Fall blackfish season opened Nov. 16, this year's last major opening for a fish species.
This season, with a bag limit of five fish at 15 inches, will run through Dec. 31. Many captains and anglers have been waiting for this day. They mark the fall fishing calendar by the beginning of the sea bass, then the arrival of blackfish seasons.
Blackfish are a strong fighting fish that make excellent table fare. Many anglers who target them are hoping to catch one over 10 pounds, which are known as "DDs," short for their "double-digit" weight. After being weighed and photographed, many are released, therefore they can grow slowly, breed, and pass their strong genes to the next generation.
Our area has some excellent areas to target for these fish and some excellent captains to take you to them. Private boat owners can head to the reefs and wrecks also, but must consider the weather, the size of their boat, and their skills at anchoring over prime fishing structures.
Also, don’t forget our local bridges and rock piles are prime areas to try for these fish from. I wish you luck regardless of where you fish.
Regardless of a slow week, fishing reports were still proffered.
The Miss Chris reported that they are still having nice sea bass, triggerfish and bluefish catches. They also are seeing more blackfish being seized on their trips. That makes sense since the water starts to cool, and these fish move from the bridges and rock piles out to the reefs and wrecks.
It’s the start of a timeless cycle that signals the start of the fall fishing season. Now, all we need is some striped bass to appear and join the fall party.
Christian, an employee on the boat, reported that he recently caught his largest triggerfish. He mentioned catches similar to those reported above while also reporting that they saw some humpback whales and a thresher shark.
Earlier in the week, Christian was striper fishing north of the area. He caught two stripers, a personal best 44-incher, plus one weighing 42 inches. Both were released to swim another day and, as Christian hopes, to produce the next healthy line of stripers.
I’d also like to thank Christian and all veterans for their service and sacrifices they have made and are making for our country.
The Miss Avalon had a “great” Veterans Day trip. The anglers were able to load up on sea bass and had additional action provided by 20 bluefish that weighed up to 3 pounds. Several big porgies were also caught that just added to the bounty. The crew plans to focus on blackfish while they finish their sea bass trips, but that’s not to say that they are going to turn away sea bass that happen to strike their offerings.
The Starfish was out over the weekend when conditions allowed. For their effort, they had a “good day” catching sea bass. They also pulled in nice porgies that contributed nicely to filling the coolers aboard.
Capt. Skip, from Stalker Fishing Charters, has been taking the skiff into the backwaters, staying busy by catching plenty of stripers. The action was better because they are using light tackle. Skip has a few more weeks of trips to the back areas before he switches to the Stalker II, so he can target stripers as they migrate through our area.
Fishin’ Fever Sportfishing Charters, led by Capt. Tom, had some productive trips recently, putting his charters on plenty of sea bass. Triggerfish and porgies were included in their bounty, too. After those trips, the fish piled up on the deck, which reminded me of Tom’s saying that “piles make smiles." I'm sure those anglers were smiling at the end of the trip.
His dock neighbor, Capt. Bob, from Full Ahead Sport Fishing, also is running charters, putting fish in the boat and keeping his charters happy. He hopes the weather would cooperate regularly because when they have been fishing, their days were occupied by catching nice-sized sea bass, plus triggerfish, bluefish and porgies.
The Ocean City Fishing Club “Blue Team” won championship honors in the Association of Surf Angling Club’s 2021 tournament season. Throughout 10 tournaments, starting in May and ending in October, they amassed 146 points.
During the tournaments, the teams are awarded based on the amount, size and species of qualifying fish caught. Congratulations to team members Tyler Daley, Augie Conte III, Augie Conte Jr., Ed Parkinson, Drew Furst, Paul Viola and Bob Dever.
Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond our control, the conditions didn’t allow for a full week of quality fishing. A few opportunities produced satisfying trips, but more are desired by captains and anglers. With the blackfish season upon us, and with the knowledge of striped bass coming from the north and hopefully staying within the 3-mile line from our beaches, the year's last six weeks have great potential. Now, we have to hope that the weather and the fish cooperate and we have an opportunity to make up for some of the fishing trips we’ve recently lost.
Take care, good luck if you get out, and I’ll see you around.
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