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Offseason Report

Report from Tuesday, March 27.

| Delaware/Maryland | North Carolina | Florida | Last Week's Report |
THIS IS THE YEAR’S FINAL OFFSEASON REPORT!

The report covers out-of-state saltwater fishing
from late fall through winter, New Jersey fishing’s off-season.

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.

Last Week's Report
NEW YORK

Point Lookout

The party boat Captain Al is in the yard for maintenance for spring and will probably resume fishing during April’s first weekend, Capt. Tom said. Trips will fish for cod and ling, probably from Fridays through Sundays, until the trips begin to fish daily after a couple of weeks. Rumors said blackfishing might be opened in the beginning of April in New York, and if so, the boat will fish for them, too. See More Info. Call: 516-623-2248.

DELAWARE/MARYLAND

Three nor’easters in past weeks cooled coastal waters in this area, and another one of the storms was bearing down today. Still, a few boats from Maryland sailed for blackfish, found low water temperature, but managed some of the tautog that were sizable. The storms and windy weather between the storms prevented most trips. In Delaware, few boats were fishing yet for the year, and some will begin in early April. Water off Delaware in the ocean close to shore and in southern Delaware Bay was 40 degrees, and before the last nor’easter was 42. A large population of big bluefish tore into Delaware’s surf and the southern bay off the state the past couple of years beginning in the first half of April, and anglers hope for a repeat.

NORTH CAROLINA

Oregon Inlet

Bluefin tuna fishing lit up Saturday for boats from Oregon Inlet Fishing Center, a report said on the marina’s website. Anglers on several commercial boats and quite a few private boats hauled in big ones. Three of the fish were docked that day, Kevin from the shop said in a phone call today: a 791-pounder, a 491-pounder and a 387-pounder. No yellowfin tuna were known to be caught, but fishing for them should take off later this season. After Saturday, rough weather kept trips from sailing, and probably will for the next days. Beginning at 11:30 p.m. Saturday, the trophy fishery for bluefins became closed from Great Egg Harbor Inlet, N.J., to farther south for recreational anglers. The trophy fishery had allowed anglers to bag one bluefin 73 inches or larger per boat, per year. But catch-and-release fishing for them and smaller bluefins remains legal, and recreationals can still bag one bluefin 27 inches to less than 73 inches per boat, per day. Visit Website.

Hatteras

Blackfin tuna kept biting for boaters from Teach’s Lair Marina, a report said on the marina’s website. Weather was improving, “(and) just got to pick your days,” it said. Visit Website.

FLORIDA

Islamorada

Trips frequently trolled live bait or fished live bait from kites just offshore of the reef this past week with Captain Easy Charters, Capt. Bruce Andersen said. That whipped king mackerel, some blackfin tuna, sometimes sailfish and, mixed in, mahi mahi. A few more mahi than before kept showing up. Also in that area, mutton snappers were nailed on live bait fished along bottom, mostly at wrecks. Along the reef, a few miles from port, some really big yellowtail snappers were hooked. Farther from shore than all of this, in deeper water, amberjacks were beaten at underwater mounds and wrecks. Trips also fished near bridges on Bruce’s smaller boat, a 27-foot Conch center console, tackling quite a few tarpon and some sharks. Call: 305-360-2120. Visit Website.