MSSA tuna tournament limits boat length to 38 feet
The rescheduled Maryland Saltwater Sportfishing Association’s 27th annual Tuna-Ment Tournament will take place Friday through Sunday, June 24-26. The tournament is designed for recreational anglers of relatively modest means, so the maximum boat length for participants is 38 feet. Teams will fish two of three days.
Teams landing the first-, second- and third-heaviest tunas will be awarded prize money.
Optional added-entry skill level calcuttas, or TWT (Tournaments within Tournament), offer the chance to win additional prize money for reeling in the singleheaviest tuna as well as for stringer weight (two or three fish). Calcuttas range from $100-$500.
Final registration and a captains’ meeting will take place 6-8 p.m. at Alltackle off Route 50 and Golf Course Road in West Ocean City on Thursday, June 23. The cost to enter the tournament is $275 for MSSA members, $300 for nonmembers.
Weigh-ins will take place from 4:30-8 p.m. each day. For more information, visit mssa.net or call 410-255-5535. You can register online as well.
* * * Dorchester fishing The folks of the Dorchester Chapter of MSSA will host their in-house summer fishing tournament on Thursday July 21. The entry fee is $10. The club will kick in $75 for each species. All entry fees and an extra $300 will be awarded in prizes. The four eligible species will be rockfish, white perch, croaker, and catfish. Winners will be determined by length with prizes awarded for first and second place.
Fishing starts the day of the tournament at 5 am. Check-in is between 6 and 7 p.m. at the Elks Club prior to the chapter’s July meeting. Contact Chuck Prahl (410-228-0251) if you’d like to participate.
The chapter is in need of volunteers to strip and reassemble reef ball forms on Thursday, June 30,
at the concrete plant on Rt. 16 just south of the Cambridge Walmart. Contact Tom Wilkison (410-4043426) if you’d like to help.
*** Fishing report There were some great days for fishing this week. I hope you were able to get out and enjoy the cool weather. I found time to visit the local mill pond to toss a small Betts popper and had constant hits by feisty bluegills and a ferocious strike by a 2 lb. largemouth lingering in some very skinny water. It cooked up nice with some crushed Ritz crackers and lemon pepper seasoning. Yes, you can keep them now.
The tidal rivers in the upper Chesapeake Bay region are holding healthy populations of white perch. In the early mornings and late evenings working shoreline structure with ultra-light tackle and small beetle-spins or spinners can provide a lot of fun and some nice perch for the table.
Out in the bay, chumming continues to entice rockfish at the Love Point and Swan Point areas. Anglers are spotting fish on their depth finders before setting up a chum slick. Larger stripers tend to hold farther back in the chum slick. Trolling is another option with success coming from along the channel edges by those able to get their lures down to about 25 feet along the 35- to 40-foot edges. Umbrella rigs are working now behind inline weights with bucktail or Storm shad trailers. Tandem-rigged bucktails off planers will get down to the fish as will single spoons.
Vertical jigging is a fun, productive option when fishing for stripers, and structure such as submerged rocks and bridge piers are good places to cast near and to jig. Soft plastics are a favorite, but bucktails work well as well.
Boats are also setting up on the outside edge of Hacketts, near the Hill, the Clay Banks, and the Diamonds. A good tide is needed and most are setting up on fish they find suspended off the bottom with their depth finders.
Ballast stone piles should not to be overlooked; if you find a bump out at the mouth of the Choptank, for example, mark it because they are great spots for holding fish.
Shallow water fishing for stripers continues to be productive in many areas despite some cloudy water conditions. In many areas the grass is fairly thick, so topwater lures such as poppers or skipping bugs is the way to go and certainly provides the greatest entertainment.
Perhaps the most exciting fishing going on in the lower Chesapeake right now is the welcomed arrival of substantial numbers of croakers. Most are in the 10- to 12-inch size range and should be headed this way.
Recreational crabbing continues to be good in the most all of the tidal rivers in the middle and lower bay regions. Some crabbers are now using chicken necks since the cow-nosed rays have moved into the Maryland portion of the bay in force.
On the coast, surf fishing has been good for a mix of bluefish and a few large striped bass and a whole lot of skates and sting rays. Cut menhaden has been one of the more popular baits, but finger mullet and sand fleas are also being used. Bloodworms are a good choice for targeting kingfish.
Outside the inlet the boats heading out to the wreck and reef sites are still finding good sea bass fishing but limit catches are not as common. Flounder are now being caught and help add to the mix. Farther offshore the boats trolling at the canyons are finding a mix of yellowfin tuna, mahi-mahi, and bigeye tuna. * * * Duck blind know-it-all The LeCompte Wildlife Management Area in Dorchester County was named in honor of Edwin Lee LeCompte (18741947), Game Warden for the State of Maryland from 1916 to 1945.
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