When Mike Giegerich goes sailing with Ed Auble on a 34 Hunter sloop out of Seaview Harbor Marina, they put out two fishing lines and troll mainly for bluefish. On Thursday, Aug. 4, they hooked up with 10 on a ride down to Cape May. They also had quite a surprise when they got to approximately three miles off Strathmere.
A school of mako sharks came streaking past the boat. One of them slammed a green hootchie they had out. Giegerich took the stick and fought the fish to the back of the boat in little more than a half hour, he said. He said it measured 4 1/2 to 5 feet in length. He said they had it captured on the back of the boat and were trying to tail-rope it to lash it to the side when the Fiberglas gaffe they were using shattered and the fish broke off.
They had it tied to the back of the boat for five minutes. They were not about to bring it on board - they were going to tow it. Giegerich said it had teeth like razor blades, so the decision to keep it in the water was probably a wise choice, even though they lost it.
Giegerich said the boat was under full sail while all this was going on. He said it is a little tougher to fight a big fish on a boat under sail because you can't take the engine out of gear or back down to help the angler during the fight. He said the school of makos came charging through the water, splashing and jumping on the surface.
"They were all over the boat," Giegerich said. "It was like lightning."
Bluefish are a favorite prey of makos, so maybe they were chasing them. And, on the way back from Cape May, Giegerich said they hooked into a 40-pound brown shark off the Ferris wheel in Wildwood.
Giegerich lives in Egg Harbor Township and owns a couple of car washes - one in Pleasantville and the other in Mays Landing. He was crew coach at Holy Spirit High School, his alma mater, and an organizer of the once-popular Around the Island Swim. He has been sailing since he was 12. Auble is from Linwood. They use Penn 114 reels and 4 1/2-foot Penn rods. They release most of the bluefish they catch, but they keep a few.
The Ocean City Marlin & Tuna Club holds its 34th Overnight Billfish Tournament Monday, Aug. 15 to Friday, Aug. 19. Registration is $750 per boat and captains pick one of the five days to fish. It's a billfish-release contest plus divisions for swordfish, wahoo, dolphin (mahi), mako and tuna. Captain's meeting is 6 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 14 at Ocean City Yacht Club at Battersea Avenue at the bay in O.C. Weigh-ins are 1 to 4 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 16, through Saturday, Aug. 20, at Ocean City Public Dock, Second Street and the bay. Call director Ron McMurray at 609-214-3809.
It's only a couple of weeks now to the big event of the summer offshore-competition season. The MidAtlantic $500,000 big-game classic out of Canyon Club in Cape May and Sunset Marina in Ocean City, Md., will celebrate its 20th anniversary. Fishing days are Aug. 22 to 26. Registration is 1 to 4:30 p.m. Aug. 21, followed by the captain's meeting at Canyon Club. Weigh-ins are 5 to 9 p.m. at Canyon Club. Last year's stats: $1,781,550 total prize money, 134 boats, 557 white-marlin releases, 31 weighed.