From 1896 to 1933, the pound fishing industry was second only to tourism in Ocean City’s economy. The fishing season ran from the end of March to mid-November and was a hard and often dangerous way for men to make a living.
The fish pounds were traps made of nets located half a mile to a mile offshore. They featured a funnel-shaped opening through which fish could enter but have difficult escaping from. Nets were pulled aboard the wooden boats by hand and fish were dumped under the feet of the fishermen and not sort out until they returned to shore.
Boats were launched through the surf from the beach on wooden rollers and retrieved with the help of a draft horse and block and tackle. There was no way to access the ocean from the bay prior to Aug. 23, 1933 when a hurricane created the Inlet and subsequently ended the pound fishing era in Ocean City’s history.
Photo courtesy of Bob Stevens