hard out of the north we couldn’t hold bottom, even for 10 seconds, with 48 oz. in anything deeper that 600 feet, to shallow for my golden holes. Ground out the rest of the day but we were kinda screwed from noon on with the current. Wonder if the guys wished they’d have taken that refund offer??
06/07/14 Out with one of my favorite couples, plus one, for a day of tog action. The bite was great and hung on through most of the day. Sometime around noon the bite slowed to a grubby pick. Hauled anchor a few minutes early with a limit of tog headed back to Frederick MD.
06/06/14 Pushed east with a crew of four looking for a big shark. The first two hours only produced two bite neither of which came tight. Our next encounter has a small shark screwing around with a bait, finally he takes it. When we get the fish boat side we are surprised to find that we’ve just landed a small white shark. Yes, as in great white. About an hour later we finally have hooked the fish we’re looking for, a very big thresher shark. After 90 minutes with some very impressive tail action we have the fish boat side. Back at the scales we’re thrilled to see 610 lb. on the display.
06/04/14 PM trip. This half-day trip was to run tomorrow but due to expected winds and rain and the flexibility of the crew we moved it to this afternoon. Ran to another near-shore tog wreck and immediately started pounding on the tog. The bite was epic at times fair at worst. Dad and two sons just couldn’t keep up with sister Sarah. This twenty some year old from Iowa showed no mercy to brother & dad out fishing them 3:1. Sent this crew back to DE with sore arms and a nice tog dinner.
06/04/14 Out with a crew of grandfathers, son and 8 year old granddaughter for a day of near-shore tog fishing. Flat calm conditions and hungry fish made had spirits high. Unfortunately what seemed to be a drug reaction between medications and sea sickness pills forced us to bring one of the senior members of the crew in after about 2 hours. Back out with father and daughter and the hungry tog were waiting. Spent the rest of the day watching Hadley crank on fish after fish.
06/01/14 A few hours of tog fishing with a couple from MD. Conditions were kinda sporty and I’m a little worried tog might not bite. Wow was I wrong. These fish chewed the bottom off the boat grabbing the bait before it ever hit bottom. Cathy put on an tog catching seminar for the entire trip landing one right after another.
05/31/14 Broke the inlet with a bachelor party crew of six out for a day of fun. Slightly worried about the guys from what I’d overheard at the dock about the previous nights antics I offer them a shorter trip hanging closer to the beach for tog. After a quick discussion they decide to push east and look for sea bass. Arrived at the ground, set the anchor and immediately had a beautiful chum slick behind the boat. Over the course of the next three hours I don’t think we ever had more than three lines in the water at any given point. At one point I actually had more people hanging over the side of the boat chumming than people fishing. The guys took it in stride and like all guys do seemed to really have fun busting on the poor sucker who at sick at the moment. Finally the groom to be had enough and called it a day. Sent them home with enough fish for a fish taco dinner.
05/28/14 Out with a crew of college age Mountaineers (think WV) for a day of sea bass action. The bite was very good all day with only one little lull in the action around noon. The problem today was the size. Fish after fish hit the tape at 11¾ to 12¼ and finding a 12½ fish seemed nearly impossible. Worked all my little haunts and tried every trick I know of but nothing seemed to make a difference. Out of what I’m sure was well over 200 fish only about 20 made the cut.
05/26/14 A short notice 4 hour trip with a family of four from Clarksville, MD. Set up on a nearby tog wreck and sent down the green crabs. The bite was great with everyone getting in on the action. Josh, age 13, was showing mom, dad and little brother how its done catching one right after another. With 20 minutes left in the day and everyone else taking a break, I decide that with just a little coaching younger brother Matt might just surprise everyone. His 12th fish of the trip is also the largest tipping the scales at nearly 5 lb.
05/25/14 Today found me running east with a bachelor party of four looking to have some fun with sea bass. Drifted one of my favorite areas during the morning with moderate success and even some keepers mixed in with the throw backs. Shortly after 10:00 I decide the conditions may allow us to anchor over some of the most sticky bottom areas we fish, old cable piles. The bite is red hot and the size, best we’ve seen so far this season. Normally I shy away from this area except for with the most experience crews since the chance for epic amounts of sinker loss can quickly send the trip into the red. Today wasn’t too bad and by the time the guys had enough, a respectable box full of fish was headed to the fish monger. The real shock was finding the guys only wanted a few fish which made several people around the marina VERY happy including the captains family.
05/24/14 Ran east with a crew of four from Crofton, MD looking for some sea bass dinners. NOAA is up to their old tricks promising light winds and slight seas only to be smacked in the face after 10 miles. Today’s plan was to drift but the 15-20 knot winds wouldn’t hear of it so we threw the hook and hoped for the best. The bite was sporadic, they’d chew for thirty minutes then shut down for thirty. The numbers weren’t huge but the fish we were seeing are better size than in previous days. Back in the slip with about 40 in the box.
05/22/14 Made a big run north to an area that was very good to us last season. The day started off great with several nice sea bass going in the box as well as a few jumbo ling cod. Sometime around 9 the wind turns the fog/rain roll in and the drift goes completely bananas. Worked all over this area but could only pick one or two keepers per piece. I think the water up here might even be colder than what we’ve been seeing down south based on the ling cod and the absolutely stupid numbers of dogfish sharks. With a couple hours left in the day we decide to run inshore and set up on a tog wreck since no one in this crew has ever caught a tog before. The bite was good for most, excellent for one. Added a couple tog to the box and lost two pigs that had the rods doubled-over and pulling drag. Back in the slip with mixed bag of fish but no huge numbers.
05/21/14 Out with a crew looking for some sea bass dinners. Bite starts off OK but by mid morning slows drastically. Bounced around an area 16 mile east of the inlet but never could find any good numbers of keeper size fish. I think the main biomass of our sea bass might still be offshore due to the very cold water. This would also explain the large numbers of dogfish sharks we’re encountering.
05/20/14 Pushed east today on a standard 8 hour trip with a crew from Mt. Airy MD looking for sea bass. The bite was very tough and the current….CRAZY! Worked hard hitting little pieces all over but found way too many 12″ fish. Back in the slip with 38 fish in the box.
05/19/14 Out for the opening day of sea bass with a crew of four on a standard trip 8 hour trip. Decided to run slightly north to a wreck that was holding some nice bass two weeks ago. With 5 miles to go I see a boat steaming from the north much closer to the wreck than we were. I throw the coals to the new engines but his proximity was too much to over come. Now I’m at Plan B before the day even begins. Set up on a small piece inshore of our intended target and turned the guys loose. Bite was OK but lots of fish ¼inch under the limit. Worked hard all day to scratch out a catch moving among the smaller inshore wrecks. Finally with an our left in the day the other guy pulls off the big wreck and we’re there. Unfortunately, the current turned from the east and the bite slowed everywhere. Back in the slip with 40 fish in the box. 20 more would have finished our day.
05/18/14 A day of tog fishing with a father and son from the DC area. Like the last few trips the morning was slow but sometime around 9:30 someone turned the switch on. Bite was great over the next couple hours. Their limit was reached and several nice fish were released. Back in early allowing a better drive home for the pair.
05/16/14 Cancelled due to 30 kt. winds.
05/17/14 Two half-day trips found very good tog action from late morning on. Both crews were completely new to tog fishing but caught on quickly especially Tom from the afternoon trip. He proceeded to put on a tog catching clinic for nearly 45 minutes, one right after another. Sent both crews back to their motels with plenty of fresh tog just waiting for the deep fryer.
05/15/14 A last minute half-day trip with a crew of twenty year olds from Gettysburg down for the hot rod weekend. Bite was exactly like yesterday, slow in the morning much better after that. These kids had a ball all except for one. I think his old friend buddywiser was still with him from the night before. Sent the crew back to their condo with plenty of fresh tog for a fish dinner.
05/14/14 Out for a day of tog action with three super nice guys from PA. As we cleared the inlet it was painfully obvious NOAA’s forecasting ability hasn’t improved since last season. We decide to hang fairly tight to the beach and knock the trip down to five hours. The bite was slow the first two hours but really turned on the last half of the trip. When it was time to haul anchor we were two fish shy of our limit.
05/10/14 Pushed south through some fairly choppy seas with a crew of anglers most of whom are new to tog fishing. The first two hours are fairly slow except for the sea bass bite. Mark, one of the guys who has been toggin before did manage to drop what looked to be a double digit fish during the fight. During a late morning snack break I hear the mate yell “oh no”. Yep, the long evil fruit makes its first appearance of the year. In short order he convinces Mark, the guy who lost the big one, to throw them overboard. Now mind you, we’re not superstitious on the Fin Chaser. The rest of the day was spent feeding tog. Felt so bad that this crew of super nice guys just couldn’t get the hang of hooking these crafty fish, I discounted the trip a little. Big fish of the day was a 5 lb. white chin.
05/09/14 Steamed NE with a crew of five completely new to ocean fishing. Our first drop found steady action…speedy sea again. Made a three mile move but it seemed the sea bass followed us there. Ran in to very shallow water knowing there wouldn’t be any SB to devour or crab. Spent the last two hours of the day bouncing to three wrecks but couldn’t get any kind of a bite going. FYI..the first mako was brought back to OC today on a boat fishing fishing 65 mile off the beach.
05/07/14 Our season finally begins with a crew from NY looking for monster tog. First wreck produced some super nice fish, unfortunately, they were sea bass. These buggers were so veracious I don’t think a tog had a chance at getting to the bait first. Second stop had the same outcome with a few more tog mixed in. Made a big move to number three stop. Bite started off good just not a lot of size. With 45 minutes left in the day, the bite completely shut down. In our slip four fish shy of our limit.