10/28/17 Pushed east for 18 miles in some fairly sporty condition that arrived way earlier than called for. The sea bass bite (for those who took the little white pills last night) was great while the keeper to throwback ratio wasn’t so good, about 4 to 1. With a nice box full of fish and before the super nasty wind hits we head back to OC about an hour early. Sent 40 sea bass and 7 bluefish to the cleaning table. Not bad considering we only seemed to have two/three rods in the water most of the time while the rest of the crew was in the infirmary.
10/27/17 Roll the dice heading for the offshore waters trusting there are still a few mahi hanging around in our quickly cooling water. First hour of trolling doesn’t produce anything until we happen upon a few lobster balls. Spent the next few hours picking away at some mahi before sending baits to the bottom for tilefish and sea bass. Back in the slip with 10 mahi and 12 sea bass/tilefish in the box.
10/21/17 Another mahi trip, more gear. With 6 miles left to go I notice a poly ball and high flyer free floating all by itself. Dave throws out a quick 4 rod spread and we make a pass. WHAM!! every rod goes down with some super nice fish. The next few hours is awesome, both light tackle and trolling gear. These are the best class of fish we’ve had so far this season. Nearly all are solid gaffers and some are in the 20# range. By 9:30 we have 200#+ of mahi in the box so we change things up and spend sometime adding some fat triggerfish to the box too. Back in early with enough fish to carry this crew through the cold months.
10/20/17 Rescheduled trip from earlier this fall finds me running 55 mile east toward some gear we hope is holding fish. First couple pots only produce one/two fish each. Moved to a second string that had some better numbers. The guys were loving the light tackle action and beautiful fish. By days end we had a nice box full of those “oh so tasty” mahi.
10/18/17 & 10/19/17 Two days of sea bass research with Reed and his crew. The bite was outstanding and some of these fish….Very Nice Size, some super size triggerfish too! If today is any kind of barometer the opening day of sea bass season (this Sunday 10/22) should be awesome…and I have it available if anyone wants to fill their freezer before winter.
10/15/17 Broke the inlet super early in pretty clam condition looking to make a 55 mile run east. Unfortunately, even the calmest of seas, sometimes don’t agree with certain folks so the trip was trimmed down to an 8 hour deal. Spent a couple hours trolling some nearshore lumps with a few false albacore bites and then finished the day pounding the sea bass on a nearby wreck.
10/10/17 A last minute fair weather mahi trip with FedEx Tom and his best bud of 50 years Vince. Morning seas were still pretty hateful but we pushed through and arrived at the canyon only to find super thick pea soup fog making it nearly impossible to locate any gear even with our radar since the swells were large enough to mask the high flyer returns. After 45 minutes of searching I finally see three echos on the radar and head that way. The first two pots only yield three fish but that all changes on number three. With 15 in the box and the fog lifting we start going down the string adding a couple here and there. One set is holding three nice gaffers and we’re lucky enough to nail all three of them one of which turns out to be a beautiful 22# which pushes our light tackle to its max. By noon we reach our limit and I point the Fin Chaser back toward OC enjoying the much improved sea conditions.
10/07/17 Out with family and friends from Scott Martin Landscaping from PA for a day of mahi fishing. The early action was good both on light tackle and troll baits. Fish seemed to be a slightly better size class than earlier in the week as well including Corey’s very respectable 17# bull. By late the gear had all been hit so we throw out a trolling spread and at Scott’s request start trolling our way back to OC while adding nothing to the box.
10/03/17 – 10/04/17 – 10/05/17 Three days of light tackle mahi fishing provided outstanding action for our anglers on small to medium baler size mahi. Limits were easily reached on Tuesday & Thursday’s trips while Wednesday found us back in the slip with 35 in the box for our Amish friends.
09/30/17 A super early leave with a crew of military guys from VA for a day of offshore action. Spent the morning absolutely crushing the mahi on light tackle. With a full box of mahi we throw out a trolling spread and immediately put a 35 lb. longfin albacore in the box. Over the course of the next 15 minutes the winds go from 10-15 to 25+ straight out of the west, our direction home. With nearly all the boats crawling toward the inlet we join the parade for the LONG ride home. Back in the slip with 58 mahi and a nice fat longfin and some very happy Vets.
09/25/17 A crew from DE who REALLY wants some mahi. Spent the day in fairly sporty conditions but managed a nice jag of mahi both trolling and light tackle. Did have one white marlin encounter but the fish just faded off after popping up behind our ling rigger bait. A day that everyone had lots of “live action” and everyone did good, except Trevor. The financially embarrassed crew ran out of $$ to properly cover the mate.
09/24/17 Out with the fly phenom of the Jones Dealerships and two of his buds for a day of fly rod and light tackle action. The mahi were more than cooperative on fly, jig and cut bait. By noon we reached our limit (3 + the mate’s share) and throw out a trolling spread for the final bit of time. Back in the slip with 35 mahi in the box and a four piece fly rod that turned into a 7 piece on of the larger fish…..ouch!!
09/23/17 Back on the water again heading south with JR and the boys for a day of offshore fishing in conditions that are better than expected. At the 4 mile mark Dave tells me the newbie of the crew is already calling Ralph. At the 9 mile point he’s starting on round two so the guys take pity on him and I turn around to drop him off and spend the day around the jetty looking for some of those huge sheepshead that have been caught lately. Fishing conditions were more than challenging at the jetty with a huge swell rolling in and super crazy current. After a couple hours of loosing crabs and sinkers we decide to head off a few miles and try for a shark. Two hours of drifting produce three bites; one that doesn’t come tight, a 40# dusky shark and the big surprise a 46″ red drum that was required to be released after a couple quick pics.
09/17/17 Pushed east with high hopes for this crew from southcentral PA. Morning was slow with only one marlin encounter. Looked all over but just couldn’t buy a bite. Coverage was heavy with boats everywhere most of which were having the same luck we are. Picked up line and made a 8 mile run back inshore to the 40 fa. line where we come across a trash/weed line that looks right. Worked that area/line the rest of the day managing to put 5 small mahi in the box. Fish can be tough to figure out, and this season, nearly impossible….SMH!
09/15/17 Out with a crew of guys and gals from the JC Smith Company for a day of offshore fun. Somewhere around the 40 mile mark we pass pot marker float drifting by itself. Dave throws out a quick spread and I make a couple passes but nothing. I pull along side the marker and throw in some cut bait and immediately some mahi rocket up from the deep. Dave grabs the rest of the light tackle from the cabin and we spend the next 45 minutes baling about 25 mahi. After that the crew decides they’d like to go play with some albies so I head that way. It takes a little while to find them but when we do..man is it good. After a couple hours of nonstop hard pulling action they’ve had enough and tell me to head back.
09/14/17 Back to the same area we fished yesterday with a father & son team from MD. Action starts about 30 minutes into the day when a white marlin pops up behind our long rigger but will not come any closer for our circle hook rig. Next bite takes about 30 minutes when a big wahoo grabs our shotgun bait and heads the other direction at 100 mph. Unfortunately the #9 wire breaks and the fish swims off with my Islander. Our next bite comes sometime mid morning when white shows up behind our short rigger. The fish turns and eats our flat line and after some great jumps is released next boat side. About two hours later I notice a shadow following mid rigger bait. As Dave pulls the rod from the holder the wahoo crushes the bait and a few minutes later we put the 45# fish on the box. Our day ends when another marlin hangs himself on a spreader bar and after a brief show is released next to the boat.
09/13/17 Finally some favorable conditions allow us to see the blue water with a crew from VA. The morning marlin bite was great going 4 for 6 on whites. Sometime around noon a big wahoo come skying out of the water and crushes our mid rigger. Ten minutes later Dave sinks the gaff into the 65# fish. About 45 minutes later our shotgun rod takes off and we put another 45# hoo in the box.
09/07/17 through 09/11/17 Due to the nagging winds and/or swells we hung rclose to the beach during this period all the while seeing good to great action on taylor bluefish, albies, atlantic bonito and sharks to 75 lbs. Even had a couple tiny mahi swimming around the boat on two for these trips.
09/06/17 After 36 hours of wind we slipped out late morning in some fairly sporty conditions with a crew of five from Michigan. First hour was non productive except for the giant swan (think pool float) that we happened across. The last couple hours of this short trip produced a fairly steady stream of tasty Atlantic Bonito (12) and one albie.
09/04/17 Made a big run south today with a full crew from Bel Air MD. Worked the gear trying to entice some very spooky baler size mahi with light tackle to take our baits all the while trying to stay ahead of the nearby lobster boat hauling the gear. After a couple hours of very limited success I point the boat north toward the 100 fathom line. After 90 minutes of nothing we hit a light trash/weed line. Within five minutes we get nailed by a couple gaffer mahi. Two throw the hook almost immediately but we’re able to put the other two in the box, one is a 25# very odd shaped bull. Continued to work this area the rest of the day but it only produced a couple small bites.
09/03/17 Stopped this morning after a 20+ mile run to spend a little time bending a rod on some fun and hard pulling false albacore. Was surprised at the number of atlantic bonito (great tasting smallish tuna like mackerel) mixed in with the albies. After a few hours of fun I offer the guys a couple options. They decide to go try and add some sea bass to the box. The bite was good and by the days end they had added 46 sea bass to the box as well.
08/31/17 Our first trip after 4 days of wind finds me heading east with Jim and the boys in hopes of finding some mahi. After about 18 mile in worsening conditions, lowering
speeds and one crew member who just isn’t loving life at the moment we make the decision to change our plan and spend a shorter day trying for some keeper sea bass. After a couple hours in slightly improving conditions we are back in the slip with somewhere around 30 sea bass going back to Baltimore for fish tacos and the grill.
08/26/17 PM shark trip provided fair action on smaller spinner & sharpnose sharks. One big bite turned out to be a 90/100# dusky shark.
08/26/17 Forced to stay a little closer to the beach due to the canyon forecastI run back to the area we fished yesterday. First bite is a big fish and after a hard run the spoon breaks and we loose a nice one. Rest of the morning was rather slow especially compared to yesterdays action. Made a 10 mile run and finished the day adding about 25 keeper sea bass and one nice flounder to the box.
08/25/17 Spent today on the same hill as yesterday bending a rod on spanish & king mackerel, albies and one blt yellowfin which was perfect trip for this crew
08/24/17 Spent today on the same hill about 25 miles from the inlet bending a rod on spanish & king mackerel, albies and one blt yellowfin.
08/20/17 Spent today with a super nice crew of guys from western PA who made quite a drive for our fishing. Spent the morning dragging baits all over the 461 bump before picking up lines and making a 20 mile run north to some gear that was still holding fish two days ago. My hopes are quickly dashed when I notice the gear has been moved, according to my plotters track line, from the previous trip. Managed to scratch out a few smaller mahi and one gaffer before ending the day. Told the guys I really hope tonight’s buffet at the Bon Fire makes the drive worth while because I know the fishing didn’t….sorry.
08/18/17 Out with Mindy and the girls for the Poor Girls Open Tournament. Trolling bite was slow until we happened upon some crab gear that was holding some mahi. Worked that gear with both trolling and light tackle to put a catch of mostly baler size mahi in the box.
08/17/17 Same family as Tuesday again just looking for action for their teenage boys. We decide to troll in the morning and then see if the sharks want to play later. First hour went by without a pull but that all changed once the bait showed up. Blue runners, spanish mackerel and false albacore provided constant action as well as great bait for our shark adventure. Set up a few miles off the beach and threw out the chum bucket. First bite takes about an hour but from that point on its pretty much game on. Sharks ranging in size from 15# spinners to 100# duskys. By the time the day was over I’m sure we released 15 to 20 of those ornery buggers.
08/16/17 Doing our best to keep people happy and bend a rod during this period of horrible tuna/mahi fishing finds me taking today’s crew to the same hill that was so productive yesterday. Arrived to find the dreaded green water had pushed in from the north. Worked the entire hill but could only manage a couple bites that never came tight. Offered the guys some sea bass at a nearby wreck which they quickly accepted. Finished the day drifting this small piece and putting 20 sea bass in the box.
08/15/17 A run south with a family from York, PA looking for steady action for their teenage boys. First bite takes about 10 minutes and from that point its a steady pick on those hard pulling false albacore. Didn’t find a yellowfin today but we were able to send the folks home seven nice spanish mackerel mixed in with the turkeys.
08/14/17 A day of sea bass research with Reed and his crew from a local university.
08/13/17 Told the guys this morning I think we can put another yellowfin in the box if they’re willing to wade though countless turkeys in order to do so. The first twenty-some fish are all turkeys before we get the right bite and put a 45# yf in the box. Offered to move but the guys decide to hang in and try for another yf. After at least another 50 turkeys a yf explodes on our rigger bait. After a great fight the hook pops free less than 4 feet from the gaff.
08/12/17 Out for a day of Sea Bass fishing with a couple from PA. The bite was awesome and before we knew it the limit was reached. With lots of time still left in the day we throw out a limited trolling spread and I point the boat toward the inlet. After about an hour the spreader bar gets crushed and we put a nice 45# yellowfin in the box. The next hour is a constant barrage of turkey bite.
08/10/17 Made a short 8 mile run with a crew of teenagers looking for a little fun. Spent the first part of the day hammering the taylor bluefish. After that we decide to push off and try some drifting for sea bass. The bite was very good and the size was typical for mid summer. By the end of the day we managed 16 keeper sea bass among the 200+ throwbacks. The highlight of the day; charter didn’t want their fish so the Stauffer and Weller families will have some great eats tonight.
08/09/17 Headed east today toward some crab gear looking to get these guys on some mahi. Arrived at the string around 7:15 and to my astonishment there are two boats already working the gear. Worked had for a couple hours and managed to pull out about a dozen fish from the few sets of gear that wasn’t already hit. Picked up lines and while making a 15 mile run I come to an area that is all slicked up with birds working. We set the spread and start looking. I haven’t seen this much bait in a while but I’m not marking any fish. Continue to work the area and I finally see some fish next to the boat. A hard turn and both spreader bars get nailed. Five minutes later we have to blt yellowfins in the box. With 10 minutes left in the day I spot the fish again and turn hard. This time only one bar comes tight and it turns out to be a jumbo size turkey.
08/08/17 Today’s 8 hour trip finds me running 8 miles east with a trio of anglers from northern NY. The morning bite on taylor bluefish was outstanding providing constant action for the 8 & 13 year old brothers. After that we looked over a couple nearby hill hoping to find a king or a turkey but our only bites were more bluefish. Finished the day releasing sea bass but also managing to put about a dozen keepers in the box. I rarely brag on anglers but 8 year old Eli and 13 year old Noah could handle a rod & reel better than many older anglers I’ve encountered over the years. Nice job boys!
08/06/17 A day out with John, Emmy and friends. The decision is made to keep the boat in motion and troll today. Morning bite is good allowing us to put four mahi in the box as well a our first king mackerel of the year and one turkey. Sometime around noon Emmy’s luck ran put and our bites ended.
08/05/17 Spent today with a father and son team from the Harrisburg PA area. After a 90 minute run we start throwing chunks along with about a dozen other boats. First two hours pass without a pull and only seeing one boat doing battle. I decide to send one “feeder” line way out and it immediately get picked up. After a short battle we release our first turkey of the day. Next bait, same result. Third time gets a better bite and after a 10 minute battle we put a 30# yellowfin in the box. During this period the winds which were forecast to be NW at 10-15 have gone to 20. next two bites are the super jumbo YF’s which don’t end well with our 30# leader. Both fish eventually chafe off the last one less than 6 ft. from the gaff. By now the winds are 25 knots and all the boats are forming a conga line for the ride back to OC.
08/04/17 A big run south with Tigger and the boys from Reading PA for some tilefish action. The first two drifts were dead but that all changed on the third drift. From that point on the action was hot with blueline tiles and some very nice knot-head sea bass. Sometime around noon-thirty we hit our limit and head for the barn. Back at the dock two of the guys tell me they are now hooked on deep dropping.
08/03/17 Today’s crew did not wish to tilefish so we pulled out the trolling rod and headed east. After about one hour of trolling we found a big flock of turkeys and the guys proceeded to have an absolute ball catching these hard pulling little tunas. The cherry on top of the sundae was when a 15 lb. mahi went into the box
08/02/17 Out with a crew of boys (at heart) from PA for a day of fun. These guys didn’t have any preconceived notions about wanting a specific species they just wanted to have fun and bend a rod. Started out the day working the “woods” for turkeys hoping we might find a yellowfin or mahi mixed in. Never found a yellowfin but we were able to put a nice gaffer mahi in the box along with some turkeys for the smoker. Sometime around noon the guys decide to try their hand at sea bass. After a 9 mile run we send down the squid. Spend the next two hours messing with throwback and some keepers too.
08/01/17 There’s no easy way to say this…today was horrible. The absolute worst day of fishing for the Fin Chaser and most of the OC fleet so far this year. Pulled baits around for 10 hours without a sniff.
07/31/17 First trip after the big blow. Ran to the hill that was so good prior to the storm to find loads of bait but not a fish to be found. While doing a little “radio fishing” i heard of a bite going on about 25 miles from us. I push the diesels to 2400 and we arrive about an hour. I get a welcome from one of the other captains with a sad note “Danny, I think might be a little late”, well that’s great news. Fortunately he was wrong and we manage to go 3 for 5 on yellowfin.
07/29/17 Today began with a simple statement “we will be back inside the inlet no later than 2:00”. Every forecast I looked at showed the wind hitting us between 1 to 2 pm. Our run south was absolutely beautiful. Lines hit the water and within 30 seconds we have a fish charging after a bait. First few bites don’t come tight and then things slow for about 30 minutes. Finally the bait reappears and the bites start. By 11:30 we have a nice jag of false albacore and two yellowfin in the box. We decide to head in but after a few miles we hit a wall of wind and seas that are absolutely horrible. Can’t remember the last time I was so glad to be inside the inlet.
07/28/17 Decide to hang a little closer to the beach today so we can get in before the forecast afternoon storms. The turkey bite is outstanding. Throw in a couple mahi and a couple yellowfin bites and its hard to ask for anything more considering we’re less than 30 miles from the inlet. Back in the slip with a couple turkeys for the smoker, two mahi a small yellowfin and a couple happy fishermen.
07/27/17 A day with the DRN crew starts with a tough decision, deep drop or chunk. The allure of tuna wins out so we grab a couple flats out of the freezer and head east. Spent nearly two hours at our first spot with a pull or seeing any other boats doing battle. Made a move south and as our anchor line is coming tight I see two nearby boats doing battle. Hopes are high as we put out the baits but after some time and only seeing one other boat hooked up hopes fade. Dave continues to throw chunks as I commiserate with Capt. Mark and Capt. Jeremy who are right next to us and still waiting for their first bites too. Back in the slip with the proverbial “skunk” in the box.
07/26/17 A day of Sea Bass research with Reed and the crew from U of MD. Bite was good and the number of keeper size fish was impressive for late July.
07/23/17 Ran to the deep today with a crew mostly from PA but one crew member from ND. Hooked up the electric reels and proceeded to crush those tasty blueline tilefish with a couple goldens mixed in for color. By early afternoon we’ve reached our limit so we throw out a trolling spread and head toward the tuna hill. During the two hour troll we only have one bite and it doesn’t come tight. At the chunking hill we start throwing butterfish and almost immediately get a double bite. One fish drops the bait before the circle hook grabs him the other fish makes a blistering run and breaks the 30# leader. The next hour doesn’t produce anything except a warning from the marine radio about some nasty storms heading our way so we bring in the baits and I point toward OC. With 20 miles left to go we hit wind, rain and lightning the likes of which I don’t care to see again!
07/21/17 & 07/22/17 Two days that are nearly carbon copies of each other. Each starts with an offer of deep drop fishing since our tuna bite has gone into the toilet. Both crew have their hearts set on tuna and are OK with the risk of no fish at the days end. Both trips see the first bite about 1 hour into the fishing day. Both of these yellowfin are of the very large size 60# plus but the 30# leader fails after about an hour on each fish and very close to the boat. On the 21st that was our only pull. On the 22nd we had a second chance on even a bigger fish and this time the light leader lasts until literally 4 feet from the gaff. Since both days fishing was within 35 mile of OC I was able to offer both crews a 10 hour day.
07/20/17 Spent today with a crew of boys, at least at heart, from Ohio deep dropping for tilefish and sea bass. The bite was solid but the tilefish size was a little disappointing. Fortunately the size of some of the sea bass more than made up for the tiles. Back in the slip a little early with the boat limit of tilefish and a nice chaser of sea bass too.
07/18/17 An early leave for this extended trip with a crew of four from southeastern PA. Expecting to crush the tuna, based on the chunking results from the day before, we’re loaded for bear with ice and bait. Our hopes quickly fade as two hours pass and I only see two fish caught among the 20 some boats around us. The decision is made to make the 20 mile run in hopes of filling the box with tilefish. Fortunately those fish want to play and it seems like in no time at all we’ve reached our limit. Now we have a dilemma, what to do for the rest of the day especially since its apparent the tuna bite hasn’t gotten any better according to buds I’ve been talking with on the radio. We decide to make a 13 mile run and work a string of red crab gear in hopes of adding some mahi to the box. We arrive at the northern end of the string only to find a small outboard boat heading our way from the south going pot to pot. I pull past 8 sets of gear and only have one micro mahi attack. TD throws out a “catch all” spread and we troll toward the tip of the poormans canyon. Just inside the tip, as I’m yacking on the VHF, the mate notices some bait on the surface so I make a tight circle and POW! We get Jumped by a couple yellowfin. But in typical fashion with the rest of the day they’re all too short to keep. I work that area for another 45 minutes but only capture one more undersize yellowfin. Back in the slip with a limit of timefish and a crew that I hope gives OC fishing one more chance.
07/17/17 Out for a nearshore trolling trip with a family from Colorado/Maryland. Our first bite came about an hour into the day but a wrapped line around the rod tip let the mahi throw the hook less than 10 feet from the gaff. The rest of the day yielded about one mahi per hour allowing the family to drive away from the dock with super tasty fillets from four mahi.
07/16/17 Arrived at the chunking hole at 6:30 today and counted over 85 boats sitting on anchor. Finally found a little area where we could anchor and set about throwing some chunks. The next few hours sees a slow grubby pick of about one bite per hour including a short battle with a giant ray. The last fish of the day was one of the most tenacious I can remember in a LONG time. You’d have thought this fish was 150 lbs by the fight it put up but it turned out to be just a average 55# yellowfin with a very bad attitude. Our batting average has been pretty good over the last few days not loosing many fish to light leader failure but today we lost as many as we caught only putting 3 in the box out of six bites.
07/15/17 The best forecast in several days finds me trucking east with old friends Emmy & John. At the 30 mile mark it was clear NOAA completely missed this forecast, at 40 miles it was downright hateful, even on the anchor. The first bite only took about 20 minutes and try as she may, 17 year old Emmy just couldn’t crank on these angry yellowfin. After about and hour and a half we have 3 in the box and a young lady who isn’t feeling too well which is understandable considering most of the waves were running several feet over her head so we decide to head to the barn.
07/14/17 Today’s tuna trip began with much debate due to a horrible forecast. The guys decide to roll the dice even if it means a shorter day. The bite was good and the battles were outstanding. As for the weather, nearly flat calm. Sometime around 11 am the guys are happy with the box and decide to end the day in order to beat the nasty storms heading toward OC from the west. Back in the slip with a couple yellowfin and a couple mahi in the box.
07/13/17 Out with the Anderson boys and friends for a day of tuna chunking in some serious seas . Morning bite was steady with most bites turning in to fish in the box. Sometime around noon the bite slowed for our boat. With no pull for over an hour we decide to head for the dock before the wind/waves reach the terrible point. Back in the slip with 6 fat yellowfin in the box.
07/12/17 Ran east today in some super sporty conditions for a day of tuna chunking. The bite was steady, not hot, just steady. We could count on a bite every 30 to 45 minutes and these fish pushed the light leader to its limits. Ended the day slightly early allowing extra time for the ride home. Back in the slip with 5 fat yellowfin in the box.
07/08/17 & 07/09/17 After a great day the bite reverts back to a lackluster pick. Fish all day looking for just one or two bites. Saturday catch for the Rankin crew was two bluefin. Sunday found us back in the slip early with Frank’s 100# bluefin
07/07/17 Out with FedEx Tom and his boys for some tuna fishing. Arrived at my little hill to find slicks and birds everywhere and not another boat to be found. The spread is set and I point toward a mess of chick birds picking on the water. Before I even get there, POW! Four rods go down and were able to put two “unders” in the box. Next pass, with only three lines in the water two get nailed and one more “under” goes in the box. As I’m pulling away the single remaining bait gets crushed and that lucky fish gets released to fight another day since we have our limit of “under” Bluefin. We run 12 mile to a different hill where we had a couple bigger bluefin last week. After an hour of working that area we add two mahi to the box but no “overs”. Push east to where the fleet is struggling to catch those oh so pretty yellowfin. After about 20 minutes our spreader bar gets jumped and we put one of those beautiful fish in the box. By this point the winds are cranking, 20+ SW so we decide to call it a day and get home before things get crazy nasty.
07/06/17 After two lackluster days of fishing I decide to head to a different area with this father and son(s) trio from PA. After 20 mile and building seas I decide to hang close to the beach since I’m sure the boys will not last in these condition. After a two hours of nothing we are approaching a hill that has been very good to me over the past several years. With less than a ¼ mile to go our long rigger gets crushed and after a formidable battle we put Jason’s 85# “over” in the box. About 30 minutes later Jason Jr is on the reel and his 50# bluefin goes in the box too. Next bite takes about an hour and much to my amazement 11 year old Jack cranks the 35# yellowfin in without ANY help. A few minutes later its dads turn again but the hook pulls a couple minutes into the fight. By now the forecast afternoon storms are getting close and the decision is made to head in early. Back in the slip with some very happy anglers and one very impressed captain and mate at how well these young men did.
07/05/17 Another run to the south with a crew from VA hoping for some tuna. About a dozen and a half boat are working the area but after two hours there have only been 3 yellowfin caught. Most boats move elsewhere but I decide to continue to pound the area. Finally after another hour or two we get a bite which turns out to be a 45″ “under” bluefin. Ten minutes later we add a nice mahi to the box. With no other bites we decide to head north and end the day messing with some sea bass. Not sure what was up with the tuna today but the entire OC charter fleet caught less than a dozen.
07/04/17 Made a 40 mile run to the south today with a crew from my home area. A miscommunication had us about 30 minutes late to the hill, enough time for several boats to have landed their “overs”. After two hours it was finally our turn and we put a nice bluefin in the box. By now mom isn’t feeling too good and the holiday traffic has the folks worried about the drive home so we call it a day and are back in the slip by shortly after noon.
07/02/17 Out with a crew from GA super early looking to repeat yesterdays early bite. After the first few passes I’m starting to get concerned. After 45 minutes I’m starting to freak. Finally, after about an hour, our long gets blown up on and we have a very angry bluefin on the line. The fish finally make it to the boat but as the mate (Trevor) sinks the gaff the fish goes berserk and nearly take TD overboard while ripping the gaff from his grip and snapping the line at the same time. We re-rig and I continue to work the area. An hour later we get another big bite and this time everything goes as planned and we put a 110# bluefin in the box. Now, just like yesterday, a few boat have noticed our bites and have moved in. The next hour produces nothing so I decide to troll to the same spot that produced our “under” yesterday. On the way we get attacked by a micro mahi but our hooks are too big for this little guy. Spend two hours working the hill before deciding to head north to another hill that regularly holds fish. On the way I’m listening to the complaining on the vhf radio, seems fishing is horrible for nearly everyone. Spend about an hour here looking for marks and bait but don’t find any. While scanning channels (yes, I’ve resorted to radio fishing today) I hear a boat who’d 12 miles away and has tuna rolling on the surface. I push the diesels to 2400 and get there with five other boats. We all work the area but I only hear of one fish being caught. As nearly all the boat have left we get a massive explosion on our long rigger but some how this fish manages to completely miss everything. Our day ends with only one bluefin in the box.
07/01/17 The crazy boat traffic weekend begins with the Fin Chaser arriving at the tuna grounds early looking for a couple bites before the boat traffic shut things down. First bite takes about ten minutes. Next bite takes another ten, but both fish come unbuttoned midway through the fight. A few more passes and we finally have a fish that manages to stay tight all the way to the gaff. A few minutes later we have another fish on and a nice 40# yellowfin joins our 115# bluefin in the box. By now the sun is high, boats have jumped on us and the bite dies. After a couple hours with nothing we troll to a little hill that doesn’t have a boat in sight. I mark fish immediately and spend the next two hours pounding the area which produces one “swing and a miss” and a nice 44″ under bluefin for our box.
06/30/17 Today’s nasty forecast was no deterrent for this bachelor party from MD. Five minutes into the day we have our first fish on and after an great battle Dave sinks the gaff into the fat 110# bluefin. The next two hours produce only one bite but lots of chumming by a couple of the crew due to a little too much fun the night before. Things are now starting to get real sporty and one fellow isn’t doing well at all so we decide to end things early.
06/28/17 Out with Elam and the boys from Kauffman’s Fruit Farm for a day of offshore action. Ran south 50 miles on a rumor of bluefin but after 90 minutes and only one false albacore and seeing NO other boats I assume it was just a worthless story. Make the 20 mile run out to the Washington Canyon and join all the boats making circles. Many of these boats have been here all morning and are still waiting for their first bite. A couple hours and still no action behind our boat and not hearing of any other fish either I decide to troll north. After about three miles our long rigger gets a bite and we put a 53# yellowfin in the box. A few minutes later we get jumped on by two. One is too small but the other goes in the box. Shorty after those bites we add two nice mahi to the box. Ended the day doing a little deep drop fishing and put some tilefish and sea bass in the box.
06/27/17 Spent today with an awesome crew from PA. Unfortunately the captain wasn’t so awesome. Try as I may I just couldn’t find any fish. Back in the slip a little early with one small yellowfin in the box.
06/25/17 & 06/26/17 One big blow and our bluefin have vanished! Spent the last two days pounding the bluefin grounds but all we could manage was one under bluefin, a fat 50# yellowfin and four nice mahi.
06/23/17 Pushed east today with a crew of three looking for some tuna action before the forecast 25 knot winds hit us. The first 45 minutes are non spectacular but that quickly changes when I turn on some small tunas working some bait right next to the boat. POW four rods go off as the big bluefin who must have been under the “shorts” explode on our baits. The first fish gets the gaff, a 60″ 120# fatty. Two other similar size fish are released and one breaks off. The next few hours provide plenty of action on “over bluefin, one under bluefin and a surprise 35# yellowfin.
06/21/17 Ran east today with two brothers from NJ looking for tuna. After a two hour run we find the mother load of birds working an area. The baits go in and before the entire spread is set we have the first fish on. After a 40 minute battle the fish breaks off literally two feet from the gaff. Our next bite takes lass than ten minutes. After another long battle this 115# bluefin makes it in the box. The rest of the day provides outstanding bluefin action. By 3:00 the guys are shot with a total of three in the box, one 115# & two 25# under bluefin. The pair also fought and release three others in the 110-120# range as well as having the line break on one and pulling the hook on another 40 feet from the boat.
06/20/17 Broke the inlet and pointed the boat towards the tuna grounds with a family of six from PA but after 15 miles the seas have different plans and the decision is made to spend a few hours messing with the sea bass.
06/17/17 Hit the inlet at the same time as what seemed like every other boat in the free world. After a 54 mile run the spread is set. Ten minutes later a bigeye tuna rolls on our long rigger but doesn’t find the hook. A couple seconds later he explodes on the bait and the drag screams until the crimp at the hook fails. The next two hours provide ample yellowfin opportunities but the guys just aren’t ready for just how hard these buggers can pull and several are lost after battling each fish for a few minutes. The next couple hours are fairly slow with only the occasional skipjack and a 10 lb. mahi. With less than fifteen minutes left in the day a spreader bar gets crushed by a 25 lb. yellowfin. The fight is perfect and the guys have some fresh tuna for the grill.
06/15/17 Turned around at the 35 mile mark due to a non life threatening medical issue with one of the anglers.
06/14/17 Today started with a big run in some pretty choppy seas hoping to put a couple tuna in the box. The first two hours are slow until a change in our spread produces almost immediate action. The next few hours produce a couple “under” bluefin. Sometime around 11 am we get hit by seven big bluefin at once. The first fish to make it to the boat goes in the box. Three others are fought to the boat and released while two finally break off. Ended the day by adding our third under to the box. Back in the slip with our limit of bluefin the largest is Jim’s ( Mr. Lucky) 110 lb. fish.
06/12/17 & 06/13/17 Two days of Sea Bass research with a local university.
06/10/17 Made a 33 mile run today with a crew from MD looking to fill the freezer with sea bass. The bite was red hot and numbers started to add up quickly. By 10:45 the magic number is reached. Back in the slip with 75 in the box and a crew of very happy anglers.
06/08/17 Out with a crew from NJ for a day of shark action. Hopes were high as we broke the inlet considering our last shark trip just a few days ago. With 10 miles left to go I talk to a friend who’s been drifting for nearly 90 minutes without a pull. We spend the first hour trying to catch some false albacore for bait but can’t find any even with bait, whales and birds everywhere. We send out the shark baits and wait and wait and wait. Finally after two hours we have a blue shark on the line. After a rather lack luster fight by this sizable fish we cut the wire next to the boat. Another hour without a bite and the two other boats around us not seeing a fish we decide to run back inshore and try to snag some dinner. Spend the last 45 minutes of the day weeding through the sea bass and managing enough keepers for a nice fish fry or two.
06/06/17 Ran 35 miles this morning before finding some bait and birds working the area. Spent the first 90 minutes catching some false albacore for bait before positioning the boat for our drift. Our first bite comes about 90 minutes later but the fish drops the bait and doesn’t return. Twenty minutes after that we have a solid hook-up on a big bugger. After an epic 35 minute battle requiring all the anglers a turn on the rod we release a 300+ lb dusky. The next two hours are a shark fishing dream with four more dusky sharks and three mako sharks. We finish the day spending an hour messing with some sea bass. Back in the slip with a 66″ mako on the dock.
6/05/17 Decisions, decisions any yet more decisions. That’s how the morning began for this crew hoping for tuna but ultimately deciding on a sure thing and shorter boat ride. After 33 miles we arrive at the wreck and start picking away at the sea bass. Twenty minutes later, and several keepers in the box, the “allure of tuna” is too much for two of the guys and the discussion starts. After some back and forth and a wise warning from the Sr member of the party about maybe not getting another bite all day, the decision is made to make the 30 mile run to the deep knowing full well our lack of ice and ballyhoo for tuna. Looked all around trying to find some decent water temp but at the days end we only had added one mahi to the box and now had a 69 mile run home.
06/03/17 Another run for tilefish with Austin and the boys from Heggins PA. Bite was equally as good as yesterday with a slightly better size fish going in the box. Limit came fast so we point toward the sea bass grounds looking to ad even more fish to the box. The first two drifts see a couple fish added to our number. Then, out of no where, the wind goes from zero to twenty knots in 30 seconds making our remaining 20 minutes very tough. In the slip with a limit of tilefish and a couple sea bass.
06/02/17 Broke the inlet today in flat calm seas running north for a day of tilefishing. Bite was outstanding but the smaller fish were quick today and would find the hooks before the better size fish. Back at the marina with our limit including Lauren’s 12 lb. blueline.
05/28/17 Out for a day of shark fishing with a crew from southeastern PA. Water temp is still a little on the cool side but our drift was excellent. Took about 90 minutes for our first encounter, a feisty 150 lb. blue shark. Twenty minutes later we have the first sharks twin brother on the line. The next two blue sharks are in the 75 lb. class. After a drop in the action and with rain moving in we hook a serious blue dog. The battle ends with a 175-200 pounder being released. With more rain on the way the decision is made to head home.
05/27/17 Another great sea bass trip for Bruce and the boys. Moved from spot to spot adding several keepers to the box on every drop. Shortly before lunch time the boat limit (90) was hit. Back in the slip with a pile of those oh so delicious fish.
05/19/17 Today’s morning winds caused us to push back our leave time until noon. Even then we were dealing with some fairly sporty conditions. The first two hours found very limited action with only a couple keepers mix among a handful of throwbacks. Would have loved to be drifting but that was completely out of the question due to the winds. Sometime around 2:30 the fish started to bite and after a solid 2 hour feed the box looked a lot more respectable. Pulled anchor a little early since the guys still needed to drive back to Baltimore. In the slip with 45ish sea bass in the box.
05/16/17 Out for the second day of sea bass with a great crew of guys from the DC area. Bite was super good with a regular stream of keepers going in the box. Our five man limit was reached in less than three hours. The guys got an early start back to DC allowing plenty of time for the evening fish fry at Bruce’s home.
05/09/17 Out for a 36 hour marathon deep drop trip with two great guys from Long Island NY. First day provided good action but far too many chopper bluefish. A beautiful flat calm night in the canyon provided comfortable sleeping. Day two and the bite continues but today the dogfish sharks are thick. Back in the slip with three limits of those oh so tasty tilefish. The patrons of Bravo Nader Restaurant are in for a treat when our chef gets these fish to his kitchen.
04/20/17 thru 05/08/17 A couple half-day trips with good success on tog as well as some sea bass research that gave me high hopes for the upcoming sea bass season.