Welcome back to “Fish ‘N OC.” If you read last week’s installment, you’ll know that we talked a little bit about fishing line and the importance of choosing the right lines for the places we fish and the types of fishing that we do. Last week, we focused primarily on braided line, which may (or may not) have been familiar to most of you. This week we will talk about a subject that I am sure most all of you anglers have some hands-on experience with — that is monofilament fishing line.
If you have spent much time fishing in the past couple of decades, there is a good chance that you have used monofilament fishing line. In fact, monofilament or “mono” for short is the most common type of fishing line and has been for quite some time.
Monofilament gets its name from being made up of a single strand of nylon — hence the term “mono-filament.”
Over the years, mono has changed somewhat as different manufacturers have altered the chemical make-up of their products in order to enhance certain desirable qualities in the line. If you go to the store today you will find different brands of monofilament that are marketed as “extra strong” some others that are “extra limp” or “castable” and others may emphasize a “thinner diameter” or improved “abrasion resistance.” Obviously selecting the right monofilament can seem a bit complicated at times.
Still, choosing the right mono doesn’t have to be that tough. I’ve found that here in Ocean City, most monofilaments in the 15- to 20-pound range will work just fine for fishing in the bay for flounder, croakers, and other panfish. If I am planning to target some larger fish (like stripers) on the bridge or near the jetty rocks, I will need to bump up the strength of my line. Generally an abrasion resistant 25-pound test mono is sufficient for the Inlet, but the bridge requires a minimum of 30-pound test. Surf fishermen also tend to prefer monofilament. Most use 17- or 20-pound test as a running line, but they also must use a strong 12- to 15-foot section of 50-pound test “shock leader” to allow for the casting of heavy sinkers.
Mono has many great qualities that make it so popular as a fishing line. In my opinion, one of its most desirable traits is the amount of stretch it has (way more than braid). Mono’s stretch allows it to provide extra cushion for fighting big fish — it absorbs the shock of the headshakes, jumps and strong runs that the larger fish produce. Another great quality is that mono is more abrasion resistant than braided line of similar breaking strength. It’s more reliable around hard structures. Also, mono works well with just about any type of knot — making it more user-friendly.
Still, what I have found to be the biggest downfall of monofilament is its life expectancy. When used in a saltwater environment, mono just doesn’t last that long. In fact, it breaks down fast. Storing it out of the sunlight and rinsing it off (with fresh water) when done fishing can increase its longevity, but it still does not maintain its integrity nearly as long as the new super braided lines. So if you are planning to use mono as your main line, please do yourself a favor and make sure to check your line constantly and change it often—at least once a month if you are fishing with regularity. This might seem excessive, but when you hook that giant fish, you will be thankful you recently changed your line.
Next week, Aug. 8-12 is the “White Marlin Open” tournament week here in Ocean City so we will be switching gears in next week’s article to cover the history of the tournament. We will then come back to complete this series on fishing lines in the following week’s article. But for now, let’s shift our focus back and take a look at some of the fishing reports that have come in this past week.
Sue at “Oyster Bay” reports, “Fishing this week saw a good flounder bite though there are tons of throw backs. Croaker are in the bay but nothing consistent. Anglers are catching decent sized spot. Anglers trying to catch bait are wishing for smaller ones. Berkley Gulp appears to be the "hot bait" this week along with live minnows. Decent sized bluefish are being taken from the Route 50 Bridge at night, early mornings, and at dusk. Some bigger blues were also taken from the Oceanic Pier. Surf is seeing good catches of kingfish (whiting) early in the morning along with lots of spot and some croaker. At night, sharks and skates are the story along with a few reports of bluefish and croaker. Some kingfish are being caught at night as well. Offshore, the flounder bite is definitely picking up. Yianni Gagianas of Oyster Bay Tackle went fishing early (6:30 a.m.) for a half hour before work on Thursday and caught five kingfish on a combo of Fishbites and fresh bunker. His grandmother stayed and caught a couple more. Yes you have to get up early to get the morning bite on kingfish.
“We’re getting lots of reports of flounder from all over the bay, but there are tons of "short" flounder. Keepers seem to be caught at the top of high tide and are close to the Route 50 Bridge, Inlet, and the bay behind Assateague. Also in the West Channel near the Bridge.”
Captain Jeffrey Grimes of "Helbent Charters" reports; "Water, water and more water is what you needed to drink to survive fishing this weekend in OC. With the heat index over 115 and the flies biting, it was the most challenging weekend for several weeks. The outgoing tide was not producing many fish and when the tide finally changed the bite turned on but Mother Nature chased us off the water. The inlet was producing flounder with the white gulp producing the most fish. See you on the water."
“Oceanic Pier” reports, “Anglers are catching lots of flounder. Plenty of action. The anglers that stuck it out the heat caught some nice keeper flounder. There are a couple croaker runs every day but it’s hard to predict when they will bite. There’s plenty of little fish for the kids to catch including little sea bass and spot. A lot of the spot are actually eating size. At night, the shad and snapper blues are biting. More shad than blues but this week the blues that were caught were larger.”
“Old Inlet” reports, “As usual in the heat, the best striper fishing is at night. Live eels have become the bait of choice, followed by sand fleas and dark plugs/bucktails. Flounder are hitting very well in the inlet. They are right up against the rocks so be prepared to lose some rigs. Gulp are the flounder ticket. A few blues have been moving through on the incoming water. The toggers are reporting better action lately on live fleas and green crabs. The surf is hit and miss.”
“Bill’s Sports Center” reports, “There are reports of some blues being taken in the 19-inch range from the beach. Steven Warren and Jonathan Davis of Georgetown, Del. limited out on flounder to 20 inches at Roosevelt Inlet caught on nuclear chicken and white Gulp. Indian River Inlet and Bay are seeing lots of flounder with some nice keepers landed. Blowfish and lots of spot in the bay on bloodworms give kids lots of action. Flounder are biting offshore pretty good with some sea bass action as well.”
Captain Victor Bunting on the “Ocean Princess” reports, “picking up a mix of both keeper and throw back sea bass over the last week. We are seeing a few more nice flounder coming in and have probably landed a good number of keepers in the last few days. Peter Legault of Leval, Quebec caught a nice 4-pound, 6-ounce flounder and Josh Johnson of Lancaster, Pa. caught a 3-pound, 2-ounce flounder. The occasional triggerfish is making an appearance, but not as frequently as I would like and we are still picking up a few tog here and there. Still looking for that first croaker bite.”
Captain Chris on the party boat “The Angler” reports, “We are still having some decent sea bass fishing. Some days it is tougher than others, but not bad for late July. We had our best flounder bite of the year this week with the largest weighing over 6 pounds. Not many keepers but a good amount of throwbacks. We are sailing daily at 730 a.m., the cost is $62 per person which includes rod, reel, and bait. Please call 410-289-7424 for reservations.”
Capt Drew Zerbe on “The Tortuga” reports, “Not many keepers this week folks. Guess we caught all of our keepers on two trips. We also had plenty of action on throwbacks, one day tallying over 500. A few croakers and kingfish mixed in as well.”
Captain Sean on the “Restless Lady” reports, “Have been targeting inshore for tuna, we worked from chicken bone to Massey’s and all the lumps in between with four nice yellow fins a big 50-pound wahoo and some dolphin. On another charter, we went out on an inshore eight-hour trip Wednesday with some young men and we scored with some nice bluefin on the Jackspot lumps.”
On “Skip’s Charters and Guide Service”, we had some good trips this week. The first one was with two friends from central Pennsylvania, Toby Jones and his nephew 15-year-old Bailey Coder. This was Bailey’s first time fishing the O.C. waters. We decided to target stripers on this trip so we hit the south jetty. We had lots of action but just couldn’t hook up any keepers, but then Bailey hooked up with a rod bending hog. He fought it for nearly five minutes with the drag burning up several times. Bailey finally got it boat side for me to net. Turned out to be a nice 37-inch Striper that weighed over 17 pounds.
Another trip was with “Eastcoast Bailbonds” owner Vinnie Magliano and some family members and friends. It was a combo trip with a little striper and flounder fishing. We had lots of action but very few keepers, but Dan McHugh of Catonsville did hook up with a nice 21-inch keeper flounder near the Route 50 bridge.
Last was a family from Pittsburgh I take fishing every summer — the Sax family. We had a great trip with lots of flounder and stripers but just couldn’t get any keepers in the boat.
Here at “Skip’s Charter and Guide Service” we are still catching stripers. We are still booking the south jetty trips while the fish are still biting. We also started our four-hour flounder trips for families — a great deal for $450 everything included. We will even clean your fish and freeze them for you to take home. The croakers are starting to bite and that’s great action for the little ones.
All four of our charter boats here at Skip’s Charter & Guide service are having awesome fishing, with some of the best fishing we’ve seen in years. Inshore and offshore fishing is off the hook. Pick up that phone and give us a call and book that fishing trip. We still have openings but their filling up fast. We also have our bay boat running with family flounder trips, plus our fishing, clamming, and crabbing combo charter for just $450 for a half day of family fun. We provide all rods and tackle as well as all the bait, so pack some sunscreen and a few drinks and come on out for a memory-making day on the water.
When you step on the boat, you are stepping on a boat that has over 40 years of fishing and boating experience with some of Ocean City’s top captains working for Skip’s Charter and Guide Service this year. Give me a call at the tackle shop at 410-289-Fish (3474) or on my cell 410-430-5436 and let’s talk fishing.
At the tackle shop we are open 6 a.m.-9 p.m., seven days a week, with a great staff that will answer any questions you may have about fishing the Ocean City waters. If you have a report or pictures you would like in The Dispatch or on www.oceancityfishing.com, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. The summer weather is here, and the fishing is smoking hot. So get out there and fish! Who knows? Maybe I’ll be writing about you next week.
(Maguire is an outdoor writer and owner of Skip’s Bait and Tackle and Skip’s Charter and Guide Service in Ocean City.)