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Offseason Fishing Report 3-27-18

This is the final Offseason Report of 2017-18!

DELAWARE/MARYLAND

Another nor’easter, the fourth in three weeks, pounded this area last week. The storm last week also dumped snow. After the storm, seas remained rough and wind continued to blow through last weekend. Not much fishing happened. Two weekends ago, boats from Maryland sailed for blackfish on the ocean. The water was cold because of all of the storms, but some of the tautog were decked. A 15-pounder was reported. A trip last week on Monday from Maryland with five anglers bagged 15 of the tog. Several reports said gannets dived-bombed the ocean just off the beach at Ocean City, Md., that weekend. No boats were fishing there, so nobody knew what baitfish the birds were foraging on. But bunker was the guess. The ocean off Maryland was 40 degrees that weekend, two weekends ago. The ocean off Virginia Beach was 42 ½ degrees then. The average is 44.8 off Virginia Beach that time of year. In Delaware, few boats were launched for the fishing season yet. Small, scattered striped bass bit in tidal creeks in Delaware. Delaware Bay was currently 41 degrees. Weather was going to become warmer this week, peaking in the 70 degrees on Thursday, dropping to the mid-50s by the weekend. That’s warmer than lately. During some years, striped bass are reported migrating to Delaware Bay by now, headed to Delaware River to spawn. None was reported yet.

NORTH CAROLINA

Oregon Inlet

Boaters from Oregon Inlet Fishing Center cleaned up on good numbers of yellowfin tuna and a couple of bigeye tuna Saturday, Norma York said. That was the only day they had the weather to sail recently. She heard about no bluefin tuna caught that day. Anglers from the marina fought more than a few bluefins last week on Monday. The catches included an 80-incher and a 77-incher that were released. Yellowfins were also nailed that day. Bluefins will begin migrating north soon, if they haven’t already. They’ve been docked at the marina as late as April’s first week. The number of yellowfins caught usually increases this season for anglers from the marina. A large blue marlin was reported released farther south off Hatteras, N.C. Visit Website.

FLORIDA

Islamorada

Sailfishing was pretty good, said Capt. Bruce Andersen from Captain Easy Charters. Only a couple of trips fished in past days aboard, but both reeled in sails. Sometimes the sails finned along the water surface, and they do that when the tide and wind flow in the same direction. When that happens, anglers can sight-fish for the sails, pitching live bait to them, and sometimes the anglers on these trips caught them that way. Otherwise, they landed the sails on live bait that was slow-trolled or fished from kites.  The trips also cranked in yellowtail, mutton and vermilion snappers. The yellowtails bit along the reef, a few miles from port, on chunks of bait in a chum slick. The muttons chomped live bait fished along bottom in 150 feet of water just offshore of the reef, where the sails also gathered. But sails swim closer to the surface, of course. Like the muttons, the vermilions were also taken on live bait along bottom, but in deeper water, 200 feet, farther from shore. Both the muttons and vermilions mostly gather at wrecks along bottom. Call: 305-360-2120. Visit Website.

Traveling charters to the Florida Keys fished during the weekend with Mike Lackman and friend aboard, said Capt. Joe Hughes from Jersey Cape Guide Service from Sea Isle City, N.J. They released lemon sharks and bonnethead sharks while sight-casting in shallow flats of the bay. Mike released his first-ever tarpon on the flats. The friend let go a barracuda. They also pulled in jacks, snappers, Spanish mackerel, ladyfish, blue runners and more fish from the bay. Traveling charters to the Keys will fish through this coming weekend, and each year fish from Christmas to Easter. Afterward, Joe turns all attention to fishing from Sea Isle City until next Christmas. Visit Website. Call: 609-827-3442.

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