Andrew Smith and his sons had lots of action yesterday, with both young boys boating 35-45# yellowfin, and everyone bringing a 75# class dusky shark along side the boat.... we hooked several of them them damm sharks while slowed up fighting tuna and even hooked one in the mouth on a silver spoon on a deep rig..... fortunately we did boat some tuna but damm if the sharks didn't get more than half of them..... the whole fleet had to head in early as storms move in over us.
NEVER THOUGHT I WOULD SAY IT BUT IT WAS TOO CALM!!
Radio reception was excellent on VHFs and from Hatteras to Ocean City I could hear captains talking about slow fishing.... Even the tilefish weren't biting very well..... We did have some action Edwin Faunce, from Doylestown, PA released an acrobatic white marlin caught on light tackle, Rick Krader did a great job on a big yellowfin tuna on light tackle, only to have the hook pull with the leader on the reel and the fish in sight..... Fortunately after that heartbreak, we hooked a 200# blue marlin.... awesome shortrigger bite, and John Pisklak, from Lebanon, PA did a great job catching the fish after 1/2 hour battle.
MORGAN TAYLOR, FROM SHARPSBURG, MD CAUGHT A LARGE WHITE MARLIN TO START THE DAY
DAVID BILLUPS FROM BEL AIR,MD CAUGHT A BLUE MARLIN AROUND 175# ON LIGHT STANDUP TACKLE AND DAVID BURKE, FROM EGG HARBOR NEW JERSEY CAUGHT A WHITE MARLIN AT THE SAME TIME.... COCKPIT CHAOS TO SAY THE LEAST... SAW ANOTHER SMALL BLUE THAT WOULD NOT EAT AND JUMPED OFF ANOTHER WHITE......
Ed Begin & crew wanted meat fish today, and with not a lot of dolphin around, we focused on yellowfin....as did the whole fleet in one small area around some whales....we were lucky to come up with some 40-50# tunas that the sharks did not get, though they did get several of my rigs.
Jacob Leitch, from St Leonard, MD & Thomas Richard, from Losby, MD each caught & released their first blue marlin ever after exciting half hour battles....both fish were 250-275# class fish..... the first a big hole bent pole on my long shotgun and the second a hot teaser fish that Lee picked off nicely.
Matthew Barron, son Bernie & his sons Tyler, Nicholas & Matthew Jr along with Brandon Euba, from Pennsylania, have fished with me for many years..... we have had much better catches but never hooked as big a fish.... the boys had caught a few yellowfin in the morning when we hooked a lunker.....his oldest son Tyler (age 18) battled the bigeye for over an hour, did a great job, had the leader on the reel a couple of times, the fish in sight... at least 150 if not more, when the ceramic ring in the tip of the rod blew out and the line broke in the broken tip.... MEGA BUMMMER.... never had that happen before.....They were good sports.... I was devestated.... fishing was tough with a lot of boats circling one spot, sharks getting a lot of what we hooked, but we did scrap out a few and Bernie's youngest son Nicholas caught a tuna & did catch a few sharks. They booked us again for next year which was the best part of my day!
Got a late start today....unusual for the OBSESSION....Tony Glass & crew, from Maryland, locked their keys in their truck with all their food and drinks... in Coralla....anyway, slow start.....we never had a bite till noon....behind the fleet all day....finally hooked a few large yellowfins & Tony's two teenage sons boated a pair of 50# yellowfins..... didn't have another bite till around 2 when we hooked two really nice yellowfins and Tony & Rusty each boated a 60# yellowfin 20 minutes later..... All the younguns come up on the bridge after that and I was tellling them stories about all the sharks eating our tunas this year.... one of the ones today had its tail about bit off.... when we had an explosion on my short shotgun & after several more misses, the MAKO finally got hooked...... Tony got in the chair and 15 minutes later we wrestled a 141# mako into the boat for a great ending to the day. Mikey Fulchum was filling in today as my regular mate Lee was running another boat for the day.
Gary Gardner, from northern Virginia, and crew were taking one of their first trips offshore.... dreamed of catching a big fish.....and wanted some fish to bring home, but didn't need much.... so we headed north where we have had excellent blue marlin fishing (yesterday we pulled the hook on two) in unusually shallow (25-40 fathoms) water....... luck was in their favor today..... we lost the first two mahi that got after us, but recovered nicely when a nice blue marlin appeared on the teaser, Lee switched him off to a pitch bait and off we went....HOOKED UP BLUE MARLIN....after a grueling 45 minute battle, Bruce Centner, from Stafford VA released a blue marlin we estimated to be around 350 pounds. A short while later we got hit by the yellowfins, but the only two we hooked were on 30# TLD's out there for mahi, but the guys did great and boated both in the 45-50# class range.
Tra Storey & crew, who fish with me several times a year, had a beautiful day on the water.... we started where there were some bigeyes yesterday, but that was a dry hole, and other tuna spots were not producing, so we ran back up north where there has been some excellent blue marlin fishing..... We hooked two nice fish, but both pulled the hook after some exciting jumping, we boated a nice yellowfin, and at the end of the day found a school of rays..... never seen that before offshore, and circled it and caught a few nice dolphin to end the day.
Tim Hill, a coal miner from Caspar Wyoming told me he wanted to catch something BIG.....he & his crew fished with me the last two days.... meat fishing was slow in hot hot weather but we boated a few yellowfin tuna yesterday and mahi today..... Nathan Neilsen, from Gillete, Wyoming released his first ever white marlin and Tim did a great job catching releasing a 350# blue marlin today after a very exciting half hour battle with a lot of close to the boat jumping.
Eighty degrees at 4AM..... I like calm seas but this is rediculous.....too still.... tuna are around but very lethargic... fortunately we found a nice weed line and Israel Lau & his crew worked hard to put a nice catch of 5-15# dolphin in box, all caught on light tackle.... we pulled the hook on a white marlin after 10 minutes.... circled some pilot whales to end the day and boated a 35# yellowfin, and then hooked another and had it 30 feet from the boat when a dusky shark exploded on our tuna and by the time we got it to the boat there was nothing but eyeballs, mouth and pec fins!
ONE MORE CIRCLE ( or another OBSESSION late innning rally!!)
Jeff Marshall & his crew of outdoorsman from southern Maryland picked just a few mahi and yellowfin in the course of the day..... good sign of tuna but they were not biting ... lot of boats.... I decided to get away from boats in late afternoon, roll the dice, and work back north to cooler water where I started and did little but felt a late inning bigeye or two would bale us out... around 3 PM, I said we'd give it an extra half hour when I saw a tuna roll, worked over to it and got the mark but no bite..... circled back and one exploded on a teaser & we got two bites but only held on to one.... a nice 55# yellowfin.... that helped and I said to the boys, alright .... "lets make one more circle"... HA! made two or three and got no bites.... figured we were done..... turned down a ledge to stay in 120 or so fathoms as we cranked in our lines.....leaned over the rail and said lets call it a day....WHAM!!!!! BIG DAMM tunas exploded on everything....teasers were in the air ... I think all 10 poles bent over at one time or other....when the dust settled we had 6 fish on....COCKPIT CHAOS..... my regular mate Lee had a family emergency but fortunately legendary mate Mikey Fulchum was filling in and he did an awesome job helping the guys keep things untangled and wiring & gaffing everyone they got to the boat ..... an hour later 5 bigeyes and one 60# yellowfin were laying on the deck.....Jeffrey Marshall boated a 100# bigeye, James Buchanan boated a 119# fish, Daniel Walsh boated a 120# bigeye, all earning citations, and Neil Obrien & Mike Marshall boated 82 & 90 # bigeyes..... Todd Steima boated a 60# yellowfin...... We got back to the dock at 7 PM..... some would say that was not unusual for the OBSESSION, but I can assure you the old captain was tired and in need of some agave nectar.
Mike Hall & his crew from Maryland have fished with me a long time, but today was the first bigeyes the had ever caught.... we pulled a nice one off to start the day, circled back and hooked a pair..... Carl boated his 75# bigeye tuna after 20 minutes and Herb Davis boated his 100# citation earning bigeye after 30 minutes.... we pulled the hook on another bigeye later in the day, but did boat some 35-45# yellowfin tuna along with a few nice dolphin on an otherwise slow day for the fleet.
My old friend and work partner Mark Rockett, who worked with me at Texas A& M university and also for the NC Division of Marine Fisheries many years ago, brought his wife and son Jonathan and friend Mark, all who live around Raleigh, NC fishing today....weather was beautiful, seas were calm and we had great luck, in the morning loading up on 40-55# yellowfin tuna and in the afternoon catching a bunch of 5-15# dolphin on light tackle.
Bob Hines & crew from New Jersey & Pennsylvania, fished with us for the third year in a row......started the day on a grass line catching a bunch of mahi mahi on light tackle, then boated a box full of 35-55# yellowfin.... damm things were jumping everywhere chasing flying fish!
For the second day, Tim, Ryan, Doug, Chris, Richard & Glen, from the Tricoastal Sportsman Club, from Baltimore, MD fished with us.... these guys were tough as seas were steep and large but they enjoyed the day and the beer, and never missed a beat. Had a great day on the dolphin yesterday so they wanted to focus on yellowfin tuna today.... All the boats around us were on a line catching dolphin first thing in the morning and we were catching nothing, but we got on them in the afternoon and the guys boated a bunch of 35 - 55# yellowfins, with a double header to end the day!
Tim Gelineau & crew from Maryland had action all day long, in the morning on light tackle along a weed line where they caught most of a limit of 5-18# dolphin, and in the afternoon we trolled around and the caught three yellowfin 25-45# and two 20# wahoo to give the guys a "DOUBLE MEATFISH GRAND SLAM". YEEE HAAA!
Ken , Ken Jr & Ron Henry Henry & crew, from New Jersey have fished with me for 13 years, both in North Carolina and Mexico, and we have had some fantastic fishing together (24 white marlin in one day; limit of yellowfin, then a doubleheader 350# & 400# blue marlin end the day) but yesterday will go down as one of theirs & my best trips. Funny that I really didn't have a great gameplan for the water conditions but things went our way..... Started off hooking a single tuna right out of the gate, but fished right away from that area as radio fishing was better elsewhere..... Ken Henry Jr boated a 57# citation earning wahoo while I was working offshore.... then while I was staring ahead looking for birds & tuna my short shotgun got bit..... I turned to see a big hole and a bent pole.... HOOKED UP BLUE MARLIN!!!...... Ronald Henry released that 250# blue marlin after an exciting 30 minute battle..... We went back to looking for yellowfin, found some birds and caught another tuna, then a handful of dolphin to give the guys a "Meatfish Grand Slam"..... I was happy & releaxed now, cruising around looking for more birds on tuna when suddenly & once again with me looking everywhere but back, our short rigger popped out, I turned around and damm if Rod-ney hadn't "HOOKED UP ANOTHER BLUE MARLIN"!!!.... Ken Henry Jr grabbed the rod and a half hour latter released a 275-300# blue marlin..... and if that were't enough good luck for one day in the early afternoon there was an explosion on a short rigger..... Ken Henry jumped in the chair and watched as the fish almost dumped us..... things settled down finally and after an hour Ken boated a 206# BiGeYe tuna, his first ever..... With that we called it a great day and headed home.... Lee & I joined them for a great fish dinner...... 4 different species.
Left the marina this morning just as the fog rolled in and my radar would not come on.... turned around..... eased my way back to the marina and then the radar came on, so I turned around and started again....made it out fine, a little sloppy crossing the Oregon Inlet Bar...... hit or miss today on the tunas....we were fortunate and got hit by them 3 times....Zach Moyer & crew did a great job boating two triple headers and a 5 banger to end the day.... nice class of fish..... most 40-50#.
A five foot sea on the bar and thunderstorms on the way offshore I can deal with, but when we hooked and fought a 150# bigeye for an hour only to loose it 5 feet from the gaff really hurt.... and its what Matt D'amico and his New Jersey police wanted more than anything.... we've had many great days before with them but no bigeyes yet.... hopefully next year.