This past week we
celebrated Independence Day in Ocean City. Every year the week surrounding the
Fourth of July holiday is one of our busiest weeks here in town. Vacationers
come from all over to soak up the sun, the sand and to celebrate our nation’s
independence. Oftentimes the beach and the Boardwalk are crowded the streets
are lined with cars, and onlookers jostle for the best position to enjoy Ocean
City’s Fourth of July fireworks display.
The weather is always a variable for our Fourth of July celebration, but
fortunately this year we were blessed with blue skies and no rain in sight.
American flags of all sizes were proudly displaying the stars and stripes
around town this week, and our fireworks display went off without a hitch.
American flags were not the only type of flags flying around Ocean City this
past week. Many of our local offshore boats were also flying flags — tuna
As seen from all of the reports flying around town, the tuna fishing has been
pretty good this week. Like all types of fishing, some days have been better
than others. But overall, the tuna fishing has been good. Last year’s slow
fishing was actually abnormally poor for Ocean City, so the fast action some
boats are seeing this year is a welcome change back to normal. With any luck,
things will stay consistent for next week’s 23rd Annual Ocean City Tuna
Tournament, and we will continue to see lots of boats flying tuna flags again
Still, tuna were not the only game in town this week. The flounder fishing
continues to be very good, with excellent numbers of fish. Good reports of
bluefish and stripers are still coming in from the inlet and the Route 50
Bridge, and there have been some excellent reports coming in from surf anglers
as well — including a couple very impressive (and scary) shark catches from the
beach. With the numbers of people in town this past week, it is quite obvious
that a lot of people were fishing. I have received reports in from all around
town. So let’s take a look at them now.
At the Oceanic Pier, JJ reports, “summer has set in here at the pier, hot days
and hot fishing. We are having some good flounder bites, mostly on the incoming
tides. The best baits are live minnows and Berkley Gulp combos. We also had
some good runs of croakers this week, blood worms and fish bites are the bait
of choice. At night, we still are seeing some stripers coming from the sea wall
on live eels. The sea wall is also producing triggerfish during the day on sand
fleas and salted clams. The tog bite has slowed, but a few are small ones are
still hanging around. We are open 24 hours, 7 days a week, stop by and see us.”
Sue Foster at Oyster Bay and Tackle reports, “Flounder fishing was good but a
lot more ‘shorts.’ A couple really nice ones were reported over 9 pounds. The
surf saw interesting things like croaker, small sea trout, kingfish and spot. A
couple stripers were reported along with some big sharks and rays. Spot were
reported in the bay along with a few more reports of croaker. Oceanic Pier and
Route 50 Bridge were excellent on blues and some stripers at night. The Inlet
saw some stripers too. Triggerfish are here at the inlets and bulkhead. They
were apparently abundant offshore this weekend and anglers also reported
spadefish. Offshore, we have had sharks, tuna, marlin, and dolphin. Sea bass
fishing was pretty good on some days. It was an interesting week in the surf.
Some anglers were complaining of catching only rays and sharks. Some said they
couldn’t catch anything. Then others came in with all kinds of stories of fish,
especially from the nighttime anglers. There were at least four reports of
schools of little sea trout in the 10-12-inch range on the beach. I had reports
of spot and one report of several silver fish that were spiny. I am thinking
that would be croaker. Unless possibly they were talking about bluefish. I
heard of a couple stripers at night. Interesting, some kingfish were biting
good for some anglers, not so good for others. Big sharks and huge rays are
still the talk of the beach.”
Bev at Harbor tackle reports, “Three- to five-foot sharks are showing in the
surf along with kingfish, spot, rays and blues. The flounder catch has
increased; however, for every keeper 20 to 50 undersized fish are caught. The
Route 50 Bridge and the Inlet there are blues, shad, stripers and flounder.
Congratulations to Tommy Smith of Naples, Fla. with his 19 ¾-inch flounder
taken from the head of the OC Harbor. Rob Atkins from Red Line, Pa was fishing
from the Route 50 Bridge and hooked a 4-pound, 4-ounce, 22 ½-inch flounder
using a live
minnow and a chartreuse Gulp 4-inch swimming mullet. Jere Putt of Lebanon, Pa.
landed a 24-inch, 6-pound, 4-ounce flounder at the East Channel using a live
Clark at Old Inlet reports, “Big news is that tautog season has reopened in
Delaware waters. Because of the heat, the best fishing for stripers is at night
in the Indian River Inlet. Heat and boat traffic drive the fish down during the
day. There are few short stripers hitting during the day when we get an
easterly breeze. The night fishing has been good on live eels, black bucktails
and dark plugs/poppers. Stripers between 21 and 26 pounds were weighed in this
week. There are some bluefish to be found in the Inlet on the daytime incoming
tides. Sea bass fishing is picking up on the Old Grounds. There are some
flounder and lingcod in the mix as well. Surf fishing could benefit from some
east wind. To much west wind lately has kept dirty water on the beach. When the
wind is right there are some kings and sand perch in the suds."
Bill Sports Center reports, “Yellowfin tuna, bluefish tuna, sharks and white
marlin. Bobby called from the Pier at Cape Henlopen and said they are catching
spot and croakers up to 12 inches. Site 11 there are flounder and sea bass.
Flounder in the Indian RiverBay and Lewes Canal.”
Captain Drew from the “Tortuga” reports, “As usual, flounder fishing was
consistently inconsistent this past week. Some tough conditions and increased
fishing pressure over the holiday weekend made for challenging fishing. However,
we did manage to have some nice catches of keepers and good numbers of
throwback fish along with a few flounder in the 22-inch and 4-pound plus range.
Also we did see another new specie this week, catching our first kingfish. If
you want to catch them, you have to get out on the water and put in some time.
So come see us at Bahia Marina/Fish Tales at 22nd Street and the bay and try
your luck aboard the ‘Tortuga’ departing daily at 8 a.m., noon and 4 p.m.”
Captain Chris on The Angler reports, “We had some decent fishing for sea bass
this week on some days and on others not so hot. We have been catching plenty
of throwbacks along with a few nice ones in the mix. There has also been some
flounder caught and we expect this fishery to get better in the coming weeks.
Surface temperatures approached 75 degrees this week, bottom temperatures still
much colder, but it won’t be long before we see triggerfish, croakers, and
maybe some mahi-mahi. We are sailing daily at 730 a.m. and returning around 2
p.m. This past week has been more like fishing rather than catching in
the past few weeks. But no matter what you do you are not going to catch the
big one if your line is not in the water.”
There are still plenty of fish to be caught out there but, much to the hungry
fisherman’s disappointment, there are limited amounts of keepers being caught.
A bunch of short flounder have been reported everyday from the 2nd through 4th
streets bulkhead, 9th Street Pier, 6th Street and all throughout the bay. The most
consistent bait being used is Berkley Gulp and live minnow or squid and shiner
The bluefish bite has subsided a little, not that we didn’t expect it but as
soon as the weather gets hot a lot of fish move on out to more comfortable
settings. However if you are still interested in getting some afternoon action,
the bluefish bite has been reported to be good right as soon as it starts
getting dark through the inlet and off the bridge. There are still some
stripers lingering here along the bridge at night mostly at the turn of the
tide. You are fishing through the small ones for an occasional keeper but they
are out there.
The tautog bite is still fun but again you are catching mostly small fish. If
looking for a keeper, your best bet is to fish the North Jetty in the Inlet. On
Skip’s Charter boat this week, we were definitely affected by the heat and wind
a few days but still we went fishing and caught the stripers and did fairly
well on our flounder trips although it is the same story all around a lot of
small fish and limited keepers. But if you are looking to have a good time out
on the water catching some fish we do our best.
On Wednesday, we had two trips, first taking the Haney family out on a two-hour
striper charter They had an awesome time catching fish and Josh Haney was even able to catch a keeper
for dinner. Then we had Tim Davis and his dad come out fishing with us on a
two-hour striper charter in the afternoon and they were not disappointed. A
bunch of fish and a good time on the water.
On Thursday. Mark Cooke and David Kreichelt went fishing with us and caught a
few stripers, which isn’t a bad way to start out any vacation.
Friday was a busy day
out on the water, the Inlet was packed with boats and everyone was trying to
figure out how they work again. Regardless, we went out on two trips, first
being with Jim Stevens and despite the wind and bad water quality we still
caught two stripers. Later that afternoon we went out again with Mr. Rice and
his group caught a bunch of flounder and had a relaxing day drifting around the
Saturday, Mike Merson chartered us with two of his buddies and caught a few
What better way to celebrate the 4th than with a fishing trip? Well that is
what we thought as well as everyone from our two charters. We went out and
caught some short fish around noon with Charles and Dru Phillips, his
girlfriend Alyssa Richner, all from Hamsted, Md., as well as Josh and John
Hagarman from Hanover, Pa. Right after that charter, we went right back out and
caught a bunch of flounder with Doug Barto, Daniel Marzec, Dennis Pasic, Esad
Pasic and Randy Klivansky, all from Lancaster, Pa.
On Monday, we had a big charter of five people from all over Pennsylvania,
Barry Garner, Cameron Bash, Rex Davis and Gary and Cody Ream. We went out and
caught some fish and enjoyed the holiday out on the water.
On Tuesday, we went out with Rich Wright and his son Bobby Wright from Mahwah,
NJ and caught four stripers.
We have come to the end of a week filled with blistering hot weather and it
doesn’t look like it is going to be getting any cooler but there are still fish
out there waiting to be caught. So, pick up the phone and give us a call while
we still have space available. The week is filling up fast so book now.
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 6 a.m-9 p.m. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Get out there and fish! Who knows? Maybe I’ll be writing about you next week.
(Maguire is an outdoor writer and owner of Skip’s Bait and Tackle and Skip’s
Charter and Guide Service in Ocean City.)