As I sit down to write this report, which will be
my first of the 2010 season, I will freely admit that I almost do not know
where to begin. It is still only May, and we have been fishing here for just a
few short weeks, but the fishing so far has been nothing short of phenomenal.
We all know that fishing is very seasonal, and that
some years are more productive than others. We also know that it is impossible
to predict where and when the fish will show up, and how a season will
eventually turn out. Still, if the last few weeks are any type of indicator as
to how this year is shaping up, I am not afraid to say that the outlook for
2010 is very promising.
If you like striped bass, the past few weeks have
been for you. The warm weather that we experienced back in April really kick
started our springtime action. It seemed like when the stripers finished doing
their business in the Chesapeake Bay, they did not waste any time in hitting
our coastline hard and in good size and numbers. As usual, we have been seeing
some great catches come from the beach at Assateague, but we have also been
seeing some unusually large fish coming from the Inlet and bay areas this year
as well. In fact, one night about three weeks ago, a school of big fish came
into the Inlet and worked its way up to the Oceanic Pier. In about three hours’
time, at least 20 large fish came over the rail with three fish being in the
48-inch, 35-pound range — all caught on lures. Now that is some great fishing.
Stripers haven’t been the only game in town,
however. The Inlet action has been great for tog along the jetties, and there
have been a lot of bluefish and shad the past couple weeks as well. As usual,
the early morning and late evening tides have been the best, but you never know
when the fish might show up in the Inlet — especially this time of the year.
fishing seemed to start out a little bit slower than the striper action this
year, but things have really started to pick up the past couple weeks. So far,
drifting baits near the east and west channels has produced the largest fish.
As you can see, this season has started out at a fast pace. With all the nice
weather, and all the fishing that has been done, let’s move on to some of the
reports that I’ve received through email and through the tackle shop the past
At Bahia Marina, Adam reports weighing in a few
flounder this week with the largest being 22 inches and caught just south of
the Route 90 bridge on a live minnow. The Judith M has been fishing everyday
since sea bass season opened. Last weekend, they came in with an average of
around 15 keepers per person. A lot of snapper blues are being caught in the
Inlet with a few larger fish being caught around the 50 Bridge. Incoming tide
seems to be the best. Adam heard reports of keeper rockfish from both the Route
50 bridge and the surf, but didn’t have any weighed in this week. There are
still a lot of short rockfish being caught at the tip of the south jetty. Looks
like a few boats are going to try to go shark fishing this weekend so hopefully
there will be a few makos to report next week. The Judith M fishes everyday
now. See www.judithmfishing.com
for more information and remember the black sea bass season is now open.
Bev at Harbor Tackle in West Ocean City reports
stripers are being taken from the surf at Assateague Island and north Ocean
City. Mixed with the stripers are dogfish, skates, blues and sand bar sharks.
The most productive bait has been fresh bunker, live peelers and sand fleas. A
couple of her customers told her the flounder catch is getting better, however,
not many keepers. Best places to look for flounder have been the south bay from
the airport down, according to Bev. The striper bite has been on at the Route
50 Bridge at night along with the shad. Blues were at the Inlet last night.
Some nice tog are still being caught and the creel limit has gone down to two
per person per day with a 14-inch minimum.
JJ at the Oceanic Pier reports fishing this year at
the Pier is off the hook with great runs of bluefish and shad every day. The
best lures and rigs to use are Got-Cha Plugs and Spec Rigs. The striper fishing
has been the best the Pier has ever had since he has worked there, with some
stripers measuring all but 50 inches and weighing up to 35 pounds. There’s
flounder action during the day with the best baits being live minnows and
squid. Tog fishing continues to be good right off the end of the pier and sea
wall, with green crabs and sand fleas being the top baits for the hard fighting
The Angler party boat with Capt Chris Mizurak
reports tog fishing has pretty much ended now with sea bass fishing opening on
May 22. He’s had some great trips so far with lots of nice sea bass coming over
the rail. He also is planning another deep drop trip on May 31 with targets
being Golden Tilefish, Black Bellied Rose Fish and Red Hake. The largest
tilefish so far has been just shy of 40 poundss. These trips are 16 to 18 hours
sailing at 2:30 a.m. and the fare is $200 per person and does not include a
rod. Reservations are required for deep drop trips and they will board by order
of reservation. Sea bass trips sail at 7:30 a.m. and are $60 per person. Prices
includes rod, reel and tackle. For more information and reservations, call
Captain Steve, on the “Happy Hooker, a two-hour
flounder party boat, reports flounder fishing this year started a little slower
early in the season, but the last few weeks have really turned on with some
nice size flounder being caught. The boat has had good luck just south of the
Route 50 Bridge in the West Channel with live minnows and frozen shiners. The
bite seems to be better during the incoming tides. He has also been catching
some nice ones just south of Ocean City in the bay, by the airport. Two-hour
trips are offered every day now through out the summer and the boat is located
on the Talbot Street pier at Mr Ducks.
Capt. Bobby Gower of the “Bay Bee” had some good
luck this past weekend. On Saturday, he had five flounder keepers up to 23
inches and 60 throw backs. On Sunday morning, he had 25 throw backs. On Sunday
afternoon, he had 35 throw backs and three nice keepers. The keepers were
caught at the mouth of the Commercial Harbor. Give them a call at 410-213-1121
or 800-322-3065 for reservations and more information.
Offshore, the first mako of the season was caught
on May 20 by Josh Dolan of Ocean City. He was fishing on the boat “ Nontypical”
with Captain Terry Layton. The mako measured 65 inches and 131 pounds. It was
caught at the Washington Canyon on a bluefish fillet. This is two days earlier
then last year. The first mako last year was also caught on the “Nontypical”
with Captain Terry Layton at the helm. A big congratulations to the gang on the
“Nontypical”, one of Ocean City’s top boats coming off a stellar 2009 season.
Another first was caught this past weekend, the
hard fighting Sheepshead, one of my personal favorites. It was caught by Dave
Pasun of Elkridge, Md. He caught it at a ocean wreck on sand fleas. It weighed
a impressive 7 pounds, 8 ounces. As most people know, these are a warm water
species that travel from as far away as Florida to the waters of Ocean City.
These fish first started showing up in the mid-90’s in numbers around the south
jetty around the first week in September, when the water reached its warmest
temp. But the past few years the toothy critter has made his appearance in late
May like clock work. Makes you wonder about global warming and its affects on
fish and their travels. If you are interested in catching one of these hard
fighters, stop by the tackle shop and we will give you all the information you
need on rigs, baits and areas to target them. One other quick note about
sheepshead here in Ocean City is the last two state records were caught off local
jetties, and I’m sure it could happen again this year by another lucky angler.
Here at the tackle shop things are picking up daily
with reports and fish being weighed in. A hot spot you may want to target this
holiday weekend for flounder off the shore line is the Route 50 bridge, one of
the best flounder areas for shore fishermen. The most effective rigs to use is
a bridge flounder spreader bar with a pencil float. The baits are live minnows
or frozen shiners. You may also want to tip the hook with a Berkley Gulp
swimming mullet. If you have some young fishermen, you may want to try the 9th
Street pier for flounder. It’s free and very child friendly. It has a very
sandy bottom with not many snags and extends over the water.
By boat for flounder some of the hot spots are the
west channel, south of the Route 50 Bridge, the south bay by the airport, Snug
Harbor, by markers 11 and 13 and also by Frontier Town. For Tog by land try the
Route 50 bridge, 3rd to 4th Street bulkjead, and the
North Jetty. By boat, try the south jetty and also all the offshore reefs and
wrecks, which are all marked on the Ocean City Reef Foundation charts available
at most area tackle shops. The blue fish and shad bite has been awesome, the
hot spots are Oceanic Pier, the north jetty, the sea wall and the Route 50
For stripers, the best spot is always the Route 50
bridge at night, the north jetty, and, of course, the Oceanic Pier under the
lights. The best baits and lures are live spot, eels and six-inch swim shads.
If you’re in a boat, the south jetty is always hot this time of year. For sea
bass, all the local party boats are your best bet. And finally for sharks check
with any local marina to book a trip with a charter boat.
I have all the boats in the water and they’re
geared up ready to fish. We have a boat for every person’s needs. From bay to
Inlet, inshore to offshore, with half-day and full-day trips available. 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 lets talk fishing. At the tackle shop we are open 7
a.m-7 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 email@example.com or
The weather forecast for the holiday weekend is
good and the fishing is off the hook. So get out there and fish. Who knows?
Maybe I’ll be writing about you next week.
(The writer is an outdoor writer and owner of
Skip’s Bait and Tackle and Skip’s Charter and Guide Service in Ocean City.)