Off­shore shark fish­ing hit­ting its peak

The Kutztown Area Patriot - - SPORTS - By Jim Loe Dig­i­tal First Me­dia

Over the years I’ve got­ten to know many out­stand­ing lady an­glers, in­clud­ing my wife. Some were spe­cial­ists in striper fish­ing in the surf, oth­ers in catch­ing blue­fish in the ocean, oth­ers tar­geted the floun­der. But, Ocean City’s Mau­reen Klause has made a ca­reer of catch­ing world record light line class fish. At this point she holds an in­cred­i­ble 24 of those records and soon that may be­come twenty-five.

Mau­reen’s lat­est is a 126.4-pound mako shark she landed on 6-pound test monofil­a­ment line. She owns her own boat and was in the Lemke’s Canyon at the time. Ap­par­ently, there was in­ter­est in her bait be­ing shown both by the mako and a thresher but the mako won and took the hook.

In­ci­den­tally, as avid an an­gler as Mau­reen is, her hus­band, Harry, has noth­ing to do with her boat and does not go fish­ing.

As you can gather, the shark fish­ing in the canyons is ex­cel­lent right now. The windy pat­tern of the en­tire spring and the first few days of sum­mer seems to have been bro­ken and that is per­mit­ting more boats to get off­shore. Along with just about all the canyons, one of the tra­di­tional shark hot spots con­tin­ues to be the 28 Mile Wreck. The Wreck long has been pop­u­lar with an­glers with smaller boats that are not ca­pa­ble to mak­ing the canyons.

If sharks are not your thing, the ac­tiv­ity on yel­lowfin, bluefin, big eye and longfin tuna seems to be get­ting bet­ter with each pass­ing day. Some mahi and white mar­lin also are mixed in with the tunny fam­ily mem­bers. Prob­a­bly the best ar­eas con­tinue to be the Poor­man’s and Bal­ti­more Canyons, but those are long runs for boats north of Cape May. How­ever, there are en­cour­ag­ing reports now trick­ling in from the Wilm­ing­ton, the Ham­bone, Hot Dog and Ele­phant Trunk which are much closer for At­lantic and Ocean County based boats. If you ever won­dered how those places got their rather col­or­ful names, if traces back to their shape on a nau­ti­cal chart. Some­times you have to use your imag­i­na­tion but if you look hard enough you can see the vague form of a ham, wee­nie or an ele­phant.

Much, much closer to home king­fish are dom­i­nat­ing the reports. Th­ese tasty lit­tle guys are be­ing taken in great num­bers from most, if not all, the ocean­side piers and many of the var­i­ous in­let jet­ties. Some of the an­glers who are look­ing to stock up for a fish fry or fill the freezer

have come up with a new tac­tic for catch­ing more of the kin­gies. They have re­sorted to us­ing mack­erel trees or short­ened Sabiki rigs so they can get more hooks in the wa­ter and it seems to be work­ing. In the days when the mack­erel were an in­te­gral part of late win­ter and spring fish­ing in south Jer­sey the mack­erel trees were the rig of choice. Since the de­par­ture of the macks you might have a tough time find­ing any off th­ese rigs even in the big­gest tackle shop.

Sum­mer floun­der fish­ing re­mains strong, al­though there are some signs the larger fish are start­ing to move out­side and head to­ward the ar­ti­fi­cial reefs and snags.

A few stripers are be­ing re­ported but most are un­der­sized and al­most all of that ac­tion is tak­ing place at night along the beaches and sod banks.

If you are look­ing to have some big game style ac­tion, brown and sand tiger sharks are be­ing hooked-up from some of the beaches, es­pe­cially in Bri­g­an­tine. Th­ese are not giants by any means but gen­er­ally are be­tween 3 and 5 feet long. They may be rel­a­tively small but they still can put a hurt­ing on you so be care­ful with them. And, al­ways re­lease them.

Qui­etly, this is turn­ing into a rather good crab­bing sea­son. One thing not to do is place any blue claws you catch in a pail of wa­ter. They will drown. Just place them in a bas­ket or cooler and cover them with sea­weed or a damp cloth.

ACROSS THE BAY

Un­like New Jer­sey, the king­fish ac­tion in Delaware is just be­gin­ning. Those that are be­ing caught are be­ing found off the beaches and seem to be av­er­ag­ing a lit­tle over a foot in length. That ac­tiv­ity should con­tinue to im­prove as long as the weather holds.

While you are cast­ing into the surf for the king­fish, you also might see some an­glers cast­ing heav­ier equip­ment look­ing for sharks, usu­ally the sand tigers and browns.

Sum­mer floun­der catches re­main con­stant. Re­mem­ber, in Delaware the min­i­mum size is 17-inches and there is a 4 fish bag limit. Along with the al­ways pop­u­lar in­side flat­tie spots the an­glers are now hit­ting them off the coast around Sites 10 and 11 and the Old Grounds.

If you are in­ter­ested in bring­ing home some tuna for the grill head off in the di­rec­tion of the Bal­ti­more and Poor Man’s Canyons for some good wa­ter. You should have lit­tle trou­ble hook­ing up some yel­lowfin and bluefin while cast­ing over that way.

The Delaware Marine Pa­trol is stepping up its en­force­ment of the state’s boat­ing un­der the in­flu­ence laws. So if you will be on the wa­ter this long hol­i­day week­end you have been warned.

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