Fish ‘N OC

If you are into inshore
fishing around Ocean City, there is a good chance that you associate summertime
with flounder fishing. Lucky for us, the past few years here in Delmarva we
have been fortunate enough to be blessed with an excellent flounder fishery.
The fish are here, and they are in excellent numbers and good sizes.
Still, this has not always been the case. I have been flounder fishing around
Ocean City for decades, and I can remember times as a kid when heading out to
the bay with my father and grandfather meant spending a day filling buckets
with flounder. You could catch one fish after another, with fish of all sizes
coming into the boat and lots of fillets heading home to the table.
Unfortunately, this kind of fishing couldn’t last forever. Eventually the fish
numbers began to
decline, and flounder fishing changed from action packed mayhem into serious
work. For a while, it became tough to put a couple fish in the box to take
Fortunately for us, our fisheries managers stepped in at the right time, and
they put regulations in place that have enabled our flounder to come back.
Right now, we have some of the best flounder fishing that anglers around Ocean
City have ever experienced. The numbers of fish are truly great. In fact,
sometimes it can be tough to catch the larger sized fish because the small fish
are so abundant.
You won’t be seeing anybody filling buckets with flounder around Ocean City
these days, but that is a good thing. The size limits and regulations of today
simply won’t allow it. With continued regulation, and any luck, our local
flounder fishery should stay strong for many years to come.

It has been a busy week
here in Ocean City. There have been a lot of guys in and out of the shop and I

have spent a good amount of time on the water myself.  There are lots of great success stories floating around town this

week. So let’s take a look at them now.
At Oyster Bay in north Ocean City, Sue Foster reports, “Lots of flounder, but
lots of "shorts." Some lucky anglers had some nice ones. Starting to
see some spot in the bay along with peanut bunker and small finger mullet to
use for flounder baits. Bigger bait, bigger fish. Still bluefish at night on
the Route 50 Bridge and Oceanic Pier. The surf saw lots of sharks and kingfish,
spot, sand perch and croaker up to 15 inches at night. Triggerfish are here at
the inlets and bulkheads along with some tautog action. Offshore we have had
sharks, tuna, marlin and dolphin. Sea bass fishing was up and down. Sharks are
still the talk of the beach. There’s big ones for anglers using big baits. And
little tiny dogsharks for anglers using small hooks. Kingfish, spot and croaker
were biting. The croaker were biting mainly at night. A few anglers reported
bluefish, while others say they haven’t seen a one. I went fishing at 3 R’s and
Conquest Road in Delaware last Tuesday and caught four kingfish, lots of small
sharks and sand perch, one baby flounder and a huge fish that grabbed my hook,
pulled the rod out of the sand spike, peeled half my line off and finally bent
straight my kingfish hook. It splashed but I couldn’t tell what it was. I’m
thinking a spinner shark because I saw something black jump out of the water
when I first got there that wasn’t a bottlenose dolphin.”
JJ at the Oceanic Pier reports, “The flounder fishing continues to be good
during the day. Large live minnows seem to be the best baits for them. Berkley
Gulp also works well with shinners or minnows on the same hook. We get a few
runs a week of croakers but they still haven’t showed up in full force yet.
Bloodworms and fish bites work the best. At night, the blues are still running
hard with schools coming in on the incoming tides, spec rigs and gotcha plugs
work the best. We also are seeing lots of stripers at night coming off the sea
wall in front of the hotel. Live eels and swim shads are working the best.”
Captain Bobby Gower on the Bay Bee reports, “Lots action on small flounder with
a couple keepers this week. He had a group of kids Saturday afternoon that were
catching and releasing a dozen fish each. Fishing was hot, just no size. We did
get into approximately 15 croaker one day near Harbour Island (14th Street).
That’s good news. Some of the smaller boats that can get into the ‘skinny’
water are doing good in the west channel on the running incoming tide. Gulp
swimming mullets on the hooks or lead heads with or without a shiner or minnow
seems to be the ticket this week. Finding little ‘out of way’ places that
haven’t been overfished seems to produce more keepers as well. You need clean
water. If the water isn’t clean and clear, you can forget about it.”
Captain Chris Mizurak on the Angler reports, “Not much has changed in the
fishing over the last couple weeks. Sea bass fishing has been okay. Some days
the bite is very good and on others there is a lot of moving from spot to spot.
By days end, most people go home with a nice dinner. The flounder bite has yet
to materialize, should be any day now. We have caught a few mahimahi, with the
largest being a 13 pounder. We are sailing daily at 7:30 a.m. and returning
around 2 p.m. The fare is $60 per person, which includes rod, reel, and bait.
For more information and reservations, please call 410-289-7424.”

Captain Victor Bunting
on the Ocean Princess reports, “typical July fishing over the last week. Some
trips we have been able to pick away on mostly small sea bass and flounders.
Some days we manage to get on a decent pick of keeper-size fish, and other days
it seems like sea bass should be on the endangered species list. We had some rain
and wind blow through on Tuesday and Wednesday and that seemed to help our
fishing for the rest of the week. Croakers haven’t shown up yet but I have
heard some reports the guys in the Delaware Bay have finally started catching a
few. Hopefully we’ll start catching a few ourselves in the next couple of
weeks. If you’re looking to fill your cooler with keeper sea bass, it ain’t
gonna happen. If you wanna go out, catch a few fish and have a fun day on the
water then we hope to see you soon.”
Captain Sean Welsh on the Restless Lady filed a report on July 16, saying,
“Started slow with flat seas, as the wind and waves picked up the tunas started
to pop on the surface in the Baltimore canyon. Finally at 2 p.m., we had
yellowfins all over the teasers, seven bites, four came tight, pulled hooks on
two, held on to two nice fish, a 66-pound and a 52-pound yellowfin and oh by
the way, a 28-pound gaffer mahi.”
Captain Drew Zerbe on the Tortuga reports, “This past week definitely produced
lower numbers of keeper flounder for most anglers in the bay. However, we did
manage to find a few keepers for our anglers and high numbers of throw backs
supplied plenty of action, frequently topping 100 throwbacks a trip with a few

days exceeding 300 plus. So come see us at Bahia Marina/Fishtales 22nd  Street and the bay and try your luck aboard

the Tortuga, departing daily at 8 a.m., noon and 4 p.m.”
Clark at Old Inlet in Delaware reports, “In the surf, spot, blues, kingfish and
croakers on the beach. Reports of croakers just started on 3R’s. Live and fake
bloodworms are the hot bait. The shark bite remains good on bluefish and fresh
bunker. At the Inlet during the day, bluefish on the incoming tide. A good
flounder bite was reported mid week on Gulp baits. Look for black drum and croakers
to start biting in the Inlet any day. The tautog bite is steady with a few
keepers in the mix. At the inlet at night, stripers on live eels during
incoming tide. Dark bucktails and swim shads are working, too. Seabassing on
the Old Grounds (between B and A buoy) is improving. A little further out
dolphin are around the Lightship. Bluefins in Masseys Canyon and the yellowfins
are way north toward the Spencer Canyon."
“Bill’s Sport Center” in Delaware reports, “slow pick offshore on sea bass and
flounder. Delaware Bay had some flounder. Tautog were biting at the Outer Wall
and Indian River Inlet. Kingfish and sharks are in the surf with bunker for
sharks and bloodworms for kingfish. Cape Henlopen Pier has good fishing with
spot, croaker and flounder. Some bluefin tuna were caught at Massey’s Canyon as
well as dolphin.”
Here at Skip’s Bait and Tackle, we have seen a fairly decent week of fishing,
tons of flounder being caught everywhere in the bay but catching a keeper seems
to be getting harder just because you have to fish through the small fish.
However that isn’t to say that they are not being caught, as we saw on Friday
when Jennifer Johnson of Ocean City caught a nice 23-inch flounder on a live
minnow while fishing the local hotspot, 2nd to 4th streets
We also saw and heard a bunch of reports of bluefish and stripers being caught
on the Route 50 bridge this past week, mostly at night but even throughout the
day they come and go, mostly people are using gotcha plugs and swim shads but
when the blues are blitzing what seems to be working the best are little spec
On Skip’s Charter and Guide Services, we had a great week of fishing and had a
lot of fun with everyone that went out fishing with us. One of the really good
things about this week was that we started catching some stripers again. They
are out there. Even though we are catching mostly small cookie-cutter stripers
22-26 inches, we know for sure that there are some big ones laying up out

On Thursday, we took the
Cleveland family out on an evening flounder fishing trip, ending the night with
a cruise behind Assateague and through the commercial harbor. We had a good
time fishing even though we didn’t catch a lot of fish but we had an amazing
view of the sunset.
Saturday was the 6th Annual Marlin Club Kid’s Classic, and we were chartered by
Tristan, Dylan and Owen who devote a lot of time to fishing. They caught a
bunch of stripers and flounder and even though we didn’t weigh any in
congratulations on the effort and great sportsmanship.
On Sunday, we had a bay trip fishing for flounder with Eric Grossman of Ocean
City, Robert Ross, his wife Cheryl and their daughter Sarah “Pumpkin”, of
Aiken, S.C. It was a fun time out on the water. A lot of smiles and we caught a
bunch of flounder.
Monday, we had two trips the first being a bay trip going out for flounder, a
bit of crabbing and some clamming. In all we had a fun time running around the
bay. We caught a bunch of clams, a few fish and a few short crabs.
Later on in the afternoon, Matt Rayburn, his son and his father-in-law went
fishing with us and caught some flounder and then we decided to go for the
stripers and we caught a whole bunch of them but nothing quite big enough to
One of the most spontaneous charters that we have had yet this season was with
the Cedar Hill Construction crew, Joe Price from Inwood, W.Va., Ray Hodgson
from East Regional Jail, Gary Frye from Martinsburg, W.Va. and Burton Alfred,
also from Martinsburg, W.Va. We went out on a four-hour striper trip and had
none stop action, lots of laughs and in all another good memory and a story for
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 email me at or
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.)