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Offseason Report

Report from Tuesday, March 28.

| New York | 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.

New York
Point Lookout

A handful of cod were swung in on the party boat Captain Al on Saturday, Capt. Tom Weiss said. Blackfish, out of season in New York, were released, and the trip fished in 75 to 125 feet of water. The ocean there was 40 degrees. No trips fished Friday and Sunday in rougher weather. The boat will go in the ship yard this weekend or the following weekend, so telephone to confirm before heading to the vessel. Trips are fishing for cod 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. every Friday through Sunday. If cod are in, trips target them. Otherwise, trips fish wrecks for cod, pollock, ling or whatever will bite. Trips are likely to run for cod and ling through April. New York’s porgy season opens on May 1, and a showing of them is usually targeted aboard then. When sea bass season opens, the boat jumps on sea bass. New York is yet to decide the sea bass season. See More Info. Call: 516-623-2248.

Delaware/Maryland
Striped bass, mostly throwbacks, were slid from the surf from Maryland to Delaware during the weekend, online reports said. That included at Assateague in Maryland and Fenwick Island and Indian Rive Inlet in Delaware. One report mentioned a couple of keepers that were banked south of the inlet. “It’s starting!” it said. Fishing the mackerel migration in this area was short-lived, another report said. One party boat from Maryland that tried for mackerel last week reported that the fishing “didn’t work out.” But the vessel will still fish for them “once in a while.” The crew guessed that the mackerel might’ve retreated south last week because of a dropping ocean temperature from rough weather last week. The boat reported about a captain sailing from Delaware for mackerel last weekend who “at least got to see what the fish look like.” The vessel from Maryland sailed for blackfish when not mackerel fishing. Many throwbacks bit, but there was lots of action. Anglers wondered whether the warm winter will affect tuna fishing that usually develops in June off Maryland. Maybe the fishing will begin early, or maybe the water will become all one temperature earlier than usual, eliminating fish-attracting temperature breaks. Should be interesting, a report said.

North Carolina
Oregon Inlet

Fantastic fishing was pasted for big bluefin tuna on multiple boats Saturday from Oregon Inlet Fishing Center, a report said on the marina’s website. “… with lots of releases,” it said. “These anglers have some great stories to tell … .” Bluefin catches on the previous day included a 72-incher on one trip and a 70-incher on another. Another trip released one of the tuna that day after breaking the rod during the fight. A few yellowfin tuna were tackled during the days, too. March is usually the peak of bluefin fishing from the marina. Yellowfin fishing should begin to pick up now. Visit Website.

Florida
Islamorada

Trips fished for a little of everything aboard, said Capt. Bruce Andersen from Captain Easy Charters. The outings trolled blackfin tuna 7 miles from port in 250 to 300 feet of water. Mutton snappers were cranked from wrecks in depths like that on livelined bait. A big one, 20 pounds, was iced yesterday. Sometimes amberjacks were clobbered on live bait at wrecks like that and at the Islamorada Hump, an underwater mound that’s 11 miles from port. Closer to shore, good fishing for yellowtail snappers was pasted at the reef, 3 or 4 miles from port, on cut bait. Fishing that’s coming up includes targeting mahi mahi that become more abundant as the season warms. Call: 305-360-2120. Visit Website.

Last Week's Report
DELAWARE/MARYLAND

Migrating striped bass were expected to slip into Delaware Bay this week, heading to Delaware River to spawn, online reports said. The bay was rough last week from the nor’easter last Tuesday, and windy weather lingered into the weekend. Little was heard about anybody on the water. But a Philadelphia tackle shop reported that the year’s first couple of larger stripers were landed from the river this weekend. Those included a 24-pounder downstream from Tacony-Palmyra Bridge. The same store reported rumors that the year’s first few shad were angled from the river farther upstream at Yardley and Lambertville before the storm, but emphasized that those were only rumors. In other news, Delaware’s summer flounder regulations were set for the year: a four-fish bag limit with a 17-inch minimum size and no closed season. The only difference from last year is that 16 inches was the minimum size. The federal government has voted for a 19-inch minimum size and three-flounder limit for New Jersey this year, but Jersey has vowed to fight that.

NORTH CAROLINA

Oregon Inlet

Seas were 7 to 12 feet yesterday, and were rough throughout last week in strong wind since the storm last Tuesday, said Denise MacNamara from Oregon Inlet Fishing Center. That kept boats from fishing for bluefin tuna the entire week. Two boats set out for the fish this morning, though, and results would be heard. The fleet last fished two Fridays ago and “enjoyed some serious battles with the blue-fin … landing a couple,” a report said on the marina’s website. One trip fought an estimated 600-pounder that broke off on a spinning rod. The storm Tuesday was the big nor’easter that slammed the entire East Coast. The rough weather since was typical for March, Denise guessed, she said. Visit Website.

FLORIDA

Islamorada

Trips began to fish farther offshore in deeper water sometimes, but fished closer in, too, for a variety of catches, said Capt. Bruce Andersen from Captain Easy Charters. Angling was good aboard this past week, and one of the trips that fished deeper sailed Sunday for swordfish, bagging a 90-pounder, releasing a 50-pounder and scoring a couple of other bites. That was daytime swordfishing, not swordfishing at night that’s common. To catch during daytime, the trip fished along bottom in 1,500 feet of water for the light-sensitive fish. The trip also did a little mahi mahi fishing in the area, catching the dolphin. A few more mahi began to show up than before, from closer to shore to farther. Closer to port, trips tackled a few amberjacks at the Islamorada Hump, an underwater mound 11 miles out. Sizable bull sharks fed on the a.j.’s and could also be fought. Even closer to land, trips piled up lots of yellowtail snappers at the reef, a few miles from port. Lots of king mackerel gathered just offshore of the reef that some trips took advantage of. A few sailfish still roamed that area, and a few mahi held there, that trips could get after. Every day fished a little different, but a mix of these catches was on tap. Call: 305-451-9578 or 305-360-2120. Visit Website.

Some of the traveling charters to the Florida Keys fished the bay near Islamorada during the weekend with Capt. Joe Hughes from Jersey Cape Guide Service from Sea Isle City, N.J., he said. Fishing Friday through Sunday with Darrel Cooper and two friends, the trips pasted at least 20 species. The anglers landed three permits, a bonefish, lemon sharks, bonnethead sharks, barracudas, snappers including mangroves and muttons, jacks and more. They also jumped three tarpon, and the fishing was phenomenal, Joe said. Earlier in winter, fishing wasn’t as good in the Everglades as in the bay near Islamorada. Whether that changed was unknown, and Joe had no reason to leave the water near Islamorada currently, because that angling caught. Weather was a little breezy at times, and more of the trips will fish next weekend. The trips, fishing mostly on weekends, sail every Christmas to Easter. See the traveling charters’ page on Jersey Cape’s website.